Friday, 24 January 2014

Questions for Creators #6 - Justin Zimmerman

 Questions for Creators #6 - Justin Zimmerman

By Kevin Muzzell

*Justin Zimmerman is a writer at 'A Wave Blue World' comics, and just published his book 'Other Worlds.'

Question #1

What kind of creative stress is there when compiling many stories of various styles into one book?

"It was actually very liberating. Other Worlds was constructed as a means to a very specific end. While working on The Killing Jar – a single story 240-page behemoth with the incredible Russ Brown on art – I got the itch to write shorter, more focused genre pieces. And from my experiences at cons and the like, I’d developed a list of indie artists I wanted to write for. It really started with Mike Lawrence, who I met at the Stumptown Comics Fest several years ago now. The very first Other Worlds story went to him, as did several others, posters, covers and a lot of emails. He was followed by what I hope everyone can agree are a dazzling array of artists illustrating a dazzling array of genre stories."

Question #2

You've definitely got an interesting imagination that shows through your stories. You create enough questions for the reader, yet giving a good amount of curiosity that makes it a quite enjoyable read. What inspires your style of storytelling?

"Thank you! When it came to Other Worlds, the mystery in each story was part of the appeal. A couple were actually based on dreams that inspired stories that in turn were illustrated by artists and then, bang, were into your hands and into your head. My only real rules to myself were that each story had to place the reader into a different realm and that none of them could outstay their welcome. That’s why we have a 50-page story and a 3-page story…both featuring the work of the indie genius Tym Godek, for those keeping track at home."

Question #3

Do you have a particular story in this book that you enjoyed writing the most?

"I can’t say that I do. Every Other Worlds story was very different and took a number of twists and turns through the process of writing and illustration. I learned something from each and every single one."

Question #4

What do you look for when searching for an artist to illustrate a story of yours?

"One of the cool things about Other Worlds was that it was a very organic process. In some cases I had a story that I’d already written that I was interested in being illustrated by a specific artist. Stories by Tym, Russ, Mike and the incredible Grace Allison started the series out in this vein. In other cases, I would meet artists at cons – or I would tap artists I’d already worked with – that I would actually write a story for. Folks like Terry Blas, Matt Grigsby, Russ Brown and Mike Lawrence eventually had stories that I created solely for them to illustrate. This was a real pleasure for me…writing to challenge a great artist. Writing to the strengths of a great artist. Fun times. I wish I could do it all over again."
Question #5

Are you currently working on another issue of 'Other Worlds' or another creation of yours?

"I am a pretty prolific creator, but you can keep track of my varied work at my production company’s website, As far as the comic world goes, I have a new series in the works, I’ve written two short screenplays set in the Other Worlds universe that I hope to get into production in 2013 and 2014 and I’m launching the print and ComiXology versions of Other Worlds and The Killing Jar at fests throughout the next year with my pal Tyler Chin-Tanner and his publishing outfit, A Wave Blue World."

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Questions for Creators #5 - Geof Isherwood

Questions for Creators #5 - Geof Isherwood

 By Kevin Muzzell

*Geof Isherwood is a well-known, professional artist best known for working on Marvel titles such as Conan, Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange, and much much more talented work.

Question #1
 As someone who's done it all in the comics medium; penciling, inking, writing and even creating, which was or is most enjoyable for you?

All aspects are enjoyable, but for me the layouts are the most fun, that’s the most creative part.

Question #2
 Can you tell me, if you recall, how you got your foot in the door of Marvel Comics, working on popular titles like Conan The Barbarian, Namor The Sub-Mariner and Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme?

I visited Marvel’s offices a number of times, working on improving my art all the time, eventually being hired to draw a short 9-page story. That lead to nothing else, so I went to New York to stay, and surprisingly was given a DD story by Ralph Macchio. After a few months I ventured into Larry Hama’s office, where he edited all the barbarian titles. He started me out on a few Kull stories for SSOC, gave me storytelling lessons, and from there my work was assigned by a succession of editors who knew me already, or, in the case of Christopher Priest, a recommendation to Dan Raspler at DC to work on Suicide Squad.

Question #3
 Of all the work in your career do you have a favorite project you've worked on?

I would say Conan and Dr. Strange were my favorites.

Question #4
What are you currently working on, what upcoming projects will feature your art?

Right now I’m working for a new company in comics called Eligraphics, drawing a title called Green Force One which will feature the team in mini-series type stories. I’m also doing film work, as I have for the past 14 years, working on X-Men: Days Of Future Past, designing props and drawing storyboards.

Question #5
Between you and your late wife, who was also a talented poet, writer, painter and illustrator, was there ever any artistic competition amongst you two?

My late wife, Sonja Skarstedt, (1960-2009) and I had a great rapport of support. Our work didn’t cross-over much. She had the opportunity to develop her writing skill especially on her own work, which translated into some of the best poetry coming out of Montreal in the past 30 years.
At present, my wife Amanda Muise is also creative, and is helping me with GF1 by flat coloring the pages and finding all of the inconsistencies I have made. She’s rather good at that. And it is well appreciated! I’m a bit like Jack Kirby that way, not paying enough attention to some of the smaller details.

Question #6
How much do you enjoy going to comic conventions and expos, meeting fans face-to-face? Is there a level of excitement you build up for such occasions?

It’s always fun to go to cons, to either meet new fans or see ones we have met previous years. It’s a nice change of pace. Cons have become much better attended these past couple of years, so I don’t get the chance to meet some of the actor celebs I would like as I’m glued to my chair doing sketches. But I have had the good fortune of sitting next to artists such as Nick Bradshaw, Jim Starlin, Larry Hama and Mike Grell recently, and have had time to talk with Chris Claremont and Neal Adams, so meeting and catching up with other pros is also a benefit!

Question #7
I have to ask, will you be at this year's 2013 FanExpoToronto?

It was in the plans, but I was invited to Tampa the same weekend, and was asked to produce a poster for the show, so we will be heading down to Fla instead. I think next spring’s show in TO looks good, if I hear from those folks.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Questions for Creators #4 - Metaphase

Questions for Creators #4 - Metaphase (Chip Reece, writer, and Kelly Williams, artist)

By Kevin Muzzell
*Metaphase is an upcoming Graphic Novel written by Chip Reece and illustrations by Kelly Williams, described as a Graphic Novel inspired by little heroes with down syndrome.

Question #1

Chip Reece, writer for Metaphase, you've created such an inspiring and influential concept for Metaphase that I believe will reach not only the minds of comic book readers, but will also capture their hearts. Though 'created' is only the start, you've stated that your son, who has down syndrome, was the main inspiration for the book. What is the most powerful message you hope to carry out through Metaphase?

Wow, thank you for the kind words! Yes, my almost 3 year old son Ollie is the inspiration! While he has Down syndrome, the real inspiration comes from his strength and attitude after a total of seven months in the hospital, three open heart surgeries, and various other surgeries. Heart defects are common in approximately 50% of all individual’s born with Down syndrome, unfortunately Ollie falls under this statistic.
Individual’s with Down syndrome can do things just like or better than you and me. They’re actors, athletes, singers, managers, mountain climbers and more! There’s no reason why they shouldn’t star as the main character in a comic book. People who have Down syndrome have compelling stories to tell. I hope this book helps to empower others to tell more stories with these amazing characters!

Question #2

I had the absolute privilege of reading the Metaphase preview which had such an expressive impact just within those few pages. During the writing process, what are your most comfortable surroundings?
If you’re talking where I’m physically writing the story, it’s wherever I happen to be when I have the time! I work a 40 hour a week job on top of our busy home life, which includes running to various appointments for my son. Often times I’m writing it in my head and working it out in conversation with my wife Amy. When I get a free moment, I put it down on the page!
The early surroundings in the book have a base in reality. We went through months in the hospital, had basically set up a home hospital room in Ollie's room while he recovered, and I used my fists to stop a man with cybernetic face tentacles over the ocean (Okay, I’m stretching the last one).

Question #3

Although dealing with real-life issues such as down syndrome, which plays a very important role in Metaphase, it has a strong super-hero involvement. Can you tell the nature of your wanting to bring these two subjects together in comic book format?

Actually, Down syndrome itself isn’t the issue. I don’t wish my son was any different in that regard. We feel like we are the luckiest parents in the world to have a child with Down syndrome. The real issue is the stigma that people with Down syndrome are limited in what they are able to do.
I’m bringing this to the super-hero genre for a few reasons. 1. I’ve grown up on super-heroes and really it’s a dream to be able to play around with characters who will have super abilities! 2. My son is seriously a real-life superhero. Despite being close to death on several occasions, he pulled through. He’s had three open heart surgeries and several other minor ones, but you can’t get the kiddo down. Just like the heroes you see in comic books, Ollie has shown abnormal strength and ability, and keeps fighting back regardless of the odds.

Question #4

When searching for an artist for Metaphase, what did you look for in terms of talent?

I wanted someone with a unique and versatile style that had a knack for expressions. I came across Kelly’s style for the first time when I featured a book (The Cabinet) he Kickstarted with writer Christian Sager back in July 2012. When I began thinking seriously about looking for an artist on the book, his name kept swirling around in my head. He definitely made an impression, and when I began to dig around his other works through his website, I knew I had to have him!
It was important to me that the person who drew the book could make the character really look like he had Down syndrome. The first doodle Kelly sent me seriously brought tears to my eyes… it was perfect.
Something else that sort of solidified my wanting Kelly on the book was that shortly after he agreed to work on Metaphase, he had a medical emergency of his own. He experienced a fairly long term hospital stay that had it’s share of scary moments. I by no means like that he went through any of that, but I feel like he probably understands a bit more than most of what it’s like to go through a major medical event. Kelly really is a super hero in his own right, bouncing back and working harder than ever to get this book done. He’s been an amazing guy to work with.

Question #5

For Chip Reece (writer) and Kelly Williams (artist); Were you always interested in the comic book medium? What were/are your favorite comic book titles?

- My interest in comic books really came along when I was in middle school (early 90’s). After the initial Image Comics boom I took a break and came back in full force at the end of college. In 2008 I found out about, which gave me a bigger outlet for enjoying what I considered a hobby at the time. While I never imagined I’d be writing a comic book, SMC definitely contributed to my development as a writer and deepened my appreciation for the medium. When Image came about, I was all about Spawn. After college I jumped into traditional Marvel and DC books. I really dug what Bendis did with the Avengers and DC got my attention with Identity Crisis, which involved the Justice League characters. Since then I’ve been into more independent work, especially titles that are launched via crowd funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo! In fact, I hope to use Kickstarter to fund and launch the finished Metaphase graphic novel!
Kelly- I got into comics as a wee lad. First comic I got that made a lasting impression on me was Swamp Thing #1 by Bernie Wrightson. Probably the first time as a kid I took notice of the people behind making the comics and not just the comic itself. In the long run I became more of a Marvel guy, X-men and Daredevil were huge for me. I think I knew I wanted to make comics at a really young age, but the type of comics I wanted to make changed greatly. I put out my first mini-comic when I was 16 or so. Around that time I was starting to get burned out on the Superhero comics and the things Marvel and DC were putting out and Image was just starting up. I eventually stopped picking up superhero books all together. For a lot of years I was only reading things from indie publishers and focusing more on creator owned comics. I worked at a comic shop for decent amount of time in the 90's and just got burned out on all of the "mainstream" gimmicks and too big to fail attitude.
Eventually, and luckily, I got over myself and started picking up some superhero books again and found that things were enjoyable again. Granted I still don't pick up a ton of Marvel or DC. Actually lately the only comics I've been picking up regularly are Hellboy in Hell and the Walking Dead. I'm really looking forward to the new Percy Gloom book by Cathy Malkasian. There are so many good books out there right now and the list is constantly growing as more and more creators focus on their own creations. It's pretty exciting.

Question #6

For Kelly Williams; Aside from Chip Reece's inspiring story, what influenced your art style for Metaphase?

Once I read a bit of the script and saw that it was something with a pretty solid footing in a superhero world, that was it. When we made the decision to go full color I decided to go 100% digital.
I wanted to go with bright colors and play with lighting and effects a little more than I normally do. It's a great chance to learn about some stuff I don't use very often in color. This is actually the first full color comic I've done that is intended to be anywhere other than my site or something.
Chip gave me a basic idea of what he had in mind, but mostly, he left the visual directions to me. Though I give him pretty constant updates so he can give whatever input he may have.

Question #7

For Kelly Williams; I had the delight of checking out your site,, and I couldn't help but notice the variety of styles of work you put out. Tell me, what are some major influences that have helped you do what you do?

Well, Thanks! You are FAR too kind! I'm horrible with these questions. Umm… there are a lot of artists and styles of art that I love, there are just too many to name! I like to think that when something makes an impression on you, it stays with you, you know? You never stop learning and you never stop being influenced by the people whose work you enjoy. You just never stop growing.
I'm influenced by comics, literature, films, music, video games and on and on. I think some of the variety in the work I put out comes from the tools as well. I think my digital work and my traditional work each have their own feel to them, but look similar. Does that make sense? Am I rambling? I feel like I'm rambling. Rodney Dangerfield. I owe everything to Rodney Dangerfield.

Question #8

For Chip Reece and Kelly Williams; What do you enjoy doing in your off hours? During the
process of a graphic novel do you even have off hours? [Laughs]

- Off hours? I don't have too much of those right now personally. Now that the preview for METAPHASE is wrapped up I'm back to working on THE CABINET, a historical horror graphic novel I'm doing with writer Christian Sager and some other short stories for various Grayhaven comics as well as drawing a story written by C.E.L. Welsh for an upcoming anthology. I'm also working on a couple non comic projects like doing the posters for the upcoming movie "the Biker Warrior Babe vs. the Zombie Babies from Hell"… not to mention getting ready for Heroes con. So loads to keep me busy. When I do get a chance, I love them video games and playing music though!
Chip - I mentioned this a bit above, but writing Metaphase and everything else that comes along with it is really what I’ve been doing with my off hours. I work a full time job, and try to give my wife a little break with all the Ollie duties when I can. I’m also the editor, admin coordinator and a writer for When my wife and I get a little "us time" we really dig watching classic (like black and white) movies, and hanging with friends and family. We haven’t ventured out much since having Ollie because we’ve had to protect him from illness. Thankfully, that concern is starting to lift, so I’m sure we’ll begin to get more social as the months go by!
Question #9

It was fun and a great honor to personally speak to you, Chip Reece and Kelly Williams. When can readers and comic book fans get a glimpse of Metaphase and where can readers keep up to date with news on Metaphase?

I defer to you here, Chip. It was a pleasure, thanks!Chip -The Metaphase preview issue will be free to all on May 4th, 2013 on ComiXology with help from Alterna Comics. Both Kelly and I will be signing and selling a limited print version of the preview at our respective local comic shops on the same date, which also happens to be Free Comic Book Day! Kelly will be at Arkham Comics in Blytheville, AR and I’ll be at Prairie Dog Comics in Wichita, KS.If you’re looking for updates and other news about the book, please direct people to our Facebook page – Eventually we will be making announcements about the Kickstarter project, once I’ve finished writing the entire graphic novel!
Thanks for taking the time to interview us and supporting the book!

Chip Reece
Editor, Writer, Admin

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Questions for Creators #3 - Santiago Valez Alfonso

Questions for Creators #3 - Santiago Valez Alfonso

By Kevin Muzzell

*Santiago Alfonso is part of Fine Line Ink's illustrator team, currently working on 'Glimm's Fables'!

Question #1;

Santiago, you've been a part of Fine Line Ink since the very start of 'Glimm's Fables', which has gotten nothing but positive reception. What inspires you to draw such colorful, vibrant characters the way you do in 'Glimm's Fables'?

Well, Glimm is being a nice experience for me, when I’m drawing the scripts I just try not to think about accurate details, such as colors or placements. The most important aim (from my point of view) is the creation of emotions and feelings in the readers. Depending on how I want to transmit it, I develop the drawings, always trying to obtain the best way of capture and present these emotions.

Question #2;

Aside from 'Glimm's Fables', what other styles of artistry do you enjoy doing? Is there a style that you've maybe been experimenting with?

I have no doubts here: I really like drawing and animating cartoons. This is because I enjoy creating non-realistic environments and situations, trying to show imaginary worlds, where you don’t have to follow strict nor real patterns: perspectives, colors… The farther I go away from this, the more comfortable I feel with a pencil and a piece of paper. Cartoons have no rules; you just need to offer a good result. It gives you freedom so it’s easy to set your own style. I have always thought that your job has to make you happy, to make you enjoy. This is the reason why I prefer cartoons.

Question #3;

I'm always curious to know what each artist's studio is like. What kind of environment are you most comfortable in bringing creations to life?

In my opinion, it should be as the environment of a sportsman. I like to be surrounded by people older than me, so I can get an objective, a goal, and always learn from them. But at the same time, it’s also important to be accompanied by partners that are following the same path. In this way you can solve doubts together and cooperate with new ideas. My environment needs to be like a team, not something individualistic. The place where I work has to be exclusively dedicated to this task, without any other kind of distractions that could interfere with the creation process. I always have a great mess of colored pencils on the desk. This is because I prefer the classic technique consisting just in a pencil and a piece of paper, than the most recent technologies. And the last important thing is being surrounded by special elements that provide me motivation or make me feel inspirited, so I can go ahead with my job.

Question #4;

What sparked your interest in wanting to draw?

Well, looking back, there wasn't’t a moment where I propounded that question. It’s just a part of me, so it has never appeared in my life as a question. I had the opportunity of dedicating my passion for drawing in a professional way, and this is what I’m doing. There weren't’t too many differences before and after this point. I keep drawing as I always have been doing.
I have never thought about my job as an obligation (meaning something systematical, boring…).When I was younger I knew that art would be an important part of me in my future.

Question #5;

Can you name some of your creative influences?

Of course! I feel inspirited by Glen Keane, James Baxter or Jim Lee. These are three of my favorite artists, and in some way, I have been influenced by them in my current style. There have been other influences as long as my career was improving and depending on the step I was. So it’s difficult for me to choose only one.

Question #6;

Growing up, what kinds of comics, or reading/visual material, were you interested in?

Mainly comics and animation movies: specially Disney and Japanese animations. For example studio’s Ghibli productions (and of course Disney) have always caught my attention. When I was a child, everytime I watched that movies, even if I had saw them 100 times, I felt like they were new for me, a new discovery. Today, I still watch them and the same emotions come to my mind. Comic is also something that has helped me to improve my style and imagination. Spiderman is the most important one for me, it was the first comic that I had and the one that changed my mind.

Question #7;

Any big projects planned for the future? And where can fans keep up to date with 'Santiago News'?

Yes! I’m currently working on ESDIP: an Art School in Madrid. I work as animation teacher. We are now creating a new animation project, but it’s still not finished. And also an individual comic project done in watercolors whose publication is planned for next summer. I will let you know!
Well, I’m thinking in other ways you can see my creations… but I actually don’t have too many ways of show them. I have a blog that I upload sometimes:
This blog contains all kind of drawings and pictures for comics and animations. Finally, you can find on internet (youtube or whatever…) my last animation project video called "Miserere"

Monday, 4 February 2013

Questions for Creators #2 - The Accelerators

Questions for Creators #2 - The Accelerators

By Kevin Muzzell

*The Accelerators is an upcoming comic series by writer Ronnie Porto, illustrator Gavin Smith, colorist Tim Yates.

Question #1

How excited are you to know that a vast majority of comic book fans have embraced your new upcoming series 'The Accelerators'?

Ronnie Porto (Creator/Writer of The Accelerators): It's addictive - once you have a few comic book fans on your side, you want all of them! Seriously, though, it's been amazing to see so much Accelerators enthusiasm in people. It makes us feel like we're doing something right.

Adam Miller, Publisher, Blue Juice Comics (Layout Editor of The Accelerators): Very. It's quite an honor to jump into a new medium feet first and come up with something that has people excited. This is also a first for us to actually have bonafide fans. For the most part in the film business, unless you're making multi-million dollar features, it's pretty hard to get recognized.

Thomas Mumme, Publisher, Blue Juice Comics (Editor of The Accelerators): It’s really great to hear that "a vast majority of comic book fans have embraced The Accelerators." We’re comic book fans too, so it’s important to us to do the medium and the fans justice and the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. You never know what people are really thinking, though, so to hear you say that is really humbling and exciting.

Question #2

With the many different comic book series that are being published these days, do you at all feel intimidated by 'The Big Two' and the many other publishers?

Ronnie: Not intimidated, exactly, but you definitely worry about whether your book will find its audience. For any new comic, even one published by the Big Two, there's always the chance that you'll let your book out into the world and it will just sort of get lost in constant barrage of pop culture. All you can do is put together the best team possible, and make sure that when you do get the chance to show your work, you've got something great to show.

Adam: In everything we do, we strive to be our best, so DC & Marvel were our "bar" so to speak and we decided where to go from there. The really nice thing about comics is with a little time and effort (and money), you really can produce a high quality product that holds it's own within the industry.

Tom: "Bar" is the right word. We’re fans of The Big Two, so a lot of the decisions we made were based on what "The Big Two" does. Not necessarily the creative decisions, those are left up to the team, but whenever we were stuck on a business decision we would always ask, "what would Marvel do," or "what does DC do?" The biggest example is the paper stock. A lot of indie comics print a thicker paper stock and an even thicker cover because it might help them stand out, whereas we wanted to look at home on the rack right next to the Big Two. Overall, though, to answer your question, I’m very happy that there are so many publishers out there these days. It’s great to see so many creative outlets for everyone. As for us, we’ve been working hard to try and give people the best book we can and promote is as best we can, but once we let it out in the world, it’s up to the fans to decide if it sinks or swims.

Question #3

So far you've come a long way from "lets make a comic book", a thought that many have but never pursue, to actually being able to hold in your hands a book of your creation. Regardless of the price and stress, is the payoff worth it?

Adam: Absolutely! There is a tremendous satisfaction to completing a book that you're proud of. We've assembled a great team and just working with them alone is a great reward. Every time something new comes, be it a script, a new set of pencils, inks, colors, whatever ... it's like Christmas. You tend to get hungry for that and want more. But to finally hold that book in your hand and say to someone, "Here, check this out!", well, it's just awesome.

Ronnie: Of course it feels great to flip through the first preview copy of your own comic, so great that you're tempted to just stop there and not even sell it. But what's the point of making this thing if nobody else gets to read it, right? Ultimately seeing that first issue brought to life only inspires you to go further, to push harder with the next issue, to top yourself. It's funny how things like cost and stress can actually motivate you to do more and better than you would have if there were no stakes attached.

Tom: We come from the film/TV world where everything takes forever and by the time you finally get to the final cut, you’re just so exhausted crossing the finish line you don’t really get a chance to enjoy it. Making this comic book, however, has been a serious of "giddy" moments, from seeing the first pieces of art, to seeing Walt’s first cover drawing, to getting distribution through Diamond, it’s one giddy moment after another, and nothing topped seeing it all come together when holding that issue #1 in my hands.

Question #4

I've long followed your speakings on 'ISellComics!', SMODCO internet radio show. Would you say it's the most successful of your advertising; i.e. Facebook, Twitter,, etc.?

Ronnie: Every bit helps, but 'I Sell Comics!' has been the biggest gateway by far for getting 'The Accelerators' out into the world. If the book is a success, Mike and Ming will deserve a huge amount of credit. They basically just gave us a microphone and said "Here you go, now just prove that your comic is awesome!" It was as if they just handed us their entire fan base - a dream scenario for a new independent comic.

Adam: All of the above. In this day and age there are so many avenues to get your product out there, you have to take advantage of everyone. And then of course each one drives people to the other. It's really been quite an interesting dynamic to see how everything fits together.

Tom: Hands down, without Mike and Ming we wouldn’t have anywhere near the buzz we’ve generated. The best part was how excited they were along the way, we kept waiting for them to be sick of us, but they were involved and going through the whole process of learning how to make a comic with us, so they let us keep talking. Facebook has been a good way to keep people up to date and interested while we’re not able to do the podcasts and the response on FB has been phenomenal.

Question #5

For writer, Ronnie Porto; What kind of mind-set do you have in preparation for writing an issue of 'The Accelerators'? Do you have a particular influence on your writing?

Ronnie: I can tell you this: like Tom and the other guys at Blue Juice Comics, my first love is the movies, and 'The Accelerators' spends a lot of time referencing and riffing on action and science fiction films from the 80s (so far we've managed to sneak a 'Die Hard' quote into every issue). I'm the kind of writer who wants as many influences as possible, and there's a glorious tradition of time-travel stories that I am constantly digging back through as I think about the rules of the world and how the characters will react to the impossible things that are happening to them. For me, the goal is to pay respect to the genre while adding something new to it at the same time.

Tom: There is also a lot of bourbon involved.

Question #6

For editor, Thomas Mumme; What kind of curve-balls are thrown your way when receiving a 'finished' script/page/issue? So far, have you needed to go back and drastically change anything, or has it been a true collaboration from the start?

Tom: It sounds cliche, but it has been a true collaboration from the start. From Ronnie, to Gavin (Smith, pencils/Inks), to Tim (Yates, colors), to Crank (Letters), to Adam, Jeremy, Mike, and myself at Blue Juice, we have all seemed to be on the same page from the beginning. I think it starts with the relationship that Ronnie and I have had for the past several years. We told him from the beginning that this was his story and that our job was to help bring it to life. So we send him notes and suggestions on how we think things can be better; some he takes, some he doesn’t, but ultimately, it’s his story. I haven’t had to use an "editor veto power" yet (not that I’m saying I would) because everything has been open, the communication has been great. An example: When we were working out the outline for the first 6-issue arc and figuring out the script for Issue #1, we originally had 4 main characters (Alexa, Spatz, Bertram, and Eve). Ronnie wanted to drop Eve for creative reasons and we were all against it. We fought him off for a draft or two and he still didn’t feel it was working with 4 characters, and was adamant about losing Eve. We told him, write a draft without her and we’ll see. He cranked out the next draft in no time flat because he says it was much easier to write without trying to cram Eve into the story. We read the draft and unanimously thought, "Eve who?" and we never looked back. I always wonder if Eve will show up in a future arc. Also, when we were working out our contract with Gavin, one thing you need to discuss is "redraws." He was worried that since we were a new company that we may have too many notes and not know what we wanted and that he would have to do extra work. But Ronnie’s scripts are so tight and visual that Gavin has knocked it out of the park with a very small amount of redraws. The best thing for me as the editor, is that everyone has been so nice. That’s what has made this whole process fun for me. I think we’re just all happy to be creating something that we can all get behind.

Question #7

A fan's reception can go many ways. Is there a devious twist somewhere in the story-arc of 'The Accelerators' that will catch readers off-gaurd, making them think there's something much bigger awaiting in the future...or past?

Ronnie: Only time will tell!

Adam: Yes, it's in issue #4, page 12.

Tom: He’s only kidding...or is he, stay tuned? We definitely want to keep it fresh, fun and exciting. Hopefully everyone will enjoy the world we’ve created and follow along with us.

The Accelerators #1 Preview Copy Review

I was fortunate enough to be in contact with 'The Accelerators', via Facebook, and asked them if they would consider being part of the 'Questions for Creators' article, as part of FineLineInk's News column ( And with a positive response, they agreed. On top of that, they wanted to send me a preview copy of 'The Accelerators' #1 issue. At this point I was ecstatic! And I thank all of them very much! As a small bonus to the article, I thought it would be a cool idea to add my own review on the issue. And here it is;

"It's an understatement to say that I was excited to receive a Preview Copy of 'The Accelerators' #1. I was extremely excited! From first opening that wonderful cover, which Walt Flanagan (Comic Book Men) did a fantastic job on, I knew this was going to be a thrilling ride. And I was right! At first glance you notice some great storytelling with just the illustrations themselves. Gavin Smith's pencils/inks, I thought, were very fitting and compelling to a story of this structure. I enjoyed the panel layouts. Even with a full page in front of me, the anticipation still continues between each illustration, making me think, "what's gonna happen nex-ohh!" And that's what reading comics is about; keeping you on the edge, then realizing there's more to come on the next page.

What really made this story 'POP', aside from the fantastic story, was Tim Yates' colors. Altogether, the pencils/inks and the colors combined, made me feel as though a true collaboration was taking place. I'd say that from pencils/inks, colors, letters, editing, etc. that the 'Accelerators' creative team has missed nothing, leaving no stone unturned. And the result of that is a book with great potential. But what gets the gold medal, in my opinion, is the story as a whole. Ronnie Porto delivers an awesome script that's almost...too perfect? But maybe that's just my overly-excited fanboy opinion. But in truth, from start to finish I really enjoyed reading this number one issue of 'The Accelerators' and I anticipate the entire world being able to enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks, 'Accelerators', and the best of luck to you and your upcoming comic book series 'The Accelerators'!"

-Kevin Muzzell


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Questions for Creators - #1 Thomas Muzzell

Questions for Creators #1 - Thomas Muzzell

By Kevin Muzzell


*Thomas Muzzell is owner and creator of Fine Line Ink!

Question #1
What kind of media, or medium (t.v., radio, novels, comic books) did you take most kindly to in your early creative years?

"Pocket book novels were the most accessible, and then, of course, comics. I enjoyed reading adventures by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Andre Norton the most, more so than comic stories. Comics were for the art, novels were for the imagination. Television came in third, with Bonanza (for the excitement) and the Ed Sullivan Show and Red Skeleton (for entertainment)."

Question #2
Down to brass tacks...What made you WANT to draw comic books?

"At a young age, I realized I could draw, and once I was introduced into comics, it was the natural way to bring out the adventures in my head. Not to mention, I wasn't interested in fixing cars or male dancing."

Question #3
Has anything suprised you when looking back on your creative career and how it came to be?

"The process involved in the artists' world have changed so drastically over a period of 20 years. The digital world, obviously, is the biggest notable. This is both good and bad. It evolves a good artist to make use of new tools, but also permits a mediocre one to hide behind "tricks"."

Question #4
Is there any character(s) that you've really enjoyed drawing over the years?

"Batman and Conan the Barbarian, without a doubt."

Who, of all the 'greats' in the comic book industry, is the pinnacle of your artistic influence, and why?

"As a teenage, I first noticed Neal Adams' work. He was, and still is, a remarkable artist. I've always liked fine line and expressive characters, and he delivers that. (Barry) Windsor-Smith and (Mike) Kaluta and (Bernie) Wrightson then came out of the woodwork, and I began to see individual styles blossom. By the time I was able to appreciate comic art, Frank Frazetta had already left the medium. His paintings were so powerful, though, that he was a major influence as well."

Question #6
Is there a 'dream job' for you in comics? Meaning, a specific license/franchise you'd love to take over or redo?

"I guess that would still be either Batman or Conan the Barbarian."

Question #7
What is the allure of working and generating your own created property, as opposed to working off others' creations?

"The most obvious is you can control your own creativity. That can be good and bad. I believe a project is often better when it involves more than one frame of mind."

Question #8
What's your studio like? Neat & clean, or a complete zoo? Do you enjoy music/radio/news while illustrating, or do you prefer to work in silence?

"Presently it's filled with boxes of 'The Gift' statues, but normally it's a bit more organized. I like being surrounded with artwork, and have a number of originals hanging on the walls. There's also action figures on the shelves along with tons of trade-paperbacks, art books, and reference material. Now you'll ask, "what are you talking about, 'The Gift' statues?" Soon they'll be on the site I designed ( I designed, had manufactured, and am presently hand-painting a collectible statue of the story's main characters. As for distractions, I like rock music, or I might even stick a movie into the computer."

Questions for Creators - #0 Introduction

Questions for Creators - Introduction

By Kevin Muzzell

FineLineInk's main objective is bringing together fans of the comic book medium, new and old, into discovering the magnificence of the many different styles our FineLineInk crew can create. We're also about giving as much as we can to our readers and followers; multiple all-original online comic series, art galleries by the many artists that contribute to our creations, several commissions by FineLineInk owner/creator Thomas Muzzell, didn't seem like enough. So when given the chance to bring more to the table, I, as writer/publicist for FineLineInk, did not hesitate.

The idea of a comic-news article came to mind and I instantly thought, "I love comics. And they obviously didn't come out of thin air. There's always someone behind the creation." And thus, 'Questions for Creators'. I would base my article on asking writers and artists about their journey in the business. Essentially, creators. Whether primary or secondary. It has a Q&A aspect that is fun and insightful for all fans and readers alike.

'Questions for Creators' is about building a fanbase, not only for ourselves, but for comic book creators, writers, artists, etc.. I believe that comic books deliver something unique and exclusive and are like nothing else. And luckily for me FineLineInk embraces that. And that is why this article is not only about comic books as a medium, but how they come to be and by who. And what a better way than to ask the creators themselves.