Eventually, the attention helped him get "Zombie Highway" published through Digital Webbing Comics. The independent comic company, which hasn't published anything new in a few years, carried a variety of titles, including "Sword of Dracula," "Fist of Justice" and a video game tie-in, "Bloodrayne."
Despite the blockbuster status of superhero films like "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises," there's not a lot of money in comic books -- at least not for most comic book creators.
While Pell was getting his work published, he didn't quit his day-job tending bar at Murad's. In 2009, with family finances tight, he took a second job at Toys "R" Us, where he met Wheeler.
Wheeler, a 2006 Fine Arts graduate from West Virginia State University, was a painter. The two became friends and eventually decided to work on a project together.
Pell came up with the story for "Season's End" because he felt it best fit Wheeler's artistic style. Wheeler said it was a real challenge to paint according to Pell's words and to maintain the feel of the characters in the individual panels.
"We started this January of 2011 and finished in April of this year," Wheeler said.
When they were finished, Wheeler had painted 47 paintings for a book that was 120 pages long.
It was an unusual sort of project, even for the comic book world, but rather than slog through attempting to find a publisher to subsidize distribution, the pair decided to try it on their own through the Kickstarter. So far, they're pretty happy with how it's going.
However, neither think just putting their product out on a website is enough. They two have reached out through social media to their friends and taken their book on the road. Earlier this month, they attended the Baltimore Comic-Con to make a direct pitch to the fans.
"We had a table there," Wheeler said. "We didn't sell a lot of books, but we talked to a lot of people and saw an uptick of interest on the Kickstarter site when we got home."
They will also be at the ShockaCon on Sept. 29 in South Charleston and are already considering future comic book projects.
"I've always got more ideas," Pell said.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.