Welcome back, my faithful companions! Your Indie Huntress is back to save you from the pain-staking tedium that is mainstream comics! Today I bring you an interview with David Brown: author of the horrifying, "Obscura." I was privy to reading these dark tales, for review on a podcast. These comics are definitely not for the faint of heart. Horror, is nearly an understatement as there are richly detailed murders, corruption, and moments so painful, you felt them in your gut- or what was left of it. I'm still suspect over possible evisceration by a certain character....or that could just secretly be my hope for ultimate demise. I haven't decided yet. Without further adieu, here is the information you desire and crave so desperately...
Why haven you chosen to make comics?
I knew early on that I was a writer. I read an interview with one of my favorite fantasy authors, David Eddings and he said something along the lines of: "You're either a writer or you're not. You'll know if you can't stop."
That stuck with me because I literally can't stop. I've always been a comics fan but didn't start in the field. I began writing prose but it made me feel too scatter-brained...unfocused, I was all over the place. Then I began writing screenplay and teleplay. I really liked the form and learned a lot about direction but ultimately, writing 300 pages of script that would likely never see the light of day was not something that appealed to me.
I remember when it dawned on me...it was like being punched in the face by reality. Comics! It had elements of what I loved about writing screenplay but without the limitation. I could literally write ANYTHING and it would come to life on the page. After years and years of writing and creating comics, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and began publishing. I've been making comics ever since and it is, to me, the single greatest medium to work in. Limitless.
Fresh off of a successful Kickstarter for, "Obscura" the collected edition, tell us what this comic is about and some of the rewards backers are receiving.
"Obscura: Collected Edition" is the culmination of just over a year's worth of work. The book contains issues 1-4 of the ongoing series, 152 pages of tales that can all be summed up with one word; ODD. The stories in the book are all stand-alone (with running themes and connections) and mostly lean towards horror/weird in flavor.
We offered a ton of rewards this time around. The most exciting of which was a chance to work with D.N.S. and I on your own comic idea. Those tiers went pretty fast and it's been exciting helping other people realize their dream of having their concept/idea be published.
Obscura began as our (myself and series artist D.N.S.) outlet to tell stories that didn't really have a home anywhere else, because of their content. You can think of the book as The Island of Misfit Stories. Being a big fan of shows like 'The Twilight Zone' and books like 'Dark Horse Presents' sort of cemented the idea of Obscura in my head. A place where stories can relax and be their weird selves.
What is,"Chewler" and who did you collaborate with on this project?
Oh yes, my little love child 'Chewler'. It's probably the most off the wall project I've ever been involved in. 'Chewler' is a book that grew out of my desire to work with artist/writer Shannon Gretzon. His art is so unique and after he contributed to our first anthology book, "The Wisdom of Fools", I knew I wanted to work on something substantial with him.
After chatting with him for a bit, we discovered that we both had an interest in history and conspiracy. It didn't take long after that to hammer the book out. When asked to describe the book, I'm often confused how to proceed because it's so...unique. Let's try this; A retired special ops general is called back into the field by a super computer who runs the United States. It seems a mad man is attempting to wake Hitler from the dead, in order to gain his knowledge of extraterrestrial technology, which would allow him to dominate the planet.
Throughout it's three issue run, we meet an inter-dimensional overlord named Ricardo, a sidekick with, among other things, a robotic penis and a cat who has nasty thoughts about General Chewler. I guess the best way to describe it is this...it's like reading drugs. And those drugs are available on Amazon and Comixology!
What other comics have you worked on?
I've written about a thousand unpublished books but as far as fully fleshed out projects go, our first book as Fifth Dimension Comics was the successfully Kickstarted 'The Wisdom of Fools', then 3 issues of 'Chewler', followed by 4 issues and the collected version of Obscura and then another soon to be released project with Shannon Gretzon called 'Victor'. All that in addition to various little holiday specials and some writing for other publishers like 'Green Monkey Comics'.
As an independent comic creator, what are some of the challenges you've faced putting your work out there?
Oh man, being independent is rough. I won't lie, if you're not a wealthy person, creating and producing comics is really a harrowing undertaking. Take cons for instance...doing a convention as a writer is generally not fun..at least for me. I've seen other writers like Dirk Manning make it work, but I just don't have a large enough body of work at this point. I can't offer commissions or anything flashy, I can just sell you my books.
Another big challenge for us is marketing and promotion. In the indie scene, you have to wear a lot of hats. It's true we've had 2 successful Kickstarters but in general, getting someone to trust you enough to plunk down money for an indie book takes work...building relationships and connections. Yes, that is how the business works but it's not exactly what I signed up for. I'm a lot like my buddy Doug Michel of 'Monkey Squad One' in that respect...we are creators, not marketers or promoters. And spending a lot of time marketing and promoting your book takes a lot of time away from actually creating. I'll be honest; the entire act of the 'hard sell' makes me uncomfortable. But for all that, I'm really happy with the fans and other creators I've met during the process and have made some really good friends along the way.
Where can fans find your work and where will you be at during the upcoming con season?
I'm all over the internet but the main places people can discover our stuff is our blog (which I'll be updating more over the next couple weeks) at Fifth Dimension Comics and on Twitter @5dComics. Those would be the best places to keep up to date about whatever we've got going on. As far as cons, I'm sort of taking the year off for the most part and concentrating on the new stuff we've got cooking.
What's next for you? Any projects you're working on currently?
We've got plans! We've got one more giant sized issue of, "Obscura" that is being made as we speak. And like I mentioned earlier, Gretzon and I will be releasing, "Victor" soon. D.N.S. and I are currently producing a spin off to the Obscura story, "Bill and Lenny". It will be a 3 issue mini series featuring a foul mouthed occult artifact thief and his monkey companion as they fight the good fight. After that wraps up, we'll begin producing another ongoing series called "Modern Animals" which is probably the most brutal thing I've ever written. It follows the drug induced life of a porn lighting technician and his buddy, Mr. Bones. Murder, drugs and general debauchery will flow like water.
Keep following David and the team at Fifth Dimension Comics for up to date information on their works!
As always, you can find me in the following places:
The Mistresses of Mayhem and Chaos Podcast at: MofMandC