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InHiatus Studios’ Pip Reyes Takes Us on a Longshot

A few months ago, I got  a chance to do a review of  the first collection, from the up and coming Comics publisher, InHiatus Studios, which has well of talent from the Bay Area in California, I got a chance to talk to each of the creators,, this interview was with Pip Reyes, who works on the books, Longshot , below is a brief back ground on the book and my interview with Pip, about the book, his start in comics and what drives him:

LONGSHOT follows an aspiring hero, Wardell, as he fights to make a name for himself in the pro-hero sports league: The Pantheon. Wardell was once a top young prospect for the Pantheon, until he lost his arm in a horrific accident during a match. Now, he is fighting hard to get his shot at fulfilling this lifelong dream, and getting out of his own way to do so. This story is about the pursuit of greatness as he tries to make his mark in the League, where heroes battle each other in the world’s most popular sport. Legacies are on the line as he navigates the pressures of being in the spotlight, all the while a dark force challenges the very definition of being a hero.

Graphic Policy: What were your favorite comics growing up?

Pip Reyes: I grew up reading a lot of Justice League and X-Men trades. Whatever my older brother had at the time. Eventually as I got more into anime, I started dabbling in manga for shows like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragonball Z. As I reached my teenage/college years I got more into ‘indies’ like Scott Pilgrim, Blankets, and Fables. So I like a little bit of everything, but superhero stuff was my first love.

GP: Is there a specific comics creator that influenced you?

PR: I find that there are a number of specific works from Brian K. Vaughn that inspired me over the years. I loved BK Vaughn’s The Runaways for Marvel. I thought it was really cool that he could do something new and fun within the wider, established world of Marvel. I also really liked Pride of Baghdad, an amazing one-shot about lions in Iraq. I read it during a time when I was becoming more aware of the controversies surrounding the war in Iraq and just politics in general, so I found that book very enlightening at the time.

GP: Are there any influences outside of comics which you draw upon in your art?

PR: I come from an animation background so that definitely influences my work a lot. When I say ‘animation’ I mean pre-production and design. So a lot of my work is inspired my production work and visual development for animation/film and my goal is to bring those film-like, cinematic sensibilities to my work in comics.

GP: What influence do your parents have on your work? What was their reaction, when you told what you wanted to do for a living?

PR: My mom was very supportive, for which I am very lucky. I know that’s not usually the case when one wants to pursue art as a career. However, she does often suggest that I try and get a ‘normal’ desk job while I’m still figuring out my art career.

GP: How did you get started in comics?

PR: Working with InHiatus was my first real foray into doing comics. It’s something I’d never done before and was hesitant to do. But it was an opportunity of a lifetime being able to put out my own original story, so I jumped right in.

GP: When did you know working on comics would be your career?

PR: I think working in comics is a big part of my career, but one piece in a larger puzzle. My goal is to get my work and my stories out there, and comics is a wonderful way to do just that.

GP: What lead you to form InHiatus Studios?

PR: The dream of putting work out into the world. I had the fortune of working with some talented artists on a previous project and we all had the same hunger to just that. When you find kindred spirits like that who have the same mission, forming a team was the obvious thing to do. Now, we’re living our dream and we want to provide the same opportunity to fledgling creators as well.

GP: What was your inspiration behind “Longshot”?

PR: Longshot is the crossover between the things I’m the most geeky about: superheroes and pro sports. It all started years ago when I was trying to come up with a game concept that took Fantasy Basketball, and used actual fantasy-style art assets. So I started doing concepts for my real life NBA heroes and turned them into D&D-style fantasy archetypes. When presented the opportunity to tell my own story, I took that idea and built a whole new universe out of it, but went in the superhero direction instead. I have always drawn parallels between my sports idols and my favorite superheroes so this was the natural amalgamation of that.

GP: What can you tell me about the world and characters of Longshot?

PR: Longshot is about a guy named Wardell whose lifelong dream is to go ‘pro’. This is a world where superpowers are commonplace, and only the most exceptionally powerful get to become ‘pro’ superheroes. He dreams of making it into the Pantheon: the worldwide superhero organization/sports league. The Pantheon League routinely holds ‘training exercises’, which basically pits city-based teams against each other in battle simulations. These battles are televised and have become the world’s most popular professional sport. Wardell doesn’t have the size, strength, or speed that most heroes have, but will fight for a chance to make the league regardless of whether he fits the profile or not.

GP: Do you have any favorite comics you are reading right now?

PR: I’m currently reading Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, which I’m really enjoying. I started Deadly Class and have been meaning to catch up on it because I really like the world. Same with Paper Girls. I’m also a HUGE Avatar/Korra fan so I want to read their continuing stories.

GP: What do you think is most important when capturing a moment in time to render in a panel for the reader to take in?

PR: Emotion. Always. If I can somehow relay the emotion of a scene/panel, then I think I’d have done my job. It’s what connects people to stories the most, whether they know it or not. If they feel what the characters are feeling at any given time then I know a connection has been established and hopefully they’ll be invested for the long run.

GP: When was the first time, you identified with a character on TV/in the movies/ or between the pages of a comic book?

PR: That one’s tough because I can’t remember that far back. But I will say reading Harry Potter was one of the first times I felt like I was really IN the story. I was starting high school at the time and everything was so new and overwhelming. To read what Harry was going through while I was going through a crazy, confusing time was extremely cathartic and I felt like I was in that world. By the time the last book came out, I was graduating college. So, in a way, I felt like we grew up together.

GP: How important is representation in comics to you as a creator and to your target audience?

PR: I find it very important and it’s something I pay close attention to when creating my characters. One of my goals is to have a diverse lineup of heroes so that my readers can find one (or more) that they can relate to. Also, I’m hoping they’ll be inspired to cosplay as these characters. That would be really cool.

GP: Are there any current artists/writers out there you admire and would like to work with?

PR: There are a number of artists from the entertainment industry whose work I ADORE. Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi. Ryan Lang and Helen Chen. Lois Van Baarle. I’m a big Overwatch fan and they have a comic artist working on their stuff who goes by Nesskain. I think his work is really cool.

GP: What kind of reception have you had with Shards Volume 1?

PR: I’ve had some very kind interactions regarding Volume 1 and feel extremely grateful and motivated. Thanks to everyone who bought and helped us sell out! People have had nothing but kind words and are generally excited to see what happens next, which is great. For ‘Longshot’ I get the occasional person who recognizes the sports references and that gets me all giddy.

GP: What do you want our readers to know/or expect from Longshot?

PR: I’m hard at work further building out this universe, so readers can expect a broader, expansive view of this world. I’m talking about hero teams and their cities, their star ‘players’, and hopefully an inspiring story about fighting for your dream.

GP: When can we expect Longshot?

PR: I’m hoping Longshot returns Spring 2018.