A few years ago, Les Garner of Sixus1 Media was playing with his original Poser figure Scarlet, not knowing that inspiration was getting ready to strike.
He said he was "spitballing ideas for the figure," just throwing different clothes from different genres on her to see what worked and what didn't. Then he took some elements from classic horror B-movies and he saw something that sparked his interest.
"Something about it has this voice to it," he said, recalling his first impressions of Apocalypse Girl.
Independent publisher Insane Comics agreed and announced July 19 that Apocalypse Girl is the next title to be offered from its latest round of submissions.
"We have found that strong female characters work well in the indie comic scene," said James Munch, Insane Comics CEO. "Combining this with the fantastic art and surreal storyline, we feel this book will garner lots of attention."
Art is all Garner has done for entire adult life. In addition to graphic arts, he also does music as a hobby. And this isn't Garner's first venture into comic books.
"Comics have been part of my life since I was a little kid," he said.
He explained that he learned to read while milking cows and reading comic books.
"I remember as a kid the other boys playing superheroes, but the people who were the heroes to me were the guys with their names in the bylines," he said.
So he left the family farm in Kentucky and tried his hand in New York City.
He got his first professional job as an artist at 19 years old illustrating graphic novels, coloring books and comic books.
After seeing how the industry works, Garner decided he'd be more successful as a freelance graphic artist and founded Sixus1 Media, a studio specializing in 3D modeling, around 2000.
Over the years, Garner has done 3D modeling, films, and animation. In the end, it all led back to comics.
Which brings him back to his Poser figure Scarlet.
"I was working on concepts for new sets of clothing/character ideas for my own all original figure Scarlet, had built a few of these elements then started putting them together to see how they'd play and Anna was born," he explained.
He had a set of chaps on the figure, but took one leg off the chaps and added a cowboy hat, drew two lines on each cheek and handed her a shotgun, he said.
The image of a young woman in mismatched clothes and wild hair inspired him to write a short story and then illustrate it.
That story became the story arch for Apocalypse Girl. The story, which is slated for a winter release, follows Anna, a young woman living in a world transformed into ashes and dust, thugs and warlords, and a daily fight for survival. Anna was taken in as a newborn by Jedediah, who she calls Papa.
In the first chapter, Garner lays out the father-daughter dynamic between Anna and Jedediah, as well as the foundation of the post-apocalyptic world in which they live. He also gives Anna a reason for living, which he based on a traditional murder-mystery and revenge tale.
Garner said the 3D figure he created and used as a reference when drawing the comic, had a kind of innocence to her that inspired the story.
"The comic is her journey through the world, but it's tied into real-world history," he said, adding it quickly became something based on his interest in world history.
"I'm telling a story of our world through the character and how it affects her. It starts as a personal intimate story but leads into more. It's fun to play with that sort of thing and see where it leads."
Garner wrote the story as a graphic novel, but decide it would work best as a six-issue release over a year. He hopes to complete two more installments to round out his graphic trilogy.
"Hopefully, I'll get to tell the whole story," he said.