Showing posts with label Baltimore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baltimore. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kata Kane's NBM double debut

by Mike Rhode

At  the Small Press Expo, Kata Kane had her own table as usual, but she was also signing books at NBM's table. They have published the first book in a new series Ana and the Cosmic Race by Amy Chu with art by Kata. We caught up to ask how her career was changing.. 

After our first interview, you published Altar Girl vol. 2. Did that wrap up the series, or do you have plans to continue it?

Altar Girl is ongoing, and you can read up to Book 4 online at my website altar-girl.com. I've also started releasing the series on webcomic sites like WEBTOON and Tapastic. I'm hoping to do a print version of Altar Girl Book 3 soon, but for now it's still going strong online! 

You've done the art for two new series coming out this fall from NBM's Papercutz imprint. How did that come about?


Papercutz reached out to me when they started the launch for their new Charmz romance book line. They saw that my art style and stories were all-ages/tween/YA and asked me to pitch. My first pitch was for GFFs: Ghost Friends Forever with Monica Gallagher [also of Baltimore]. Then they asked if I'd be interested in doing the art for Ana and the Cosmic Race, a story already in production with Amy Chu. I'm so glad I've gotten to work on both series! 

What kind of script do you get? Do you work directly with the writer at all?

I do work closely with the writers when it comes to collaborating and world-building, especially with the characters. As for the script, it varies from writer to writer the level of detail, but I do try to give suggestions if I see a spot where we could do something fun with the art, or if there's a chance to insert some great reactions from the characters. I'm lucky that I've gotten to work with wonderful writers who have given me a lot of freedom and great feedback too. I think pacing is one of my strong points, so in cases where I've been given either a lot or just a little to work with script-wise, I always aim to get a good flow going with the dialog and art.


Will there be more books in the two new series?

I'm currently working on Book 2 for both Ana and the Cosmic Race as well as GFFs! There's still much more to discover, so I think readers of Book 1 for both of these series will be eager to see what's in store.

My online/social media info: kata-kane.com | @kata_kane


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Chris Miskiewicz speaks

by Mike Rhode
 
Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. Just when you think there's nobody left in the Studio to talk with, our sixth interview is with writer and actor Chris Miskiewicz.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? 

 I’m a Brooklyn-based writer and actor. In comics, I’m best known for writing the critically acclaimed series, Thomas Alsop alongside artist Palle Schmidt (dubbed Best Mini-Series of 2014 by USA Today) published by BOOM! Studios. And the comic anthology Everywhere published by ActivateComix. As an actor I’ve appeared on HBO's Bored to Death, USA Networks White Collar, and various others.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 
 
I’m a native New Yorker. I’m 4th generation Italian and 1st generation Polish, born in Brooklyn, NY.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
 
I took up writing and drama in college, but I’ve been a comic book reader since I was ten years old. It was the first type of fiction I got, and I never fell out of love with the episodic nature of the industry.

Who are your influences?
 
Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Brian K. Vaughn, Charles Bukowski.


What work are you best-known for? 
 
Currently Thomas Alsop published by BOOM! Studios.

What work are you most proud of?
 
Thomas Alsop and a webseries I co-wrote with my cousin Christopher Piazza called The Adventures of Shakespeare & Watson: Detectives of Mystery. It’s absolutely bonkers and I wish Adult Swim would call me up right now to buy it. 


What would you like to do or work on in the future?
 
I write in all forms. Prose, comics, screenwriting, as well as physical storytelling in acting, and a bunch of short films. I’d like to continue exploring every way you can tell a tale. I mean, if Shakespeare were alive he’d probably have a blog…

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
 
Drugs, drinking, go up to the roof and crawl into a bawl crying that all of my life choices have been wrong and that I’m a failure, play “Simpson’s Tapped Out,” breaking and entering somewhere I shouldn’t be to snap a picture.

You know, the normal things a person with voices in their head does during a crisis.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 
 
I think comics will continue to be a testing ground for properties that larger media are considering for live action works.

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year? 
 
I’m hanging with some old friends at Hang-Dai’s table, as well as appearing on a panel with them on Sunday 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm in room 343-344 which is followed by a quick signing at BOOM!’s booth #2001 from 3 to 4 pm.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them? 
 
This year I’ve been to MOCCA, SDCC and Copenhagen Comic Con for the release of the Danish translated edition of Thomas Alsop vol. 1. Copenhagen Comic Con was awesome, and I want someone to adopt me so I can move to Denmark.

I’ll also be appearing at NYCC in October…

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore? 
 
The Wire.

How about a favorite local restaurant?
 
Hit me up again after this convention.

Do you have a website or blog?
 
My site is being completed, but you can follow me on twitter at @CMMiskiewicz and track me down at: http://welcometotripcity.com/contributors/chris-miskiewicz/

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Dean Haspiel speaks (UPDATED!)

by Mike Rhode

Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our fifth interview is with Dean Haspiel.

Where did "Hang Dai" come from? 

 "Hang Dai" was derived from HBO's "Deadwood." Whenever Al Swearengen and Mr. Wu would curse their way through a private deal and come to an agreement, Wu would cross his fingers and say "Hang Dai." Or, something that sounded like that and which meant "Brotherhood." Or, as my studio mate Christa Cassano likes to say, "Sisterhood."

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I hopscotch between superhero and memoir and psychedelic romance comix. My recent effort is called Beef With Tomato, co-published by Alternative Comics and Hang Dai Editions. It's about my escape from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Blue pencil, occasional brush pen and Micron pens + digital shading/coloring.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

1967. New York Hospital.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

The comic book rack on the newsstand at the corner of 79th street and Broadway in NYC was my comix kindergarten. Later on I discovered a steady flow of pop art pulp treasures at West Side Comics, opened a weekly account at Funny Business, and discovered American Splendor and Yummy Fur at Soho Zat. After that, any inklings of pursuing a normal life went out the window when dreams of drawing comix for a living took over and held my sway. I never learned how to draw comix in school because school didn't teach comix. School shunned comix. Comix taught me how to make comix. And, I'm still learning how, one panel at a time.

Who are your influences?

Ron Wilson, Jim Aparo, Jack Kirby, C.C. Beck, John Byrne, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Will Eisner, Frank Robbins, Jim Starlin, Michael Golden, Howard Chaykin, Walter Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Zeck, Frank Miller, Katsuhiro Otomo, John Romita Jr., Frank Quitely, Goran Parlov, Darwyn Cooke, Marcos Martin, Chris Samnee, Gregory Benton, Josh Bayer, Stan Lee, Warren Ellis, Jason Aaron, Brian K Vaughan, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Ames, Mickey Spillane, and Richard S. Prather.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

The Thing: Night Falls On Yancy Street. I wasn't ready. I would ask to change the dark ending, too, so me and Evan Dorkin could make it Marvel canon rather than Marvel folklore.

What work are you best-known for?

I believe I'm best known for my collaboration with Harvey Pekar on The Quitter. Possibly, the ten-issues of The Fox I recently co-wrote and drew for Archie Comics. Maybe, some Billy Dogma.

What work are you most proud of?

Billy Dogma in Fear, My Dear. And, Heart-Shaped Hole.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I aim to focus on creator-owned comix but, given the opportunity, I'd like to write and draw The Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel (Shazam), O.M.A.C., Deathlok, and bring back Marvel Two-In-One, featuring The Thing. I also have a great Batman & Superman story that features cameos of the JLA, done in the spirit of a cross between Sullivan's Travels and On The Road.



What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?


Wash dishes. Work on something wholly different. Mix it up. Your mind is always working. Let it work by letting it relax and think different.



What do you think will be the future of your field? 

Patronized digital comix produced one panel at a time; published one per day, delivered directly to your phone, and story arcs get collected into print (if necessary).\

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year?


Baltimore Comic-Con is my favorite show, bar none. A perfect combo of rookie and veteran cartoonists among old and new comic books and just the right amount of cosplay. I've also been a regular guest for almost 15 years.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Besides BCC, I usually attend SPX, NYCC, MoCCA, CAB, and Locust Moon Comics Festival. I was a guest of Wizard World six times this year. They treat me very well.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?


Marc Nathan and Brad Tree.

Least favorite?

I've yet to encounter anything in Baltimore to make me dislike its innate charm.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

 

One day I plan to stay an extra day or two so I can personally visit Baltimore's culture.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

 

Out of pure proximity and laziness, I tend to grab dinner at the M&S Grill on E Pratt Street and soak in the Inner Harbor sights.

Do you have a website or blog?

http://deanhaspiel.com/

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Gregory Benton speaks

by Mike Rhode

Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our fourth interview is with Gregory Benton.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? 

Alternative comics leaning towards wordless and stream of consciousness.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination? 

My latest book Smoke has two story threads. One is executed in watercolor and ink, the other digital. My other recent books are all traditional media (watercolor, gouache, crayon, pen and ink).

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

I was born on a steamy summer's day in NYC, sometime toward the end of the last century

What is your training and/or education in cartooning? 

I went to RISD, majoring in illustration. At the time there was no "cartooning" discipline, but there were plenty of us who loved the art form and would hang out together to figure it out. Jason Lutes and painter Eric White among our group.

Who are your influences? 

Artistically, the Euro artists Mattotti, Chaland, Baru, Muñoz really jazzed me as a young cartoonist. These days there is too much to love artist-wise. I find myself relying on nature and life drawing to inform my work.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change? 

I would probably just have told my younger self to finish the projects started. That's a huge thing: keep the ball rolling.

What work are you best-known for? 

 Probably B+F (AdHouse). Hopefully soon for Smoke (Hang Dai Editions).

What work are you most proud of? 

I did a book in 1996 called Hummingbird for Slave Labor Graphics. It was my first long work at 48 pages and it taught me a heck of a lot about comix-making: pacing, technique, storytelling. It is a completely unorthodox story, but I love it. It was recently reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Cult Comics.

What would you like to do or work on in the future? 

I would like to keep making comics, simple as that. For me it is not a gateway to another media. I love it as a discipline, warts and all.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 

Walks are nice. Stepping away for a while to take your mind off the story, getting involved in something unrelated to let your subconscious work on the problem. Also, talking with studio mates (like the fine ones I've got at Hang Dai) is massive in seeing the problem from a different perspective. Rending of clothes works in a pinch.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

The increasing legitimacy of comics art as literature. It has come a very long way since I began my career, but I don't think we've gotten anywhere near the ceiling.

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year? 

I've never been before! Really excited to meet some good people and hopefully turn them on to my work.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them? 

This year I've been to SPX and will be attending BCC, CXC, NYCC, CAB, Genghis Con and Angouleme. I will also be a Visiting Artist at Center For Cartoon Studies in October.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore? 

I've never really spent time in Baltimore, but I'm looking forward to it!


Do you have a website or blog? 

I can be found at www.gregorybenton.com, on Twitter @gregory_benton and Facebook. On both Instagram and Tumblr my handle is @gregorybenton.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Christa Cassano speaks


Christa Cassano and John Leguizamo
by Mike Rhode
 
Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our third interview is with Christa Cassano. Come back tomorrow for interviews with Dean and Gregory.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?


I do original type of comics, not sticking to any sort of limitation. 


How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?


Originally, I used pencil, but had to switch to working on a Cintiq after dislocating the middle finger of my drawing hand a few years ago. This is because you can press a lot lighter, so it is much less painful. At the one year mark of the injury, I was only able to draw for a few hours on paper before pain set in. I'm hoping enough scar tissue has gone away so I can go back to it soon. Really want to produce tangible art again! 


When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

I was born in the latter half of the 20th Century (that's the best you're getting) in the state of Washington.


What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I've only been doing comics for the last three years, before that I was in fine art and received extensive training in drawing, painting and sculpture.


Who are your influences?

Discovering Daniel Clowes' Eightball in the early 90's is what made me want to make comics. I carried that torch for decades before finally realizing it, so I guess I'd say he is my ultimate influence. Sam Keith is another early influence, as is Paul Pope, who I've spent a lot of time studying. It's a hard question to answer though, because I am continually uncovering new gems of comics work to worship and adore, but I rarely look outside myself to come up with panel solutions and my drawing style arrived naturally from having taken thousands of life drawing classes, so I can't help but draw like I do.  

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I would have started doing comics much sooner, or rather, never stopped when I started in 5th grade.


What work are you best-known for?

The up-coming graphic novel Ghetto Klown, written by John Leguizamo and based on his one-man show of the same name. 

What work are you most proud of?


Probably the one I currently have for sale called A Letter Lasts Longer. It's written by Dean Haspiel and was presented to me and 7 other cartoonists as an exercise/experiment at the Atlantic Center for the Arts graphic novel residency in Florida a few years back. We were to create a one page comic around what he had written. Instead, I took extreme liberties and drew a nearly fifty panel comic that you could enter from several points, recently turning it into a uniquely formed accordion book. That residency was the entry point for me into the world of comics and the experiment and its production taught me that I can take my crazy ideas in comics and make them real.   


What would you like to do  or work on in the future?


Pawnland characters with Mouse Guard for 
Baltimore comic con yearbook
Well, as much as I enjoy doing uncommon things and pushing boundaries, I am going to move forward with something that came to me rather naturally, without the usual hair pulling. I recently wrote the first draft to a five-issue series that is a pretty straight forward revenge story. It's set in a dystopic alternate reality called Pawnland. 


What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

Eat, usually. Or ride my bike.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

tumblr, robots, extinction.

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year?

Because Dean Haspiel is a favored and time-honored guest who graciously shares his table with fellow studio mates. This year our studio will be doing a panel and Hang Dai Editions will be debuting 3 new books, one of which contains a six page story I drew.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I just came back from SPX, my second year in attendance and always a good, fun time. Not sure about future cons, need to lay low and draw.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?

Baltimore Comic Con Director's Brad Tree and Marc Nathan! 

Least favorite?

That I haven't seen The Wire yet. 

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I dig going to the harbor outside of the convention.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Whatever that one is on the Harbor that begins with an M.

Do you have a website or blog?

I have a flickr with images of my work and an old blog lingering around.
http://swinginmeatcomics.blog.com/

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Vito Delsante speaks

by Mike Rhode
 
Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our second interview is with writer Vito Delsante.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I'm predominantly a writer, but I have crossed into lettering and editing in the past few years. I still consider myself a writer, but with added dimensions.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

For writing, I still use a notebook and pen almost 65% of the time; the other 35% I'm using some kind of writing program like Google Docs, Pages (on my Mac) or Open Office. For lettering, it's all done on the computer, within Adobe Illustrator, with some forays into Photoshop and InDesign.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in 1973 in Staten Island, NY. I can't remember if it was at Staten Island Hospital or St. Vincent's, but I believe it was the former.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

Very little. I learned how to write for comics kind of through screenwriting. I took what I learned there and found a... I can't remember if it was a seminar or a newsgroup... but a lesson from Kurt Busiek about writing for comics and applied that to what I new about screenwriting and have been writing pretty much the same since 1996, with a new trick added here and there. Storytelling, which is different than writing, is something I'm still learning.

For lettering, a friend of mine, Andy Schmidt, started an online initiative called Comics Experience and I took their lettering class, which was taught by Dave Sharpe.

Who are your influences?

Mark Waid, definitely. His approach to superheroes is very close to mine, in that we see them as human beings first and build on that. James Ellroy, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, Ed Brubaker...a lot of crime authors. I'm also influenced by the work of my studio mates and peers. Making comics is a very socially prohibitive field. You do a lot of work on your own. But with the studio, you get to workshop a lot of things. And sometimes, the best idea isn't your own, so a lot of my studio mates' ideas make it into my work. And that's just because they are some of the best in the industry at what they do.

As a writer, why have you joined a studio? Historically in the comics field, studios have been organized around artists who had a pile of equipment and who also could pitch in and work on each others assignments.

It goes back to when I said who my influences are and I said my studio mates. The free exchange of ideas. For art and artists, it's easy to see where something can be fixed, or where an idea can come from for a panel. Writing doesn't work that way. It's all in the head. And writer's block happens. So being able to open up to friends, peers in the industry, is crucial. In the end, we're all storytellers. We're just using different tools (which aren't that different, really) to tell the story.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I'd probably start sooner. I floated around for a while, trying to make movies and make it as an actor, and if I knew I could do this back then, I probably would have focused my education almost exclusively in the arts. I'm always lamenting the fact that I'm not "sexy" to a publisher because I'm trying to break in at 42, but doing these things on my own, self publishing or using Kickstarter... there's a lot of freedom that I really enjoy. I don't know what kind of creator I'd be today if I started earlier, so who knows what's best?

What work are you best-known for?

That's a loaded question, because I don't know how well known my work is, but the answer is probably Stray, my creator co-owned superhero book that I do with my friend, Sean Izaakse (published by Action Lab Entertainment).

What work are you most proud of?

It's cliche, but my kids. In the industry, I'd say Stray.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

Ideally...I would like to move to editorial and maybe to publishing and put out work from creators I believe in. The problem with that is I'm not sure how much creating I would do then, and my brain really is...that whole thing where you can't shut your mind off because you get a new idea? That's a "problem" for me. I really do get piqued often, so I'm not sure how well I'd do as just a publisher. But I'd still like to do it.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I usually step away from the computer, listen to music, play with my kids...just something that's not writing or not comics. I can't read someone else's comic because then I get really competitive. I have to divorce myself from the entire process.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I'm terrible at predictions, so I try not to do them. I just hope that whatever the future of comics is, I'm a part of it.

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year?

It's one of my favorite shows of the year. I did the show for the first time last year (although I attended twice before) and really fell in love with it. The staff are fantastic and the show is about as perfect as a comic convention gets. It helps that I'm surrounded by heroes and friends alike. This year, I'm pushing Stray and Actionverse, a new mini series I edited for Action Lab.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?

New York, Heroes Con, sometimes San Diego, but it's not on my calendar usually. I don't know if I'm becoming misanthropic, but I find that the bigger extravaganzas are less my scene. The smaller ones, ones run by locals or by retailers...those are the ones I gravitate toward because there really is an intimacy that is almost akin to a family reunion.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?

The Harbor. It's really quite beautiful at night. I once dated a girl from Baltimore and I remember Charles Street (is that the name?) was a lot of fun, although that may be because of the company I kept and less about the actual places I saw.

Least favorite?

The Ravens. I'm a dyed in the wool Steelers fan (although I'm not currently supporting the team in light of Ben Roethlisberger's continued employment and Michael Vick's hiring). The only reason any one truly hates a city is because of their sports teams.

Do you have a website or blog?

I can be found at vitodelsante.com or incogvito.com. I'm also on Twitter at @incogvito.

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Jonathan 'Swifty' Lang speaks

by Mike Rhode

Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our first interview is with writer Jonathan 'Swifty' Lang (because he sent his answers in first. We're egalitarian that way).

Where does 'Swifty' come from?

For my comics exploits, I use Swifty. There were a lot of serious-minded Jonathan's in Brooklyn who were writers at the time (Ames, Lethem, Saffron Foer) and I needed something unique. A college nickname did the trick.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

 I am a writer and am working with genre. Predominantly horror, but am also exploring crime. I am interested in using genre as a lens to explore contemporary social issues. I am also working on a weekly three-panel Tijuana Bible because the current comics environment is suffocating expression in the name of egalitarianism. My current book is Plunder (Archaia 2015). I am the writer on this project and all the art is by Skuds McKinley (and the panels shown here are his work).

As a writer, why have you joined a studio? Historically in the comics field, studios have been organized around artists who had a pile of equipment and who also could pitch in and work on each others assignments.  

 While the mechanics of writing and drawing are certainly different, those of storytelling are not. I am surrounded by a trusted group who will always serve as readers, offer input, and be critical of my work. I am also encouraged by the sheer productivity of what is happening around me. How could I not be inspired when I look to over and see what studio mates are working on? Also, I have a trusted group I can seek advice from when it comes to working with publishers and other artists. Their experience in the industry is greater than any class I could have taken. When it comes to sharing inspiration, whether that be a movie I could recommend or a great podcast I may have missed, we are all there to share ideas. Collaboration goes beyond equipment. It is about respect, support, and I'm not afraid to say it, love. 
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

I was born in Liege, Belgium in 1976, but moved when I was two and a half. I grew up in South Florida (Miami then Hollywood, FL) I went to school in Boston (Brandeis) and then Film School in Amsterdam. I have lived in Brooklyn now for 14 years. I have done some bouncing,

What is your training and/or education in cartooning? 

My background is in English Literature and Film.

Who are your influences?  

David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, Charles Wileford, Roman Polanski, Bernard Malamud, Henry Miller, Luis Bunuel, Alejandro Jodorowski, Luther Campbell, my studio mates.

I notice you cite mostly movie directors as influences. Why are you working in comics as opposed to film?


I work in comics because the way I work, there is overlap. It is visual story telling built on collaboration. I enjoy telling stories and exploring the medium has made me a better writer in terms of film as well. I consider myself a student of the medium rather than an expert. I think that not growing up with a strong comics background (my love was Mad magazine) has allowed me to tell stories that are not necessarily referential or homages to existing properties. It is vital to know the history of medium as it allows for another layer of storytelling. I think it is the equivalent to someone who is a fine artist making films. I think a broad range of influences makes for diverse storytelling. I do have writers I really admire right now (Ed Brubaker, Scott Snyder etc.) but I can't cite them as influences as much as people who I think are doing fantastic work. Colleagues would be weird as well since I don't know them personally. I think in some ways I have tried some stuff I wouldn't have had the courage to otherwise if I had been more schooled in the history. I rarely feel a "you can't do that" in the same way I do for film when there are restrictions like time and budget. I am still trying to figure it out each day. 
 
What work are you best-known for? 

Feeding Ground.

What work are you most proud of? 

All of them. I am all about process. 
What would you like to do or work on in the future? 

I would like to direct a feature film.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 

I take a shower. I do a tarot reading then I get back to the keyboard. 

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year? 

To celebrate the hard work of those I care for. To meet new people to inspire me and collaborate with.
What monument or museum do like to take visitors to? 
The Film Forum. It's not really a monument, but it's monumental to me.

Do you have a website or blog? 

Slangentertainment.com It's the website of the production company I share with my wife. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chatting with Scott Reichert about Indigo Comics

by Mike Rhode

Donna Lewis, the DC-area cartoonist behind the Reply All comic strip who suggested that our readers might be interest in the work of a fledgling company partially-based in nearby Baltimore. Since the Baltimore Comic-Con is coming up in a few days, we chatted with writer Scott Reichert about the company's first comic book which will be available at the show.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?  

My brother, Robert, and I operate a digital publishing studio called Indigo Comics and recently released our first full length book. We do superhero type stuff in the Marvel/DC tradition. Our main book, Zachariah Thorn is a macabre horror/mystery steeped in the occult.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 

We are children of the 80's.

Why are you in Baltimore now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in? 

 I live on the southwest outskirts of the city in a neighborhood called Violetville.  My brother, Robert, has been based in southern California, near Los Angeles, for the past 8 years.

How do you do your comic?  As the writer, do you do thumbnails, or a full script before passing it along to the artist? And then is the art done in traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
So the original concept for Zachariah Thorn was to do a story about a teenager who gains magical powers but who's powers change from issue to issue to, hopefully, comedic effect. The more I worked on the idea the more the task of changing the powers from issue to issue became more of a chore in my brain. Then a few years ago, around the time I posted on digital webbing and found our artist, I was feeling down about not having been doing enough work on creative projects so I told myself I need to power through a finish one project all the way to the end.

Zachariah Thorn was the most manageable story idea I had as far as the world and basic mythology were concerned. So, I abandoned the idea of the main character having a revolving door of powers and decided to set the first issue 10 years after he gained his power. That allowed me to just jump in without worrying about going through the origin, and instead pepper in clues about his origin through flashbacks and dream sequences. There are a lot of themes that I hope to explore should we have the opportunity to keep making more books. The main character is constantly at odds with himself and his struggle in dealing with his dark powers would be used as a metaphor for depression and mental illness.

As far as the nuts an bolts of my process, I like to use process flow mapping software like Visio to map the key moments in the story. Once I have those thoughts organized chronologically, I begin filling the spaces in between while scripting. I write my script up just like a film screenplay. I "cast" all of the characters in the story and send the artist pictures of the actors I would use if I were casting a movie or TV version of my book. Lastly, if I have a specific ideas in my head of how something should look, I will do a google image search and paste the image inside the script for the artist to use as reference.

Our artist Bonkz Seriosa then works with pencils and boards. He sends us the hi-res jpegs that my brother, Robert, digitally inks and colors. We have a technique to get an inked look by adjusting the value levels of the pencils, and then retouching the result.

Where did you find Bonkz?

A few years ago, after several kind of starts and stops to the comic making process, I decided I was going to press on with my goal of creating something and seeing it through to fruition. My brother Robert does a lot of work in the industry and suggested I try posting a paid job offer to www.digitalwebbing.com. I received dozens upon dozens of submissions but Bonkz's work really resonated with my tastes. I have been working with him on this project on and off for a few years now and he is a delightful fellow who is always enthusiastic and engage with the work we are doing.
Bonkz is from the Phillipines. His real first name is Jergen, but he likes to be called Bonkz and he signs his artwork that way as well. If you look closely at the last page of our book he cleverly put his name on the tombstone in the foreground as his way of signing the art.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?  

Robert is a graduate of the design program at California State University and has been illustrating since he was a child. I do not have a single artistic bone in my body.

Who are your influences?  

Joss Whedon, Robert Kirkman, and Brian K. Vaughn when it comes to writing. I've also always been a big fan of Terry Dodson, Tony Moore, John Cassaday, Ryan Ottley, and Frank Quitely to name a few artists.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?  

I would have pursued a degree is creative writing so I could sound as accomplished as all the wonderful people who have collaborated with me and helped bring this project to life! 
What work are you best-known for?  

Hopefully for Zachariah Thorn!

What work are you most proud of?  

Zachariah Thorn#1 for sure as it is our first full length release and represents several years of work finally coming to fruition. 

What would you like to do or work on in the future?  

My dream would be to build enough of an audience to simply offset the costs of creating more original books. Anything beyond that is gravy.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?  

When I have writer's block I usually take a step back from what it is I am working on for a day or two and revisit it when I am fresh. I also find it helps to move over to other projects and give them some attention for a bit.

What do you think will be the future of your field?  

Interactive/motion comics. I think if you look at what Madefire is doing you will see the future of comic books (at least in the style that we are creating). They are so immersive. I truly believe something is going to come along like The Walking Dead that is going to be a big hit in popular culture that will launch interactive/motion comics as the new standard.
by Mike Rhode


What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo or others? Any comments about attending them?  
We will presenting at this years Baltimore Comic Con (September 25th, 26th, & 27th), Artist Alley Booth #A53. We are really excited. This is our first time actually presenting so we aren't sure what to expect! We plan to have printed copies of Zachariah Thorn #1, some posters, stickers, wristbands, and postcards. We may have gone a little overboard on the schwag!


What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?  
Seeing a ballgame at Camden Yards and karaoke at the Hippo before it closed.

Least favorite?  
Aside from some of the more painful realities that plague Baltimore (they are way to heavy for someone as dumb as me to speak on) I would have to say the severe lack of parking.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to? 
The Walters Art Museum for sure and Camden Yards!

How about a favorite local restaurant? 
Los Portales, best Tex Mex in the area!

Do you have a website or blog?