Category Archives: Interviews

Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates Speak about Race at Sixth & I in Washington, DC

As part of the Washington Ideas Week, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates spoke with Iris Deroeux about his time living in Paris and race relations in France and the United States at the historic Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 27th.

While his writing Black Panther wasn’t much of the discussion (in fact his writing the comic wasn’t mentioned at all in his bio) there was one question from an audience member about an hour into the video which was live streamed by The Atlantic.

It’s well worth the watch even though it doesn’t have much to do with comics (there was a stack of Black Panther Vol. 1 that was selling really well), but it does provide you a lot to think about race relations here and abroad.

Rachel Antonoff Discusses Her Betty and Veronica Clothing Line with Archie

Rachel Antonoff BETTY & VERONICAAt San Diego Comic-Con 2016 I got to speak with Rachel Antonoff concerning her upcoming fashion line inspired by Archie ComicsBetty and Veronica. In June the clothing line was announced, though details were scarce.

Last night, during New York Fashion Week, the line debuted and our friend Jeff Trexler was there to snap photos which he has graciously allowed us to use in this interview.

Get the scoop about the upcoming fashion line and the origin of the Clinton campaign slogan “I’m With Her.”

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Graphic Policy: So there hasn’t been a lot released beyond the announcement that you’ll be working with Archie to create a clothing line based on Betty and Veronica. Can you give some more details?

Rachel Antonoff: Yah. It’s going to be women’s contemporary, ready to wear clothing. We’re doing a lot of varsity themed stuff which feels very Betty and Veronica, also very Riverdale. But also is on trend with the season so that worked out well in our favor. So we have some varsity jackets, some cheer skirts, but all Betty and Veronica… ized. We have patches, prints, various types of prints. One is called an in progress print which was inspired by watching Dan Parent draw and seeing the inprogress drawing going from one line to the finished thing.

GP: Is it more graphic shirts or is it style of clothing? Both?

RA: It’s both. We do a lot of graphic t-shirts and sweat shirts and then a lot of regular clothing.

GP: How’d you get involved in the project?

RA: They actually reached out to us. I got an email from them and was so excited, I didn’t know what to do with myself. We just went from there.

GP: When I think of Betty of Veronica I think fashion. They’re fashion icons in a way…

RA: They are…

GP: What are your thoughts on the two character’s fashion and how it’s involved over the years?

RA: Well, it reall is astounding to me, the artists are and were true fashion designers. When you go through the archive and you look at the outfits, they’re so specific, they’re so detailed. And, they’re so on trend for whatever time period they’re drawn in. It’s amazing. I don’t know if they were just gifted fashion designers or they did an epic amount of research. I found it totally impressive. I think of the clothing throughout the history of Archie comics as a character unto itself.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: Comic fans come in all shapes and sizes. Betty and Veronica are a very particular size. As a designer, how do you create clothing with their aesthetic, but make it so anyone can wear it?

RA: I think as we move into the future and Archie continues to evolve, I think it’s important that Betty and Veronica do as well. Specifically, with that in mind. Betty and Veronica are an idea. Do you know what I mean? They’re a feeling. I don’t think they should be as binary as two thin girls. I’m just not into that. So, we are working really hard, we really want to diversify things and make sure that that’s very obvious as we put the line out there and that it’s for all shapes and sizes, just different people, different ages, different ethnicities. That’s very important to me.

GP: With the fashion debuts you’ve done, they’ve been very unique. Have you talked to Archie about that?

RA: Yes, we’re going to do an event. I’m really excited. That’s always one of my favorite parts. My grandmother told me I should be a Bar Mitzvah planner if this didn’t work out. So, yeah I’m very excited for that.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: You’re very politically active and Archie has been really ahead of the times recently when it comes to things. Are thoughts of that going through your head as you come up with this line?

RA: Yes. First of all, some of the things that have been done within Archie Comics has been so cool to me. The fact that Jughead is Aesexual. The fact that there’s a gay character. I just think it’s incredibly important. I did going into this consider potential backlash that these are two very thin white women. Not a lot of diversity going between the two of them. Like I said I think it’s really important to put it right out there from the beginning that it’s not going to be like that.

GP: Nice.

RA: I want it to be accessible and relatable for all.

GP: It’s a little off topic, but our site does a lot of comics and politics. You coined “I’m With Her” which has taken on a life of its own.

RA: Yes, it’s amazing.

GP: For you you how does it feel for it to take off as it has?

RA: Really cool. We got “I’m With Her” from the original “I’m With Stupid” from back in the day. There were t-shirts that said “I’m With Stupid.” So, it’s not like we invented it. I was really psyched to see it in her campaign. We’re doing a reprint of ours just because… why not?

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: Has anyone from the campaign reached out?

RA: No, but we spoke to them and talked about doing something together and we haven’t figured out yet. I’m a pretty big supporter.

GP: To get back on topic. With Betty and Veronica, are you being inspired by any of the other characters or is it just those two?

RA: For now, it’s really just focused on just those two. In our research we constantly finding things like Ethel. There’s just so many cool great characters, so there’s many ways the line could go, but for now the line is pretty B&V centric.

GP: Are you focused on a certain era or is it looking at their entire history?

RA: It’s an interesting combination of throughout and now. We of course want people to buy the clothes, so we have to pay attention to what the current trends are. It’s sort of a combo.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: For you, off of these two characters, what is their distinct signature thing?

RA: One of thing about them is that they were constantly stylish no matter the era they were in. So, one of my favorite Betty and Veronica eras was the 70s and Veronica got really into women’s lib. There’s some really cool… one of our sweatshirts says “female powered” and is taken directly from the comic that Veronica made these sweatshirts for a rally.

That’s one of my favorite things about them. They did evolve. Their fashion evolved so much over the decades and was so on point. So that stuck out to me.

And then of course, there was the comic I had as a child and still have. And those specific outfits in those comics are iconic to me because they’re mine.

GP: Geek culture has really exploded in fashion over the years. As a designer, what do you look for to be inspired by it?

RA: That’s so interesting. For this we looked directly to the comics. Because there’s so much material you could go through the archives forever and never hit the bottom. So, we had so much to work with there and that’s where we looked for inspiration.

As a whole we didn’t look into geek culture, so I hope we got it right.

GP: As a whole beyond Archie, what are your thoughts of geekdom transcending and becoming the dominant pop culture?

RA: I think it’s awesome. There’s lots of collaberations happening nowadays. With various comics, superheroes. It’s really cool.

GP: With the actual desing process, what is that? I’d imagine Archie has some say into it.

RA: We, the Antonoff team, put together a collection. We present it at the sketch phase and get notes and discuss and it then turns into a sample line. And then more notes and discussion. And then it’s off to production. It’s the same process that we do internally, but with the Archie team.

GP: Since you’re so politically active. Are you focusing on the manufacturing aspect of it?

RA: We are really excited to be manufacturing with the same factories that we work with right now for the most part. So we’ve already vetted them. We’ve been there visiting them. We know what’s happening there is on the up and up. So that makes me feel very comfortable.

GP: I think you’d be able to sleep better knowing that. So, final question. When is the line being released?

RA: November.

GP: Thanks so much. It was great meeting you.

And check out the video Jeff shot at the event below!

Baltimore Comic Con 2016: B. Clay Moore Talks Savage from Valiant

Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife – pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by prehistoric creatures from another time…

This is the story of how they lost their humanity. This is SAVAGE!

Out this November from Valiant, Savage is an all-new series (and characters) written by B. Clay Moore. I got to chat with Moore about what we can expect when it comes to shelves.

Brian Buccellato Talks the End of Injustice: Gods Among Us and Writing Video Game Tie-ins

injustice-year-five-39Injustice: Gods Among Us is the hit video game turned comic series that begins to wind down with just a few chapters left. The digital series soon wraps up as we finally get to the moments leading up to the video game (the comic series is a prequel to the game).

With the end on the horizon, I got a chance to talk to writer Brian Buccellato about writing a video game tie-in series and some of the differences between writing for digital first as opposed to print comics.

Also, check out art from chapter 39, the second to last chapter of the series! The final chapter foes on sale September 20th and will be available for download  Tuesday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

Graphic Policy: Injustice: Gods Among Us started off as a video game. Does writing a tie-in for that form of entertainment differ than a movie or tv tie-in or just a comic in general? I think of video games as much more action oriented and active participation than passive entertainment like television or movies.

Brian Buccellato: I think it’s different for some of those reasons. I think the biggest reason it’s different, especially with the case of Injustice, we know how the comic book ends. So everything builds to that point, so there’s certainly things you can do because the world is wide open. There’s things you can’t do. You can’t kill Superman at the end of the story. Things have to be where they were at the start of the game, so that’s an interesting and fun challenge. I actually kind of like it, to be able to go ahead and try to make a new story and have interesting things you have seen in a story you already know. It’s really fun, but it is a challenge.

As far as the action element. There’s always fighting inside, so I don’t know if it’s different. Because Injustice is a fighting game, I try to have match-ups where we see different people fighting each other, even one’s you wouldn’t expect because you do get that in the game due to it being a fighting game.

injusty5_39-005_hd112GP: With the battles, in the fighting games characters have their special moves and abilities. Is what each character can do in the game on your mind as you’re writing those battles?

BB: I think I did more of that in Year Four where I thought there was more opportunity for that. Aquaman uses his shark maneuver. I also have Batman in Year Five running down someone with the Batmobile. I do try to find moments where I can put in special moves and what characters are known for. But story needs to come first.

GP: We know where the video game begins and so we know where the comic needs to get to. With the series wrapping up, did you know how long you’d have to get to that point?

BB: Yeah, as the book has done well, we’ve gotten a bunch of extra issues. It seems in the past in Year Four and Year Three it was twelve issues and we were able to tell Year Five in twenty issues, which was great. I was able to explore a lot of characters I wouldn’t have had time to explore and see how they feel about the Injustice universe. I knew it was five years and we were done. I didn’t know we’d be able to get twenty issues.

injusty5_39-006_hd112GP: It’s obviously a different world, as a writer, how does it feel being able to do almost anything you want, as opposed to being limited somewhat if you were to write in the main DC Universe?

BB: It’s really liberating actually. Having worked in the main DC Universe with Flash and Detective Comics, what you do find is most of the decisions you have to make sort of have to be run by the bosses because there’s lots of things at play. There’s events, there’s all of the other titles. You sort of have to play in the playground that wasn’t as quite as clear because all these people are working on things simultaneously. Where with Injustice I know how exactly how it ends. I know exactly what can change. So there’s no last minute audible because there isn’t something going in in another book. It is different and in some ways it’s a lot more fun because you get to use all of the characters. There’s also no last minute changes you have to do.

GP: I’d image that makes things easier as the writer.

BB: That’s just part of the business. That’s part of how it works. It’s a good thing we’ve got a million different comics because that means people are buying them.

injusty5_39-007_hd112GP: Did you have to work with the video game designers at all? There’s a sequel to the game coming up.

BB: Jim Chadwick, he’s the editor, he interacted with anything that goes to the game developer and has feedback. That mostly takes place in the outline stage for the year. They don’t chime in much as I write the comics, they just see the beginning and make sure it doesn’t mess with what their plans are. Also what’s cool about them is that they seem to be using our comic book continuity for their game which is kind of cool. It’s a little bit of back and forth with that respect.

GP: The series came out in digital first and then went to print. I always ask this for folks who are working on that sort of book if that impacts your storytelling at all?

BB: I think you can’t help to do that. There’s a very practical reason to do that because digitally the artist draws the comic book page in a printed book. Digitally they draw two pages, so there’s that invisible line in every single page going across the middle. So digitally, even though a chapter is only ten pages long you’re really telling a story in twenty pages. In a lot of ways you’ll see a lot more panels digitally first comic than you will in a regular comic. You can’t do the big splash pages as you could in print. So there’s a lot more condensend story telling and a lot more work for the artist.

injusty5_39-008_hd112GP: There’s a lot you can do artwise with digital such as the transitions. Is that anything you’re thinking about? Or is that more for the artist to decide and come up with?

BB: In print comics you think about the page turn, so you keep that in mind when doing digital. But, at the end of the day the writing’s half the battle and we have really good artists. When you have good artists you trust they will take your words and make them way better.

GP: With the series, a lot of the characters have completely changed. Superman is this fascist overlord. What did you do to make sure that things didn’t go too far with that to make it difficult to recognize or like these characters? It has come to me when reading the series that Superman’s motivations are still understandable after everything he’s done, you get his point of view.

BB: One of the great things about this series in particular is that we have had five years and I don’t know how many issues. Tom did two and a half years and I’ve got two and a half years, so Superman’s transition has been a slow descent into darkness. We know the inciting incident of killing Joker, that’s the thing that changed him. Tom didn’t instantly make him a bad guy, he started through a process. I just picked up where he left off and as the series has gone on, he’s gotten worse and comprimised his ethics more and more. In Year Five he’s an evil despot.

GP: Yeah, but even as a despot, you still see his point of view he’s coming from. He never crosses over that line where he totally goes over the top and is completely unlikeable.

BB: In my opinion that’s sort of a diservice to writing. Even the most heinous villain has to be a hero of their own story, right? They have to think that they’re doing what’s right for their reasons. It’s just their reasons don’t line up to morality, or the government, or laws. So, that’s just writing. I don’t see any difference with Superman. Yes, he’s the villain of this story, but he has his reasons, everyone does. Lex Luthor does. Maybe the Joker does. But, the Joker’s an exception, he’s a wacko. But, most bad guys have reasons and they think those reasons are legit. We may not, but they think that. I think in some ways it’s easier as Superman since he has equity as a hero. So when we see him do things evil or bad, we know what’s behind it is some twisted version of good.

GP: Thanks so much and looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up!

Superman & Son Kill Eradicator?

Is Eradicator about to be…eradicated? In “Son of Superman” the Man of Steel has found himself parenting by example as he’s attempted to save his super-powered son from the terrifying Eradicator. But everything changes in the upcoming Superman #6 as the action hits an explosive new scale. In this DC All Access comics clip, they talk to the Superman creative team of Peter J. Tomasi and Pat Gleason about what lies ahead for Superman and his family, and when we’ll be seeing Eradicator again. You may want to say your goodbyes now while you can…

Cyborg Fights Every Cybernetic Villain in Rebirth

Victor Stone is a hero for the modern age, so it’s about time he joined Rebirth! In this DC All Access comics clip, they talk to writer John Semper about Cyborg’s new solo series, which kicks off this week in Cyborg: Rebirth #1. What mysterious new villain will Cyborg be battling? Can we expect any appearances by the Justice League? And most intriguing of all, where does the human end and machine begin when it comes to our cybernetic hero?

Baltimore Comic Con 2016: Chatting Elasticator with writer A.C. Medina

Meet Mikey Mazzagatti, better known as Elasticator. The comic series is the best superhero you probably don’t know about, but should.

Mixing vicious action with a touch of the real world that we can relate to the fun series is a favorite of ours.

We got to chat with writer A.C. Medina at Baltimore Comic Con about the series as we await the sixth and final issue.

Baltimore Comic Con 2016: Fred Van Lente talks Generation Zero

Years ago, the children of the experimental strike team known as Generation Zero were taken from their families by Project Rising Spirit, a private weapons contractor, and raised to be psychic soldiers. After years of taking orders, they have fought for and won their freedom. Now, the world’s most wanted teenagers have pledged to protect each other tooth and claw, while using their extraordinary abilities to right wrongs for a generation without a future… To fight for kids, just like them.

Written by Fred Van Lente, Generation Zero is part of “The Future of Valiant,” an initiative launching all new series featuring a diverse slate of characters.

We got a chance to talk to Van Lente and Baltimore Comic Con about the new series and what we can expect to see.

Terrificon 2016: Talking versatility, Beginnings and Zoom with Tony Todd

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His voice when need be can be downright terrifying, but his personal demeanor is one of the most peaceful I’ve ever known. From the way he stands to how he treats his fans. Almost three weeks ago I had the honor of speaking with one of the entertainment genre’s most adaptable players. If there were a fantasy team for this line of entertainment, you’d sure want him on your starting rotation. He is the Scion of Scream and now Barry Allen’s worst nightmare on two feet: Tony Todd.

Graphic Policy: Before we get started, thank you so much for your time.

Tony Todd: Thank you.

Graphic Policy: It’s safe to say that you’ve run the gambit, Star Trek, Candyman, Transformers, and now The Flash.

Tony Todd: Nah, I haven’t run the gambit yet. Not in this casino (laughs)

GP: Fair enough. However in this line of business you’ve certainly run the gambit. 

Tony Todd: Okay, sure.

GP: How do you keep up with all the franchises and which one is your favorite?

TT: None of them. All of of them. As actors it’s hard because each role is personal. All of our body of work encompasses something and a part of us. Each role, they are all children to me. Each of them different. Some of them had special needs. Some of them were A students. Some of them were bad boys. The ones I remember the dearest are the ones that didn’t work to be honest with you. Those are the ones that aren’t even on this table, but I remember them because those are the ones that were flawed. You think to yourself as an actor, what went wrong? If I could do it again, what would I do different? At the end though I’m happy because I got the chance to experience what each one of them brought to the table. I’m happy at this point in my life. I have a body of work that people seem to enjoy. There’s no distinct one that people seem or come and go to. Although this one for sure seems to be Zoom. That’s very recent and I try to stay recent and that’s very important.

GP: Well I’d say you’ve done very well in that.

TT: I also got this new one called Holyoke on a show called Dead of Summer.

DeadofSummerS01E02_TallMan2.jpeg

GP: Yes on the Freeform channel. A very good friend of mine and I watch the show Pretty Little Liars (PLL to you cool kids)  that comes on before it. So I’ve seen the promos many times for it. (laughs)

TT: Yeah man! It comes on right after that show, you gotta give it a look. It’ll even things out.

GP: I will, I will.

TT: Okay.

GP: So just at a glance you are a pretty tall guy. You have such huge stature. What was the driving force for you,  and made you decide that you wanted to be an actor instead of lets say a professional basket ball player or something of that nature?

TT: Well I love basketball, don’t get me wrong. To be honest one of the things that drove me in this direction was I really couldn’t play basketball. When I was in High School the basketball players had all the perks. Which meant all the girls.

Then one day my English teacher gave me a copy of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Now I was a huge comic book guy. So I opened that, it was like a comic book come to life. I said to myself “I can do this.” She told me I could do this. I will never forget her. Mrs Reynolds. She was running the drama program and she told me to audition. So I did. Now I didn’t get the part but, she gave me the number one curtain pull. I was a sophomore, I was wanted so I embraced that task with everything I had. I was good at it. Sometimes I pulled it before it was supposed to come up I was so excited. (laughs)

GP: Wow talk about humble beginnings! A stagehand!

TT: Yeah man, I was a stagehand! You know what though? I loved it. So much that when the next production rolled around, which was Dracula. I wanted to play Dracula so bad. Now I didn’t get Dracula (laughs) but I got to play Van Helsing. Which was very cool because that part had a lot of talking. Even though, nobody really cared what he had to say they just waited for Dracula to come on and all the girls would just swoon. (laughs)

I will tell you though it all comes full circle in the end. I just did an audio recording for Dracula. So I finally got to be Dracula! It’s going to be on Fangoria Music. It comes out soon. So you know the lesson in that is sometimes what you think you want, isn’t what you need. Sometimes what you need is right in front of you. Some of can see it, and some of us can’t.

GP: Well I had no idea that Zoom was so philosophical. What’cha doing here Tony Todd? (laughs)

TT: Hey man!

GP: I have to say your candidness is absolutely great. You have no canned answers and just are very honest.

TT: Well I speak from the heart. It’s all I know.

GP: The way it should be. Now I think it’s fantastic that you’ve been able to keep so current. You have to be happy with the fanfare going on.

TT: Oh I am. It’s terrific.

GP: With that being said what does Comic Con mean to you personally?

TT: Well aside for the perks. It’s a way to touch and connect with our fanbase. I mean I know some actors who wouldn’t dare be anywhere near this. For me though, I dive right in. I like to know what people feel about things. Particularly current stuff. Which is all great.

The ones that really hit me though, is like the gentleman you saw me interact with just before we started. I mean he’s known me since I was five years old. Then there’s a lot of special needs kids, who when they come here with all us, they feel like they belong. All because they can identify with one thing. For example I had a little kid earlier who told me that he loved the Zoom voice so much and he wanted to record it. So I did the voice and said “I am the fastest man alive!” For that one moment that mere 30 seconds, he was totally focused. So to me that matters. Then a half hour ago, I had three police officers from Waterbury. I knew they were cops because I have cops in my family. They tried to be undercover but I told them I’d reach back and we are going to do a raffle.

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GP: Well that’s great!

TT: Yeah so, for a minute for them they were able to let go of that sternness and tightness and just be real and relaxed. That was a great moment for me. It was real. We are all human beings at the end of the day.

GP: Sounds like you gained some new fans in that moment.

TT: Fans and friends, I’d like to say.

GP: Works both ways sir. Before I go, where do you see yourself going forward with The Flash?

TT: Well I mean I’m not in the writers room, but I know I’ll be back. The last thing they told me at my last recording session was “Don’t think you are going to get away from the DC Universe.”

GP: I most certainly hope not. Thank you for your time this has been great.

TT: No problem at all.

 

Thus concluded a conversation with one of the coolest, most down to Earth people I have ever met. Never taking himself too seriously and always willing to stop at a moment to interact with a fan. Even while we were doing this interview, which I thought was great. 

On a personal note he really liked my New England Patriots digital camoflage hat so much that I just handed it over. Hopefully I succeeded in converting another Pats fan.

Just a great experience all around. Sure you can try to say his name in the dark to the mirror three times and get him to appear, but the only way to really appreciate what he does is to meet the man himself.

Voracious’ Creators Stop By And Chat About The Kickstarter For The Sequel

Voracious was one of the best miniseries released so far this year, and for me personally, it remains the one to beat in 2016. The series focused on a chef who discovers time travel, and using his new found ability, decides to make a dinosaur sandwich. There’s a lot more to the first four issues, and I highly recommend you check out the trade paperback (out now at your favourite comics retailer!) if that sounds even remotely interesting to you, because it’s twice as good as you’re expecting it to be.naso-muhr

The series creators, writer Markisan Naso and artist Jason Muhr, recently launched a Kickstarter to fund the production of the second series, Voracious: Feeding Time. I recently had a chance to  catch up with the two to  talk about the new series, and how things had been going over the summer for the two.

Note: Just before this interview was published, the Kickstarter was successfully funded.

Graphic Policy: So how’ve you guys been?

Jason Muhr: Good.

Markisan Naso: Been great! I just went to a place called the Metal Haven Grill here in Chicago to celebrate my buddy’s birthday. They sell metal records and make fresh, locally-sourced comfort food. Few things make me as happy as fried cheese curds and Slayer.

How are you doing, Alex?

GP: I’m good, thanks! It’s been a month or two since we last spoke, but the last time we did the two of you were heading to Wizard World in Ohio. How was that?

MN: The con was a lot of fun. It was great to do a show outside of Chicagoland for the first time, pitch the book to people in Columbus and make some new fans.

JM: It was a smaller show than we’re used to in Chicago, so it was nice for our little book to stand out a bit more.

MN: And after the convention we got quite a few messages from folks who took a chance on Voracious and told us how much they loved it. That was really nice to hear.

Voracious_Vol.2_01GP: You launched a Kickstarter to fund the second volume of Voracious, Voracious: Feeding Time (which, in the interest of full disclosure for our readers, I’ve backed). But now that you’re Comic Book Creators, I thought you guys would be swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck. That’s not the case?

MN: Ha! I know you’re kidding, but I’m going to answer this question seriously anyway! The vast majority of comic book creators don’t make anything near McDuck bucks unless they work on high profile gigs for Marvel or DC, they’ve established a huge fan base, or they’ve successfully adapted one of their indie books into a TV show or film. For creators like Jason and I who are working on our first series, there isn’t a lot of bank rolling in just yet.

We are incredibly fortunate to have a dynamic publisher in our corner like Action Lab, but we weren’t paid anything up front. That’s how it generally works with most independent publisher deals. We can potentially make a little money on the back-end, but that would only come after all the production, printing and marketing expenses are subtracted from the total revenue. We’ll find out in a couple months whether or not we make anything off the initial Voracious  miniseries.

A lot of people probably don’t realize that most indie comics creators operate at a loss. Jason and I create Voracious because we LOVE comics, and we think we have a great story to tell, but the fact is that we’ve paid for the series out-of-pocket for the last couple years. There are multiple expenses that we incur throughout the process, from Andrei’s gorgeous colors, to commissioning variant covers, to ordering books from Action Lab to sell, to attending conventions and signings. And Jason has to spend a lot of time drawing our series. He’s actually had to turn down some paid opportunities to illustrate Voracious.

We aren’t complaining about any of this, mind you. We would definitely do the same thing all over again because we believe in our story and we’ve dreamed about becoming comic book creators since we were little kids.

But we also realized we could ask for help with our production costs. That’s where Kickstarter comes in. Starting a campaign just seemed like a good way to cover some of the expenses for Voracious: Feeding Time. We aren’t looking to pay ourselves at all with our campaign and we don’t even expect to recoup all our front-end costs. We’re just hoping to reduce them. Thanks to a lot of generous people it looks like that will happen.

GP: The response to the Kickstarter has been pretty good, to say the least – did that catch you by surprise?

MN: Oh definitely. Jason and I had never done a Kickstarter and we were honestly pretty worried about getting it funded. Even though the first issue of Voracious sold out at the distributor and we’ve gotten good buzz for the series, we just weren’t confident that we’d be able to get enough backers to support our weird, little comic book. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who’s pledged in the first week. We just have a little bit more to go to make our goal. Hopefully we’ll earn a few more supporters and get over the hump soon. Then it’s on to the stretch goals!

JM: And, aside from hand-selling issues at cons and receiving nice messages on social media, we didn’t really have a grasp on how many people embraced us and our work. Voracious reaches shop shelves and then it’s out in the cold, dark world, hopefully selling itself. So the Kickstarter was really a nice way to interact directly with fans and see how much they were digging what we’re doing. We were nervous all the pledges would be coming from our parents, but the fans really came out to support us, and it blew us away.

voracious-feeding-time-page-3

Page 3 of Feeding Time

GP: The sneak peaks of the first issue you’ve posted on the Kickstarter page look fantastic.

JM: Thank you.

MN: Yeah, thanks for saying that, Alex. Jason and Andrei have really taken the art and colors to another level in Voracious: Feeding Time.

GP: I know the first issue takes place in the setting you’ve shown, so I was wondering how exciting it is to get to explore more of the Voracious universe?

MN: We are having a blast doing this new series! Jason and I have been looking forward to getting to this chapter of the story since before we even started working on the very first issue of the first series. When I pitched Voracious to Jason, I told him there were really two hooks – a chef who travels back in time, kills dinosaurs and serves them in a restaurant in the present; and the huge twist that happens at the end of #4. So now we get to explore what the consequences of that big reveal are for Nate, Jim, Starlee and the rest of the cast. And we get to introduce some new characters in a completely different setting. It’s a lot of fun to bring it to life.

GP: For readers who have yet to read the first series, are they able to start with Voracious: Feeding Time?

MN: The short answer is yes. Kinda. Let me explain. Voracious: Feeding Time is a continuation of our story and I’d definitely recommend reading Volume One first before diving into the new series. Our book was designed to be a finite, ongoing without breaks. That’s the way we pitched it. However, Action Lab thought it would be better for us to do a series of miniseries. Putting out a new #1 helps with sales and with maintaining order numbers at the distributor, which have to reach a certain level every issue for a series to continue being solicited. For an indie book that is important.

Voracious_TPB_Cover_Vol1But all that said, a new reader can actually pick up Voracious: Feeding Time #1 and they won’t be lost at all. The story is told from the perspective of characters who debut in that issue. They know nothing about Nate, Jim, Starlee, Maribel or the other Blackfossil townies who were introduced in the first series, so the story is told from their perspectives. The reader learns about what’s happening as the new characters do.

JM: Plus, there is a nice recap on the inside front cover of the first issue. If people do want to catch up first, many of the Kickstarter reward levels include the Vol 1. trade paperback, both physically and digitally, so we’re making it as easy as possible to hop on board.

GP: What’s your timeline once the Kickstarter is over in terms of getting Feeding Time into readers hands, and on the racks?

MN: Assuming we hit our goal, the Kickstarter will end successfully on October 4th and very shortly after that we’ll be sending out PDFs of Voracious: Feeding Time #1, a full two months before the book debuts in comic stores and on ComiXology. The issue is already finished. In fact, we’ve finished four of the five issues.

Here’s an exclusive for you, Alex… our first stretch goal will be a digital rewards package that includes the Feeding Time #1 PDF, my script for the issue, wallpapers, Jason’s original thumbnails for the issue and maybe more.  So, if we hit stretch goal #1, everybody gets to read the digital book two months early.

The physical rewards will ship sometime in December, the month that the first issue officially hits the stands.

GP: Do you have plans for any of the clothing-based rewards to become available after the Kickstarter is over?

MN: Maybe. We will print the shirts and aprons in lots of 20 or 25 most likely. Depending on the number of pledges and the number of add-ons people select, we may have a few extras lying around. I suspect those will probably be gifted to family members or maybe we’ll use them as contest giveaways, which is something I’ve been thinking about. There won’t be many extras because these rewards are Kickstarter exclusives for folks who are kind enough to support us right now. We do have some ideas for other T-shirts and merchandise that we may pull the trigger on at some point. If we do, we’ll take them on the road with us and make them available at our online store.

We will probably have some of those gorgeous prints by Jason and Andrei left over. The print is limited to 100 copies and each one will be hand-numbered and signed. We plan to print all 100, so if we don’t sell out of them on Kickstarter we’ll make the rest available after the campaign ends.

GP: You have another convention appearance coming up, eh?

JM: Yeah! We’ll be at the Madison Comic Con on Sept. 18 in Wisconsin. It’s a one day show. We’re really looking forward to meeting comics fans and talking about dinosaur lasagna in a new city.

GP: It’s been a pleasure chatting with both of you, as always. Thanks for your time!

MN: Thanks so much Alex. Always great to talk with you too!

JM: Thanks Alex!

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