10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Amanda Rachels

We continue our interview series with members of The Gathering and GrayHaven Comics. We’ve put out the same questions to numerous individuals and can compare their responses. A hopefully intriguing interview series.

Check out our previous interviews.

George AmaruDoug HahnerJames O’Callaghan
Elena AndrewsErica J. HeflinChris Page
Arcadio BolañosTravis M. HolyfieldJason Snyder
Marc DeschampsMarc Lombardi
Andrew GoletzGlenn Matchett

Up next is artist Amanda Rachels.

Graphic Policy: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Amanda Rachels: I’ve wanted to draw comics since childhood and my long-time friend Kevin had a love of both comics and writing. We decided in the beginning to collaborate on a story idea just for a bit of fun but as we gained a bit of confidence in what we were doing, we decided that the next step was to share our stories. We’ve never looked back and have been working to establish and grow our imprint Inverse Press since.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

AR: Very much so! I’ve been reading comics since I was about five. I don’t remember a time when Batman wasn’t my hero.

GP: Do you read comics now?

AR: If so, what are some of your current picks? When I can- usually there is a large stack waiting for me and I just wait for trades. Right now my favorite is Batman- surprise. I’m loving Before Watchmen. Those are my must read- no waiting around for trade picks.

GP: How did you get involved with The Gathering?

AR: I crossed paths with Andrew Goletz on the Bendis Board and he was kind enough to invite me to participate on the second volume. It’s been a lovely experience with the ever-growing crew since.

GP: Each issue of The Gathering has a theme, how did that factor into the comic creation?

AR: I tend to just look for themes that grab me or look like they will challenge me as an artist. It’s a fun game!

GP: What advice would you give to independent creators just breaking into the business?

AR: Finish what you start, dream big and plan realistically. You wear many hats as an indie creator so familiarize yourself with things like social media marketing, Kickstarter, ect.  Those are excellent tools that are going to help you expand your audience so use them wisely. Enjoy what you do!

GP: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experiences?

AR: It ain’t gonna draw itself. Keep at it!

GP: Do you think it’s easier today for creators to get published?

AR: I think it’s easier to do it yourself for certain. There are definitely more opportunities for your work to be seen with social media outlets like Facebook, Kickstarter, and DeviantArt.

GP: How do you think technology like social networking or crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are impacting comic book publishing?

AR: I only have experience with Kickstarter right now but it has been the platform that Kevin and I used to completely fund the publishing of Clown Town and we intend to use it in a unique way in the very near future. Kickstarter and similar sites are making indie publishing a possibility for a whole new crop of creators and I for one am very thankful for such a service. It’s absolutely making it possible for us to advance as indie creators.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

AR: I’m working on two projects at the moment- First there is Flesh of White with Gathering writer/editor Erica Heflin. I won’t give anything away on this one just yet but definitely check out the updates to come on my website. I promise you won’t be disappointed. My other project is something a little different for me and my partner Kevin LaPorte. We’re taking on the bard and adapting Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus in “graphic” novel format. Updates on both can be found at http://inversepress.com and facebook.com/inversepress