Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Indie Spotlight - Drew Close Interview

I conducted an interview with my buddy down under,  Drew Close, about his projects and company Cape Billowing Publishing.

What is your earliest memory with comics?

I remember my dad buying me stack of old marvel comics at a garage (yard) sale. Lots of X-men, Spidey and GI Joe, guess that explains why I'm a Marvel guy.

More after the jump.

Who were your favorite characters growing up?

Snake Eyes from GI Joe, Spider-man (Mcfarlane era) and X-Force (my guilty pleasure.)

When did you decide you wanted to make your own comics?

 Always loved comics but never thought about making my own til I was approached by an indie publisher wanting to adapt "Haven", a tv series I wrote on spec into a sci-fi manga comic.

You are co-founder of Cape Billow Publishing. How did the company come about?

My wife is an artist and we originally got together to do a comic which got put on hold, 6 years later we were both working on our own comics and decided to self publish partly due to lack of local publishers but mostly so that we'd have creative control. 

Are there any limitations in Australia that make producing what you want frustrating? The continent seems to be pretty strict on media content.

Not really, I didn't know that's how we were perceived down under. That's the beauty of self publishing, we write and publish what we want, just read LARD #1 and you'll understand what I mean. The only real frustrating thing is we only have like 8-10 major cons a year and that's the main way to get your books out to the audience.

What was your process like for creating Golden Age? Who is your team and how did it come together?

I had taken a break from comics after a negative experience and while frequenting a local toy/comic stores, I met Jason Goungor, an artist who was working there. We'd both met a lot of people in the scene who talk about making comics but never really produce anything so we were a little hesitant at first. We decided to try working on a short web comic (4-6 pages) I think mainly to see how dedicated the other was. I threw a couple of different ideas at Jason and asked him what he'd like to draw and he decided on Geriatr-X, a super hero spoof set in a nursing home . After a few creative jam sessions and seeing the character concepts, our short 4 page web comic exploded to a 20 page one shot that we'd do a small print run to sell at the local cons.

    At this point I decided to change the name to "Golden Age - the Brave and the Old" as it fit in more with the golden age era comic direction the comic was going. With a new name and the story locked down, Jason set about penciling the first few pages. Having done a comic before and seen many great indie comics brought down by sub par lettering (comic sans and elliptical balloons) I decided to teach myself and surprisingly found that 1 book was all I needed, "Comic Book lettering The Comicraft Way" by digital lettering pioneers Richard Starkings and John "JG" Roshell. It's a must have for all indie comic creators. By this point we'd booked our table at Supanova, the biggest of the local cons and printed some merch and banners but due to outside influences, with 3 weeks til the con, we only had the first page inked and were in danger of missing our print deadline. So with 2 and half weeks to go we made the hard call to shorten the issue down to 8 pages (later 9) which we could realistically pencil, draw, color and letter in that time. It was so crazy and frantic that during the last week my wife had to take time off work to stay home and color with Jason while I did flats. I butchered my script overnight and packed as much as I could into the existing pages so that's how our 1st issue became the prelude/teaser #0. I like to think of #0 as our "Evil Dead", rough quick and a little nasty and #1 as our "Evil Dead 2", it's a sequel but has many of the same themes and done with a bigger budget and longer time frame.

What is your plan for getting the book out to the masses?

For the time being we're doing short print runs for the cons in Australia as well as selling them on our website , which also has some free issues to read. We use Indie Planet Digital for digital distribution as well as Indie Planet for Print On Demand in the US as it works out cheaper than shipping and storing. We do the usual facebook, twitter thing and we're looking at launching a Kickstarter for #1 of Golden Age to pay for a larger print run and a professional colorist. Eventually we'll do a bigger marketing push once we collect a trade of both Golden Age and LARD as trades tend to be where things are heading.


What else is in the works for Cape Billowing Publishing?

My wife writer/artsist Aly Faye, artist Jason Goungor and I are currently talking with a few local artists for future projects. I'm also doing lettering for various other books.

What established characters would you like to work on?

Secret Six, Snake Eyes, Conan, Deadpool, Boba Fett, and Hellboy.

What creators would you like to work with in the future?

Huge Mike Deodarto Jr. fan so that would be cool, also maybe writing a Warren Ellis plotted book (like his X-force run) as I think his stories are mind blowing.

Are there any other books homegrown in Australia we should be paying attention to?

"The List" a horror/thriller Graphic Novel by Paul Bedford, Henry Pop and Tom Bonin is doing well well, but beware it's not for the faint of heart or stomach.

Also local publishers Gestalt and Black house Comics are producing some great titles.

What indie creators are you currently into?

Like most Australian's in the comic scene I've got a lot of respect for cult comic Killeroo by creator Darren Close (no relation.)

Any juicy tidbits about Golden Age that you can leave us with?

The first story Arc (proposed 6 issues) just scratches the surface of the Golden Age universe, it evolves from super hero satire to  psychological thriller and ends with a revelation that's world shattering.


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