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Seth Ferranti - page 2

Seth Ferranti has 51 articles published.

Headmetal Comics

in Comics by
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The Gr1nd recently talked to Chris Orndoff, the publisher at Headmetal Comics. He broke down what his graphic novel, The Headmetal Racket is about and let us know the players involved. Check out the interview and check out Headmetal Comics too.

What is Headmetal Comics?

Headmetal Comics started one night at band practice. I told my friends about a short story I had written for a freshman english class; the project was to draw an original character and create that character’s origin story. I hadn’t drawn a friggin’ thing in over ten years, but in my mind’s eye… there he was… Blueseph J. Headmetal: the boy born with a guitar head.

My friends loved the character and the story. One of them said, “lets make a mini-comic about this character and use it as the cd insert for our first album.” We still haven’t finished the album (we are still jamming though), but as for the the comic… We have since collaborated internationally with an AMAZING Italian artist to create an 88 page graphic novel starring Blueseph J. Headmetal .

So, Headmetal Comics is nothing more than a group of energetic people making things.

What is your graphic novel about?

The quick pitch for The Headmetal Racket goes like this: Born by way of an amplified vibrator… the guitar headed boy must fight the forces of media consolidation and save our freedom of speech. And that’s the main theme: Freedom of Speech vs Media Consolidation.

The mainstream media is a shill for something toxic. At some point you have to turn down the outside influence and create a real life, which supports your original thoughts and feelings.

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How do you mix music and comics?

We created what we call a “Comic with *Crescendo.” A crescendo is an Italian word, which means a gradual increase in loudness or intensity The Headmetal Racket starts off in black & white with very limited use of color throughout the first 4 chapters. Gradually, a monochrome color scheme rolls through chapters 5-9. The story then explodes into full color for chapters 10-13.

As I mentioned before, our comic is 88 pages long — there are also 88 keys on a piano — this is not a coincidence. There are thirteen chapters to represent the full chromatic scale, and the octave. There are also direct references to my favorite Rock & Roll icons as well as my favorite songs.

Here is great review I received from a talented St. Louis writer that really speaks to how we mix comics and music: “You’re narrative is very lyrical in the way it bounces forward over long stretches of time, stopping only briefly to highlight a key character moment or interaction, hitting you with exactly enough information you need for the scene.  In a standard comic, I probably wouldn’t like the stilted narrative so much, but I think it works for your book because it’s so musical not only in theme but also in structure.” – Aaron Walther

 

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What is the role you play on the book?

In case my long-windedness hasn’t given it away already, I’m the writer. I’m also the lyricist in our band. Sometimes I enjoy complete silence; other times it seems like I won’t shut the fuck up.

Shouts out to: Ryan McCann – Artist and Chef de cuisine, Aaren Vaz – Artist, Musician, Photographer/Videographer, Suicidella (Valentina Sylvie Greco) – Italian Renaissance Master, Leah Lederman – Editor and Grammar Star

What other projects have you worked on?

This is my first creative venture. Ever. It took us three years and some rocky roads to complete this project, but it was an amazing experience. I loved it. I’m ready for more.

What other plans do yo have comic wise?

I currently have two (possibly three) artists working on single page anti-littering comic PSAs. Have you ever been on a float trip? They are awesome! Except when drunks get too drunk and litter, that is. My goal is to have the one page comic PSAs hanging on the backs of the seats on float trip busses across the beautiful state of Missouri. This project is 100% for charity, and I have a LONG way to go to make it a reality, but I’ve already got a good start.

My next passion project is a children’s book. The quick pitch goes like this:  A young girl’s life is upended after a school project opens her eyes to the true  nature of man kind. Are humans the only species who kill for the sake of making art? I’m in talks with another AMAZING artist right now and things are looking good! If we can seal the deal this book will go into production in January 2016.

I’ve got a lot of ideas I want to make into realities.

How was project comic con?

Fucking dope. Fucking loved it. Arguably the best Con in St. Louis.

Check them out on the Internet here and on Facebook here.

If you liked this article then check out this interview with Corey Fryia. 

 

 

 

Films on Serial Killers

in Pop Culture by
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John Borowski is a Chicago filmaker who has delved into the world of serial killers since day one. His films examine the lives of some of the most brutal murderers society has ever dealt with. But John prefers to cover the pre-1930s serial killers. His films cover men like H.H. Holmes, Albert Fish and Carl Panzram, all vicious psychopath killers who plied their trade before CSI and modern day police investigative techniques. John also did a film on serial killer culture, examine the people who collected serial killer artifacts and wrote to the criminals as they did their time on death row, waiting to be executed. If you are into murderabilia and this sort of stuff then John’s films are for you. Check them out and check out this interview he did with The Gr1nd.

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When did you start making films and why?

I always loved the cinema, all genres of film really. So movies were always a passion of mine since an early age. Watching movies on TV, pre-VHS, was always an event. Jaws and Psycho are two movies I remember watching every year when they were on TV. Those are also two of my favorite films ever. When I was a teenager, I collected films. I was a mini rental store for my family, who would come to me and I had a card catalog with all my films listed by alphabetically and the corresponding VHS tape number. My sister is to blame for beginning my love of horror films and all things macabre really. She even turned me on to Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey. Beginning with the classic Universal horror films, I eventually graduated to slasher films and couldn’t get enough horror. Of course Hitchcock’s films played a big part in my becoming interested in psychological murder thrillers. When I was a teenager, I became interested in special makeup effects and began practicing the art by creating prosthesis and masks and utilizing my creations in 8mm short films I would shoot with my best friend. The makeup effects of Dick Smith (The Exorcist, The Godfather, Taxi Driver) were really an inspiration to me.

What led to the Serial Killer angle?

When I was in college I was researching for an essay on Chicago history and came across the story of the castle of H.H. Holmes. This fascinated me but it really wasn’t until I read Harold Schechter’s book Depraved that I learned about Holmes entire life, which was equally fascinating as the building itself. That was when I decided to make my first features documentary film on the life of America’s first documented serial killer, H.H. Holmes who literally laid the groundwork for all future serial killers in America.

H.H. Holmes was an evil genius and macabre entrepreneur who designed a building in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair and rented rooms out where he gassed victims and after dissecting their bodies and stripping the flesh from their bones, sold the skeletons to local medical schools and universities. H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (2005) covers Holmes’ entire life from birth to his eventual trail where he served as his own attorney. Ted Bundy would follow Holmes’ lead and become his own attorney at his trail as serial killers love to be the center of attention.

What are the other films about?

Albert Fish was a sadomasochistic child murdering cannibal who was the original Stranger Danger, preying on youths in depression era New York City. He is most well known for sending a letter to the mother of his victim Grace Budd, where he details how he cooked and ate her. Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation (2007) is the second and last film I had the pleasure of working with actor Tony Jay who served as narrator and worked on numerous Disney films and animated shows.

Carl Panzram was a lifelong criminal who was abused in American jails and prisons. In 1928 he met the kind young jail guard Henry Lesser, who convinces Panzram to write his autobiography so that others can learn how he was created and hopefully prevent other monsters from being made in his image. For Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance (2012), I filmed Panzram’s actual handwritten papers at the University of San Diego and also filmed at Leavenworth and Clinton Penitentiaries which were very frightening places and I am glad I was on the outside of their walls.

My latest released film, Serial Killer Culture (2014), focuses on the artists and collectors who are inspired by serial killers.

How’d the Serial Killer Culture documentary come about?

While I was wrapping up production on my film on Panzram, I began to look at all of the contacts I had made through my career of making films on serial killers. They were an interesting bunch of people to say the least. So I decided to create a film where I would give murderabilia collectors and artists their opportunity to tell their side of the story regarding why they are interested in such a gruesome topic. After the film was released, I received a card from a young woman in California which read: “You make my F***ing Day” where she went on to write how she thought she was alone in her macabre interest in serial killers and that it was nice to know there were others out there who shared her interest.

What role do you play in the making of your films?

As a 100% independent filmmaker, I wear almost every hat when making my films. The upside to this is that I have complete control and my passion shines through in the final product. The downside is that it is a lot of time and work for myself where if I had budgets, I would be able to hire more crew members to work with me on the films and concentrate on producing and directing. When I studied film, I made sure to learn about every phase of film production and I did not take directing classes because I feel that a filmmakers unique vision cannot be taught. I do hire cast and crew members such as actors, cinematographers, sound designers, and composers but I write, produce, direct, and edit my films. I am always seeking investors and/or potential partners to expand my catalog of film titles as I am beginning to produce feature films.

How does crowdfunding come into play for your films?

There were several previous online fundraising campaigns I had run for my films Panzram and Serial Killer Culture which served as the training ground of the realities of these types of fundraisers. They are extremely difficult to run and even more difficult to achieve success with. Because of both of our fanbases, we successfully achieved the goal of the Kickstarter fundraiser. The main problem came about a week or two after the launch of the fundraiser. Someone had taken offense to some aspect of the fundraiser and complained about it on Facebook so everything pertaining to the fundraiser and film were blocked on Facebook. This presented a problem because Facebook works closely with Kickstarter and ultimately determines the success of the fundraiser through spreading the word on social media. I could not even paste the link to the fundraiser in a message on Facebook. I was infuriated about several things, especially the fact that someone’s bias towards two major American artists working together could be blocked by the major social media platform on the internet. I have learned that in the film industry, everything is a battle that must be fought for. So I put my polyester suit on and marched down to the Chicago Facebook office and took the elevator to the only floor it would take me to, then I took the freight elevator to the Facebook office where I was buzzed in. I politely explained the situation to the young man at the front desk who mentioned that he may not be able to help and it was blocked by “autobots”. My response was that therein lies the problem and it needs to be addressed since I could not think of anything that was offensive about the fundraising campaign. Four hours later, the block was removed so I won that fight.

Give us a little history on yourself where you grew up, what you were interested in and how you got into film?

I grew up raised by my mother on the northwest side of Chicago. My parents divorced when I was young. My mother would take me to films all of the time. My older sister lived with us and she made sure to feed me a healthy diet of classic horror films. Vincent Price is my favorite horror actor and if he was alive, I wanted his voice for my film on H.H. Holmes. I always had a cinematic mind. When I was a child, I would build skyscrapers out of cardboard boxes to play with action figures in and even made doorways, chutes, and ladders in the boxes. I was seven years old when my sister told me about a movie she went to see where astronauts discover eggs on an alien planet and an alien bursts from the chest of a host. That film was Alien and I was seven years old when I saw it and since I knew the chestburster scene was approaching, I looked away in fear when the bloody scene happened. So imagine my joy when in 2015 while filming Bloodlines, I was able to stand in front of the props from the film at the H.R. Giger museum in Switzerland. It is true that in life it is all about the journey. I am very lucky to have been able to live out some of my dreams.

Learn more about John’s films here.

If you like this article then check out this profile on the supremely talented artist Riana Moller.

 

Masks- Creator Profile

in Comics by
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Indie comics is a wide open field. All you have to have is an idea, an ability to write and an artist willing to draw your comic. New comics are coming out all the time. With the way technology is now any writer serious about their craft can compete with the big boys. We got with rookie comic creator Danny Warner to talk about his new project, Masks. This is an exclusive with The Gr1nd.

What is your comic book Masks about?

Masks is a sci-fi western set in 2066, a hundred years after some failed scientific experiment divided the society in two groups (Masks and Masksless), which resulted in the fall of civilization, basically sending the world back to XVIII century. The story follows a Bookkeeper who’s after some book that supposedly says how to restore order. He’ll fight bandits and meet all sort of cool and scary characters along the way to recovering what the hell happened to the world exactly and how to put it back.

What role do you play on this comic?

I’m the writer and creator behind Masks.

What other comics do you have out or have you worked on?

This is the first one. Hopefully, more are to come.

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What comics do you like to read?

Honestly, I don’t like classic comic. Not my thing. Nor do I like the 28-page issues that contains 6 pages of ads. Alright, ranting aside. I like standalone stories in trade paperbacks. Watchmen and Nemesis got to be my favorite, but I’m trying out the new Star Wars that come out. But I actually prefer books.

What made you decide to do Masks?

Masks started out as a novel, but after about 40k words I thought what the hell, let’s draw it. I initially intended it as a graphic novel, but decided to do 12 45-page issues instead.

When is it coming out?

Masks Issue #1 will be available digitally mid-November.

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Is it a series or graphic novel? What is the storyline?

Like I mentioned, currently we are doing a 12-issue run, 45 pages each, Later assembling in into two volumes in hardcover. The story follows the Bookkeeper, who seeks out a book that will supposedly say how to restore order in the world. Along the way he’ll assemble a small team of companions to help him fight his way towards uncovering the secret of what has happened to the world and how to make it all well again.

Who do you work with on this book and what is his role?

I work with Matias Zeballos, who is a masterful artist behind Masks.

To learn more about the creators check out-

Danny Warner – facebook.com/danny00110010

Matias Zeballos – facebook.com/matiaszeballosArt

Artist Profile- Riana Moller

in Pop Culture/Uncategorized by
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The title of this is Artist Profile- Riana Moller, but in essence Riana Moller is much more than an artist. To simply label her that is an insult to her talents. She is an artist, a creator, a graphic visual artist and designer who does comics, video games and more. I first met Riana when she agreed to do the awesome cover for my Supreme Team comic. I don’t think I could have found a better cover artist. I was amazed by the art and what she did turning the real life characters from my book, The Supreme Team, into artistically accurate life like portrayals for the graphic novel. Known as Fealasy on her Deviant Art profile, Riana has been in the industry for a minute. Mostly working on video games like Hitman and Ryse: Son of Rome she has found time to create her own comic book on web toons in limited edition of course. Everything Riana does is exclusive. Her artwork is impeccable and stunning. She is clearly an auteur of the canvass, even if her canvass is a computer screen. The Gr1nd sat down for a chat with Riana to find out more about the mysterious and alluring creative talent from Denmark.

How did you first get interested in drawing?

Most children are interested in expressing themselves from an early age, so I’d say almost instantaneously. But when art allowed an escape from a set of increasingly painful realities that’s when I fell in love with it.

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How would you describe your style?

Surrealadelic when it’s good. Renegotiable when bad.

What comics have you drawn or been involved in?

In the past I had a stint with the printed newspaper world, allowing me to have a weekly strip about an miserable woman and her depraved imaginary friend trying to cope with “the real world”. Recently I completed my first graphic novel that goes into some painful truths about my past. It takes on the topic of school-shootings and bullying, but from the point of view of the harassed shooter. It’s semi autobiographical and tries to explain how I escaped those terrible desires. And lastly I had the pleasure of giving a contribution for Seth Ferranti’s growing project The Supreme Team. A man I hope to collaborate with again.

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What video games have you worked on and in what capacities?

I worked on the Hitman series and Ryze for prolonged periods, and several still unpublished AAA titles from my time at Volta and lots of indie-this-and-that games. All while working my way up from being a trainee to art director.

Where are your from?

A small southern island in Denmark named LOLand. But there wasn’t always a lot to laugh about.

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What was life like growing up for you?

Difficult outside the family home. There was a lot of isolation, spite and condemnation for anything that stuck out from the accepted standard template in a small town. From simply revealing my lack of faith in a god I was labelled a “spawn of the devil” by our local preacher, which evolved into a lot of bullying, verbally and physically. I just very recently have been capable of shaking off the insecurities and mistrust, but it was worth it somehow. By not conforming and having to deal with hardships, a lot of valuable lessons and skills have been learnt.

What have you learned over the years working as an artist and graphic designer?

That honesty and self-expression rules supreme. I had jobs that by financial and reputation standards should have made me happy, but failed to entirely. There’s a lot to be taught by stepping into others footsteps, it’s crucial to do, but has it’s limits. I finally feel liberated enough to take on a truly dangerous route.

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Where are you based out of now?

My life is currently in uproar, a long list of very positive but also intense events are taking place as I slowly ready myself to move to the other side of the planet. From my latest expat experience in Prague to Sydney, Australia.

What are your current projects?

There’s two. One is more aligned with my older style of work as it revolves around an animated comedy show. The other… Will be something a bit more interactive on a real life level.

When you first started drawing did you think you could make a career out of it?

I knew I could fall in love with it, that’s what mattered and what got me places.

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If you liked this article then check out the interview with Supreme Team artist Joe Wills

Disunity #1 Preview

in Comics by
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POV Comics is helmed by Rem Fields and he has been working overtime to get his indie comic publishing company the success it deserves. His latest release Disunity is a sci-fi thriller the combines awesome artistic sensibilities and scientific notions of what the world is and what it can be. To get the real deal we sat down with Rem find out whats up with the comic.

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Explain what Disunity is about?

Disunity is about good intentions and bad outcomes. John Connati, our protagonist, failed to save humanity after trying to open a wormhole in order to lead us to greener pastures. His experiment backfired, leaving the Earth surrounded by an unstable singularity – chaos has been pouring out of it ever since.

Over the course of the series we intend to explore the complexity of this situation, as John begins to learn more and more about himself as well as the inter-dimensional energies he failed to control. One part scientist, two parts noir detective, disunity is a mystery rooted in mad science.

The main character seems very conflicted. Explain.

John suffers from a dangerous combination of aptitude and conscience. It is a vicious cycle: the more he helps, the more he tends to hinder. Then, in turn, he puts it upon himself to correct his previous blunder, which typically leads to additional complications. So it goes.

Because of his scientific acumen, he genuinely believes he is in a position to make positive changes. His altruistic intentions beget a false sense of confidence – John’s used to taking big risks, “playing with fire,” if you will, and yet he never really plans for being burnt. He is betrayed by his own intellect. While he’s smart enough to realize this (hence the guilt), he is too stubborn to admit defeat.

The world seems very Blade Runner like was that your intention?

Blade Runner definitely helped set a standard for the immersive portrayal of a broken world. Elements of this blueprint are very much in-play within Disunity. I should emphasize that the conceptual origins for our book stem from Ron, the series’ illustrator and co-writer. He had a story he wanted to tell, and brought me on to flesh out the voice of his narrative. I’m cooking in Ron’s kitchen, which I’ve found to be a refreshing change of pace. Usually I’m the one inviting guests over to cook.

We are very much depicting a world where the definition of humanity should be called into question. John, like Deckard, thinks he has a grasp on the situation. Again like Deckard, he will quickly learn otherwise as his preconceived notions begin to implode. Aesthetically, there are a lot of dystopian elements in play. It goes hand-in-hand with the chaos inherent to a world being perpetually torn asunder by the inter-dimensional “Phases” that merge John’s world with countless others.

You seem to have a super hero/science thing going with aliens too. Explain.

I like to think of it as sci-fi noir. Though John does emerge from his accident with what is pretty much a healing factor, he remains a scientist first and foremost. The fact that he’s now able to survive an immense amount of punishment really just gives us room to plague him with even more guilt. He might not have to worry about his own well-being anymore, but that just means he needs to be all the more careful as he enlists help to remedy the situation he unleashed. (Spoiler: He often isn’t.)

The aliens and monsters who now inhabit John’s world are trapped there, having been transported from other realms. Some are a bit more surly about it than others. No matter their disposition, though, they are victims. Refugees, if you will. Part of John’s struggle is him trying to figure out if there is even a “greater good” worth pursuing anymore. With other worlds being torn asunder by the wormhole he created, he begins to realize that saving his planet and saving countless others might be mutually exclusive.

Where does the story go form the first issue?

At the end of Disunity #1, our protagonist is given a trail to follow (albeit a cold one). Our second issue starts off with introducing the supporting cast in John’s life. Like Stump, most of these characters come from alternate realities and are stuck here thanks to the Phase. As they investigate the rumors discovered in our first issue, things fall apart – as they often do – and John is faced with an enemy who might very well know him better than he knows himself.

The whole story will likely run ten issues or so. We’re going to distribute digitally at first, via comiXology, with plans for a printed graphic novel once we conclude. To leave things on an ambiguous note, John doesn’t know as much about the Phase as he thinks he does.

Whats your role in the book and who is the artist?

Ron Batchelor is both Disunity’s artist and originator. He started out pursuing the idea on his own, but it quickly became evident that his effort might be better spent focusing on its visual elements. He posted a sample of an early draft to a forum I frequent, asking for feedback. Right away I was drawn to his work. Once we started chatting, our conversation naturally drifted toward collaboration.

A lot of the drawings for the first two issues were already complete by the time I began writing. This proved to be an interesting challenge for me, since typically my work in comics starts with a full script. Instead of having to visualize panel descriptions in order to arrive at narration and dialogue, the scenes were already on the page. From there I did my best to “eavesdrop” on the conversations and inner monologues that would drive the narrative. As we move forward into issue #3, I think Ron and I are going to attempt a “Marvel-style” scripting process. It is a lot looser, where pages are given informal summaries more so than panel-by-panel beats, something that can only work when both creators are 100% invested in the story being told.

Tell us about your comic book company?

POV Comics was founded in September of 2014. The goal is to form a creative imprint through which aspiring storytellers can hone their skills. It is a venture I’ve embarked upon with a lifelong friend of mine, Noah Graham. He and I grew up together, somehow managing to gravitate toward separate niches of comic-book creativity – Noah being an illustrator, while I call myself POV’s wordier half. Our first title is currently in-production, and will be released next year.

Ron and I approached disunity as a collaboration between POV Comics and his own personal brand, Blotch Comics. As creators relatively new to the indie-comics scene, we are both blessed and cursed by the relatively low barriers to entry when publishing digital comic books. As it stands, I’d rather be a drop in the bucket than a damp spot on the sidewalk. Whether or not we manage to quench readers’ thirst for fiction is up to us. Ron is best reached via social media @Blotch_Comics, and you’ll find me chirping away @POVComics.

Learn more about Rem here.

 

Comic Profile- Bullets and Angels

in Comics by
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Master Plot comics is the brainchild of Brian Lee Bryd and has a number of interesting comics either out or in the works with titles like Cocaine Pet Shop, Tokyo Ghost and The Offended. As an independent comic publisher Master Plot Comics specializes in creator owned comic books and indie comic book podcasts. After having run several successful kickstarters for various projects on their label they seem well on their way to success. The Gr1nd set down with Brian Lee Byrd for a chat about the Bullets and Angels series-

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What is Bullets and Angles about?

Bullets & Angels: Rosary is an occult action-horror comic book that follows the trials of demon hunter James “Ace” Hollister as he struggles against what he knows to be real and what he wants to believe. Bullets & Angels is broken into volumes, each of which contains a whole segment of an over-arcing story leading to the book of Revelation, and ultimately, the end of the known world. The Bullets & Angels universe is set up to be ever-expanding all while moving forward to a complete and define end. As the flag-ship book for Master Plot Comics, Bullets & Angels is created by Brian Lee Byrd and Sarah Hollis, and staffed by a team of over ten other artists and writers, always working to improve on the series.

 

What is your role in the comic?

I am the co-creator and co-writer of Bullets & Angels. A few volumes are written solely by myself, while some I have hired other writers to participate on as well. The co-creator, Sarah Hollis, writes the main story with me. I also do the project management, so I make sure that all the artists are on their deadline.

 

Tell us about the new kickstarter?

The new Kickstarter is for Bullets & Angels: Rosary Issue #3, and features a lot of great backer rewards and add-ons. Cory Hamscher did the main cover art, but there are also two separate Kickstarter Variants that are available through different tiers. The first variant cover is by Kamol Noipewnaun, a wonderful Thai artist and graphic designer that works with me on a Bullets & Angels spin-off. There are 75 copies of that particular cover available, with three different tier levels, one unsigned, one signed, and one with a Kickstarter exclusive print. The second Kickstarter Variant is by Saint Yak, and only 25 of those will be available. There are also one of a kind pieces of art available.

 

Who is the artist and what does he bring to the book?

 Saint Yak is our artist for Bullets & Angels. His style is very grungy, and many people have said that it is reminiscent of early Spawn. He brings a great deal of talent to the project, and if any other artist had been assigned to work on Bullets & Angels, I don’t think it would have quite the same appeal that it has. The grungy lines and style bring a lot of emotion and impact to the story.

 

What is up with master plot comics?

Master Plot Comics is an independent comic publishing studio, staffed by myself and ten other wonderful artists and writers. Essentially, we are trying to open up a way for new creators to get into the comic industry, because most publishers, independent or otherwise, will only publish established creators. What that means is that in order to become established, one must self publish for several years in order to become “eligible” for publication through another publishing house. That leaves a big hole in the industry. It makes comics stagnant, because a lot of the new creators don’t have time or resources to self publish their book. Master Plot aims to take that hole and fill it with new, exciting stories from people you’ve never heard of, and make those stories available to readers who want something new.

 

How were issues 1 and 2 received?

Issues #1 and #2 were well received, with Issue #1 being over 200% funded, and Issue #2 being well past fully funded just a few weeks later. Issue #1 was just officially released earlier this month, and the first book signing we had was packed with people looking to talk about comics, publishing, and buy their book. We’ve had great success, and expect to continue with the same level of enthusiasm we’ve received so far.

 

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What direction are you going with this series?

As I mentioned before, Bullets & Angels is an ever-expanding series, but we do have a definite end in sight, at least for the main story-line. We can have unlimited number of spin-offs, tangents, and side-stories, but the main story will always end after Volume Five.

 

Tell us about the two main characters in the comic and what they are fighting against?

 Ace and Alli are an unusual pair, and under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t be working together. They are members of an elite team known as the Circle of Twelve, an underground sect of the Catholic Church meant for the sole purpose of stepping in where normal exorcists have failed. Ace was stationed in Las Vegas, but when things turn sour, he decides to head out toward Boston. His trip is cut short before he even manages to leave by a hellhound attack on what he assumes is a normal girl, but soon finds out is a second member of the Circle, tracking him with the sole purpose of keeping him around. They find that things seem to be heating up in Sin City as missing girls, murdered priests, and a onslaught of Hell’s army closes in around them.

Check out the Kickstarter for more info-

www.kickstarter.com/projects/mpcomics/bullets-and-angels-rosary-issue-3

 

Fear and Loathing in Comics

in Comics by
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When it comes to counterculture journalism Hunter S. Thompson, the aptly named Dr. Gonzo takes the cake. As a marauding writer for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 70’s he invented the school of Gonzo Journalism and his cult classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, has come to be regarded as a literary masterpiece. Johnny Depp starred in the movie and Hunter S. Thompson came to personify everything Gonzo. Was it art? Was it journalism? Was it just his crazy fucked up life? It was all that and more. And now his epic story is making the transition to comics. Enter Troy Little.

A veteran artist and comic creator who has been nominated for an Eisner Troy took on the monumental task of adapting Fear and Loathing into a graphic novel. Along with Top Shelf Productions and IDW the whole process was a first class affair that sought to capture and enhance the legend of the notorious Dr. Gonzo and the crazy psychodelic escapade that Fear and Loathing is in comic form. Could it be done? Could he take the artwork in a fresh and exciting direction without replicating what the infamous Ralph Steadman had already done? Could he put an imaginative twist on an already infectious and whirlwind of a story? To get the answers we got with Troy Little to get the 411. We also got an excerpt from the comic so that you can decide the answers to these questions yourself. But here’s the interview with Troy Little-

What does Hunter S. Thompson mean to you?

I’m a long time fan of his books, and he was a really interesting person with a unique point of view on life. I tend to enjoy both of those aspects. His writing can be a fireball of hilarious vitriol that seems to mesh with his persona, but when I see footage of him in real life I can almost always tell when he’s putting on a show. He had a lot of bravado that didn’t always cover up his insecurities. For a man with a proven record of being loud and brash, there’s a lot more nuance to him then most people give him credit for. I find he’s just a pretty damn fascinating mess of contradictions, and very, very human.

What was it like getting the opportunity to adapt the book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas into a graphic novel?

It was a dream come true! Fear & Loathing is one of my all time favorite books; I never ever imagined this would be in the realm of possibility. I was working on The Powerpuff Girls for IDW when I received an email out of the blue that sort of casually inquired if I’d be interested in working up a pitch for the book. Totally out of left field. And it took me a long time to finally get them something to look at. I kept psyching myself out when I tried to come up with a look and feel that would capture the energy of the book. Eventually I was given a deadline – I sent in what I had come up with and spent the rest of the night cursing loudly and pounding my fists against my skull. I was convinced I had blown it. Two days later, I find out I’m the guy who’s adapting the book. My mind was thoroughly blown.

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What was your creative process like as you drew the panels and recreated the book in comic form?

My number one concern was to be true to the spirit of the novel. What I feel when I read Fear and Loathing is a manic energy, wired and running on no sleep. Everything is slightly (or extremely at times) exaggerated, and I tried to make that the core of my visual approach. The trick is, how to choose what’s the best way to interpret a scene into a sequence of images. Given the opportunity, unlimited time and resources I could re-draw that book 5 different ways. The book is rich with visuals that you could interpret in so many ways, but to actually get the book done you have to pick just one and roll on. I listened to a lot of 60’s rock to get in the right vibe and immersed myself in Hunter’s world; reading books by or about him and playing every piece of audio and documentary video I could find over and over. I even built a little model of “The Red Shark” for reference.

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How close to the original did you keep it? Explain.

When I did my first edit of the novel I had added in parts here and there to bridge sequences, or maybe I added a little dialogue to help underscore a bit of narration. Everything I added was flagged, and after talking to my editors we decided that every word in the graphic novel was to be strictly from Hunter’s book. I think this was a really smart move, for as small as my additions were they were unnecessary. It also clears up an issue I personally have with adapted works – I hate when they deviate from the source material. And frankly, you can’t mess with or improve Hunter’s words, so it’s best you don’t even go there.

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What was the process like getting the approvals from Hunter S. Thompson’s estate?

I was kept on the creative sidelines in that respect. My editors Ted and Denton worked with the Estate and I got feedback through them. All I can do is assume they were pleased with my take on the book – my notes and revisions were next to nothing and approval seemed to go really fast. It’s weird to know you’re drawing a book featuring a semi-fictional version of someone’s father or husband and that those people have final approval on my work. I was consciously aware of that and did my best to stick to the content of the book and not impose some outside interpretation on “Raoul Duke”.  My adaptation was made with a deep reverence for Hunter and this novel that means so much to so many people, I’m not trying to trivialize him in any way but turning him into a “cartoon” of sorts.

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Hunter invented Gonzo journalism how do you see your graphic novel in that regard or context?

Not terribly Gonzo, I’m afraid. No seat of your pants, drawing for 78 hours straight, wired on coffee and Benzedrine jags I’m sorry to report. It was a sit down for long hours and work your ass off job. Basically the same thing everyone does who works in comics, and it’s a pretty heavy slog some days. But it’s gratifying to see it all come together in the end. I hope at least it’s a gateway for people who haven’t experience Hunter’s books to discover him and perhaps an interesting interpretation for those who have a longtime love affair with his books.

This book is a classic work of literature and has endured the decades and Johnny Depp even played Hunter in a movie how did that all affect your approach to the graphic novel?

Depp and Bill Murray both nailed certain aspects of Hunter’s persona, just as Steadman’s art is completely synonymous with his books. You can’t deny or escape those things but I tried not to allow all of that to influence my take on the story too much. I hope this graphic novel stands on it’s own in company with them and not derivative of them in anyway. I did drop in a few nods here and there to the sharp-eyed Hunter aficionado’s out of respect for Ralph Steadman because he really set the visual tone that accompanies the Gonzo vibe.

For someone who loves comic but is not familiar with the work of Thompson what would you tell them to get them to check out your graphic novel?

“Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride” is often said in conjunction with this book and there’s a reason for that. The narrative takes off like a shot, and what ensues is chock full of sardonic mayhem and edge of your seat intensity. Man, if only more comics these days were this much fun! It is a manic ride you’d be remiss to not check out.

You are going to be at the New York comic con promoting the book where can people visit you and get an autographed copy and what else are you doing to promote the comic?

I’ll be in Artist Alley at table AA6 Thursday-Saturday at NYCC with special signing events at the IDW / Top Shelf booth (1844). (*I’ve attached a promo flyer listing all my show events while in New York) I’ll be holding a book launch in my hometown on Prince Edward Island (Come on up, everyone!) on October 28th at City Cinema where we’ll also be screening the Gilliam film version of Fear and Loathing. Then I’m off as a guest at Hal-Con in Halifax, NS for the weekend with my wife Brenda (she draws My Little Pony for IDW). IDW and Top Shelf are working on a really amazing promo tour around Southern California in November that is going to be totally Gonzo, so keep you’re eyes out for details on that because it’s going to be amazing!!

Hard Wyred Creator Erik Bitmanis

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Hard Wyred is the creation of Canadian Erik Bitmanis, who promotes his book as an epic new sci-fie/cyberpunk comic series that features tech coat wielding gunmen, corporate scheming and a giant baby. Its a fantastical tale reminiscent of The Matrix where people hook themselves into machines so that they don’t have to go back to their real lives. The main character Sam refuses to give in and get hooked up to a machine to live a false life and no matter how unpleasant his real life he wants to live. He is a sort of anti-hero who combines a knowledge of the way of the world he lives in with a meaningful grasp of what real life is. Hard Wryed recently completed a successful Kickstarter and will be available soon for those who missed the opportunity when the Kickstarter campaign was live. The Gr1nd got with Erik to talk about his awesome new comic-

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What is Hard Wyred about?

Hard Wyred is about a man who is afraid to let go of his past. The main character, Sam, purposely tries to lag behind the world because he is terrified let go of the past events that have defined him. Hard Wyred also parallels some concepts of the way we use the internet today. We all tend to act as different people online then we would in day-to-day life, and I wanted Hard Wyred to reflect that.

How did you come up with the concept?

The concept came to me over a long period of time, mainly when I really should have been studying in university. Two of my favourite movies growing up as a kid were Die Hard and The Matrix, so it was only fitting to have my first major project be a mash up of some of the things that I really liked within both those movies.

Who did you work with on the project? 

We have had a couple people work on this project. My penciller/inker is a guy named Ross Zucco, who happens to be from my hometown and we also went to the same high school. The original penciller/inker was Joshua Suarez, and he did a great job bringing initial ideas to life, but life can sometimes get in the way so Josh had to leave the project. Our brilliant colours are done by Gwenaelle Daligault, who hails from France. And our letters are done by Jamie Me, from the UK.

How does what goes on in your comic mirror our world today?

A good deal of what I wanted to mirror would be how people want to be perceived online, or how they change their persona to match this idealized version of themselves. I don’t think it’s a problem we have or anything, it’s just a very interesting topic to look at how someone behaves so differently in an online environment compared to an offline one. The biggest example of this right from issue #1 is how different Sam looks in the online world compared to what he really looks like in the real world. While he is skinny, small, and fragile in the real world; he is this behemoth of a man that is muscular and suave in the online world. A little bit like wish fulfillment mixed with a dose of reality.

What is your personal opinion of technology and where it is headed?

I have two school of thought when it comes to technology. One is that, it’s fantastic. We have increased our efficiency to an extreme degree, allowing us to get so much more done in a day. We are all connected to one another, where for instance most of my art team is from other parts of the world that I would never have been able to interact with without the technology we have. On the other hand, more people are spending time inside and interacting with individuals through an electronic device instead of face to face conversation. I think people’s social skills in the long run are going to suffer because of it as interacting in person is entirely different from online or a mobile phone.

In terms of where I see technology heading; more automation, and greater focus on connecting with people. While we already have great platforms to connect to people with, there is still room to increase that. Also automated driving, that will probably be a thing.

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Explain the main character Sam and what he thinks about it all?

Sam hates technology. Period. Despises it, which is really odd for a guy who’s main job is to enter this online world and accomplish whatever menial task is set out by Ms. Teller. As I said above, Sam is a complicated guy who has built his personality  and characteristics to push people away. He’s standoff-ish, abrasive, stubborn, and he is actually a pretty big dick. While he has a rough exterior, he does have some soft spots for certain people in his life, but they are few and far between. I think he really just needs a hug.

What were your influences for this comic?

My biggest influences were The Matrix and Die Hard, but other influencers include Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Absolutely love that book series, and really transformed my perception of what a fantastical world could be. Also, CHEW by John Layman and Rob Guillroy, as they were the first comic I read that really proved that a comedy series can do well, and continue to provide laughs throughout the series.

What is the over all point or theme you are trying to get across?

The overall theme would be that it’s unhealthy for a person to hold onto past events that they cannot change, and that in order to continue to grow as a person you would have to be able to move past them. Else, you’ll really be robbing some of the joys of life. Underlying themes address some of the wonders and dangers of losing yourself in an online world.

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Will it be a regular series?

I’m really aiming for it to be. I have the entire story set out to be a maxi-series (about 16-18 issues), but my first goal is going to be to complete the first arc (5 issues) and go from there. I really want to tell the whole story, but that comes down to time and money. One day maybe :).

How did the Kickstarter go?

The Kickstarter went great. Seeing the generosity of complete strangers and their belief in your project was truly amazing.

When is the book coming out?

Well we just hit some production delays when Josh had to leave the book, but I’m aiming to be delivering the Kickstarter book sometime this December/early January. After that, I’ll be looking to submit to comixology and sell through my own website while we start working on issue #2.

Will you promote it on the comic con scene? 

For sure. In fact I have already been to both Montreal and Ottawa Comic Con to promote the book and talk to other creators. I went to Fan Expo in Toronto as well, but not as an exhibitor.

Check out these links-

www.hardwyredcomic.com

www.facebook.com/hardwyredcomic

Bounded Issue 2 from Mel Rubi

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Boundead is a new comic from Mel Rubi. Rubi has been working in the comics world for over 20 years illustrating characters and doing covers for Marvel, Darkhorse and Image, among others. He has been around the block as they say but Boundead is a creator owned project that he has put out himself, first though digital issues but now in a printed version. After a successful Kickstarter campaign Rubi is ready to get issue #1 printed up and get it in his supporters hands. He took time out of his busy schedule to chat with The Gr1nd about his new comic, his career, and his video game work. Check out the exclusive interview here-

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How did you come up with the concept for Boundead?

The vision of Boundead came from a variety of scripts that I have read throughout my career as an artist.  You can almost say it created a life of its own. While working on projects, images in my mind started to roll in.  So I would set my work aside for just a brief moment and sketched out the thoughts that popped in my head at that particular time. As if it wanted to be revealed. Then as I created the character(s), subtle things in the process would tell me why he or she possessed that strength and what makes them weak? Of course, these were your typical questions when designing characters. Villains would then come to mind as I continued to sketch. Who is this villain and what does he want? It took some years, like over ten years, to figure out his motives. Then it finally hit me.  It was the children whom are born of the undead. Then the story begins to unfold, but you’ll have to read the entire arc to find out what’s so special about these children. That’s how I came up with the concept. I’m just an instrument who is portraying the story.

Explain the motives of the main character Ayr Slash?

Retaliation is the very motive of every living dead in this dark world including Ayr Slash herself.  During the former life,  Ayr was an abused wife.  A day came when she could not take more of the beatings and planned the killing of her husband.  However, that was only the beginning of her dilemma.  She must face him once more at the afterlife.

Describe the world you have created and what its about?

This is not your ordinary world nor have you ever heard about.  One thousand years after the world ended, corpses have risen back to life raging with hate and aggression.  These are the unfortunate with evil hearts that have died and resurrected.  Similar to zombies they crave for sustenance to keep the pain away only with a normal mind like you and I have.  The undead are not alone.  King Ophidian (the devil) and his conjurers have taken control of the undead by ensnaring them with the addiction of man’s will. Ophidian’s specialties are the Boundead.  Having born pure, these children have abilities that the king desire for so he may conquer his enemy’s kingdom.  However there is one that stands in the way, Ayr Slash.

Who does the art for the series?

I illustrate all the art, lettering and story.  Although when push comes to shove, I have a few talented artists lined up to help this book shine at its finest.

How many issues do you plan in the current story arc?

The first story arc will be a total of six issues. We do have plans to turn it into an on-going series.

How did the kickstarter campaign go?

Having tried with so little knowledge about marketing for the first time did not meet the goal that I had anticipated.  Since then I have learned and understood what the fans wanted and launched Boundead issue #1 for the second time.  It was a success and the book was funded.  Currently we Launched issue number two and also was successful.  We’ve also gained more backers for issue two which means so much to us.  I can’t emphasize enough how thankful I am to all that have supported these books.

What other projects are you currently involved in?

I continue to work on covers for independent comic book companies.  I also contract for game companies doing conceptual design and revisions.

Tell us a little about the past work you have done in comics and video games?

1993 was the year I broke into the comics. My very first project was to help finish some of the art pages for Ron Wagner on Morbius for Marvel.  Simultaneously, I was working on Shadow Man for Valiant.  It wasn’t an easy task for a rookie and it surely burnt me out.  Immediately after helping out with Morbius, Bobbie Chase assigned me to pencil Doctor Strange.  Following after are titles like Punisher War Journal, Uncanny X-men and Excalibur. Also a few title from Image Comics such as Grifter, Backlash and Deathblow.  During the late 90’s with Dark Horse, I’ve worked on Predator titles, Kiss and Angel.  Several years later I worked on Red Sonja for Dynamite.  Around 2010, games were growing through social media and I had the urge to expand my skills and explored it.  I started working for Bioware a division of Electronic Arts. I stayed with the company working on character/ environmental concepts and a few website designs for four years.  I then moved to 5th Planet Games working on more conceptual art and currently contract for the company.

For more info check out-  www.melrubi.com

A Chat with Aporkalypse’s Jordan Williams

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Stache Publishing is bringing all type of awesome material to the comics world- Hunter’s Lore, Supreme Team, Out of the Blue, Gun Powder Witch and more. Their titles are as diverse was they are amazing. With interesting storylines and beautiful artwork Stache Publishing is the next big thing in indie comics. But they are not resting on their laurels. Fresh off a successful Supreme Team Kickstarter they have lunched a new one for Aporkalypse and it has already been accorded the highly sought after rating as Staff Pick on Kickstarter. To find out what is going on with this book we got with artist, writer and creator Jordan Williams, who also happens to be one of the main men behind Stache Publishing. The Gr1nd is happy to give you this exclusive-

What is the comic you have on Kickstarter about?

Aporkalypse is a collection of over 50 comic strips and short stories about the shopkeepers of the strip mall. Early on in Aporkalypse, the Apocolypse happens and destroys everything on earth except for one pig-themed strip mall, it’s store owners, and one British customer. Each story in Aporkalypse is created by a different creative team. Each team brings their own unique flavor to the stories.

Who created it and how did it come about?

Stache Publishing created the story and the characters for a local newspaper strip that was looking to add some local talent into their newspaper. Stache came up with the basic ‘sandbox’ story that we wanted to go with. We decided on a strip-mall and each character, in a generic sense. We didn’t dig too deep into the characters, we would leave that up to the creative teams’ imagination. Our goal for the Aporkalypse comic strip was to use it as a vessel to showcase the great local talent that St. Louis has in it’s own backyard, and personally I think we achieved just that.

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What people are working on it?

I’m personally really excited for some of the talent in this book. On top of contributions from Stache members, past and present, Aporkalypse has really brought in some great talent. I’m not going to list everyone (sorry!), but a few that come to mind are some of my favorite contributions. Of course the first thing you see will be the cover, and we lucked out by getting the crazy talented French artist Vincent Dubourg to do the official artwork for the story. New York Times Best Selling Author Ellie Ann wrote a month’s worth of strips, that I ended up illustrating. Ashely Walker, a UK artist, contributed comic strips and a full on story that is one of my favorites in the book. Local comic creator collective Headmetal Comics contributed a month’s worth of amazing comic strips, where writer Chris Orndoff used his childhood memories of living in Hawaii and channeled them into character development for the Hawaiian character, Randy. Jimmy Grist, the creator of the webcomic Dinosaur Kid, contributed a short story to the book. It was also exciting to get amateur writers who have never written a published comic before like Rick Bloemer and Josh Hunt. Rick had attended one of Stache’s panels at Arcon in Collinsville, IL and ended up writing for us. Josh is a friend of ours that has featured Stache on his podcast in the past. That’s just a small portion of what’s going on in this comic.

How long has this project been in the works?

The project started in the early months of 2014 and has been growing ever since.

What role do you play in this book?

I am serving as a Co-Editor with Anthony Mathenia and Drew Rose on this book. I have contributed a few stories within the book as well.

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Why should someone support it on Kickstarter?

From our point of view, we want as many backers as possible in as many countries as possible to get their hands on this book and see some really great independent comic book creators of the world. Kickstarter reaches millions of people in so many countries. It’s a great product with great talent.

From the pledger’s point of view, this book has some amazing story telling and artwork. There’s a little something for everyone. If you pre-order it, you will enjoy it. It is made to have the ‘Sunday Morning’ cartoon vibe. It’s a great book to sit down with on a lazy weekend day. I’m confident people will really enjoy this collection.

What are the rewards that backers get?

The main reward is the printed book. The book is available in paperback and hardcover for this Kickstarter. The paperback is your standard edition, that will be sold at conventions and online in the future. The hardcover will ONLY be available on Kickstarter, so this is the only chance for someone to get one. As far as other rewards go, for donating ANY amount of money ($1 and up) you will get your name listed in the back of the hardcover book.  We are also offering a digital version of the book for those who prefer that route. We will be sending everyone who donates $5 or more a postcard in the mail. We are offering a knitted pig hat that just looks amazing as well. We also have a reward tier for a bundle of Stache comics that include paperback graphic novels Hunter’s Lore and Out of the Blue, comic floppies Gunpowder Witch #1, Gunpowder Witch #2, Butterfly, and Ginormous, the exclusive Aporkalypse hardcover, the digital copy of Aporkalypse, a post card, and a life size Pickles the pig hand puppet.

What others books have you done?

Aside from my work in Aporkalypse, I have done work in Stache’s first anthology that was debuted on Free Comic Book Day 2013 and Stache’s anthology based on the 7 Deadly Sins. I also have my own comic series, Gunpowder Witch. Which I am collecting as a graphic novel in the next year hopefully.

What other Kickstarter campaigns have you run?

I have successfully run two other Kickstarters, for the first 2 issues of Gunpowder Witch.

Check out this exciting new comp now on Kickstarter-

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1821708802/aporkalypse-an-entertaining-end-of-the-world-antho

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