From the beginning, Keith Karchner’s life was rife with challenges. Born with cerebral palsy and to a mother with multiple challenges of her own, his road was far from easy.
As an escape from his struggles and the stress of his job as a social worker, Karchner began writing stories in his free time. His first story, “Bones for the Dog,” came alive with the help of his illustrator friend and Brooklyn roommate Matt Maley, who was working in the Marvel Comics Bullpen, art-correcting Disney titles.
Twenty-six years later, the Hudson Valley-based duo self-published the graphic novel Nonsecal, a compilation that includes “Bones for the Dog” and eight other stories written by Karchner and illustrated by Maley.
Maley’s work with Karchner over the years has been a chance to showcase his own style.
“It was a nice break from the licensing work I was doing all day,” says Maley, who lives in New Paltz with his wife and daughter. “It was a complete 180 from Disney and correcting Ariel’s fingers for Little Mermaid books.”
Nonsecal is the first time eight of the stories have ever been published. The stories are all separate, but the goal was to stitch them together with conjoined underlying plot themes and a not-quite-nonsensical story arc — despite the title.
“I’ve always been strangely attracted to endings that are not happy endings,” says Karchner — who lives in Highland with his girlfriend, another Marvel alum. “The endings ring true for a lot of us…it is all about getting stuck in a loop [and finding a way to] transcend that loop and break free of the binding points of our lives.”
Nonsecal, published in April, is available in local bookstores (such as Inquiring Minds in New Paltz) and on Amazon. Karchner and Maley have started work on a second edition, with hopes to publish in 2020. For more go to www.nonsecal.com.