Can you give a short bio about yourself and your comics company?
I'm a writer from Boston and the owner of Broken Soul Press.
My self-published work includes Kincaid, Divis Morte, Curtis Lawson's Grindhouse and The Wrong House. I've also produced short comics for anthologies including Slambang, Severed Head Presents, and Mysterious Visions: After Hours.
Broken Soul Press started our as a way for me to showcase my work, and to show off the work of hot, unknown artists. Now a days, it exists for projects that I want complete control of. After working with a few editors I've realized that I'm a control freak, so some projects that are closer to my heart stay at BSP. Another reason I'm still publishing stuff through Broken Soul Press, is because I find I can make more money self-publishing than from working with some of the smaller companies out there. Of course if an established company with some industry cred approached me I'd be willing to do something, but only if they could offer something that I can't do alone. Say bigger distribution, or up front pay.
Can you tell me a little bit about your most recent book The Wrong House? It's a really interesting kind of Hitchcock-ian horror story with the heavy twist at the end, you being the writer, where did the idea or inspiration come from?
Well let me start by warning your readers that I can't answer this question without some spoilers. So if you want to read the comic and haven't yet jump to the next question.
That being said, the inspiration for The Wrong House hit me all at once. I went to go see a movie called "The Strangers" and the trailers had gotten me really excited for it. The movie had some amazing atmosphere, cool cinematography and truly spooky scenes. The main characters were so unbelievable foolish though, that I couldn't muster any sympathy for them. I mean, they got the shotgun and still lost! Everyone knows that the shotgun is like god-mode!
Anyway, I walked out of the theater wondering how the killers in that movie would have stood up against people who could take care of themselves. Even better, what if they tried their home invasion routine on someone who was an actual bad ass? To put into superhero terms, what if the Manson family broke into Sabertooth's house? I've always had a soft spot for stories where there are no actual good guys, so I became obsessed with formulating this story.
As I started to plan out the story, I realized that if I told it in a standard, linear manner, it would come across more like an action/revenge movie. I wanted to do something that evoked terror though, not just violence. To really create a sense of horror I figured there would have to be characters that people could sympathize with. That's the thought that gave birth to the manner of storytelling in The Wrong House. I pushed the reader to sympathize with the kids by choosing specific parts of the day in question to show. I focused on their crappy home lives and trouble at school. I also used the violence of Jesse's attacks against the three kids to draw attention away from the clues I placed in the story.
The artist Kay is a really talented artist, is this your first collaboration with him? Any future comics coming with your company and Kay? And where and how did you find Kay?
Kay is actually the third, and obviously final, artist that I hired to work on The Wrong House. The first artist was someone I had done another project with, but The Wrong House just wasn't the right project for him. His style was a bit to lighthearted and while he conveyed character emotion wonderfully, the look of the book was wrong.
The Second artist to sign on for The Wrong House was incredible, and had a wonderfully dark style that fit the book well. He did five pages and then vanished from the face of the earth. I never even got to pay him for his work.
Then of course there is Kay, who was the perfect artist for this project. He responded to an add I put online. I got a lot of responses to that ad, but Kay's stuff really stood out. His line work and heavy inks carry such a grim aesthetic, that as soon as I saw his stuff, I knew he was the guy to finally make this book a reality. Kay read the script and fell in love with it. It really makes a difference when the artist digs the project as much as the writer does.
As for future collaborations, Kay's work will be appearing in a chapter of my upcoming webcomic, Curse of The Black Terror. Kay's chapter won't be published for a whole, but he has already turned the pages in to me.
I don't know what else Kay has slated for other projects, but I do know that a BIG company has expressed interest in his work. I sincerely hope that works out for him, because he deserves it. Of course that will mean his page rate will sky rocket out of my budget, ha ha.
When and how did you begin writing?
I guess my earliest serious writing would be as a lyricist. When I was in my teens and early twenties I played in a number of unsuccessful punk and metal bands. Looking back, I was always more concerned with the lyrics I was writing than the riffs I came up with. Maybe that's why I never became a very good guitar player.
After my last band broke up, I decided I was through with music. The time, money and energy it drained from me were not worth the emotional return I was getting from it. I was also completely fed up with the drama of being in a band. It's like having three nagging girlfriends.
I had always had an interest in writing comics, since I was twelve years old or so, but until I was twenty-five or I never gave it any serious thought. Since I was no longer doing music, comics seemed like the natural outlet to focus my energies into.
Deciding to create comics was one of the best decisions of my life. I not only love the finished product, but the process of creation as well.
I'm also toying around with some prose work, but my primary focus at the moment is comics.
What genre are you most comfortable writing in? Is it horror or suspense? And Why?
I'm naturally drawn to darker stories and have done a fair amount of horror. I'm not necessarily more comfortable with writing horror, it's just that my mind kind of gravitates that way. I've written some fantasy and super hero stuff as well, but that also comes out a bit shadowy. I've tried to do some silly stuff, and I really enjoy it, but I haven't had nearly the same success with it. I'd love to write a Deadpool/Howard the Duck crossover some day, ha ha.
What is the hardest part of being a small publisher?
That's a great question! I'd have to say it's the balancing acts involved. I have to balance the amount of time I spend doing business stuff and promotion with the amount of time I spend writing and the amount of time I put into coordinating projects. On top of that I have to balance the time I put into comics in general (for little to no money), and how much time I spend with my family, at my day job and taking care of my health (exercising, etc...).
You have a new webcomic called Curse of the Black Terror, can you tell me about it?
I'd love to! Curse of The Black Terror is a kind of noir/super hero story, focused around a re-imagined version of the Golden Age character (The Black Terror). Our version of The Black Terror is kind of a legacy hero, using the name and visual theme of the original character. Artist Kundo Krunch redesigned the costume, giving it a darker and more modern look. The story itself is also darker than a lot of other Black Terror stories. This is a story fueled by revenge, not justice. Our character is not so much a super hero, as much as a person with super powers that's caught in a dark place between love and revenge.
Curse of The Black Terror will focus mostly on new characters of my imagining, but there will be some familiar faces showing up in the pages. I think fans of the original character as well as new readers will be pleased.
One of the coolest parts of this project is the number of people collaborating on it. The story is broken into five page chapters, and each chapter is being tackled by a different artistic team. I'll be doing all the writing and most of the coloring, but there are a lot of artists on board. Also, no one is being payed for this project, which means that it's all about passion. Everyone is collaborating out of love the medium and the character. That makes this a pretty special project. If we do make money, it will of course be split up accordingly.
Artists slated so far include Antonio Rodrigues, Kundo Krunch, Nathan St. John and Kay.
Curse of The Black Terror started on February 14th with all of chapter one. After that it will be updated twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
What other kind of future plans are in the works for you and your company?
Right now I'm finishing up a four issue mini-series for QEW Publishing
. It's a steampunk fantasy story, called Diabolicus
. I'm just finishing up the lettering for that series and the first issue should be available in March, through QEW publishing.
I'm also working on a dark, fantasy graphic novel called Mastema. That's slated to be published by Arcana Studios, but the art is a long way from being finished. We don't have a publication date for that one yet.
As for Broken Soul Press, the only thing I have going one right now is promoting The Wrong House and working on Curse of The Black Terror. I also have another webcomic called, Divis Morte, but that is on hiatus until I figure out a way to fund it better.