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Kickstarter Spotlight: GWAR: Orgasmageddon

standard-cover-jonathan-brandon-sawyer-josh-jensenGWAR: Orgasmageddon, a blasphemous and blood-drenched 4-issue full-color comic book series by shock rock legends GWAR, writer Matt Miner (Toe Tag Riot, Critical Hit), artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer (Welcome Back, Critical Hit), colorist Marissa Louise (RoboCop, Escape from New York), letterer Taylor Esposito (The Paybacks, Red Hood and the Outlaws) and editor Brendan Wright (Archie vs. Predator, Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight).

Having already violated the art, music, and film worlds, now infamous scumdogs GWAR are coming for your comic books!  Do you need to be a GWAR fan to love this series?  Hell no!  There’s loads of laughs, violence, fun, and irreverent social satire for everyone to enjoy!

Trampling through the past after being trapped in time by the cold and calculating Mr. Perfect, GWAR fights and kills and kills and KILLS, slogging their way through human history in a torrent of gore, blood, bile, and other assorted bodily fluids the way only the most famous satirical heavy metal band from the depths of outer space can.

In addition to the main story, every issue contains extras – shorts featuring X-COPS (GWAR’s cult-favorite 1990s side project, lampooning corrupt police) and the follies of SAWBORG DESTRUCTO, GWAR’s fearsome but mostly incompetent nemesis from Planet Scumdogia.  Each issue will also feature art and story contributions from GWAR members themselves, starting with pieces by BOB GORMAN (Bonesnapper the Cave Troll) and MATT MAGUIRE (Sawborg Destructo).

To entice pledges on the Kickstarter, the team has come up with a treasure trove of goodies to reward loyal backers.  Items range from comics and exclusive Kickstarter covers to limited edition T-shirts, original painted art on drum heads from GWAR themselves, painted baby GOR-GOR character dinosaurs, honest to God STAGE-USED GWAR PROPS, and tons of autographed merchandise, such as posters signed by the entire band, including the late, great Dave Brockie, who graced our puny human lives and made the world a much more fun place as the band’s ODERUS URUNGUS.

I got a chance to talk to Matt Miner and Jonathan Brandon Sawyer about their new project.

Graphic Policy: How’d this project come about? I know you’re a big Gwar fan Matt (Miner).

Matt Miner: Kind of a bucket list item for me, to write this book.  I have multiple GWAR tattoos, I’m winning a mission to collect every variation of every film and music release,  I’ve been into them for more than half my life, and I might have gotten emotional when Dave Brockie died.  I know they have a lot of hardcore fans and I don’t know how I stack up against them, but I consider myself pretty dedicated.  Most folks when they start writing comics probably want to write Spider-Man or Batman. Me?  I wanted to write GWAR, who are about as comic book a cast of characters as you could get.

Right now it’s kind of a weird situation though, because GWAR’s mostly-incompetent nemesis SAWBORG DESTRUCTO has me and Jonathan tied up in a basement and we have to raise this Kickstarter money in order for GWAR to come save us.  It’s a whole thing better explained in the Kickstarter video, but he’s gonna cut us open and play around in our guts if we don’t come up with the dough! Help us out at GWARkickstarter.com!

GP: Jonathan, how’d you come on board? Did you listen to Gwar before?

Jonathan Brandon Sawyer: I’m a big fan of metal and punk music in general, so of course I was familiar with the name and heard about their legendary stage shows. I had some friends who were big fans and I used to listen to the song “Penguin Attack” a lot back in high school, but I can’t say that I really delved into their stuff that much past that.

When Matt and I started working together on Critical Hit, he would always talk about GWAR. I always sneak in album covers and band shirts in my pages when I can, and he specifically asked for GWAR stuff to be included a few times. One day he commissioned me for a GWAR/Spring Breakers crossover piece, and I think that’s where the gears really started turning. He would always talk about how cool it would be for us to do a GWAR comic. One day he came to me and said he was actually taking the idea to the band and wanted me to be a part of it. Even though I didn’t know  a lot of their music at the time, I knew enough about them to know it would be a ton of fun, so I said yes.

Since then, I’ve listened to a lot more of their stuff, and I’ve went on a knowledge-binge a couple of times, researching the characters and storylines. I’ll never be as die-hard as Matt, but I’d say I’m a fan now, for sure.

GP: With the level of detail of some of these characters, what type of work did you do Jonathan in bringing them to the page and getting all of that right?

Jonathan Brandon Sawyer: I did a lot of digging for visual reference. I collected photos of their outfits from different angles, looked at art from the GWAR guys themselves, as well as other official art and fan art. Every artist that draws GWAR has their own interpretation of the characters, whether it be on an official t-shirt design, album cover, or just a fan doing a piece to show off on their deviantart page. I just looked at all that stuff, and figured out what the key elements of the characters are, visually. I also took each character’s personality and backstory into account, and tried to add my own spin to it without changing anything drastically.

GP: Gwar visually seems to have a lot of influences in there. I see D&D, Kirby, comics, it’s an amazing mix. When designing the world of this comic, is there a challenge of keeping up that eclectic feel of it all?

Jonathan Brandon Sawyer: Yeah, I’d say there is, but the real challenge for me is more about figuring out what NOT to draw. I actually love drawing backgrounds more than anything else, and I feel like I overdo it on detail sometimes (I’m sure our colorist, Marissa, agrees). I’m always trying to simplify things. That extra control panel or shelf of knick-knacks probably isn’t that necessary.

GP: When I think of Gwar, I also think of social satire. The band has taken on censorship, media violence, and celebrity as examples. I’m guessing we’ll see some of that within?

Matt Miner: Absolutely, and that’s why I’m stoked you wanted to ask us questions about the books, since Graphic Policy has a focus on politics in comics. GWAR has always had a certain brand of nihilistic social conscience – buried under the blood spray, the jizz, and the jokes, is an awareness of the world around us and a lampooning of societal ills.  GWAR doesn’t tackle these problems in any deep way, just drowns them in a sea of blood and bile – they help us to remember not to take everything so seriously, but to care about the things that matter.

GP: With things being so out there now, is it harder to do that social satire? It feels like things mainstream reality just keeps going further and further off the rails.

Matt Miner: What’s great about GWAR is that there’s no real-world problem you can’t behead or monster you can’t ram a sword through or inject with liquified radioactive crack cocaine until it grows and warps and becomes a  twisted monstrous version of itself.  Real life has gotten really crazy lately, and part of what GWAR: Orgasmageddon does is explain how we got to this point: It was all GWAR’s doing, stomping around in our human timeline like a bull on bath salts through a china shop.

GP: The issues will have back-up stories and I saw X-Cops will be a part of it. The idea of corrupt police is a whole other thing now than it was in the 90s. Will it be touching upon some of the more modern issues?

Matt Miner: A little explanation for readers: X-Cops were basically a GWAR side project in the 90s and they put out one excellent full-length album, a music video, and a 7-inch single.  They were maybe even more misunderstood than GWAR, as they’d get up on stage in police uniforms, and lampoon the racist, corrupt, violent cops that we know exist in our society.  Not everyone understood that these horrible, ugly, nazi cops on stage were satire and holding up a mirror to real-life problems – and I think they were chased out of more than one concert by well-meaning folks who just didn’t get it.

So yes, X-Cops will be in the backups and they’ll be taking a look at modern day ills, plus there’s a couple throwback previously-unpublished strips by Bob Gorman that we’ll be running.

GP: Why does the world need Gwar now, more than ever?

Matt Miner: GWAR’s here to roast marshmallows on the dumpster fire of humanity. Who’s up for s’mores?

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Wraparound Kickstarter exclusive: Art and color by Matt Maguire (Sawborg Destructo)

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Make America GWAR Again Kickstarter exclusive: Christian DiBari art, Mike Spicer color, Taylor Esposito design