Many years ago, when I was but a young, naïve lad, I penned a string of cryptic short stories in the fantasy, psychodrama vein, in an anthology entitled "Michael F. Housel's Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs!". I thought the stories were pretty swell at the time, though others, not understanding my eclectic disposition, tended to differ with that lofty opinion. However, a select few eccentrics, who by chance stumbled upon the entry, were at least open-minded enough to fancy the yarns, but I guess with the grand passing of time, none of these various likes or dislikes are of significant consquence now.
The important thing is that “Michael F. Housel’s Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs!” was born, presented with a prologue/epilogue and little intros, as well excellent illustrations by my pal, Steve Goodrich.
The anthology’s wraparound dealt with me, Brother Mike, a wanderer of dreams, who finds himself in an Old West locale, to present his stories, “literary elixirs” as they are so conveniently labeled, for the sake of appealing to the “bitter, hopeless and depressed”. Brother Mike trusts that these oddly geared tales will make those he encounters feel more at ease with their doleful existences.
In the original volume, Brother Mike distributes his tales from a magical, horseless wagon: not quite steampunk, but nonetheless atmospherically capturing that particular flavor. For added effect, he sports a stove-pipe hat, in homage to Cliff Robertson’s character in Rod Serling’s popular “Twilight Zone” entry, “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”. (In other general respects, I have often perceived Brother Mike as a sort of poor man’s “Dr. Who”. )
Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I have included a little picture of Steve's “Elixirs” cover below. As you can see, the booklet was patterned after the types one might find in the Old West, which make brief appearances in such modern , cinematic Westerns as “Unforgiven” and “Tombstone”. (Incidentally, the title scroll was somewhat inspired by the text on "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War of the Worlds" album cover, which Steve evolved into an infinity-sign insinuation, which then became distinctive to my would-be series.)
(It should also be noted: one of the stories in the original “Elixirs”, “The Tormented”, was adapted as a “reading” by yours truly for the audio-zine, “Tales from the Grave”! My good friend, Brett Turner, also adapted another story entitled, "Cold to Kill", as a short, experimental film back in the late eighties!)