Author Caught in Audacious Hoax – Bringing His Character to Life

 

We talk about characters jumping off the page, but how many authors take that literally? Step forward Jasper Bark!

 

To promote his latest trilogy of horror novels, Draw You In, from publishers Crystal Lake Entertainment, Jasper took guerrilla marketing to a whole new level. He instigated an elaborate and innovative hoax that left comics and horror experts unsure of what was real and what wasn’t.

 

The plot of Draw You In is about an FBI investigation into a forgotten horror comic artist, R. L. Carver. Jasper decided to bring this character to life. With a team of hand-picked artists, he created three comics stories supposedly written and drawn by his fictional character.

 

 

 

At first glance, the comics looked as though they were created decades ago. Jasper contacted three leading comic sites and asked them to run the stories for him. He claimed the stories were genuine relics, found amongst a stash of unpublished printer’s proofs in the attic of a collector. Jasper asked for comic fandom’s help in learning more about their mysterious creator, an artist by the name of R. L. Carver.

 

The stories ran on the comic news sites, Downthetubes and Tripwire, and on the comics blog Diversions of the Groovy Kind. Some readers rushed to Jasper’s aid and scoured the web for info on R. L. Carver. Others were not so convinced and questioned the authenticity of the three stories. The controversy raged for two months, until the first novel in the trilogy, Draw You In, Vol 1 – Collector’s Item, was published on June 7th. At that point, Jasper was forced to come clean and admit the whole thing was a shameless hoax.

 

 

As Jasper explains, “I did hope to grab your attention, but I had other reasons for doing this. Draw You In explores the history of horror comics, from the 1950s to the present day. But another of its themes is the way that reality and fiction often bleed into one another, especially in the world of comics. I wanted my character, R. L. Carver to step off the pages of my novels and into the real world. I wanted readers to wonder if Carver had actually existed, if only for a few moments.”

 

In support of Jasper’s claim, many real life characters also appeared in the novels, including comics legends Walt and Louise Simonson. Jasper elaborates, “Both creators not only appeared as characters, but they also wrote their own dialogue and actions and interacted with the main characters, affecting the narrative in ways I couldn’t control. I don’t think that’s ever been done, quite this way, in a novel before.”

 

Walt comments, “We totally love being a real fictional character in a book although we’ll revisit this opinion if I meet a sticky end! Jasper Bark – I’m talking to you!!” Was this an audacious marketing stunt or an artistic statement? We leave that for you to decide.

 

*****

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Christina Wiggins

Nerd culture is my life, but I make most of my living reporting on entertainment news and rumors. When I'm not writing, I speak in pictures. Check out my insta here!

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