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 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?  

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