Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Indy Hunter Interview: Dean Trippe


A Very Special Interview with Project Rooftop co-creator Dean Trippe! We talk with Dean about his latest comic, Something Terrible an important must-read that is spreading like wild-fire nationally. We'll also cover the course of his career leading up to Something Terrible's debut.

 
Ladies and Gentleman I Present to you...Mr. Dean Trippe!
 
 
Hi Dean, before we get into your latest book Something Terrible, let’s go back a little bit and talk about some of the other things you’ve worked on. 
 
For our audience can you recap what books/strips you’ve done?
 
Absolutely.
 
I’m the co-creator of Butterfly, a superhero parody web comic about a sidekick of a sidekick.
 
I'm also the co-founder and co-editor of Project: Rooftop, along with comics journalist, Chris Arrant, an art blog devoted to superhero redesigns,
 
- the artist of the Power Lunch books with writer J. Torres, published by Oni Press,
 
- the co-host of The Last Cast podcast with writer and future robot Scott Fogg
 
-contributor to the Harvey and Eisner award-winning anthology, Comic Book Tattoo, 
 
and general nerd-about-the-internet, known for my obsession with Batman and his family of super heroic allies.
 
 
 
"Butterfly"
 
One of your original creations, “Butterfly”, is the sidekick of a sidekick! Is this an “all digital comic”?
 
Pretty much. I've posted new strips of it online sporadically since 2005, which makes it an interesting timeline of my style development. There was one published story featuring Butterfly, which first told his secret origin, co-written by comics’ genius John Campbell, back in Superior Showcase #1, from AdHouse Books. John and I also made a short mini-comic featuring Butterfly a few years later, which printed a story from the web comic, called “Burger Night."
 
I saw this and I thought, “What a breath of fresh air. People complain about not enough all-ages comics. Well, fly no further, here you go." What was the philosophy behind Butterfly and its intended audience whoever they may be?
 
Butterfly started off as a joke about a naive little sidekick tagging along behind an angsty parody of Robin, named Birdie, and his own superhero mentor, Knight-Bat. I was thinking one day about how sidekick names are typically less-threatening versions of the heroes that mentor them. So on a spectrum from “bat” to “bird,” I went one step further into the anti-macho distance, and found another flying creature that started with the letter B: Butterfly. The strip started as part of the Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge, but broke off after a couple of months and became more and more infrequent.
 
 
So, I come from the school of Garth Ennis and grunge, the era of Beavis and Butthead humor and cynicism, or maybe I just read too many R.Crumb books. Either way, I probably would’ve put the poor sidekick's sidekick through the ringer but you’ve gone the opposite way and have done a light, fresh tale of wide-eyed wonder with characters not afraid to smile.
 
I especially like how you’ve flipped the script giving us a nice quirky spin within the genre of superheroes. Where does Butterfly draw its influences from?
 
In the first few strips, Butterfly was kind of the butt of all the jokes. He’s a dumb kid in a Butterfly costume, but there was a turning point just a few comics in, when I realized the optimism and good-heartedness of the character appealed to me much more than cynically poking fun at someone genuinely invested in helping people with whatever abilities he had. He was a little idea fluttering around in my own head that made me realize I, myself, was being too cynical about life. Pretty soon, he was the proper lead of the stories, and an inspiration for his friends and, clearly, his creator. My earliest Batman was the Adam West show, but even at the time of Butterfly’s creation, I hadn’t yet become a fan again. And I’d had a fair amount of disdain for the brighter, shinier, sillier Silver Age superhero tales. But Butterfly grew into this little light of hope for me, and when I started looking back on those things, I finally realized how wonderful they were. Heroes who were happy to help, comfortable in their sparkly tights, willing to leap into danger to thwart the cheaters, liars, and bullies, because they themselves were incorruptible. I’d accidentally become a Silver Age comics creator in the 21st Century. And I loved it.
 
 
It’s beautifully drawn as is all of your stuff. Even when you’re not able to tackle it head on you’ve brought in some friends such as John Campbell, as you mentioned, but also Ryan Estrada, Vito Delsante, Mike Laughead, and Jemma Salume, and even rising writing star, Ed Brisson, on letters.
 
What was that experience like working with others on this story?
 
Fantastic. I've thoroughly enjoy collaborating on stories with my best pals, and as you can see, I run in a circle of hyper-talented comics wizards. I’m constantly in awe of the great luck I’ve had in finding friends to join me in the Butterfly universe.
 
 
Let’s talk about your approach to artwork. It appears to me; in the foreground you display nice clean and quick strokes approach with bold instincts on the line art. While in contrast, you employ no apparent thick line work, almost vector-like backgrounds, and serene choices regarding the color palette and tone.
 
Can you elaborate or fill us in on the thought process of your foreground/character bold line art vs. light, non- inked background images.
 
What’s the appeal?
 
 
Thanks, man. That’s exactly what I’m going for. My work typically depends heavily on color, and I try to use very few lines to convey as much action or character as I can. The backgrounds are usually just shapes these days, which is a fun challenge, but also saves time, and lets the characters pop a little more. I think it gives the comics a bit of an animated-vibe.
 
 
 
This strip ran from 2005 to 2011, (correct me if I’m wrong), and I’m seeing a lot of your slickness maybe represented in some of the animation out today.  I’ve got two questions in relation to this topic.
 
What if any future lies "in the wings” for the Butterfly characters and story?
 
Butterfly will return in 2014 in Butterfly Lark and the Possibles, which will be basically bonkers. And he’ll finally take off his mask. Just for a minute.
 
 
 
Project Rooftop..
 
We move on from big-hearted, small-statured hero, up to his taller counterparts that grace the rooftops giving hope to the dreamers that look in the sky below: Project: Rooftop.
 
 
If I recall, there were a lot of nice projects or collaborations that came out of the old Failure and the Crown Commission message boards. Do you remember all of that, [laughs]? How was your experience back then?
 
 
It’s funny, the message board and Live Journal days were so vital to finding comic pals and sharing your work back then. I guess Twitter and Tumblr have replaced those little enclaves, but they really were great places to learn and grow as an artist and as a person. The best thing you can do if you want to get better at anything is surround yourself with the best people you know doing that thing and keep trying to raise your game. The CC board in particular did a lot for me.
 
Did Project: Rooftop come out of that experience?
 
Directly. My pal Jamie Galey and I were chatting about a brilliant, rejected Andi Watson Batgirl reimagining, and kinda fell into a dare to quickly make and post our versions on Live Journal within the hour. The next day, eight of our friends had posted their own Batgirls, and the day after that, there were fifty, most from folks we didn’t know. By the end of the week there were over a thousand who’d posted theirs to Jamie’s original page. We got interviewed by Newsarama and the “Draw Batgirl Meme” even made it into non-comics media. I issued similar challenges over the next few months, and they were all fun, but then I had the idea, while talking to Chris Arrant, Chris Pitzer, Joel Priddy, Eric Stephenson, and Vito Delsante, to start a site just about indie or fan redesigns of superheroes. I called it Project: Rooftop as a play on the Project Runway TV show. 
 
 
Hah, I know Jamie, I've slept on his couch before even!
What would you say as a creator are the benefits and challenges of being involved with Project Rooftop?
 
I mean, basically, the benefit is eyeballs on your art. Creators like Ming Doyle, Mike Maihack, Joe Quinones, Maris Wicks, Kris Anka, and Jamie McKelvie would all still the be the hotshot art geniuses we know and love today, but we’re proud at P:R to have helped get them some viewership when they were less well-known. The challenge sounds simple, but it’s not. You have to make an instantly recognizable version of a character, but in a totally new way. I’ve always loved superhero redesigns, and I think it’s an under-appreciated skill in its own right. Just being able to draw doesn’t mean you can create a look that would really suit a well-known character across their various media platforms. I really think we’ve done a good thing with P: R, both in promoting the idea that this is an important skill, worthy of more consideration than the companies used to give it, and in getting serious talent that hadn’t been considered for superhero work, onto the computer monitors of comics fans and editors.
 
As a fan what are the benefits of checking it out?
 
We run great art and fresh takes on characters you love. It’s just cool, man. We made a free, cool thing for everybody. Anyone can check it out at
 
Now as a judge, how hard was it for you to decide the fate of other people’s artwork?
 
Super easy. I love seeing all the entries, and as an artist and a huge superheroes fan, in at least this one area of expertise, I believe my judgments to be, basically, 100% correct at all times. I sincerely appreciate the effort of everyone who submits art to our site, and we hold events like Fan Art Friday and the Honorable Mentions posts after contests to highlight the folks still finding their artistic voice, but when we highlight something and give it our stamp of approval, it’s because it’s genuinely good.
 
Where do you see something like Project: Rooftop going potentially? Do you think it could ever work in printed form, maybe as a benefit book?
 
We talk about that kind of think sometimes and maybe someday, but right now, I’m just happy to have this little force for good in the superhero art community. I think there’s been a noticeable uptick in redesigns in superhero comics since we started running the site, and while they’re not ALL winners, there are some seriously great stand-outs that make me feel like the fact that we put a spotlight on this very particular type of job has been a good thing. Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka are doing killer costume design work at Marvel, for example, and even the redesigns coming from folks outside our community’s talent pool isn’t happening in a vacuum. 
 
 
Something Terrible..
 
 
 
 
Your love of heroes and heroines is also featured in your latest work, Something Terrible. Can we talk about that?
 
 Please.
 
I've said it to you before, and I’ll say it again, because I mean it, this story, Something Terrible, is something that had to happen. It was very brave of you to tell this story, Dean.
 
Before we head into more serious territory, I want to ask you about the gorgeous artwork and your approach to this. Can you describe your process for ST?
 
Sure. I did three rounds of thumbnails for the story, trying to figure out exactly what I needed for to both convey the weight of the childhood trauma that haunted my life, but also how to pull readers along with me out of it, with the help of the heroes who have meant the most to me, most notably, Batman.
 
I decided on a digital release, both as a $0.99 download and a free half-page per week web comic strip, after the hybrid idea was proposed to me by comic’s creator and cool dude, Kyle Starks. And since most readers would be on their laptops or tablets, I decided to make the pages landscape, like Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin did for their (awesome) digital comic, The Private Eye.I needed to control the pacing of the story, to keep the reader feeling safe, so I chose a four-panel grid structure for the entire comic, save the two splash pages.
 
The comic was drawn digitally, with a Wacom Intuos 3, and I used a grayish blue for the spot coloring. Working digitally let me use the spot color in some cool ways I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and having only the black, white, and bluish gray to work with offered some challenges, but I think gave each panel a feeling of weight, or importance, which of course, they’re meant to, as I chose them carefully. This is the most ambitious comic I’ve worked on, so I spent way longer on it than I normally would. Page twelve, the most complex, took thirteen days straight, working eight to fourteen hours per day.
 
 
 If you don’t mind, can you describe for our readers what Something Terrible is about?
 
Something Terrible is my own secret origin, beginning with a violent, three-day event that took place when I was six years old, when I was sexually abused and shown the gun that would be used to murder my family if I told anyone. But the majority of the story is about my journey to recovery, helped along by the greatest superhero borne of childhood trauma, Batman. It deals with my fears of being trapped in the oft-repeated misconception of the “cycle of violence” of these cases, perpetuated by ignorant film and television writers. It’s just one of those things people think because they heard it on a show or in an anecdote in a public speech. It’s just not true.
 
When did you decide that it was time to tell this story?
 
I knew I had to tell this story once I found out that the whole idea of that was false, but it took me a while to figure out how to do it. Thanks to my dear friend, Ben Acker, for pushing me to find a way, so that the news that had finally freed me of my imagined personal demons could help others. I’d been trying to explain to Ben why I hated stories about Batman being this still-traumatized psycho, unable to move past the pain of his parents’ death. Trauma can have that affect, I’m sure. But Batman specifically built himself into the solution for others. He can’t change his past. But he can save others’ futures. That idea has resonated with me my entire life.
 
Was it something you kept to yourself or did you discuss it with those around you?
 
While I was working on it, I started to open up to my very closest friends about the project. I needed to dip my toe in the water, I guess. I’d kept this secret from nearly everyone my entire life, so opening up about it meant accepting that it might go horribly wrong, and people could change the way they see me, possibly for the worse. I’ve been overwhelmed to find that my friends and the wonderful people I believe them to be, and have supported me the whole way, as I worked to make this comic a reality.
 
Traumatic childhood events tend to stay with us even into adulthood, influencing us in ways we can’t predict, even when we have children of our own.
 
Your story is a visual interpretation of that experience. Were there moments of hesitation or was it all in, full steam ahead when you decided you were going to tell THIS story?
 
I had moments of doubt. I mean, I’m an extremely open person, I think probably because I had such a huge secret taking up all the space in the secret locker in my brain. But I knew what it had meant to me to find out there wasn’t something terrible lurking in my subconscious, so I knew I had to tell this story to free others. I pushed through the doubt. I knew this might be the most useful thing I ever do in comics. It was actually the first time I’ve ever been afraid of dying, working on this, because I was afraid I might not get it done. If something happened to me, how long would it be before someone else was able to tell this story in a similar fashion? It is so rare in life to be able to see that this task is specifically a job for you. This was a job for Dean Trippe. And I’m incredibly glad I was able to do it.
 
Back to the mechanics, I love the moody blue, then what happens later. Obvious question: Was it methodical or just something you felt your way through?
 
I found it while I was working on it. I’d considered full color for the story when I was thumb nailing it, but the first panels looked right in black and white. Then a cover test looked cool with the bluish gray spot-color, which added depth, but didn’t cheapen the weight of the story. (That cover test became the fourth panel on the page when I get my first Batman shirt.) And when I got to page twelve, the big shot with all the superheroes, I couldn’t see it in any other way but full color, which gave me the idea for the color light introduction on the previous page’s final panel. 
 
Are there any “go to” tools for all of your projects? Old faithful? I’ve got artist friends that even name their favorite instruments of creation.
 
I use a Wacom tablet and the pencil tool with a simple round brush shape in Photoshop for basically everything, from sketching, to inking, to coloring. I know almost no one else that works with the pencil tool, but I have to tell you, it is the BEST. 
 
How has the response been for Something Terrible? The reviews I’ve come across so far seem to be highly respectful and positive.
 
Pretty wonderful, so far. I mean, I suppose it’s a bit critic-proof, really. You’re not going to see a review that says, “Trippe really phoned it in on this panel” when the following line would have to be “when he ripped his heart out and threw it on the page in order to help other victims of sexual violence,” you know? But the reviews have been kinder and warmer and more thoughtful than anything I’ve ever experienced as a creator, and it means the world to me that so many folks are sharing it, so others can benefit from it. I’ve been getting letters almost every day from other former victims, so I’m honored and humbled to see it’s having the effect. It worked.
 
Any plans to go to a printed format with Something Terrible?
 
Not at the moment. For now, just head to http://tencentticker.com/somethingterrible and download the whole story for $0.99.
 
 
What’s next for Dean Trippe? Where do you go from here or anything you’re currently working on that people should keep a look out for?
 
Next up, two superhero stories. My five-year-old son and I are working on The Balance, a short superhero team story with a time-travel villain, and then it’s on to Butterfly Lark and the Possibles.
 
Once again Dean Trippe, thank you for talking with us, we look forward to more inspiring creations from you!
 
You’re very welcome, and thank you so much!
 
 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Old news...

Print is dead

There are a couple of magazines you may want to pick up this month.

Retro Pulp art book covers are featured in an article in the November issue of Juxtapoz (The best art magazine for those of us who believe art should be dangerous!)

Along with the usual cutting edge articles and interviews, featuring the best and brightest in subversive contemporary art, Gwynned Vitello interviews Charles Ardai and Max Philips, who have started their own publishing house, Hard Case Crime, devoted to the revival of pulp crime novels, featuring covers by artists who harken back to the 1930's, '40s and '50s

The interview features lots of great new art produced for the retro line, including artists like Glen Orbik, Robert McGinnis, Gregory Manchess, Ricky Mujica.


Smithsonian magazine has a really fascinating and fun, special collector's issue out this November. "101 Objects that made America," features spotlight looks at everything from Abe Lincoln's hat, to the Edison light bulb.

On page 56, featured prominently right above the Colt Revolver, is the original Wonder Woman comic book. Character creator, William Moulton Marston is quoted and her significance explained as having been the first strong and powerful feminist archetype, freeing little girls to grab a hunk of old clothesline and dream side by side with the little boys wearing old beach towels pinned on heir shoulders.

Tweeting our own horn

I just ran across this awesome Twitter review of us, by Doug Vehovec, Editor in Chief of the Cleveland State University student newspaper, The Cleveland Stater. "I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking at here... but I like it." AWESOME! Thanks Doug, we really don't know either.

Follow us on twitter!

https://twitter.com/TheLXNG

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Indy Hunter Interview with Dirk Manning

Hi Dirk, thanks’ for a taking the time out of what I can see is a very busy schedule! First off, If you don’t mind, can you recap a little bit on who Mr. Rhee is for those that were maybe slow to the show?
DIRK MANNING: It’s my pleasure, man! I’m currently approaching the mid-point of doing 13 signing appearances in 13 weeks, but I always try to take a few minutes where I can to talk to friends… especially if it’s about great comics! [laughs]
As for TALES OF MR. RHEE, it’s a modern pulp noir horror comic series (or, in this case, graphic novel) about a cryptic paranormal troubleshooter who lives in a post-Biblical Armageddon world that refuses to consider the fact that both some humans and monsters alike have been “left behind.”
 Back when you created Nightmare World if ever there was a character that would spin out of those stories was Mr. Rhee that characters always?
DM: Honestly, in regards to NIGHTMARE WORLD characters, I always thought Brian Carter, the man who meets a Cthulhu priestess, kills his wife, goes crazy, and unleashes The Great Old One himself (as seen in the stories “You Oughta Know,” “Mine,” and “Eulogy” among others) would be the first one to get his own series… but Mr. Rhee (who can be seen making a cameo appearance as the janitor in “No One Knows”) sort of snuck past him and beat him to the punch, which is fitting since Rhee likes to punch things. Especially monsters. [laughs]
What is it about the character Mr. Rhee that motivates you to write him?
DM: Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he’s such a damaged and tragic character who, on top of that, finds himself in a very supernatural Kafka-esque, Orwellian world and society where he knows he’s right, but no one else is willing to believe him.

How has the response been from fans/readers alike in regards to Mr. Rhee?
DM: Very, very positive from everyone who read TALES OF MR. RHEE when we originally read the series when we posted it online for free as a follow-up to NIGHTMARE WORLD. Despite his gruffness and many flaws, Mr. Rhee is a character that if very, very easy to fall in love with… which makes his slow undoing throughout the course of this first graphic novel all the more compelling and tragic.
Any common accolades that you hear often when they approach your table at the conventions and shows?
DM: Well, I would always get asked when I was going to take TALES OF MR. RHEE to print..
so I guess that’s the best compliment of all.
 Mr. Rhee it seems has been a staple of horror comics online and available on the web, what was the catalyst that finally decided he should grace the printed page once again?
DM: See above. [laughs]
Popular demand aside, Mr. Rhee is a character who I really want to continue writing, and as much as I love releasing (RHEE-leasing?) the comics online, I know there’s a good amount of people who would enjoy reading the series that I’m not reaching (RHEE-ching?) that way, so considering all of these factors, it only makes sense to take it to print.
Finally, taking it to print will allow me to include a lot of cool extras, including some new bonus background material, a new story or two, and that amazing cover by Riley Rossmo, who is one of my favorite artists currently working in comics!
Agreed! Is there a risk/thrill that Mr. Rhee – as a character or a franchise – may overtake your other horror series Nightmare World in popularity?
DM: You’re asking me to choose between my children, man! [laughs]
While I’m obviously very, very proud of NIGHTMARE WORLD and it’s still a book I can proudly and enthusiastically talk about and sell at shows, TALES OF MR. RHEE is a totally different type of series (and hopefully franchise). They’re both horror series… and astute readers will notice that Rhee pretty clearly takes place in the NIGHTMARE WORLD “universe”… but that’s where the similarities end…
Aside from them both being great comics, of course.
Let’s talk about the Kickstarter campaign for Mr. Rhee.  What’s the goal?
DM: The goal is to offer fans who pre-order (and support) the series a really cool, completely limited-edition hardcover copy of the book – something that, upon getting it, will give them bragging rights forever and ever and ever.
And what can fans expect regarding some of the pledge prizes?
DM: As of right now there’s a few script-review sessions left, a few commissions from Josh Ross left, and a few more chances to be drawn into the book.
Will there be any other characters from the Nightmare World series going solo?
DM: Solo? Probably not. Several of them appear in TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 1 in supporting roles, though… and a few of them are going to be MAJOR characters in the series as it continues.
Back to Mr. Rhee….after this kickstarter is done. When Mr. Rhee is in the hands of people everywhere. What is it you’d like people to take away from the story, from Mr. Rhee himself?
DM: I don’t want to spoil anything… but I will say that the end of TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 1 is very… heavy… and it will undoubtedly leave readers pretty curious as to where things will (or even could) go next. All I can say, though, is that there is a long-term plan for Mr. Rhee...
A very long-term plan indeed.
To check out the kickstarter efforts of Dirk Manning, Riley Rossmo, and Mr. Rhee cruise by here:
 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Howard be thy name...

A while back we posted about the Solomon Kane movie's North American distribution being held up. We have good news about that and then I rambled on a bit...

Solomon Kane's Homecoming

First a little update and heads up. The Solomon Kane film is finally available here in the States. Well on Netflix anyway. Both disc and streaming! And well worth the wait. Don't get me wrong it's as far from the mark as any other film based on Howard's works.  When it comes to accuracy, adaptation, portrayal and all that, but it's quite a bit better than most of them.

It's not really based on any one Howard stories that I recall, but it's been some time since I've read them. If you guessed that it's an origin story, move to the head of the movie cliché class. Yes instead of adapting the written words, they make up their own origin. That being said it was still quite fun, and probably the best use in film of Howard's work to date.

I'd put it on the top of any list of Howard films, second only to The Whole Wide World, the 1996 biography based on One Who Walked Alone and Day of the Stranger: Further Memories of Robert E. Howard. Both memoirs by Novalyne Price Ellis, who was a close friend of and briefly dated Howard. The film stars Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert Howard and depicts him explaining his work and often reciting it to Novalyne. If you know the tragic end, watching the brief possible beginnings of what might have been, becomes all the more tragic to watch, but still a very satisfying film.

I only wish George Lucas had seen  The Whole Wide World, before making his second three Star Wars films. There is a point in this film where despite you knowing a character's tragic end, you care so much about the characters you still hope they find away to avoid the inevitable. As opposed to the second Star Wars Trilogy. Did anyone care enough about Anakin so much you didn't want him to get Vadered? No. Anakin was a whiney jerk with a hot girlfriend. There was way more wrong than the bland portrayal of young Obi Wan, but it didn't help, (Why would he act so much like the older, tortured by the past, version of himself?) It was a bleak time for longtime Star Wars fans. Until the wonderful apology from George Lucas, that was the Clone Wars tv series.

Back to Robert E. Howard. My list of Howard films in the order I like 'em...

1. The Whole Wide World - 1996
2. Solomon Kane - 2009
3. Kull The Conqueror - 1997
4. Conan the Barbarian - 2011
5. Conan the Destroyer - 1984
6. Conan the Barbarian - 1982
7. Red Sonja  - 1985

Let me know if you disagree with my list or have any other films to add! Click here to go to the message boards.

Kull the Conqueror was originally supposed to the third of a planned trilogy of Arnold films and is loosely based on Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon (also known as Conan the Conqueror), only replacing Conan with Kull but keeping the basic plot the same.


Don't forget TV, unless you have ANYTHING ELSE TO DO!

Conan the Adventurer (1997) Was a horrible one hour live action series that lasted one season, starring Ralf Moeller based on the Arnold movie series. This show made Arnold's movie look like a Shakespearian play.

There were a couple of lame cartoons...

Conan the Adventurer - 1992 An animated series that lasted 64 episodes

Conan and the Young Warriors - 1994 An animated series described as a spin-off to the previous Conan the Adventurer animated series, this one lasted only 13 episodes.

There was a direct to dvd animated movie in the works, Conan: Red Nails, based upon the Robert E. Howard novella of the same name. The last thing I heard about this one was that it was partially completed but stalled during production.


I'll be back...

There appears to be a sequel to Arnold's 1982 Conan film in the works, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, called The Legend of Conan, scheduled for 2014. When asked if this film would be a "pass the torch" film and introduce a son to the franchise, (like the last installment Indiana Jones) The producers answered as if they didn't know Conan even had a son in the books. The film's plot is supposedly about Conan long after he had been king, making some sort of return. Funny how the guy who was once too good to do a third Conan movie (Conan the Conqueror/Kull the Conqueror), is now willing to go back to do what looks to be a much worse film. What's next Kindergarten Cop 2 or maybe Triplets, with Sly Stallone or maybe Eddie Murphy as the lost third brother?

EDIT: HOLY CRAP I WAS JUST KIDDING!!!! While looking for images for this blogpost I found out that at the Expendables 2 panel at Comic-Con in 2012, Arnold announced a sequel to Twins entitled Triplets which would bring back Schwarzenegger, his co-star Danny DeVito, and introduce Eddie Murphy as their long-lost third brother. Should I be sad or shocked by actually predicting this stupid movie...

Screw the movies

With Howard's works entering public domain there are quite a few new collections of his work most are fine, there is even a nice set of books reprinting Howards Western stories. But by far, if you want to really enjoy some Robert E. Howard, as if it was the first time you had ever read his writings, there is a series of books published by Del Rey, reprinting Howard's works UNEDITED, and including some great additional materials. Howard's original notes, drafts, synopsis, untitled fragments, unfinished fragments and other historical bits and pieces. These are beautifully designed books, with some amazing artists providing new illustrations. I have collected Howard's work for many years, and I have many used bookstore and garage sale finds. Usually beat up paperback volumes of partially redundant anthologies with various covers, but the Del Rey editions are truly special. I have mostly the large size paperbacks and one Hardcover I was lucky to find at Half Priced books. There may be more coming, but these are all I have so far...

The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
The Bloody Crown of Conan
The Conquering Sword of Conan
The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane
Kull: Exile of Atlantis
Bran Mak Morn: The Last King
El Borak and Other Desert Adventures
The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures
The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 1: Crimson Shadows
The Best of Robert E. Howard Volume 2: Grim Lands

Continue the discussion over at the LXNG boards!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Indy Hunter Interview with Brian John Mitchell

Big Things Come in Small Packages...

Hi Brian, why don’t we start with what your Kickstarter is about?
I make these comics the size of a pack of matches.  I’m basically running the Kickstarter to sell subscriptions so that I can pay the artists a decent wage for their work.  I have 80 books done & I want to make it to 100 in the next six months or so.

What are some of the key incentives that people can look forward to if they pledge?
I’m not really doing anything too super crazy this time out.  Comics, digital comics, buttons. I’ve done a few other Kickstarters that I let take over my life, so I’m doing this one in a way I can handle.

So, how has the response been so far?
Kickstarter has been really great for me on my comic projects.  I set a low financial goal that just covers my printing costs, but my personal goal is to make it to 200 subscribers.  I’m not sure if that is a reasonable or unreasonable goal as of yet.  Time will tell I suppose.

 

From Flicker to Flame....

Okay, let’s get into more about how this works and how these comics are made…
Well, because of the registration errors & stuff from front side to backside, I can’t just have these comics photocopied, I have to print them myself at home which takes some time.  I also have to cut them by hand & fold & staple them.  So they take a little while.  I’m probably selling myself way short selling them for just a dollar or two with the amount of labor I am doing, but it keeps me out of trouble.

What size do the artists usually draw their pages at before sending off to you?
It varies by artist.  I've had stuff come in at roughly 500% size & other stuff at about 100% size.  I think most people work at about 133% to 200%.  I personally work at 133% for stick figures & 200% for more legit drawings.

Any plans to do some of these in color, whether it be the paper selection or printed in color?
 I have done a couple things in color (Small Art Series, the cover for Astronaut Jane), but it's too expensive & it's actually harder to make out the images because my color printer isn't quite as sharp. But I do think about doing a black & white & red thing at times. I'm a sucker for that. As for the colored paper, one of the new ones (Insomniac) comes on gray paper. I might do something like that for some of the covers or something at some point. I probably should, just a matter of time to get something that it makes sense with.


Brian tell us about your fascination with doing comics on the size of a matchbook. What’s the appeal?
 I started doing some things in weird formats because I felt the rise of the internet in the 1990s was making normal zine culture die a bit & it made having an interesting format be as important as the content.  So that’s how I stumbled into the format, trying to make something that would be recognizable as kind of a cool collectible object.  I stuck with it because I think it really lends to a lot of my strengths as a writer.  I love doing things that are super short, but somewhat dense at the same time.  I also like the idea that it takes five minutes to read or share & is a combination of disposable & collectible that I think comics are supposed to be, but have fallen away from in the past 30 years.

For those wondering what are the challenges you and your artists have encountered doing these? What are the pleasant surprises?
The challenge at times have been getting people to see they aren’t just a novelty because of their size.  That they actually have stories.  When I first started sending them out they got tons of reviews, but now that everyone has seen them they would have to review the stories as well, which is a bit harder & is the problem all indie comics have.  The pleasant surprises are always when someone got one somewhere & then buys 20 more.  It is a shame in a way that sales are so validating.

How does it work? Can you take us through the process? Do you type a script and send them on their way and worry about format later or is there a template? If there are various ways you and your creative team have gone about making these can you give us some examples?
 I start out with a handwritten script.  I fight writing things out by hand I’m more willing to cross things out & re-work things.  Then I type it in the computer as what I guess would be a third or fourth draft & then I lay the text out & some times need to change things a bit to keep a decent amount of drawing space on the page (each page is one panel).  Then I send that out as a template & some people leave the typed words & other people letter them.  I try to be as open & collaborative as possible as far as letting the artist do enough interpretation to have fun. (Interesting side story, the protagonist of Worms I assumed was a teenage boy (the whole thing is in first person, so I just identified it as myself), but Kimberlee Traub drew it as a girl as the main character, which I think made the story way more interesting.)
Occasionally I might put in a reference photo or a sketch.  Sometimes I’ll send a script over before I lay it out for suggestion from an artist.  Sometimes I’ll ask an artist to name something they want to draw so I can work it into a story.  I have done a couple things where I get the art first & construct a story after with varying degrees of success.

What’s the next ideal project novelty wise? Would you ever consider going the opposite route and maybe doing a comic larger on a vinyl sleeve? Maybe even combining your music with your comic creating?
 Katherine Wirick did a comic that was a poster with a hundred panels on it or something & that was really incredible to see & I’d kind of love to do something like that, but I’m not sure if I ever actually will as when I tried to years ago I couldn’t figure out a way to get things printed as I’d like.  I do want to try to do something with a story that has 50 panels on individual pieces of paper that the user interacts with making the order to tell the story, but making that happen might be impossible.  I think if I do ever get the story that does that to work, I might do a guerilla thing with posting individual panels on light poles & bulletin boards around various towns & people will discover the story in that way.
A few years ago I did a thing with Remora's Mecha that was a comic & CD together that I thought was really cool, but sales weren’t great on it because it came in a metal tin so it couldn’t be stocked with regular discs in shops.  I did do a music video a couple years ago with some paper doll stop motion animation & I think that might be the best way to combine those two things.

 

Bright Future and Expanding Ideas...

Are these the only format that these stories will take place in? You mentioned earlier about wanting to do something 50 panel large or poster sized but were struggling for a method or approach? Could these  small comics maybe see another run in a larger or collected format?
 I have occasionally done stuff where I have some of the comics as two page spreads that I would put on display while at an art gallery or whatever & maybe I should sell some of them as posters in that way.  I've also had a couple things appear in anthologies where I shifted the images around to fit the format.  I do plan to make something collecting Ultimate Lost Kisses when I finish it that will probably be four of my pages on each page of a book & if that is successful, I might try that with some other books.  It's weird, because I like the format.  I know with normal comics I like to get the whole story, so you think I'd be a wait for the trade guy, but I find reading a stack of individual comics that would form a trade more rewarding.  I think that the four panels on a page might be a good compromise for me.  as far as it still feeling a bit like my minis do as matchbook size.  I don't know.  
For a while I was making a lot of slideshow stuff of the books & I still make the digital versions as PDFs, but ideally for me the physical size of the book is part of the whole package.  I don't know, I flip flop a bit about things because if there was a super high demand for the books as they are now, I wouldn't be able to write new ones because I would be too busy on the physical assembly aspect of things.

Lastly where can they find out more about this kickstarter and any other works or websites you want to share with the readers?
& you can order my comics from: http://www.silbermedia.com/comics
Thanks for your interest & support.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Howard Chaykin In The 25th Century



Hermes Press is publishing a new Buck Rogers In The 25th Century comic series by comics legend Howard Chaykin, the first issue in comics shops now! All I'll say is it's Buck Rogers back to his roots, and it's great fun. Chaykin brings a depth to the character within the context often ignored. And I had no idea it was going to be there! The shop owner was quick to see me gleefully grab a copy off the shelf, "I knew I should have pulled that for you, it's like the original comic-strips, Chaykin takes it back to the roots..."

To be fair, you can go to most online comics sites, and have a 50/50 chance to read much the same, many believe Buck Rogers started in the funnies, one place put it in a way not technically wrong, "Over eighty years after the creation of the newspaper strip that become a household word..."

I'm always amazed at the lack of research done by some comics journalist, particularly given the universal annoyance by comic collectors and comics journalists, when mainstream journalists don't bother to get facts straight. Anything from claiming Tony Stark was modeled after Steve Jobs, or that Stan Lee invented the comic book. It drives us all crazy.

Buck Rogers was born in the pulps! Created by Philip Francis Nowlan. To be clear, he started out as Anthony Rogers and got his nickname, Buck in the funny pages.

There have been many versions of Buck Rogers. Comics strips, radio, movie serials, comic books, books, a video games, Role-Playing Games, TV shows. There were two tv shows, one in the 50's and the one from 1979 to '81, with Gil Gerard, that network execs thought was so good, they released the pilot theatrically. There was was even a recent comic from Dynamite that made everyone look like Tron.

TSR even produced some novels of no real significance, as well as a very cool, very complex, very fun, intergalactic war board game.

There was one RPG that harkened back to Buck's roots, a Buck Rogers role-playing game called High-Adventure Cliffhangers (pictured below), the game didn't go very far, there was only a box set, and one expansion module, called "War Against the Han." 

There is a very nice, set of the comic strip reprints being published by Hermes Press as well, "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Newspaper Dailies" I believe is up to volume eight. So you've already spent over three hundred dollars if you've been getting them. Just wait, I'm sure whole sets of these things will start to show up at used bookstores soon as the guys old enough to appreciate this stuff will need to start to unload this stuff. Maybe sadly, they'll need shelf space as the kids move back in,  or maybe they are getting married again and the future wife thinks the collection is taking up too much space, or more sadly divorced and they need the money, or most sadly dead.

If you want to explore Buck's real roots, you need to go a little deeper.

The seminal character first appeared in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories, in a story titled, "Armageddon 2419 A.D." by Philip Francis Nowlan. A second story, "The Airlords of Han," appeared in the March 1929 issue. The two stories have often been reprinted, combined as one novel, under the original title, "Armageddon 2419 A.D." There seemed to be a few editions readily available used online.

Or you can get FREE audiobook versions from Librivox.org here are links to the individual books...

Armageddon 2419 A.D.

The Airlords of Han 



If you really want to hunt around, in the eighties, right around the time Gil Gerard was cashing in his last few NBC paychecks, there was a series of authorized sequels to Nowlan's stories, published by Ace (pictured above). Luckily having nothing to do with the TV series, despite the white uniform on the cover illustrations. They were written by a variety of authors who worked from an outline written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, which is also in some way connected to their novel, Lucifer's Hammer.

Mordred by John Eric Holmes (Ace, January 1981)
Warrior's Blood by Richard S. McEnroe (Ace, January 1981)
Warrior's World by Richard S. McEnroe (Ace, October 1981)
Rogers' Rangers by John Silbersack (Ace, August 1983)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How Chris Gore taught me to be wary of critics

I really liked the new Lone Ranger movie. Despite the critics saying it was the worst film ever made. They said the same thing about John Carter a year ago. I enjoyed both movies as much as I did Joss Whedon's Avengers, they were all great fun.


Disney just launched a new Avengers show more closely based on the hit movie, after just canceling the last one they launched after one season.

I really enjoyed the first series, there were some original stories but it was largely based on the Avenger's comic history. It had a rotating roster and introduced characters like Vision, Black Panther and Wonderman in ways very loyal to the comics. Seriously, they introduced and ran with Hank Pym's many twists and turns from Ant Man to Yellow Jacket. As well as any long time Avengers fan could hope anyway, fitting all that history while going from before the team's origin to even a Skrull Secret Invasion, all in just one season. It was actually kind of impressive, even if the animation itself was pretty average. So much so, I was hoping for a second season, even when I heard the show was being replaced with another Avengers show, I hoped it would pick up where season one left off.

The new series feels more stable, I guess would be the word. With a set roster and characterizations directly from the Joss Whedon film. With the Falcon added in in anticipation of his appearance in the upcoming Captain America film, (Will they cancel this cartoon to start a new more accurate Falcon interpretation next year?).

But this isn't the first Marvel cartoon to have changed mid-stride before.

Back in the nineties there was a Marvel animation hour with half hour shows starring The Fantastic Four and Iron Man. Both had HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE first seasons, the FF show's art and stories were unwatchable and juvenile, and Iron Man wasn't much better. Obviously designed to sell toys.

Whoever produced the shows made drastic improvements in both the art and storytelling for the second seasons. The FF show was the most improved, many episodes with stories and art taken directly from old Kirby & Lee comics.  Even a multi-part INHUMANS SAGA! The shows opening was changed, and even the costumes changed, going from bright light blue to the dark blue in the comics at the time.





That second season of this show is great fun to watch, probably some of the best Marvel cartoons ever made. I would say season two was one of the best FF shows ever. But sadly most people will never see them. Unfortunately it's been released on DVD along with season one, OR hidden behind season one rather. All the packaging reflects the first season's horrible character designs. Every review I saw of the thing was awful, and obviously of the first season, with no mention not even the slightest of hints of the style change in the second season. I can't blame the critics, unless you know to skip the first season and go directly to disc three and four, why would you watch all four discs of dreck thinking it's all like that. I tried to point out to one reviewer, Chris Gore.

DAMMIT!!!!!

The guy claims to be a self-proclaimed "geek" on TV and he obviously had no idea the two seasons were different in any way, and when asked about it, he refused to acknowledge there was any quality changes. He said only a geek like me would even notice the difference, to which I pointed out....

1. Who do you think your review was for, who would be buying an FF DVD based on a review on Attack of the Show, if not for an 18-35 year old "geek" like me, looking for stuff "hidden" like this, right?

2. the writing and animation changes so significantly in season two, so much so if you can make the claim "only a geek like me would even notice the difference," it proves to me you didn't even watch any season two episodes. Which is when he admitted an assistant or an intern or something did the watching.


I could just as easily never saw any more episodes from the show and assumed the whole thing sucked and agreed with his review based on what i had seen, I would never have known the difference and it would not have changed my life any. But I thought reviewers were supposed to help you find the cool stuff and avoid the bad, this guy was more worried about being a brand name content provider for G4 tv, than making credible reviews. (Not that it really helped to keep G4 on the air).

I hadn't thought about that until recently,  thinking about reviews of John Carter or this summer's The Lone Ranger. According to reviewers, both were the worst films ever made. In a world that gave us Battle ship, Ghost Rider 2, Green Lantern and Cloud Atlas, that should mean something. But why should the reviewers bother to see something before hating it, why should they be any different than an internet troll.

For what it's worth, see The Lone Ranger on the big screen if you still can, rent John Carter and buy a copy of Fantastic Four The Complete 1994-95 Animated Television Series, JUST DON'T WATCH DISC 1 & 2, only watch disc 3 & 4. Trust me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Indy Hunter Interview: Pat Broderick


Comics veteran Pat Broderick takes time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about his latest project: Nibiru and the Legend of The Annunaki!

Sometime in the 70's a young artist decided that there was better opportunity outside his basement and tried out for a contest in New York. Instantly proven to be a talent worth developing, legendary veteran creator Pat Broderick has archived his work for Marvel and D.C. comics, and taken on a new adventure. Place your butts on your chill mat and listen to the soarin' sounds in your consciousness while I ask Mr. Broderick a few questions about his newest project and how he got started. It's okay. I am here to help you dear reader.


Hi Pat, thanks for talking with us.
It's a pleasure, Hunter.

For those just meeting you, what’s some of your past work they might be familiar with?
My history in comics dates back to the early seventies, Indy.
My first work fell under DC COMICS for their Dollar Size Family books, creating contents pages and short stories to fill the gaps so to speak. I got that job winning the DC comics junior Bullpen contest they sponsored the summer or 74’ at the New York Comic Con.

After about a year there I joined Continuity and Associates, which is the studio founded by Neal Adams and the late Dick Giordano. I stayed at Continuity for about two years learning the craft. Then I began with The Planet of Vampires for Atlas comics.

After a short time there, I began working for Marvel comics with Captain Marvel, The Micronauts, and the Weird World series. Then, over at DC comics again with the Legion of Super Heroes, The Fury of Firestorm ,Green Lantern, SwampThing and a few other titles.

Finally, back again to Marvel for a year’s run on Alpha Flight, and three plus years on Doom 2099.

What was life like after comics?
I had spent the following few years back in advertising, working for a company out of Dallas, TX called Tracy Locke, where I managed an in-house creative department. I also got my feet wet in animation doing design work for the Jimmy Neutron Movie and TV series. In 1999, my family and I moved back to the Tampa Bay area, which is where we're from, and I began teaching at IADT in their animation department, and I’m still there today.

What can you tell us about Nibiru?
Two years ago, I decided to get back into the comics field, but this time for myself. As a side note, I've always been a history buff and had come across the early works of Zachariah Sitchen and his research on the Sumerian history. From there, it seemed that a world had opened up. I found the interpretation of the "Enmu Elish," The Sumerian 7 tablets of creation and their tales of their Gods, who lived amongst them.

Remember also that, during the late 70's and the 80's, there began a theory of there existing a 10th planet in our solar system. Also, this was when it was first postulated that we might actually have a binary star system. All of this came together into one theory for me.

The early Sumerians spoke of their Gods coming from a world which had been captured by our solar system called Nibiru. During its first passage into our own system, it collided with a planet which they called Tiamet. It was this collision which created the "Hammered Bracelet," our asteroid belt, and dislodged what was left of Tiamet, sending it and one of its moons into a new orbit where we find our world now. Tiamet is Earth, which settled into its' present orbit.

The Sumerian tablets also speak of a race of beings on Nibiru called the Anunnaki and how they came to discover our Earth and established an outpost here to mine for an element which they needed to repair their atmosphere. Gold was that element. 450,000 years ago, they landed in the area which we now call Iraq and established their outpost. The expedition was run by two brothers from their royal house, Enil and Enki, along with, first, about 600 Nibiruians. There, the youngest of the two brothers built his home, called the E-den, and, from there, they spread across the globe. Signs of that civilization exist today as they used a unique building method: pyramids.

They worked here alone for almost 200,000 years until there was a revolt in their ranks due to the harsh conditions they found themselves in. So, in order to quell the revolt, the oldest brother, Enki, who was a scientist and in charge of the mining, took from the indigenous species here and altered their DNA by adding some of their own, and created ADAMU, the first human.

So, according to these tablets, which are 8,000 years older than the Old Testament, we have the first mention of Eden and the creation of man and the story of the Anunnaki and their history here both before the great Flood and afterwards, up until they left our planet some 300,000 or so years ago. Their story is there for all to read. What I have done is try to bring it to life again in the comic book form of communication. Kind of like bringing the written word, as the Sumerian cuneiform is the first written language, full circle to our world of today from stone reliefs depicting this history, to the sequential page.

Your current project Nibiru and the Legend of The Annunaki is a monthly subscription digital series. What went into the decision to go digital? Will it go to print eventually?
What better medium than the digital medium first, then as a trade collection later.

If you can, describe to us a day in production for Nibiru? I’m always interested to hear other creators/publishers methods as I continue to refine my own. Hoping to pick up some tips along the way.
A day of production works like this: I have 16 pages a month to produce. First, there are the notes, or outline. Remember, this story takes place long before the great flood, so it’s wide open for me. These beings have to have a look which can be the basis for multiple civilizations: Egyptian, Asian, and South American. So, there must be elements of all of these combined into the visuals. Then there’s the production of the black and white art. The files are passed off to Robb Epps, my partner and colorist on the series. After Robb has finished the coloring, I then layout the lettering. Back to Robb for editing, and, finally back to me for the final approval. Then, through the miracle of the internet, from my web site at www.theartofpatbroderick.com, it is "shipped" to my subscribers. I might mention also that we are in the process of placing it with Comixology, and, already, I have a French publisher interested in distributing it in the European market through his banner.

It’s a LOT of work but very satisfying.

Lastly Pat, what do you want people to take away from Nibiru and The Legend of Annunaki?
What I want people to see is that there is a long history behind us all. And that what we think we know is not actually what was, or will be, again. Because they, the Anunnaki are coming back. What we've experienced, global change, is actually a result of their planets influence on our world. Their planets' existence explains why Uranus is tilted on its axis, why there is the inner asteroid belt, why we have an inbred need for gold, why there are religious wars today, how we came to be, and what will become of us.

Thanks again Pat for speaking with us.

You can check out Pat Broderick's latest project at http://theartofpatbroderick.com/




And feel free to continue the discussion over at the League boards!




Friday, June 28, 2013

Once upon a time...

"There’s one commonality shared by every human being – we all end in Death! One and Done is a clever anthology containing single-page tales of death and demise, with 100% of profits going to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Top creators in the comic book industry have contributed their amusing, scary, and twisted one pagers including Mark McKenna, Duncan Eagleson, Rob Jones, Peter Palmiotti, Stefano Cardoselli, Gary T. Becks, and many more. One and Done also includes the works of emerging indie creators whose names are sure to become mainstays in the comic industry in the years to come. In addition to nearly 50 single-page tales, One and Done also includes killer extras featuring new material, pinup art, and undiscovered reprint material."  

Hurry and buy a copy of this great anthology, partly because we don't know how long it will be available, mostly because it's for a good cause, full of really creative people bringing their unique talents to the same one-page challenge, but really 'cause it has a story written and drawn by League Member Greg Jolly!

Sure it's full of other great work too, and it also benefits a great cause, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. So you'll want to buy as many copies of this anthology as possible! Unless you're my family, who all have more important things to do with their time and money, apparently. But the rest of you reading this have no excuse!
 
Order a copy, or many copies, click here!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The amazing adventures of Erik Hendrix and the Steam Engines of Oz!

THE INDY HUNTER INTERVIEW WITH ERIK HENDRIX

Welcome to the InDiY Hunter interview here at the League, with creator Erik Hendrix discussing his new Steam Punk inspired kickstarter project: The Steam Engines of Oz! Set 100 years in the future, and  placed in the world of L. Frank Baum's Oz.  


Every story has a beginning. Author of the World of Oz series L.Frank Baum began this story. What was the inspiration for taking it further and continuing this story? What were the origins of your involvement?
Sean has wanted to do a SteamPunk-infused Oz for well over a year. Several months ago, he approached me about collaborating with him and writing the book. I've always loved the World of Oz and jumped at the chance... I can remember flipping through some tattered hardcovers my sister and I had as kids, reading about the early adventures Baum wrote. We didn't have a full collection, but I recall loving what I did read very much.  

For fans and tinkerers alike, Talk to us about the difference between coming up with a concept from your own mind, your own story and working on a story or mythology who’s conceptual world was created before hand?
I'm a big world builder. It's a part of the process of writing that I've loved since my old RPG days. After spending a couple of dozen years designing worlds for players to run around in, and running around in worlds created by others, transitioning that knowledge to writing came naturally. When it comes to writing in someone else's sandbox, however, you have certain rules you have to play by. In the case of Oz, Baum put an amazing foundation down of how things are in the world, and it's much darker than people think. The other writers who picked up the baton after he passed away kept the spirit alive. When it comes down to it, we're trying to do the same thing in our own way. The benefit to tossing the book a hundred years in the future, however, is that we can do pretty much anything we want within reason, as long as there is a logical path to take you there. That was part of the fun. You look at the events that happened in Oz's past and think, well, where does that put this character in a hundred years? The amazing thing about Oz is that, based on Oz history, people don't die of old age... In fact, at some point they stop aging! It's rarely discussed, but is one of the little gems of the Baum books I personally latched on to. In a world of Magic AND SteamPunk (a form of technology), how do these things come into conflict?

Is it easier or more difficult in your experience?
Now, is it easier or more difficult to write in someone else's sandbox? I'd say more difficult as long as you want to show respect to the source material. If we threw the rules out, it would have been easier, but the magic of Baum's work is something that HAS TO be retained. It's unfortunate just how many books try and re-invent the wheel, re-telling old stories, rather than trying something new with the challenge of accepting the past as canon.
 
Before we get to this specific kickstarter effort and your goals please give our readers and potentially new supporters of your work a brief background of works and books you’ve done already Erik.
I've been writing since I was six... so, over thirty years. Now, I wasn't trying to get published for a long time, rarely even considered it aside from a pipe-dream. The comic side of the story was that I was working on a novel through 2008 and had a ton of ideas mulling in my head that needed to get out. I decided I would try to write comics, since I have been reading them for decades anyway. So, I checked out some sample scripts, and off I went! Over four years later, I've published a nice chunk of work. After self-publishing a couple of things that are currently being rebooted with new artists (Faction and Citizens), I've released SideShows, The Evil Tree, Champions of the Wild Weird West, Deadly Harvest, The Book, The Intrinsic, Zipper Vs Dominatrix: The Slave Trade, some anthology shorts, and a bunch of other things in development aside from The Steam Engines of Oz.



Now the Kickstarter!

What’s this one about and what can people expect from your current kickstarter effort?
We are releasing the first arc of The Steam Engines of Oz regardless of how the KickStarter resolves itself... Those books were already in the works. The KickStarter is to put the decision in fans hands if they would like our story to continue beyond the initial story. 
 
What are some of the goals?

Basically, the more we get with the KickStarter, the more we get to do! The funds are to pay for printing incentives, pay the art team, printing, etc... This way, regardless of how the book does in the retail channel, people will get the books, we'll finish them, and fans of SteamPunk, Oz, and our interpretation will get to keep on reading.
 
What are some of the rewards?
Everything from digital and print copies of books to t-shirts, SteamPunk goggles, original artwork, and more. There are a slew of cool options.
 
And a couple of the stretch goals if you make it?
The first one is if we hit a goal of $10k, everyone who pledges $75 or more will get a Join the Tin Man's Army shirt I designed... It's pretty fun and I can't wait to wear it around myself. We also have a radio play we'd like to do, motion comics, and more.

Talking about the book itself, who’s the creative team? What I’ve seen so far looks stunning!
How’d you all hook up?

Sean Patrick O'Reilly and I are the creators, plotters of the story and I'm writing the scripts. Yannis Roumboulias is the artist, and Chandran does colors. Amanda, my wife and also Sr Editor at Arcana, is doing the letters (except the first part, which I did myself), and Amanda is also editing. 
I've been working with Arcana since late 2009, taking a more and more active role in the company, so my involvement comes from that, plus Sean thinks I'm a good writer, which helps. Yannis and I have been working together for a few years, first on Deadly Harvest and then on to Zipper Vs Dominatrix: the Slave Trade. We'll take any excuse to work together. Chandran came into the picture, because he is the go-to colorist for Arcana... Love his work.

Finally what do you want people to take away from your efforts with this project? When it’s finally in their hands what would satisfy you and your team from a creator’s stand point?
We just hope people enjoy the story we're trying to tell and see our love of comics, of course, and of Baum's Oz!

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Erik Hendrix. Where can people find your kickstarter online?
Here's the link ~ http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanastudio/the-steam-engines-of-oz-original-graphic-novel

Where can they find you and your other works?
All of my graphic novels are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble web sites, plus on Arcana.com. My personal web site is CarpetBombComics.com, which has info on all of my projects, and you can learn more about The Steam Engines of Oz over at TheSteamEnginesOfOz.com! 

Best of luck to you all this looks like a worthy project!
Thank you,
Erik Hendrix
VP of Publishing
Arcana Comics
 
With only a few days left to go on their kickstarter if you liked what you read here and are interested in helping Erik and his crew meet their goal, do not make waste, but set to haste and head over there now and pledge! Pledge I say! You can check out a six page preview of The Steam Engines of Oz Free Comic Book Day special below...





















I'll be over here, waiting, still J.M., still The Indy Hunter! 


And feel free to continue the discussion over at the League boards!