Showing posts with label Kickstarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kickstarter. Show all posts

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Anthony Dortch

by Mike Rhode

I was recently at a local business asking about a comics-related item they were selling, and one of the staff told me that his colleague did comic books. After some followup, we interview Arlington's Anthony Dortch who currently has a Kickstarter campaign to turn his comics into film (warning: contains body-painted nudity).

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I am currently working on PURE. It's an epic tale of ingrained racism and the evils of inequality. It's a project where models get body painted to become the characters of a graphic novel and hopefully a feature-length movie.

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

PURE is a fumetti-style graphic novel.

Photo comics are a form of sequential storytelling that uses photographs rather than illustrations for the images, along with the usual comics conventions of narrative text and word balloons containing dialogue. They are sometimes referred to as fumetti, photonovels, fotonovelas, or similar terms.

Although far less common than illustrated comics, photo comics have filled certain niches in various places and times. For example, they have been used to adapt popular film and television works into print, tell original melodramas, and provide medical education. Photo comics have been popular at times in Italy and Latin America, and to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries.

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

I always say I born in the blizzard of 1978. I was born Fri., 1/13/78 in Akron, OH. I was raised in Hamilton, OH.

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

I wanted something different, but wasn't ready for New York. I currently live in the Ashton Heights neighborhood in Arlington, VA.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I went to SCAD for graphic design.

Who are your influences?

I am often fascinated by Van Gogh. Today, Van Gogh is regarded as an artistic genius and his masterpieces sell for record-breaking prices; however, during his lifetime, he was a poster boy for tortured starving artists and sold only one painting. I find this intriguing.

In time, Van Gogh’s work evolved from dark/somber artistic style to lightened up and more color one. I like use of color and energetic strokes.

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

The time I gave up on myself. This was the time that I started believing that I wasn't talented and my art was no good as people from the outside kept telling me I should try to find a career.

What work are you best-known for?

My use of color to help tell my story.

What work are you most proud of?

I am most proud that I have stuck with this project. In 2009, I began working on a project called The Privileged Series. I traveled to Tybee Island, GA to work with fashion designer Anthony Canney, Tim Cabel and Julie Simser to do the first shoot. The goal was to represent differences between the rich and the poor through a surrealistic art form.

In 2010, The Privileged Series was displayed at Touchstone Gallery in Washington, D.C. and soon after traveled to galleries around the United States.

 In 2012, The Privileged Series was displayed at Distinction Gallery near San Diego, CA. I partnered with Keifla Antonio and his team to take things to the next level. The team painted the models, bringing my outrageously colored characters to life.

This was also the first time the characters emerged from paper into live action in the first mini-video.

In 2013, I created the first pilot comic book called PURE. The project uses real people with a wide variety of body types to become the characters in the story.

In 2014, when I met Michael Coslow The Privileged Series: PURE exploded into a series of making short videos. The small team traveled to Europe and across the United States painting people for the videos.


By 2015, I released the first official graphic novel. I also collaborated with Yogabear Studio twice; once in Washington, D.C. and again in San Diego, CA. The collaborative efforts produced our first joint book. PURE: Yogabear Studio: 2015. This book captures 19 models as they portray a variety of PURE characters.

After a stroke in 2016, I'm back to settle a goal. The goal is to create my first movie. The Kickstarter is my first opportunity.

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

I would love to work in the television industry.

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

I tend to visit the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum and/or The National Gallery's East/West Wings. The two sites have both classic and contemporary in one space.

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

I think it's evolving with technology. We now have moving comics, more comic books turning into movies, and more independent artist creating and producing their own companies. It is very exciting.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? 

I've attended SPX, Awesome Con, and Baltimore Comic Con.

Any comments about attending them? 

Take your time. Their are many very talented indie artists that can be overshadowed by popular artists.

What's your favorite thing about DC? 

The free museums. There is so much to see how can you not be inspired.

Least favorite? 

The traffic (cars and metro). Grrrr!

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I tend to visit the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery/American art Museum and/or The National Museum East/West Wings. The two museums have both classic and contemporary in one space.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I like Cuba Libra for intriguing cuisines and decor. The inside of the resteraunt make you feel like you on a Cuban street.

Do you have a website or blog?

Facebook is www.facebook.com/dortchdesigns and web is www.dortchdesigns.com

Here's a photo gallery more of PURE work:












Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Jason Rodriguez's Little Particle Kickstarter continues


Jason Rodriguez's Little Particle Kickstarter continues with these new stickers. He points out, "The purpose of this Kickstarter is to print a book, sure - but my purpose with this book is science advocacy."As with his Colonial Comics series, Jason's focus on educational and entertaining comics is one I agree with.

He's also noted that someone has backed having an original unique story written for them. I'm finding that curiously tempting.Sticker #1

Sticker #2

Saturday, March 05, 2016

JK Snyder III's Fashion in Action Kickstarter

 A reprint of the lost 1980s comic series Fashion In Action by John K Snyder III!

Local cartoonist John K. Snyder III has a Kickstarter campaign to reprint his 1980s comic book Fashion in Action. I've just backed it and encourage our readers to do so as well. John can regularly be met at Baltimore Comic-Con.

This project is a restoration and reprinting of the 1980s series FASHION IN ACTION created by John K Snyder III. This comic starred a high-priced, and stylishly dressed, all-female protection agency and was set in the far future. It was an intriguing breath of fresh air that was a prime example of the best in 1980s independent comic storytelling!

 It's the year 2086, and the 2080s haven't changed much from the 1980s - except of course for the jetpacks, Mars colonizations, and rocket-fueled cars. Frances Knight and her squad are "the world's highest priced and best dressed celebrity protection agency." They guard the world's rich and beautiful and make their base in the refurbished Statue of Liberty.

Fashion In Action square off against the diabolical team of the coldly manipulative Dr. Cruel, and his accomplices, Boss One - a henchman just happy to be involved - and the violently unpredictable Roxanne, Frances Knights' most psychotically devoted fan. Dr. Cruel plots to use the robot clone of a late night talk show host to turn the world's elite into gorillas during a snuff star's celebrity-filled wedding! Will they succeed? Will Frances defeat Roxanne? And will they look absolutely amazing doing so? Fund this project and find out!




Back in 1985, I set out to create an entertaining series that would reflect the times we were then living in by projecting it onto a futuristic society where the cult of celebrity and personality would become the status quo. It only seemed natural at the time to cast a group of strong-willed women as a symbol of reason and security in the middle of an ego-driven world full of social and political unrest. It was a creatively rewarding experience that was born out of the height of the creator-owned alternative market of the early/mid-80’s, but was a short-lived series that I have always hoped for the opportunity to re-introduce and return to and continue.

It is a pleasure to invite you to join Hope and I in bringing the Women and World of FASHION IN ACTION back to the twenty-first century, where they have always belonged.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cartozia Tales second Kickstarter project

Local teacher and comics writer Michael Wenthe is part of a shared-world comic known as Cartozia.

To fund some more issues, there's a new Kickstarter campaign. I've backed them.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorist Arsia Rozegar on crowdfunding his adaptation of Shahnameh, a 1000-year-old Persian poem



by Mike Rhode

Arsia Rozegar will be best known to comic book fans for his coloring work on Marvel Comics and with Image Comics' Avalon Studios. Like many cartoonists these days, he's branching out into children's books.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I do a variety of stuff. I like to do my own cartooning and digital art, but I'm most of my more well-known mainstream work has been as a comic book digital colorist.
  
 How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I work digitally for the most part in Adobe  Photoshop. Sometimes I wish real-life had a Ctrl-Z.

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

I grew up with Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Transformers.

Can you tell us what your ethnic background is? I've not encountered your first name before.


I'm of Iranian heritage.  I was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the U.S.  with my parents when I was about a year and half old.  Iranian-born, American raised, proud citizen of Earth.  

"Arsia" is actually a rare name even for Iranians. My parents specifically chose a name that no-one had. 

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

I grew up in the Washington, DC area. Had a tenure in Southern California for a while and then came back this way. I'm currently in Fairfax County. 

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I've been drawing and doing art as long as I can remember.  No formal training. Just simply had the desire to do it and make it happen.

Who are your influences?

This could be a potentially long list!  And it always changes over the years. Some of my big influences as far as comics and cartooning go off the top of my head are Shel Silverstein, Akira Toriyama, Jack Kirby, Peyo, Osamu Tezuka, Kevin Eastman, Frezzato, John & Sal Buscema, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, early Charles Schulz, I can probably keep going...  When I was a teenager reading comics, Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen were big influences.  As a comic colorist, Steve Oliff played a  role.
 
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

There was a period I had gotten really burnt out on working on a really popular Marvel title and asked to leave the book. Looking back that was probably not a wise decision. Oh well!

What work are you best-known for?

I think I'm best known for my color work on Marvel's Iron Man and The Hulk due to those titles' name value. 

What work are you most proud of?

There is an issue of Marvel's Double Shot where I colored a Klaus Janson Iron Man story. That was a lot of fun to do.  I'm also proud of the work I did with Steve Oliff and Olyoptics on Marvel's Thor Omnibus.  It was an honor to work alongside the Godfather of Comic Colors.   The most recent comic I'm coloring is André Araújo's MAN PLUS which comes out this summer.  

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

I would like to continue working on Shahnameh For Kids, a children's book based on an ancient Iranian mythology.  I currently have a Kickstarter campaign for it right now!  I'm working with the talented Mike Amante on it. I'm very happy with how the book turned out.  It'd be great to do a few more books for it and make it a series.  

Tell us more about your Kickstarter project and why you decided to do it.

Shahnameh For Kids is a full color illustrated children's book inspired by the Iranian epic poem called the Shahnameh.  



This has been a project I've been wanting to do for a while now. I wanted to create a pop version of its stories geared towards younger readers. I wanted to start with one if its more famous tales, and a personal favorite of mine, "The Story of Zal & Simorgh."

This is the culmination of several years of research of the Shahnameh and ancient Iranian studies. It was important to me that the book presented a proper visual representation of what true Iranian culture is.  This is something that is rarely shown in mainstream outlets.

I'm really happy with how the book turned out. I think it will appeal to everyone, especially those who love World Mythology.
 
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 
 
I usually don't have writer's block.  There's always so much inspiration around me at all times. Insomnia is more of an issue rather than writer's block.  


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

I would think it would continue to go towards a digital medium even more-so than it is today.  

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

Awesome Con is always a blast. I will be guest this year and will also be doing a workshop demonstration on how comics are digitally colored.  I also enjoy going to SPX as a fan because there are so many great indy comics to check out.

What's your favorite thing about DC? 

The museums.  People take for granted how we have so many amazing museums and galleries with fantastic works of art to enjoy and appreciate.  It's our nation's crown jewel in my opinion.

Least favorite?

Sitting in traffic.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?'

The Freer-Sackler is great because it has lots of fantastic historical works (I'm partial to the Iranian wing) and the National Gallery of Art is amazing.

How about a favorite local restaurant? 

Nothing beats a home cooked meal from my mother.  

Do you have a website or blog? 



Friday, May 15, 2015

Laura Lee Gulledge on her career and her graphic novel musical

(all images courtesy of LLG)
by Mike Rhode

Laura Lee Gulledge came out of nowhere in the comics field, and now has two successful young adult graphic novels out, and is turning one of them into a musical. She's returned to the area after a sojourn in the wilds of New York City and tells us about her methods and her new project, which has ten days left to go on Kickstarter.


What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I write & draw graphic novels geared towards young adults, but I write them so they will also speak to adults as well. I feature creative characters, introverted protagonists, emotionally resonant stories, puns, and playful layouts.

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

I use pen & ink & paper to create my artwork. I typically only use computer to add a layer of digital shading and then the final lettering.

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

1979, boo-yeah!

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

I actually live in NOVA, Woodbridge to be exact. I’ve returned to the area after living in NYC for seven years. I originally grew up between Manassas & Dumfries....aka: “Dumassas.” ;-)

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I never took a class in cartooning or illustration, as in school I was focused on becoming an art teacher. So I took fine art classes like painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture. My cartooning was always something ”just for fun” that I did growing up for myself, my friends, and the school paper. Go figure that I never took it seriously, but I really didn’t think I was was good enough to go anywhere with it.

Who are your influences?

As a kid: weekly comic strips, political cartoons, Jim Henson, Disney films;

As an adult: Will Eisner, Craig Thompson, Alison Bechdel, Maira Kalman.

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

Taking a marketing or business class in school sure would have been helpful!

What work are you best-known for?

My debut graphic novel, Page by Paige! (It’s “a classic” as my agent loves to say.)

What work are you most proud of?

The artwork I made while teaching as an art teacher in Ghana back in 2007. Both the work I made myself as well as what the kids made. It was a challenging & humbling experience, but the work that came out was some of my most truthful & inspired.

You're working on a special project now - a musical based on a graphic novel. Oddly enough comics-based musicals were popular at the beginning of the 20th century and seem to be having a resurgence now, as Fun Home's success shows. Can you tell us about your musical Kickstarter project? How did it come about?

While I was working on my second graphic novel (Will & Whit) I was also doing a bi-coastal collaboration with my songbird Artner Lauren Larken. We were doing weekly cross-disciplinary prompts exploring themes of mutual interest, a 6-month creative "Artnership" we had been wanting to do since we first met in Brooklyn in 2008.

As Larken learned more about the characters I was working on, she felt more and more inspired! Lyrics started pouring onto paper and we decided to take out Artnership to the young adult musical level. After we recruited a composer to write the songs and I wrote a script, we were able to hold a debut production last summer at Ballibay performing arts camp in Pennsylvania. It still blows my mind!

We’re holding a Kickstarter right now to help us take our musical to the next level of development! It ends May 25th so please visit our site: willandwhit.com

Your graphic novel has a supernatural element with living shadows - how is that translating to the stage?

For a stage adaption of this magical-realism-style imagery we will use shadow puppets (perhaps shadow sculpture), dancers dressed in black, plus projected motion comics. The possibilities for the stage are pretty broad, which is why I’m excited to see what ideas young people come up with for how they want to tackle Will’s “living shadows.”

What else would you like to say about it?

My favorite part of the show is Hurricane Whitney (which is what “Whit” refers to in the book title) which is the storm that blows into town and knocks out the electricity. In the play the hurricane is personified as a group of punk girls personified called “The Whitneys.” They invade the show and lead the audience in an interactive body of sound hurricane before intermission. It tickles me.

We also incorporate LED props & costume elements in the show when the power goes out after the hurricane, since our protagonist Will makes lamps. This adds a fun STEM (aka STEAM) element to our show, I loved watching students learn how to make LED accessories & firefly lamps for the set.

Comic book movies are ridiculously popular now - any plans or hopes to adapt your work?

I could definitely see Will & Whit as a film, in my dreams as a stop-motion animated musical. I see Page by Paige more as a television show, mixing live action with animation. Some of the new stories cooking in the back of my head do feel suited for film, but I’m in no hurry to embark in that direction. (I figure I’ll master the transition to stage first before wrapping my head around going to a screen!) ;-)

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

Right now I’m itching to hop back on my new book project, which is an interactive sketchbook called How To Train Your Genius. It’s still in the baby stages right now, but I’m very excited! It’s the book I was looking for when I was a teacher, following in the footsteps of books like The Artist’s Way, Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain, and What It Is.

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

Here are my tips for when you’re stuck, which is either at the beginning or around the 80% point....

Getting started: My mantra is always, “Start with what you know.” Start by making one decision, the ONE thing you know.  Whether it’s one scene or a getting to know one character or mixing up one color paint, just pick a place to start and go one decision at a time.

Finishing: Take a break. If it’s art... look at it “new” by looking at it upside down, in a mirror, or taking a photo of it. Trick your subconscious brain into telling you what the art “needs” instead of clinging to the idea of what your conscious mind thinks it “should” be. If you’re writing....Put your script away for 3 months so you can forget about it. Then come back and write out what your story is about in 2-3 sentences.  Now reread your script with the core essence of your story in mind.

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

I think we will continue to experience an explosion of new voices entering the field, telling stories reaching more diverse audiences and bringing in fresh artistic influences.  Comics is a haven for creatives who do not fit in the old molds.

I also think comics will gain more acceptance in schools, and will hopefully be embraced as a helpful educational tool, especially for reluctant readers and ESL learners.

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

In the area I enjoy SPX, Awesome Con, and Baltimore Comic Con. Baltimore is probably my favorite show locally, non-locally my favorites are TCAF in Toronto and Heroes Con in NC.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

The free museums!

Least favorite?

The TRAFFIC ugh.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

National Gallery to visit all my old friends in picture frames.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Founding Farmers & District of Pi.

Do you have a website or blog?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Joe Sutliff's April Fool's day Kickstarter (updated)

Joe Sutliff's April Fool's day Kickstarter "Be Annoying - Bang on a Pot"was quickly suspended. He had pledges of $26 before they pulled the plug on him. I would have too - he was getting annoying.

Of his 'project,' Joe says, "While easily perceived as a prank, my campaign is (or was) an attempt to tap into the gestalt of crowd funding. Rather that present a complex experience all at once, I wanted to see what would happen if something simple and silly would be appreciated by the community. Now I'm challenged  to come up with a response to this. As everyone knows, a wounded cartoonist is the most dangerous beast in the jungle…   At least I've become more annoying!"

Thursday, February 26, 2015

J. Robert Deans explains why he is Kickstarting a cow-in-space childrens book

by Mike Rhode
 
J. Robert Deans may be most familiar to the local community as a comic book store manager, but he's been working on a webcomic, and now has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a cartoony children's book about a cow in space. In the middle of that fundraising, he took the time to answer my usual questions.


What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Around the time my daughter was born, I started working in a comic shop in Springfield, the former NOVA Comics. After that closed, I worked for Game On Comics in Vienna. I’ve had a web comic for almost three years now, a weekly single-panel gag comic called “Crass Fed Comics,” which is mostly jokes and puns in cartoon form. I occasionally post other random pieces of art as well, larger pieces, longer comics, or stuff that doesn’t fit the theme. Last year I added a new comic, the monthly (soon to be bi-monthly) comic strip “The Adventures of Surf and Turf,” which features a cow and penguin hanging out on a farm…with puns. Lots of puns. Last year after being laid off from Game On, I had an idea based on a silly doodle I had done some time earlier, and that quickly became a picture book for kids, which has exploded into half a dozen book ideas, and “Crass Fed Kids” was born. The first book, Moo Thousand and Pun, is now being Kickstarted. Subsequent books may be as well, depending on the success of the first, which features a cow in space.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I do have a tablet with the Manga Studio program on it. I use that to make corrections and add colors to art when necessary. (Moo Thousand was done this way, with letters also added digitally.) Most of the Crass Fed cartoons are black and white line art, but when I color I use technology. For the most part, I use pen and ink. I like drawing digitally, and I keep experimenting…but nothing can replace a pencil and a sheet of Bristol board.
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
I was born in the early 1970s, in South Carolina. Luckily, I escaped.
Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?
When I was moving to go to college after a few years of working full time, my best friend tried to hook me up on a blind date with her friend. That Christmas, said friend sent me a card with her picture in it. A couple of weeks later we went on that date, and haven’t looked back. After I graduated I moved up here to the Springfield area to be with her. She’s a native to the area.
What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
None. And, to be honest, it shows. I have been drawing and doodling all my life, but I never took any formal classes. The past few years have been filled with several family tragedies, and drawing was an outlet to keep myself distracted. My position as a comics retailer afforded me many friends in the industry that have been very generous with their time and advice, and I have taken advantage of that.
Who are your influences?
Oy. A ton. It may not show up in my work at all, but artists like Will Eisner, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr, Frank Robbins, Alex Toth, Paul Reinman, Martin Nodell, Carmine Infantino, Charles Schulz, they were all over the books I read as a child. And many more, to be sure.
Creators that could be considered contemporary to me would include Dave Stevens, Stan Sakai, Chris Samnee, Gabriel Hardman, Dave McDonald, Paul Smith, Frank Cho, Evan Shaner, Roger Langridge, Howard Chaykin, Kevin Maguire, George Perez…too many to really count. The late Mike Parobeck and Mike Wieringo remain favorites. And that doesn’t even include the writers.
The biggest outside influence on my work today is Stephan Pastis, the creator of “Pearls Before Swine,” who I am pretty sure is my spirit animal.
I have also amassed a wonderful core of friends who help me almost daily with their encouragement, advice, and talent, and make my life that much more enjoyable: Jamie Cosley, Tara O’Connor, Matt Wieringo, Drew Moss, Bob Frantz, Eryk Donovan, Hoyt Silva, Erica Schultz, and Steve Conley.
Clearly, my wife and daughter (who at times is a collaborator) are my biggest influences. I really just do what I do for them. The fact that others have enjoyed the result is gravy, and something I am always thankful for. I also have to acknowledge Francesco Francavilla and his wife Lisa, who was the final push for me to start Crass Fed, with an almost literal kick to the tuckus and a “go do it, ya dummy!”
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
Start younger. A lot younger. I’m at an age when arthritis and vision problems set in (and they are). Plus, I would have started taking classes to improve my craft that much earlier.
What work are you best-known for?
Probably my penguin avatar. I drew it while I was in high school, and when I go to shows, once I tell folks I’m “that penguin guy,” they recognize me. Next would probably be the cows, which I draw for my daughter. Her favorite toy is a stuffed cow she has had since birth, and that cow is the star of Moo Thousand.
What work are you most proud of?
There are a couple of individual cartoons from Crass Fed or Surf and Turf that I am proud of, but the biggest thing is the book. One friend, when I asked him to read a draft after the art had been finished, said that everyone says they write, but few actually finish a book. He said no matter what the reaction, I should take pride in my producing a complete work…and I do. I like how it turned out, people I don’t know have enjoyed it, and have asked for more. That’s… a nice feeling.
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
I would like to try my hand at writing a traditional cape and cowl comic. That would be a challenge, to be sure. I see what writers go through to keep readers captivated month in, month out, and it’s daunting and admirable. For some reason, I would like to try that.
Barring that, I have ideas for several other books in the Crass Fed Kids line, and hopefully this first one will be successful enough to allow me to make more.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
This may fall in to the category of “TMI,” but I jump in the shower. Every time I’ve had an idea that has really worked, like Moo Thousand, that lightbulb has gone off while I’m in the shower. After that, I put on another pot of coffee and get to work.
What do you think will be the future of your field?
Honestly, once we get past all of this histrionic crap about new female and minority creators and have real representation and equality at the creative level, comics will blossom. Folks still have a bizarre preconception about comics and comic shops, and the only thing that will get us past that is diversity. Speaking as a former retailer, every new comic book movie does nothing to boost comic sales. In almost ten years of selling comics in which there were some 20 comic-book-based blockbusters, I can count on one hand the number of new readers that came in to the shop because they saw one of those movies.
What really got people into the shop where they may not have thought of comics before were books like March by John Lewis. Or Bone by Jeff Smith. Or Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Books that feature lead characters that aren’t white dudes in tights. While there isn’t anything wrong with white dudes in tights, there are so many more worlds to explore that we need to open up the gates to everyone who has a story to tell… and let them tell them. Encourage them. Inspire them. Get them started with a pencil and a dream and support to let them tell their story. When we can really do that with everyone, the future will be as rich and as amazing as we can dream it to be.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

We regularly attend Heroes in Charlotte, Baltimore Comic Con, and SPX. We also went to AwesomeCon last year. If all goes well with the Kickstarter, this year will be our first exhibiting, starting with AwesomeCon. We will also have tables at Heroes, and are in the queue for a table at SPX. Baltimore is up in the air this year (because of a family scheduling conflict).

I have written about attending conventions for my blog, because they are such different animals for exhibitors than attendees. The cost of attending a show can be pretty big, especially if the show isn’t local. Admission, hotels, meals, travel, all of that adds up before you even buy your first piece of art or your first book. When you exhibit, that costs goes up exponentially with table fees, travel and shipping all of the materials needed to exhibit…it’s an expensive undertaking just in hopes that a few folks stop at your table and check out your work. It’s exhausting, and most creators hope they can just break even. It’s a little easier for artists because they can always sell commissions, but writers have to be able to sell their story, which is a lot harder in a convention setting where the visual side of the medium is king.

The advice I give everyone about attending is go to have fun. Even I have attended a show (Heroes, the first time), just to meet a particular creator (Kelly Sue DeConnick). In addition to that, use the time to explore other creators you don’t know. Browse the artist alley. Check out folks sharing tables. Their budget is small, and their hopes large. A simple $5 purchase at their tables could be just the encouragement they need to keep creating. Who knows… a comic bought on a whim at a table could mean you were one of the first people to discover the next big thing in comics. I call it “Try 5” and have written more about the idea on my blog at icrvn.com/blog/?p=745

What's your favorite thing about DC?

I met my wife here. The food’s pretty good too.

Least favorite?

The commuting. Always, the commuting.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I actually let my wife handle that. Being the native, she is much better at figuring out logistics and such when those visits are needed. Aside from the Library of Congress where my wife works, Air and Space is usually the big hit, though. And Natural History. Old books, space, and dinosaurs rule, I suppose.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I used to manage a restaurant, nothing at all fancy, and my wife is finishing up her first cookbook, so we tend to cook most of the time. But, if friends are in town it’s hard to top any of Jose Andres’ options. Jaleo is probably the favorite. Or one of a small handful of good Pho places. Hard to go wrong with Pho, or my favorite, Bibimbap.

Do you have a website or blog?

Indeed. My home site, which has been running since ’97, is icrvn.com – from there you can get to my blog (icrvn.com/blog), or any of my webcomics (all hosted at crassfed.com), plus a few other sites like my wife’s recipe blog, or other art, such as my daughter’s art (kidletkorner.com). I am also on twitter (@jrobertdeans). I don’t have a public page for Facebook, but when I remember to, comics are also cross-posted on the Crass Fed Comic page on Facebook.