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Oklahoma among inspirations for High Moon series

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm •  Published: July 10, 2009

Former Oklahoma resident David Gallaher and collaborator Steve Ellis won the online Zuda Comics competition in 2007. Now, his winning submission comes to print this October. “High Moon” is the horror-Western hybrid that was recently nominated for two Harvey Awards.

“High Moon” takes Western tropes and mixes them with supernatural and science fictional elements, said Gallaher, the writer of the series.

“The original story was going to be a retelling and re-imagining of the American Civil War with vampires and werewolves,” Gallaher said. “As I started to dig deeper and deeper into the research, ‘High Moon’ sort of grew from there – with elements of ‘Gunsmoke,’ Jim Bowie, Tom Waits, and Celtic mythology thrown in for good measure.”

The story begins with Matthew MacGregor investigating unusual happenings the Old West town of Blest, Texas. But the detective MacGregor has his own lycanthropic secret to keep.

“The theme of ‘an unchanging man in a changing time’ sort of stuck with me, and the story came out of that,” Gallaher said. “With few exceptions, I hate Westerns … and with this project I was able to write a Western that I enjoyed creating and enjoyed reading.”

“High Moon” is rich in Oklahoma connections, particularly in the comic’s second “season.” Seasons 1-3 will be collected in the print edition. The second season deals with a series of murders in Ragged Rock, OK.

“I spent my quite some time living in Norman, Oklahoma,” Gallaher said. “I was in this wicked class called ‘Monsters, Aliens, and Cyborgs’ that totally stuck with me. I was also enrolled in a Cherokee language course that really made an impression on me.”

These Oklahoma experiences became part of the genesis of High Moon’s second stanza.

“When it came to developing the second season, I wanted to do something that felt authentic to me,” Gallaher said. “The first thing that came to mind were my experiences in Oklahoma. I thought about the geography, the Arbuckle Mountain Range, all-black towns – like Langston – and everything developed from there.”

Creating for the Web first offers many advantages, Gallaher said.

“From a creative standpoint, it’s pretty similar. We have to keep the story fun, fast, engaging, and compelling,” Gallaher said. “But, in terms of distribution, the web offers an incredible place to bring your ideas to market, without the financial burden and liability that comes with print.”

- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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