Kickstarter Spotlight: On the Off Chance’s Dan Dougherty

It’s a well known phenomenon that people who are artistic in one sense are often artistic on other fronts as well, that they cannot contain all that creativity with one medium.  That truth is no more evident than in the person of Dan Dougherty, creator of the comic strip Beardo and the comic book Touching Evil.  A talented artist and writer, Dan is also a musician, and with the band On The Off Chance, and is releasing their debut album, White Shoes Black Water, and Kickstarting a vinyl edition. Continue reading

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Kickstarter Spotlight: GWAR interview with Matt Miner

GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON Kickstarter Campaign

Starts: 10-24-16

Ends: 11-25-16

Writer: Matt Miner

Artist: Jonathan Brandon Sawyer

Colors: Marissa Louise

Letters: Taylor Esposito

JUST LAUNCHED on Kickstarter – GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON, a blasphemous and blood-drenched 4-issue full-color comic book series by shock rock legends GWAR, writer Matt Miner (Toe Tag Riot, Critical Hit), artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer (Welcome Back, Critical Hit), colorist Marissa Louise (RoboCop, Escape from New York), letterer Taylor Esposito (Batman Eternal, Red Hood and the Outlaws) and editor Brendan Wright (Archie vs. Predator, Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight). Continue reading

Review: Ness #1

(Chris Welsh 2016)

Script by Chris Welsh

Art by Rob Carey

Colors by Dee Cunniffe

Letters by Robin Jones

1 of 4

The idea of cryptids, Bigfoot, Loch Ness, etc. has always been fascinating to people.  The fact that humans have searched through so many isolated areas of our Earth and still believe are a testament to the strength of the idea.  People are always coming up with new incarnations of the legends, and every so often a sighting happens and the fervor is once again ramped up.  Just when you think you’ve read every story about Nessie, a tentacle reaches out of the Loch and wraps you in it’s icy grip. Continue reading

Review: Heliosphere

(webcomic 2014, print 2016)

Created by Ben Jelter

Comic creator Ben Jelter comes from my wheelhouse.  He grew up in the late eighties and nineties, and watched a lot of animation.  Just look at his most current work, Heliosphere, and you’ll see what I mean.  He’s got credits as well, with previous projects Moscow 38 and The Tumor. Continue reading

Interview: Brian Visaggio

Interview by Brad Gischia

Brian Visaggio isn’t afraid to take the bull by the horns, or in this case, the comic by the panels. His current project, Andrew Jackson in Space, is on KickStarter right now, and only two weeks remain on this funding drive. Brian was good enough to answer a few questions for us on AJiS, as well as the process of KickStarting an independent comic book. Continue reading

Review: Toe Tag Riot #1

(Black Mask Studios, 2014)

Toe Tag Riot #1
Written by Matt Miner
Pencils and Inks by Sean Von Gorman
Colors by John Rauch
Lettered by Sean Von Gorman

Matt Miner, king of the Kickstarter komics, extra “k” for dramatic effect, is back, and with a hunger that can only be satiated by human flesh and punk rock.  Toe Tag Riot #1, the much-anticipated first issue of Miner’s latest series, is on shelves Wednesday, and it is everything that you’d expect from Mr. Miner.

Along with longtime collaborator Sean Von Gorman, Miner drops his newest offering to the comic gods in the form of a zombie punk band, ready to chew up the competition and gnaw through the mores established by rock and roll icons.

Toe Tag Riot is not only the name of the comic but also that of the featured players in the story.  They are a band formed of various long-timers, those who stood out from other bands and couldn’t handle the b.s. that goes with working with musicians.   Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Recipes for the Dead’ #1-2

(Greentea Publishing, 2010/2012)

Recipes for the Dead:
#1 Dark Delight with Cranberries
Story by Vera Greentea
Art by Ein Lee
#2 Apricot Asylum
Story by Vera Greentea
Art by Allison Strom

I’m often amazed at the number of comic projects out there that I’ve never heard of.  Wait…perhaps not amazed, perhaps dismayed is a better word.  I would be amazed if all good comics were to pass by me on a conveyor, waiting to be picked up and read.  That doesn’t happen.  So, with the great help of social media, I’m able to connect in some small way with creators Continue reading

PREVIEW: ‘Toe Tag Riot’

We here at Bag & Bored are excited to announce that two of our favorite creators have returned with yet another earth shaking series.

Matt Miner, writer of the tragic and meaningful protest comic series “Liberator”and the follow-up “Liberator/Earth Crisis: Salvation of Innocents” is back, this time with top notch artist Sean Von Gorman (Pawn Shop, FUBAR, Occupy Comics) to bring us a series that is destined to be as big a hit as it is socially important. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Pawn Shop’ Graphic Novel

(Soup Dad Comics, 2014)

Written By Joey Esposito
Art by Sean Von Gorman
Colors by Jonathan Moore (Chap. 2-4), Sean Von Gorman (Chap. 1 and chapter breaks)
Letters by Adam Pruett
Cover by Jonathan Moore

The dedication of the book says it all. “This book is dedicated to the lonely souls haunting New York City.” Pawn Shop was a fully funded Kickstarter project in 2012 that was recently released as a complete graphic novel in February of this year. Inside writer Joey Esposito explores the interconnectedness of people and Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Reincar(Nate)’ #1

(5th World Studios, 2014)

Review by Brad Gischia

Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrations by Keith Burns
Color by Chris Beckett
Letters by Jim Campbell

*Moderate Spoilers

Happy New Comic Book Day! On this most joyous of weekdays, perhaps as you’re browsing about in the virtual bins at Comixology, you happen upon Hoaxhunters and remember that they’re on sabbatical. But how to get your Moreci fix? Continue reading

REVIEW: “Liberator” #4

(Black Mask Studios, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

Creator/Writer: Matt Miner
Art: Javier Sanchez Aranda
Colors: Joaquin Pereyra
Letters/Edits: Vito Delsante
Cover: Chris Burnham (art), Rod Reis (colors)

Each and every comic lover has, at one time or another, read a book and thought, “I can do that…and I can do it better.” In some cases it may have even been true. Matt Miner has done what so many of us wish we could do. He has Continue reading

Interview with Rachel Deering

In the Dark – A Comic Horror Anthology
Interview with Creator Rachel Deering
By: Brad Gischia

Everyone has seen how Kickstarter has changed the indie comics industry.  If you have a good idea and good talent there is nothing that can stop you from getting funding.  Millions of people see the site and donate daily to projects they feel strongly about.  What happens when you take a seasoned comic professional and add the Kickstarter gene into the pool?  In the Dark happens.  Thank you Rachel Deering. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Craig Schroeder of “HIT!” and Gentleman Baby Comics

Picture-small1Craig Shroeder, along with artist Daniel Hooker, are getting ready to release not only their first comic collaboration together, but also the first title for Craig’s Gentleman Baby Comics, a small press imprint sure to have a whole line of amazing titles as time goes by.  The ideas for “HIT!” are fresh, the writing tight and clever, and the artwork lends its own style – making this a comic to watch for!  Links for their Kickstarter, main website, and more are found at the end of the interview.  Hey – even some sample pages from the comic and photos of the creators!  Okay, here we go:

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– We’ll start with the basic first question: what do you do when you’re not working on “HIT!”, or on future endeavors with Gentleman Baby Comics?

Both Daniel and I have day jobs. I work for the state of Florida and Daniel does graphic design. I always get self-conscious describing hobbies and what-not, but bear with me. I’m a bit of a cinephile and I spend a lot of time watching movies and catching up on good TV shows. I also read a lot of comics. I have been reading a lot of Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire right now, I don’t think there are any better writers working currently. I’ve had to balance my full-time job with writing this comic and launching Gentleman Baby Comics so that doesn’t leave a whole lot of extra time. And I would be in big trouble if I didn’t mention by lovely wife, Jessica (we’re about to celebrate our second anniversary), and our dog Scout.

– Give us a quick rundown of the premise for this comic.  I really find it excitingly interesting!

HIT! is about Connor Connolly, orphaned as a child, he was raised by Patrick O’Reilly, boss of the Irish crime syndicate in Boston. Connor becomes a brute for the mob. Their biggest muscle. Our story picks up in Hot Springs, AK., where Connor has been dispatched to perform a hit on an anonymous pair living in the suburbs. Connor is efficient and brutal, so when the plan goes sour Connor is caught off-guard. Furthermore, he discovers it’s not coincidence he’s been sent to Arkansas and a part of his past comes surging back into his life. It’s a six-issue arc, but each issue has a kind of self-contained story that propels Connor to the eventual conclusion.

– Can you tell us about your Kickstarter, and some of the awesome gifts you can get for backing it?  I really love the gift package where you can have yourself drawn into #1 as a target of a hit man.  Very clever!

We’re so excited about the Kickstarter. In just 12 days we reached our goal. We wanted to try and have some creative rewards. There’s some really cool comic book merch, like buttons, pins and stickers, but we wanted to do something really personal to the book. So we decided to draw some fans into the book. We have four rewards (two for men and two for women) where the backer can have their likeness drawn into a panel of the book. Of those four, we have one remaining. And for a little bit more, a backer is able to have their likeness drawn into the comic to be assassinated! We just wanted to provide some rewards that are a bit more intimate, without these backs we’d still be e-mailing ideas back and forth, so now that they are making this happen for us, we wanted to be able to give some really awesome rewards.

– Judging from the NPR interview, your meeting Daniel Hooker was almost like fate.  How did you get in touch with Daniel?  What drew you to his work?  His style is great, and I feel a perfect fit for what I’ve seen of the book.

Yeah, it was just an opportune moment in both of our lives, unbeknownst to either of us. I had been working on HIT! for several months and needed someone to do some sample panels for me. I knew Daniel through some mutual friends though we hadn’t really connected in some time. But, we were friends on Facebook and I had seen his art before. His art (to me) had a kind of fantastic and whimsical element to it, but was still grounded in reality. Even with our kind of gritty, noir comic, there is a kind of a fantastical element (that I still can’t quite put my finger on) that just seemed to lend itself perfectly to the kind of comic we wanted to make. I contacted him to do some sample panels. I was (and still am) very naive to the industry and my original intentions were to sell my script to an indie publisher. After going to a few cons, I realized a majority of the indie publishers in Florida had started a label to produce their own comic. And I’m a control freak so that immediately was an idea I was drawn to. I contacted Daniel again and asked if he’d be interested in doing the whole book. Daniel said he was so I emailed him the whole script and we’ve been working on it since.

– You weren’t headed straight for comics coming out of college.  I was wondering – did you have any goals set at the time, before comic writing banged your door in?  In other words, did you see yourself in possibly a different job, or working towards a different career?

Most definitely. I always wanted to write. I just wasn’t sure what. I always loved short stories, I am a huge fan of Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Carver who write really intimate and interpersonal short stories. And I always thought that was my “thing”. I tried writing short stories, some I liked some I didn’t, but the entire process just frustrated me. As a writer, and this may seem odd to people who don’t write, but you kind of know when what you’re writing has the potential to be something better. For me at least, there is a kind of excitement when I hit a beat in a story that works really well and it propels me into writing more. The more good stuff I think I’m writing, the more I write. Well, out of college, I wasn’t really writing anything that I felt good about or proud of. I tried to write and I was really just getting frustrated. Then when I started dabbling with comic book scripts, something clicked and I got that feeling again. I was finally excited about what I was writing.

– I understand you got the original idea for this comic during the final phase of a “Intro to Writing Graphic Novels” class.  How much of this idea is still in the finished scripts?  Any interesting things that were left out or put into the story?

Yeah, it was through an online writing community called LitReactor. I’ve always liked comics and read comics, but since I can’t draw a lick, it never dawned on me that there is an aspect of creating a comic book that has nothing to do with drawing. So I took this class and the final assignment was to write a one-issue comic of about twenty-two pages. The original idea for HIT! and the finished product are pretty similar. The original idea just came from a love of gangster/noir comics and movies. I was just kind of musing one day and I thought what if the most ruthless and formidable gangster I can think up, just gets brought to his knees physically and emotionally in one failed job. So I started writing this comic, which I originally intended to be just a one-shot. But as I started I realized I liked the characters a whole lot and they gave me so much room to expand the story and really pick apart the relationships between these thugs, essentially.

– Speaking of this class, what can you tell us about the experience?  I know there were some amazing guests/instructors.  What is the strongest thing you took from the class, in terms of the ‘big picture’ of your writing comics?

It was a great class. It was taught by Bree Ogden who is a literary agent and comic writer out of Seattle. She was really great, both from a creative and business standpoint. The experience was really great and as far as extracting a single “big picture” take-home I really can’t narrow it down. I really think the class just pulled back the curtain on comics for me. It helped me realize that there is a creative process in comic books that I’m not only capable of but I relate to.

– The whole idea of Gangsters existing within a super power/superhero type of world is great!  With this you mention films by Martin Scorsese as being a huge influence. 

I feel like I must clarify, in that our gangsters don’t have superpowers. The template for my story I wanted to be like a classic super hero vs. villain story line but set in a kind recognizable world of gangsters and thugs. So I wanted Connor to be my Batman and Patrick to be my Joker. I feel like the majority of crime stories are about thugs vs. the law or Gang 1 vs. Gang 2; I wanted to try and create a gangster story that pitted two daunting gangsters against one another to do battle like Superman vs. Lex Luthor.

That being said, Martin Scorsese is a huge influence. I’m sure there are some subconscious parallels between my characters and his, but the part of Scorsese that I tried to emulate the most is how good he is at making you have genuine feelings for really despicable people. There’s not a whole lot of redeeming qualities to Joe Pesci’s Nicky Santoro in Casino, but when he gets in the corn field it’s hard not to feel for the guy. Connor does some awful things, but there is never a doubt in anyone’s mind that he is and will remain the hero of the piece. And I think that’s what Scorsese does at his best.

– As the writer of this upcoming series, what were some of the main themes you were trying to hit on?  Also, what are some of the things you took in as inspiration for this, other than Scorsese?

Oh man, I almost want to plead the fifth here, so as not to give away the twist in Issue 1 that propels the rest of the series. But I’ll be vague and obnoxious instead: Connor, a man who has been trained to have no emotion, has lived with a sizable emotional void in his life. I kind of wanted to explore what it’s like for a guy in this world to suddenly and unexpectedly have that void fulfilled.

As far as inspiration goes, I’ve just been reading a lot! The guys who I’ve connected the most with during this whole process have been Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. I think I like them so much because they write these really broad and ambitious stories that are so grounded and character driven. For example, Lemire’s The Underwater Welder has this really ambitious and fantastic science-fiction element that takes a complete back seat to how perfectly he explores the psyche of the main character.

– I really find your villain, Patrick O’Reilly, very interesting.  From his character design to what has been mentioned about him thus far, he feels like a serious man you wouldn’t want to tangle with.  Were there any heavy inspirations that brought this character to life?

I’m not sure. I’ve joked with my Dad a little bit, because I didn’t realize until Daniel started drawing the characters that he looks a lot like my father. (I want to go ahead and clarify, that he is not inspired by my dad. When the series progresses and Patrick gets really vile, I don’t want there to be any confusion). I had the most fun with Patrick because I wanted to create a really dichotomous villain. I specifically made him look non-threatening and malleable so when he turns into a monster it is that much more unsettling. I’m also a horror movie geek and my favorite kinds of horror movies are the kind of smart and calm psychopaths. I think there’s just something really unnerving about a nerd in a cabbie hat screaming obscenities and ordering murders. I knew I wanted to kind of separate him from the kind of slick looking, level-headed mobsters from the movies. I always got the feeling that Don Corleone, and mobsters of his ilk, got where they were due to a mixture of moxie and finesse. I wanted to make it clear that Patrick got to where he is because he’s brutal and unstable.

– Let’s hear about some of the other main characters.  Who are they, and can you tell us something about their personal motivations and/or goals for this first story?

Other than Connor and Patrick, the other main character of Issue 1 is Bradan Byrne. Bradan’s basically a prospect, he’s been Patrick’s errand boy for years and this is the first time Patrick has sent him to do something important. Connor doesn’t like him and has basically worked out a plan so Bradan will have very few opportunities to screw anything up. Of course, I’d like to tell you about the people they’ve been sent to kill, but I think it would be best if I left you in the dark, like Connor. Throughout the series though there are a number of really cool characters that Connor embraces. One who I really enjoyed writing, is named Joey “Lips” McGee, who will appear in Issue 3. He is an antagonist to Connor and I don’t want to give away too much but he’s a bigger brute than Connor (and his nickname came about due to the gnarly scar that runs straight from under his nose to his chin, separating his lips into four quadrants).

– It really looks like you’ve been getting some great local support on this.  How has that helped in the promotion for your comic, as well as the Kickstarter?

It’s been really awesome! Our friends and family have been outstanding, not only in the Kickstarter contributions but also in spreading the word and just providing moral support. The community (we both live in Tallahassee) has also been great. We’ve been embraced by our local comic shops and were even able to set up in one this past weekend and meet the customers, and hopefully, future fans. Then there’s just been an outpouring of support from unexpected places. We were able to sit down with the local NPR affiliate and do an interview and that really helped get the word out. Also, I know it’s cliche to say it, but the power of social media has definitely been on our side. We’ve been promoting pretty hard on Facebook and Twitter and have gotten nothing but support from total strangers!

– I absolutely love the mask design for this book.  Can you tell us what went on behind the scenes when creating the masks?  Do these masks have anything to do with the character’s personality, as far as the different animals go?

When I originally wrote the script it was two ski masks rather than a wolf and a pig. But I quickly realized how boring it is to look at two faces covered in cloth for multiple pages so I decided to change it. I wanted something that kind of represented the characters personality. At the time, I don’t think I realized how fun it would be to play around with the wolf and pig masks but as I continued to write I feel like the masks really allowed me to add some cool stuff to the script. Then, once Daniel got a hold of it, it just really took off. Daniel was able to make adjustments and play with the masks even more and I think the image of the wolf and pig will be the kind of lasting image of Issue 1.

– You’ve stated you’d like to have the first issue out by Free Comic Book Day this upcoming May.  How are things looking towards having this goal completed?

Good! We’re on track as of writing this. Daniel does have a one-year old son (and another on the way) so we wanted to make sure we gave him a lot of time. Of course, there’s always obstacles and unforeseen setbacks, but as of right now we are right on track to having this thing cranked out by the beginning of May.

– You guys also seem to have plans for a lot of convention visits, including the famous San Diego Comic Con.  Do you have special plans for these conventions?  What conventions are you planning on hitting this year?

It all depends on how well the Kickstarter goes. We will definitely be hitting up the ones in Florida (except MegaCon which happens in March, so we won’t be able to make that one), but depending on how well the Kickstarter goes, we will be able to expand our convention schedule. If we get enough money we are hoping to make it to some of the conventions in Georgia and some of the surrounding states. I really don’t know what to expect as a vendor at these things, I’m nervous about being overwhelmed or ill-prepared. That being said, I think we have some cool ideas: I want to get a few friends to take turns dressed like Connor and Bradan in their wolf and pig outfits and have them take pictures. I think that would be super fun and a really good way to help spread the word.

– Any future plans with Gentleman Baby Comics that you can talk about?  Any ideas floating around in your head?  I’m curious to see it grow, and where you can take us.

We’re trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we have talked about some future projects. I have one story that I can’t get out of my head. I’ve talked with Daniel and he is interested in it, so hopefully when I have the time I can take these rough outlines and characters and put them together. Also, there are things I would love to try, like a great, original super hero story (who doesn’t want to write a great super hero story). Right now we’re really working hard on HIT!, but I would be lying if I said we haven’t already started thinking about what’s to come.

– Well, thank you, Craig, for sitting down with these questions!  I really want to thank you for joining us here, and for working on what will surely be a great title.  Best of luck to you guys!

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All the info you need, including their main website!

Twitter: @Gentleman_Baby
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IMAGES AND SAMPLE PAGES FROM THE COMIC:

INTERVIEW: Matt Miner, writer of “Liberator”

matt-dara1Matt Miner is the writer of “Liberator”, a 4-issue mini-series starring masked heroes who save, protect, and avenge abused animals.  Matt and artist Joel Gomez (Wetworks, Nightmare on Elm Street, Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs, Flashpoint: Reverse Flash and Detective Comics) are working hard to fund this mini-series using Kickstarter (see link below), and have some surprising and amazing ‘gifts’ for backers.  The Kickstarter page has a collection of highly positive quotes from such people as Scott Snyder, Steve Niles, Neko Case, Justin Gray and more.  Most importantly, this is a comic based on horrific things that happen every day and go mostly unnoticed or are ignored – the plight of abused animals.  These poor animals have no real voice with which to better their lives.  These characters, and their writer himself, are their voices.

Matt was able to take some time to answer some questions for us, where you will learn why this mini-series is so important, and why it deserves the support it needs to be successful.

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– First, can you tell us a little about yourself, maybe a bit of what a normal day-in-the-life of Matt Miner might be like?

Well I’m a New Yorker, an animal rescuer and animal rights and social justice activist.  I’m also a comic book writer and a dad to several rescued animals.  A day in my life includes a lot of dog walks, dog poop, writing, chatting with folks on Twitter, trying to find homes for animals and pushing my Kickstarter for Liberator.

– For your new title – the mini-series “Liberator” – you are attempting to get funding from the Kickstarter program, with the idea of funding the whole mini-series in one swoop.  What kind of gifts do you have up that might entice someone to back your project – other than helping a destined to be amazing series get printed, of course?  Also, how did you get bands like Bad Religion to help you in this?  There’s also some amazing artwork being offered.

Well we have all the offerings – the books, rad prints, variant covers, Kickstarter exclusives, limited editions, original art, etc.  The thing that makes the Liberator Kickstarter a little different is that, well,  good projects with a good message tend to attract other good people who want to help.

So we started inviting folks to contribute to the project – articles, interviews, stuff of that nature.  An issue of Liberator is 24 pages of comic adventure story and several pages of these extras.  The reward packages from bands and organizations are things they’ve bundled up specifically for us, to further help Liberator succeed.

So that’s why we have those cool swag bundles from Bad Religion and Propagandhi and the Descendents and filmmakers and activist organizations and the like.  It’s because they give a damn and they’re good people who wanted to help.

Other folks are jumping onboard daily and we’ll be announcing them throughout the campaign.

– It seems every comic fan and creator has that one special title, or that one special character, or issue, etc. that got them into comics on more of a ‘serious’ level – from spectator to collector.  Any comics stick out in your mind as being major influences on your life or your comic work?

Growing up in the 1980s for me it was all about those quintessential game changer Batman stories – you know: Death in the Family, Year One, Dark Knight Returns and Killing Joke.  On the Marvel side I was all in with Punisher, Punisher War Journal and some of the Wolverine stories – really grim and gritty stuff compared to the bulk of superhero titles at the time.  But that grim realism and heavy narrative, that dark and brooding internal dialogue, spoke to me and I really connected with those stories.  In my opinion they’re still some of the best comics ever written.

– The premise for “Liberator” is pure genius, in my opinion.  I’m curious as to what brought you to writing this mini-series, and how much of your own personal activism experience went into it?

That’s very kind of you to say, but the premise is heavily inspired by real life true events.  There are people who actually do this type of direct action for animals and when I learned of them I thought to myself that they were kind of like superheroes but for animals.  They’re masked, they do all this black ops shit, they save animals – I thought it was brilliant stuff.  My own personal activism never ventured into this illegal arena – I was more on the aboveground front line with signs and bullhorns – but I’ve always been and always will be a vocal supporter of the underground.  Lately I’ve been focused on  rescue of abused cats and dogs and death row animals in our city shelters.

– Your efforts in saving troubled animals, ranging from outright activism to the BSL News blog, is truly amazing and inspiring.  What do you think made this so important in your life, to the point of having the passion and drive needed to devote so much of your life to Animal Rights?

It’s pretty common with folks like me to have had some sort of personal trauma in their early lives where they feel alone, helpless, scared, and voiceless.  Having had experiences like this, it makes it easy to empathize with abused and neglected animals.

– Can you tell us about your work with your BSL News blog, and what it’s like to be on the ‘frontlines’, so to speak?  You seem to be doing some great things on there.

BSL News is a site run by my wife and me – its mission is to help combat breed specific legislation (laws targeting specific breeds of dogs for their genetics) and give us a hand in our rescue efforts.  I don’t know that it counts as the frontlines, but it’s certainly been a good resource for helping open eyes to the harm that breed stereotypes can cause and call people to action to fight when breed bans or BSL is proposed.

– In the video for the Kickstarter page you can see you not only in full action, but also in an appearance on television.  I also read that you were interviewed by the BBC in regards to Hurricane Sandy.  I assume the BBC interview was in light of your dedicated work with helping displaced animals from the aftermath of Sandy?

I was interviewed twice by the BBC regarding Sandy, but both times it was in regards to the piss poor job LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) was doing in regards to restoring power to the poorer areas of the Rockaways.  It’s really shameful how LIPA was hard at work restoring the rich Long Island neighborhoods and left the poor in Rockaway to freeze to death.  They actually asked why I didn’t evacuate before the storm and I said “well, I’m not going to leave my animals” and they kind of scoffed.  It was uncomfortable.

– Back to the comic, how did you get Joel Gomez in on this project?  His artwork is amazing!  Really sets the tone, from what I’ve seen.

Joel’s very talented and he’s really helped bring a new level to the project.  I was referred to him through Freddie Williams II and Joel, even though he’s not an animal rights person, thought the story was intriguing and worth telling.  He’s been great and his art is going to blow you away.

– In the press for the Kickstarter page, you mention that fans of things like ‘Batman’ and ‘Dexter’ would enjoy this book.  What edge does the book ride on, in so far as vigilantism goes?  It’s obvious there is some direct action going on, but how far is it taken in the mini-series?

The two heroes within the book stick to a nonviolent code of conduct, with “nonviolent” being defined as violence toward a living being.  I don’t believe you can be violent to a nonliving inanimate object – therefore I consider smashing a window or flattening a tire to be a nonviolent action as long as you take all necessary precautions to avoid harming any life.

The heroes of Liberator are anally meticulous to make sure no human or animal is hurt in the course of any of their actions, which is also true for the real life animal activists that inspire the story.

– I think one of the most inspiring things about this title is that you have dedicated some of the proceeds from it to fund more of your work in dog rescue.  What brought you to this idea, and what area do you feel will benefit directly from the proceeds?

My wife and I do independent dog rescue, meaning we’re not with a group or organization and work on our own.  So the cost of everything from leashes to food to neutering to shots normally comes out of our pocket – for large vet bills we run fundraisers which helps a bit, but it’s still a lot of money for us.  If Liberator’s successful we could afford to help more dogs and cats and out here in Rockaway, and since Sandy hit, there are a LOT of displaced animals who need the help.

– Can you tell us about the main characters in ‘Liberator’, and maybe a bit about why they took the path they’re on?

Well, we’ve got Damon Guerrero, who’s an Hispanic mid 20s slacker barista who really found his calling working in the animal liberation underground.   His equal and eventual partner is Jeanette Francis, a strong and wicked smart mid 20s college student who saw what was going on in her university’s labs and it rocked her world view.  They’re both fueled by separate but equally disturbing pasts and a burning drive to help those who can’t help themselves.

– You have rescued animals in your home, both cats and dogs.  I wonder what might have brought them into your family?  Do they have stories to tell, as well?

All our animals are rescues and all of them have stories.  Our pit bull girl Dara is who got me rescuing; she was my first rescue – she had a day to live at the kill shelter and I saw her photo on Facebook and she was so scared and skinny and I fell in love with her deep soulful eyes.   I got her off death row but couldn’t bring myself to adopt her out and insisted on keeping her.  Our pit bull boy Joey was a neglect case in a housing project.  The sweetest little boy you’ll ever meet, all he wants to do is snuggle and sleep and these “people” who had him couldn’t even bother to walk him or give him water.

We’ve got three cats, two of them rehabilitated ferals from the Bronx and one a dumped housecat who we rescued from under the Rockaway Beach boardwalk a week before Hurricane Sandy.  They’re all amazing cats with huge personalities and my life is more complete from their presence.

Lastly we’ve got a foster Rottweiler in my home office.  Sweet guy, huge heart, super gentle – nothing like how he looks upon first sight!  He was tethered in the sun on a 3 foot chain and prong collar when we met him.  Slowly we convinced his wretched “family” to let us start taking care of him there, then finally to give him up.  Luckily we got him before the hurricane because he would have drowned in the shitty little shed they shoved him in when it was raining.

– You’ve done a lot of work with fighting dogs, it seems.  How much of a problem is such a thing as we’re heading into 2013?  Can you also talk about some of the actions you have been a part of in this area?

I’ve done some work with fighting dogs but not a lot.  It’s still a huge problem in a lot of areas, and out where we live is no exception.  Abandoned houses are even more common now post-Sandy and they’re regularly broken in to and used by dog fighters to store their canine victims.  It’s heinous.  The only good thing about this practice is that literally anyone else could also break in and remove those dogs.

– What other comic book work have you done previously?  Any experiences or lessons in these works that might have helped get ‘Liberator’ put together, in terms of writing it?

Liberator’s my first comic writing work but I took it very seriously so I didn’t rush anything and I made sure to have the money to bring onboard a professional art team.  I took classes under Scott Snyder to really polish the book and hone my craft.  I wanted to be sure this thing was as good as it possibly can be because I’ve wanted to do the book for nearly a decade and there’s no sense in doing it half assed and having the thing suck.

– I think the work you’re doing and have done is very important and I believe it is also needed on a broader scale.  Do things look to be going in the right direction, in terms of Animal Rights?  What major changes would you like to see?

As long as a person thinks they should be able to use and abuse an animal for their own gain I think there’s work to be done.  It’s a constant struggle and hard to gauge if things are going in the right direction.

Activism-wise we’re headed into a total loss of our first amendment rights – activists are rounded up as terrorists and nonviolent crimes are punished with decades in federal prison just due to the person’s political ideology.  Anarchists are targeted for thought crime: believing that we’d be better off without the government in our affairs and Occupy folks are beaten down and maced by cops for holding a sign.

Realistic changes I’d like to see?  Sure, I’d like to see felony charges be standard for animal abusers and animals not classified as “property.”   Animals are a “him” or a “her”, not an “it.”

– Do you have any future comic-related plans once ‘Liberator’ is released?

I’m working on two other projects at the moment.  I’m contributing a piece for the Occupy Comics anthology – I guess the publisher feels I have a unique enough view of the Occupy Sandy folks since I was here for the storm and the aftermath; I’m thrilled to be able to say “thank you” to them this way.  I’m also working on a piece for an anti-bullying anthology that should be great – I’m a huge supporter of efforts to end bullying and, again, thrilled to be able to help in this small way.

– Not a question, but I really wanted to thank you for putting so much of yourself and your life into helping animals in the many ways you do.  Creating/writing ‘Liberator’ while also using the sales to fund your work is seriously awe-inspiring.  As someone who grew up with Pit Bulls and the like, I wanted to take this chance to applaud your dedication, and to say I’m really looking forward to this mini-series!  Thank you for doing this interview with us.

Seriously, thank YOU.  Since starting work on Liberator I’m thrilled to find folks who also share my passions for animals alongside a love of comics.  Thanks so much for giving a damn!

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HELP “LIBERATOR” GET PUBLISHED – SUPPORT IT ON KICKSTARTER: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattminer/liberator-4-issue-comic-series-by-matt-miner-and-j

FOLLOW AND/OR GET IN TOUCH WITH MATT MINER ON TWITTER:  @MattMinerXVX

IMAGES AND ARTWORK FROM “LIBERATOR”, AND MORE:

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– Interview by F. Fang / Edited by Jared Butler

NEWS AND MORE! December 20th, 2012

Bag-and-Bored-Wordbal2-1Not much news going around the comics world the past couple of days, but here’s some stuff we here at the B&B Crew found interesting, news or not! :)

– Mark Millar & Frank Quitely’s “Jupiter’s Legacy” is coming this April!  –> http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/JoshWildingNewsAndReviews/news/?a=71578

– Complex’s 10 Best Comic Books of 2012  –> http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/12/the-10-best-comic-books-of-2012/

– Vote for your favorites on Comic Monster’s “Horror Comics Awards”!  –> http://www.comicmonsters.com/horror-comic-awards.html

– Samuel L. Jackson won’t be in the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie, but wants in on Star Wars!  –> http://comicbook.com/blog/2012/12/20/samuel-l-jackson-will-sit-out-guardians-of-the-galaxy-wants-star-wars/

– Kickstarter for Matt Miner & Joel Gomez’s “Liberator” only has 40+ days left to reach their goal of $18,000!  Help this really interesting premise (4-issue series about heroes ‘risking it all’ to protect animals) get published!  I think it’ll be awesome.  –> http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattminer/liberator-4-issue-comic-series-by-matt-miner-and-j

– Happy 200th Anniversary of the first printing of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”!  Not comics, but awesome all the same, and it’s influence can be felt all over Pop Culture – including comics!  Check it out:  –> http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/19/grimm-brothers-anniversary-german-culture

– IGN released their “Best Comics of 2012” awards, with award categories from many areas of the comic book universe:  –> http://www.ign.com/wikis/best-of-2012/Comics

– IDW picks up the rights to ‘T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents’ and a few others!  –> http://www.comicsalliance.com/2012/12/20/idw-acquires-thunder-agents/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

– Graphic Novel Reporter’s “Best Graphic Novels of 2012” list!  –> http://graphicnovelreporter.com/content/best-graphic-novels-2012-feature-stories

 

AND AS USUAL, SOME AWESOME ART TO GO WITH YOUR NEWS!

Skeletor – drawn by the awesome Skottie Young!

SKELETOR1