Since getting involved in the comic book community, I've been enough fortunate to make connections and bond with various people who's passion also involves growing and leaving a mark in the comic community. One such person I've been fortunate to meet is Marcel Dupree. Very early on in our initial meeting, we expressed an interest in working together. Marcel quickly put money where his mouth was and instantly got me involved with one of his concepts (The Gentleman: Darkness of the Void) and soon after gave me a platform to launch my next creator owned book (Marassa).
Marcel Dupree is founder and publisher of EvoluzionePublishing. When he isn't publishing, he is writing Delilah Blast, Armor-I, PoM, 5 Blades, and Harpies. Today he comes by the Griotvine to talk about being an editor, running his various comic companies, and trying to find time to write!
GREG ANDERSON ELYSEE: First off, let's begin for a bit on Evoluzione Publishing. You're the editor and head man of this company. Can you tell us about Evoluzione?
MARCEL DUPREE: Evoluzione Publishing is a comic book publisher that hopes to provide something for everyone through our multiple lines. We strive to be a place for creators to let their ideas run loose.
ELYSEE: What made you decide to create Evoluzione?
DUPREE: I was a Vertigo fanboy. I wanted to make a place very similar to what Karen Berger provided: comics that are fun but with huge subtext that appeals to casual readers and non-readers. I also wanted to make a place where all ages comics weren't seen as corny.
ELYSEE: Do you feel you've been accomplishing that?
DUPREE: I feel like I have accomplished that when it comes to all ages books. It is fun being at a con, seeing adult and children wanting to read Armor-I, Delilah Blast, and SFC. When it comes to some of the other titles, appealing to causal and non readers have worked. At WonderCon, people who said that they didn't really read comics were our biggest customers. I think the titles in the 2.0 Initiative are bringing the subtext that I want.
ELYSEE: What got you interested and involved in making comic books overall?
DUPREE: I wanted to make comics after a friend of mine handed me an issue of Evil Ernie. I use to write and draw my own comics as a kid and teen. Then one day I was hanging with my little brother, complaining about a certain publisher and he said, "Why not make your own like you use to?"
ELYSEE: Fast forward to the future, you did just that. What are some of the books that you can talk about? You brought up initiative earlier.
DUPREE: We're in the midst of a new initiative called Evoluzione 2.0 where I reached out to some of the best writers that I knew and asked them to pitch me what they wanted to do and I would find them an artist. We have The Crowding Of Dragos by Brian Hawkins (who is also the writer of Angelica Reigns) and Marco Perugini, which is about a world that has been decimated and destroyed. An ancient sect of beings, dragon shifters called The Dragos, have risen to power and only a remnant of humanity remains, their survival hinging on their choosing to fight or surrender to The Dragos. You can check that out on Kickstarter now.
We also have Sane6 by Rob Canon, which is about twelve criminal contractors who stumble into the biggest job of their careers, but there may be more to the client's agenda than they thought. That will be hitting Kickstarter on August 15th.
Besides our 2.0 Initiative, we have the third issue of Angelica Reigns from our SFCComicsLine, launching on August 28th. Angelica Reigns: The Faith is about a young woman being hunted by an ancient religious cult.
ELYSEE: Now what is the difference between the SFC Comics Line and Evoluzione?
DUPREE: SFC Comics are company owned titles and all of the creators are work for hire. The line spun out of our series SFC which is about a super-powered sports entertainment company. We decided to take the characters in SFC and create a shared universe of people with powers but aren't necessarily superheroes. Evoluzione is a creator owned line that focuses on books in any genre, except superheroes. I think the superhero market is overcrowded but if someone does have a very unique take, I would make an exception. We invite creators that we are fans of to make comics with us. The creator doesn't necessarily have to have an artist in mind. We are lucky enough to have a bunch of amazing artists waiting for books to work on.
ELYSEE: I saw somewhere you have another imprint, one where the books are more on the mature realm?
DUPREE: We have a line called Spotti Entertainment. Spotti Entertainment is a joint venture between Silvio Spotti and Evoluzione. It is a creator owned line that is primarily horror and fantasy comics. We have four titles: Ruby and the Warriors of Dion by Silvio Spotti, Guido Martinez, and Vittorio Astone is an epic fantasy tale about a young mage on a quest for vengeance. Issue 2 of Ruby is dropping this month; Infinite Punishment by Marcelo Trom, Periya Pillia, and Francisco Zamora, is about a woman, Lilith, who has escaped from the talons of her creator, Decipher. Now free, she wants her revenge for the mistreatment she received; Harpies by Vincenzo Carratu, Vittorio Astone, Guido Martinez, and myself. It is a WW2 horror comic about 3 Allied spies that have to stop Hitler's newest General of Occult Defense from unleashing unspeakable monstrosities. Issue 1 of Harpies drops in September. And them there's Bangin Bunz by Luis Torres, Marcelo Mueller, Vittorio Astone, and Guido Martinez.
ELYSEE: Along with running your own comic book company, you're also writing. I see you have a Kickstarter for a series called The Other Side of Nowhere. Can you tell us about it?
DUPREE: The Other Side of Nowhere is a graphic novel series that I am doing with Mark Henry, Marco Pagnotta, and Guido Martinez. I have been working on it on and off for about 4 years. It is about a man named Dr. Cornelius Frankfort who has felt like an outsider at a galactic think tank named Thoth. Frankfort doesn't know who he is or where he's from. All he remembers is getting beat up and then limping to a source of light while also waking up smarter than he originally was. He's then found by two scientist that works at Thoth. He becomes a subject of study but soon becomes a student at Thoth and then finally a doctor. He becomes obsessed with memories of his past and wants an explanation, making it his life's work. He finds a map that leads him to what he thinks is not only his origin but the origin of us all.
ELYSEE: What inspired it?
DUPREE: I was trying to work with Mark for like a year on a project. We couldn't really agree on anything. One day he sent me a sketch of a monkey, a hot woman, and a toaster in a temple. He said, "Come up with a story using these three characters." I was like, "Alright! Challenge accepted!" I was tangling with my issues of religion and why my religious family couldn't accept that maybe God allowed the Big Bang and evolution. If God did allow for evolution, how would it happen? I threw in some Jack Kirby's 4th World and Outlaw Star then BAM! I made the Other Side of Nowhere.
ELYSEE: Looking at the preview for the book, you definitely see that Jack Kirby influence. Who are those two characters fighting each other and are they important to the story?
DUPREE: Those two character are offspring of the Source. The offspring have different ideas of their roles in the universe. Some think their power gives them the right to rule. Some think that their place is just to observe. Some think that it is their place to guide the universe in the name of the Father. The one in green is Kutbay. She is part of the sect that believes it's their right to rule. The one in the brown is Akan. He was part of the sect that wants to just observe.
ELYSEE: Who exactly are the other characters? I love their designs.
DUPREE: The cast is large and fun to write. We have Captain Nova who is Dr. Frankford's ex girlfriend. They broke up because Dr. Frankford caused her to lose her job at Toth by asking her to take him on an unsanctioned mission. She's along for this journey because VIx, a research assistant at Toth, knows that the team can't complete their mission without her. The fish guy is Jordan who's another research assistant assigned to work with Dr. Frankford. The tentacle dread guy and the blob are a pair of mercs that were kicked out of Toth for smuggling artifacts from digs. Frankford hired them because he thinks that they're suitable pilots and muscle since him and Nova are on the outs.
ELYSEE: Nice. Tell us more about your artist, Mark Henry, and what has been the process working with him?
DUPREE: Mark Henry is an artist out of Florida. He has been doing comics for years. I met him on Deviant Art in like 2010. Working with him has been a blast. I tell him my ideas and see if he's excited to draw them. I give him a plot script and he comes back with magic.
ELYSEE: How are you managing writing, running Evoluzione, and editing all these various books? Are you able to sleep?
DUPREE: I am constantly working. Editing takes up most of my day. I am always in group chats, talking about schedules, and script changes. My writing kind of gets pushed aside. I feel like my duty is to the writers and artists that I publish. The artists that work on my projects tend to understand that pages from me will be sparse, 5 pages here and there. We work on them when I have some free time. Personal life is non existent. I sleep like 3 or 4 hours a day.
ELYSEE: Wow, dude. You're a power tank. Tell me you have some vacation time and self care planned!
DUPREE: I was supposed to go on a vacation at the end of the year but I doubt that it's happening now.
ELYSEE: Yeesh. Where can people find your work and order your books?
DUPREE: We are on Comixology, Indyplanet, Gumroad, DriveThruComics, and on our site that is currently under construction.
And there we have it, folks! Let's try to give this man some sleep! Be sure to check out these awesome Kickstarters currently running, just click on the links below!