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With less than a month (and counting!) before the Super Show, 100% Super Show Approved sits down with Scott Bradley to discuss his long standing love affair with comics, and the future of Resolution Comics!

Hey Scott, how long have you been reading comics and when did you decide to step into the publishing arena?

I’ve been reading comics since 1977, when I successfully bugged my parents enough that they bought me the Marvel Star Wars Special Edition comic. I didn’t have too many other comics until about 1984 when I picked up Amazing Spider-Man #252. That was the issue when he first appeared in the black costume. I had loved Spider-Man from the cartoons and the Electric Company so I had to find out what the heck was going on with the new costume. It was a good time to start reading comics in earnest and I was hooked. Throughout high school, I was convinced that I was going to somehow make my living drawing comics – I even told my algebra teacher that I didn’t care about her class because I didn’t need to know algebra to draw comics. It was all I thought about. I drew constantly. Then I got a girlfriend.

Fast forward 15 years or so and I hadn’t been drawing at all for years and definitely was not working in the comics industry. But, the smoldering embers of my high school dream were still in there somewhere. I credit the CGS Podcast and the people on the Comics Forums with fanning them to life. A couple of years ago I made a New Years resolution and swore that I would not only draw comics, but also publish them!

You’ve been known be a jack of all trades, handling the writing, penciling, inking, coloring and lettering duties, on top of your work as publisher. If you could pick one aspect of creating comics to work on exclusively, which would it be?

I’ve really been enjoying coloring lately, so I’m going to go with that. I enjoy every aspect of creating comics, but I also find it to be the hardest, most frustrating thing I’ve ever done.

What genre are you most fond of?

I’m particularly fond of “crime” books. Right now, I’d say that “Criminal” by Brubaker and Phillips is my favorite book right now. I’ve always enjoyed mysteries. My mom is into mystery novels, and I inherited her love for them. I feel that comic book artwork is especially suited to the genre as well. The deep shadows and other tropes of “noir” films work especially well in comics.

Tell us a little about your relationship with Brian Carr your partner in crime. How long have you known each other and how did you come to create Resolution Comics with him?

Brian and I met when we were 16 or 17. I’ve now known him for more than half of my life! We were in various bands for years and would talk about comics all the time. When I started working on a comic I’m writing and drawing about a guy that goes on tour with his little punk rock band and how it changes his life, I would sit with Brian and talk about the story. He would help me out and eventually we decided that he would write all the scenes in the book that dealt with what happened to this guy’s friends that stayed home while he’s on the road. I realized that it was going to take me a really long time to finish that book, so Brian and I talked some more. We both wanted to keep our momentum going and publish something that year. So, he came up with the idea for our anthology series “From Here to There” and we started the company.

How do you split the workload?

I deal with most of the technical stuff, like layouts and also deal with the printers, etc. Brian handles “the talent”. He’s the editor, so he’s the guy who stays in touch with the writers and artists. Brian also does most of the lettering for the books.

Which project are you most proud of?

That’s a tough one. I think I’m proudest of the first book we put out, the first issue of
“From Here to There”. Not that it’s the best thing we’ve done, but it got us of our duffs. I’m just still kind of amazed that we actually finished and published anything!

Any projects on the horizon that you can talk about?

Brian is writing a follow up to his book “The Layfield Incident”, we’ve got the 4th issue of “From Here to There” pretty much lined up, and I’m still working on “The Sound”. We’ve got a few other things that may come together soon. Stay tuned, I guess.

I know you’re a huge fan of comics. If you had to pick between The Big Two, would you read Marvel or DC. Why?

I’ve always been more of a Marvel guy, because I love Spider-Man. I was a huge fan of the X-Men in the eighties. So, I’ve got more history with those characters.

When did you find the Comics Geek Speak podcast and what keeps you listening?

I started listening with Episode 35, I believe. That was in July 2005. I really enjoy the show. I’m way behind in my podcast listening, I’m not sure how that happened. I keep listening because it makes me feel connected to the people I’ve met through the show these last few years. It’s a communal thing.

What are you looking forward to most about the Super Show?

Seeing friends and hopefully making some new ones.

We hope so too, Scott!

For more information on Scott Bradley and Resolution Comics, visit www.resolutioncomics.com and join us at the end of the month at the Super Show!

This month, Super Show Approved had the chance to catch up with Zack Kruse, creator of The Contingent and Mystery Solved!.

I know your book The Contingent has some pretty mainstream elements in it. Could you tell me a little about the series and where you find your inspiration?

Without question, Steve Ditko is my number one source of inspiration. Once I started working on this series and shaping the characters personalities, he became my primary source of inspiration. Steve created VERY distinct characters. You always knew where you stood with his heroes. Conversely, you never knew where you stood with his antagonists—it was commonly a grey area for them and the grey area is ultimately what led them to villainy. Those are fascinating story elements to deal with, I think, and Steve was a master at it.

Inspiration aside, really, I just wanted to write a story and create characters that I would enjoy reading. Doing that has really helped me create an emotional bond with each of the characters and that bond really fuels my writing.

Do you find it tough writing mainstream comics for the indie crowd?

Umm, I don’t know. Haha. To be perfectly honest, I never really ever factored that in. Really, my intent with the series was never to make it an indie book or a mainstream book.

I mean, like I had said before, I really just write stories that I know I would enjoy reading. I’m kind of the opinion that once your start creeping your way into that mode of “I’m writing for this crowd” or “I create comics that this appeal to this group of fans”, you can really pigeon hole yourself as a creator and you end up running the risk of creating just to please someone else. Ultimately that I can make people jaded and will lead to substandard work. At least that’s how I look at.

So I’ve always been a proponent of doing your own thing, because that’s what will make you the happiest. If you’re happy creating, you’ll create more, and you may just hit on something great.

How many issues do you have planned?

50. That’s how many are plotted out and I intend to completely end the series after that. As it stands, after issue 6 we’re going to put out the trade and then take a hiatus from the book to get some other projects rolling and knocked out. But we’ll be moving forward with the book again soon, hopefully some time in 2011.

What mainstream books are you enjoying right now?

There are a lot that I’ve really been enjoying; Incredible Hercules has been fantastic and so has DC’s R.E.B.E.L.S. There’s other consistently good titles like Jonah Hex, Agents of Atlas, Punisher, and Batman and Robin. Not mention all of the incredible titles that are coming out from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

But really, that’s just a handful of the mainstream books I read.

Any indies catch your eye lately?

Oh, yeah. TONS! I love reading indies, just for the simple fact that there is always something new and it’s almost always honest. Quite frankly, I don’t care who publishes a particular comic, I just want it to be good. And if it’s produced honestly, it’s more than likely going to be good. You can pretty much bet on the fact that the people behind those books are doing it for the love of the content and/or the medium.

Last year my two favorite books to come out were, by far and away, Skyscrapers of The Midwest and Asterios Polyp. Both are fantastic, emotionally resonating books that I think every comic fan should read. I’ve really been digging Chew and Phil Hester’s The Anchor and, of course RASL has just been great to read, too. 

Indie/creator owned comics have sort of become my bread and butter over the past few years. There is some really great stuff out there that people NEED to read, but they don’t give it a second glance because it doesn’t have that big Marvel or DC logo in the upper left corner. One of the great things about comics, and indies in particular, is that there really is something for everyone. It’s just a matter of taking that first step.

Mystery Solved! Is shaping up to be a really great webstrip. What circumstances led you to decide on a rotating lineup of artists?

Thank you! I think it’s shaping up rather nicely as well.

Rotating artists was born of necessity. The primary circumstance that led to the rotating team of artists is my own inability to draw. I can do some humorous doodles, but in order to bring the stories to life, I needed real talent. The bad news for me was a lot of the artists that I wanted to work with, you included, have other projects going and their own projects going.

So it occurred to me that by approaching all of these artists, whose work I admire, I’m able to work with some outstanding talent, get some really great looking stories, and (hopefully) able to work within each of their schedules as well. The bonus to all of that is that each story has its own personality.

Do you create your stories with certain artists in mind, or do you seek out artists after a story is written?

It’s sort of a mixed bag. There are some scripts that I have complete and ready to go and there are others that I don’t really start to put together until after an artist has signed on. For example, I’ll approach artist A and say I have these story ideas, do you think that you would enjoy working any of these? Once they sort of let me know their preference I’ll either start constructing a new script with them in mind. Or, if they choose a story where the script is already written, I’ll take that existing script and tweak it as necessary. 

Mystery Solved! Is all about Colonel Winchester debunking urban legends and the supernatural. Will he ever come across a mystery he can’t solve?

Haha. Probably not. I am a pretty big skeptic and my primary goal with the series is to go about debunking each of these urban myths or bits of mysticism that the Colonel encounters. Skepticism is often confused with cynicism and I hope I’m able to diffuse that with Mystery Solved! and present readers with a more rational, empirical, outlook for the phenomenon that the Colonel encounters.

I make a pretty concerted effort with each strip to research the topic and find out what the real scientific consensus is, find actual stories, and so on, and then present that information in a humorous way. 

I hate to put you on the spot, but other than me (ha!), who have you enjoyed working with the most?

Honestly, everyone who has turned in work to me so far has been nothing short of fantastic. I mean that with all sincerity. Jim Miller did some great character designs based on my descriptions, and really helped establish the world. You turned in a great looking story with some great work on the panel layouts, Andy Jewett has turned in some really nice looking preliminary work, and Dave Wachter…well wait’ll you get a load of Dave’s pages.

I’ve been very fortunate with the people I’ve been able to work with and I’m forever grateful to all of them. On the other hand, I feel at least a little bad for the people who have to follow them…

If you could pick one artist to work with on your dream project, who would it be?

Ditko. Doing a Blue Beetle/Question story with Steve Ditko is the dream that will never come true, but I fantasize about constantly.

What about Super Show are you looking forward to the most?

Getting together with friends. That’s always my favorite part…

For more information on all of Zack’s projects, visit www.mysterysolvedcomic.com, and be sure to drop by his table at the Super Show!

We’ll be back soon with another 100% Super Show Approved interview. Join us, won’t you?

A very special thanks to Ed Chambers aka Ghostwriter on The Comic Forums for sponsoring 100% Super Show Approved artist Erica Hesse for the 2010 Super Show! Ed’s generous donation helps make Erica’s trip to Reading, PA possible, and the SSA group is extremely grateful!

The Key #2 is now being solicited through DCBService.com and all pre-order will come with a free original Erica Hesse Sketch! DCBS is taking orders on the comic all throughout the month of December, and the comic will be shipped from DCBService end of January, beginning of February.
For more details click the like below!

Happy Post Thanksgiving! This week, 100%SSA had the chance to chat with Shawn Gabborin of Angry Gnome Comics!   

Shawn give the dirt on writing horror comics and we discuss the annoying trend of bad Hollywood remakes…

 

I’ve read a ton of your stuff, Shawn, and I have to say… you’re a pretty twisted guy! I have to ask…what scares you? 

Spiders and Snow.  So living in Pennsylvania, I get plenty of both. 

Working in horror comics presents its own sets of challenges, I’m sure. How do you keep suspense moving from panel to panel?

Personally, silent panels work great.  If a panel doesn’t have any words (or just a few quick ones) you’re more likely to take a better look at the art, which slows you down.  Couple that with some strong facial expressions or creepy scenery, and that slows your flow down even more.  So I can try my best to write for suspense, but a lot of it comes down to the artists translating it to the page… which Steph has done an amazing job of with Victor Season and Palm Reader!  

Cover art for Palm Reader 1-4 by Stepanie Gabborin

You and your wife (Stephanie) make a pretty great creative team. Do you guys ever argue over the comic work like, well, a married couple?  

Can I plead the fifth on this one? Actually, only when I see an error AFTER she’s finished a page.  And as a good husband, I take full responsibility for all errors. 

 
 
 

Cover Art for Short Stack #1 by Wynn Ryder

Horror is such a vast genre. Is there any subject matter that you’re itching to sink your teeth into? Why? 

Nicely phrased, because I’m actually working on a real nasty vampire story.  I’ve always loved vampires, but they’ve gotten so over-sexualized and spoofed lately that there is really nothing scary left to them.  So I want to do a story that takes them back to what they are supposed to be:  brutal, violent, bloodthirsty creatures of the night… that don’t sparkle. Ever.

It seems that the new flavor in Hollywood is to remake classic horror films. Is there any particular film that you’d like to see remade? 

Cover Art for Short Stack #2 by Dave Dwonch

I’m kind of a purist when it comes to my horror flicks.  Not to say I haven’t enjoyed some of the recent remakes, I just think it’s lazy.  But I could see a remake of “Basket Case” working.  I love the movie, but I think it suffered from the poor acting and poor effects, so I could get behind remaking it.  I think it’d have potential to be a really creepy flick, if done right. 

Any stinkers that you wish hadn’t been made?  

The new Prom Night was just bad.  I think the main thing that I don’t like is when they take what made the movies memorable, and pitch it.  Texas Chainsaw?  Let’s forget the creepy man-child cross dressing Leatherface, let’s make him fast and angry!  Friday the 13th?  Forget slow and methodical… let’s make him fast and angry too!  Halloween?  Forget the boogieman who starts killing for no apparent reason, let’s make him a troubled youth from a screwed up home… who’s fast and angry!  There’s nothing unique to any of them.  I don’t think Hollywood has faith in the attention span of newer generations, so we lose the creepy atmospheric horror in exchange for repetitive jump scares.  I could go on for hours on this topic, so it’d probably be best to just move on… 

Geek out time. Favorite Slasher? 

Freddy Krueger all the way.  For most slashers, dead teens = a good day.  But Freddy likes to play with you first.  That’s a whole different level of creepy.  Gotta respect someone who takes joy in their work… regardless of what their work is. 

Shawn redefines the slasher with Victor Season, an urban legend that is horrifyingly real.

Favorite Movie Monster? 

I’d have to go with the Gremlins.  They have these silly rules (don’t get them wet, don’t feed after midnight, etc.) that you have to follow.  And if you don’t… well those green gremlins are some nasty little critters.  I could have some fun writing a Gremlins comic… 

Short Stack #3 cover art by Andy Jewett

Stephen King or Clive Barker?  Stephen King. 

My mom was a huge Stephen King fan, so I was basically raised on King stories.
 

All right, let’s get back to comics. I know you’ve been working steadily on your “2 Page Gory Story” anthology series, Short Stack with a ton of creative artists. Not to alienate anyone, but do you have a favorite in the group? Okay, pick three! 

That’s a tough question.  In the five issues that are out, I’ve worked with 52 different artists on 65 stories… so choosing three is tough.  All the artists I’ve worked with have been amazing.  Viewing it as which worked the best (story, art and how well the two came together), let’s say Daniel Logan with “InsurOnce Upon A Time”, Dave Acosta with “The Duel”, Mario Cau with “Home Late” and Kathryn Layno with “Atonement”.  Yeah… that’s four, I know.  But this is just too tough!  I mean, all four of those artists exceeded what I set out for with those stories, so I need to give them their dues.  That was stressful… I need to go lay down. 

I know we had a hell of a time at the last Super Show, but what are you looking forward to the most at CGSSS 2010? 

Definitely getting to see everyone again.  I’ve seen scattered people here and there through the past year, but it’s great to see everyone at once.  The vibe is just so great.   

Thanks Shawn!

Shawn's workspace... where terror is born!

For more information on all of Shawn’s work, visit http://www.angrygnomecomics.com/ and come back soon for more interviews, including talks with Kevin Freeman, Zack Kruse, and Jamie Fickes!

 

Want to find out what podcasts will be at Super Show? Check out the Podcast Attendee Page  for updates on who will be making their way to Reading, PA in March!

R.I.P. Eric Martin

It is with heavy hearts that the 100% Super Show Approved team must say goodbye to comics podcaster, Eric Martin. The news was relayed to us by Eric’s brother Michael via Eric’s Facebook page:

“My name is Michael Martin, I am Eric’s brother. I hate to pass this information so informally but I didn’t know any other way to reach many of Eric’s friends. My brother Eric died yesterday (Nov 18th) in his sleep from a massive heart attack. I dont have any information regarding his arrangements but you can all rest assured his wishes are being carried out.”

Eric Martin was one of the more prolific podcasters in the industry, having hosted Comics Playground, DC Noise, and The Trip, as well as appearing on Geek Brunch, Comic Racks and The Geek Savants. Eric, helped to build the podcast community and will be remembered for his passionate opinions and kind heart.