Welcome back, my faithful followers! Your Indie Huntress is here, to take you off again and give you some more absolutely delicious, independent comics. I say delicious, because I often eat the pages to give me strength. Wouldn't that be something? Before I go off and put heavy toxins in my body, to see if I can morph into something new, let's chat about Brian Byrd. He is a new creator in the independent scene, launching his first comic and Kickstarter. Brian approached me, looking for someone to give a few opinions on his comic, and his campaign. He got a lot more than he initially bargained for. Pretty sure he may have considered running away after my overly enthusiastic, bordering maniacal response. Here is the information you desire so....
What was the turning point for you to decide to make comics? What events led you here?
I have been engaged in the world of comics since I was five years old, so it only made sense to try and write one myself. I had actually tried a project years ago with my best friend at the time, an Austrian artist, and a woman from California. However, we were six months into the project with only one page drawn out, three or four pages written down, and a whole bunch of bickering about where we were going to pitch our book. The team fell apart, because no one could get along and communicate. With this book, I'm six months in and looking to print Issue #1 any day now. I feel like my mistakes from round one led me to this point. I was going to give up, but decided that by giving up, I never made it. That just wasn't good enough for me.
What is Bullets and Angels about? What does this comic mean to you?
Bullets & Angels is about changing the genre in how demons are portrayed in visual media. In the book, there is a spiritual war taking place between realms. A few gifted individuals can see these demons and angels at work. As the old saying goes, the eyes are useless when the mind is blind.
Some people have tried to compare it to Constantine, and let's just say that's a huge misconception. Coming from someone who has read every volume of Hellblazer and Constantine, our main protagonist, James "Ace" Hollister, is nothing close to the old chap Constantine. Some major differences are there is a huge anchor in Bullets & Angels that tries to link it to the real world as much as possible, while dealing with entities such as angels and demons. To elaborate on that thought, there are no capes and cowls in this book. Where, Constantine has dealt with a demon or two in his hay day, he mostly deals with other mages, ghosts, vengeful spirits, and superheroes. Ace is not a mage at all: he is simply a man who can see demons, a man who hates and fears God as much as he loves Him.
This book means everything to me. I put all my dreams in one bottle and tossed it into the sea. I think if given the chance, Bullets & Angels can be big...really big...
I understand this is your first comic, can you tell us about this experience and what you have learned from the process?
Yeah, it's been a long road. We actually had almost seven pages done and on the way to the letterer when we found out that they were all the wrong size. Our Russian artist wasn't familiar with US print sizes, so he had to extend the borders on all the pages, and our colorist had to re-do all the colors on those seven pages. It was pretty stressful. It caused a lot of debate between our artists for a bit. It was a good lesson, though. After that incident, we communicated through group emails to make sure that everyone was always on the same page. I also learned the way you format your script is very important; I had a formatting system that I was using, and for some reason, it wasn't getting the point across. I looked up how Dark Horse and DC format their scripts, and used that formatting process, and suddenly my art team was doing wonders with what I sent them. It really does make a difference.
Bullets and Angels currently has a Kickstarter up. Please tell us about some of the rewards backers can expect to see.
I am so excited about some of the rewards that we have up right now. Of course, backers can expect the usual PDF for a $5 pledge, and there is a pledge offering a signed variant cover, but we also are giving out signed copies of the original script as well as professional prints of the Kickstarter variant cover art. There is one reward where one lucky backer can get the original art for the Kickstarter variant, framed, as well as get the chance to be immortalized forever as one of the two detectives that are in the series. Those are recurring characters, so those are major shoes to fill!
(There have been several new additions to the reward levels since the initial interview. Including T-shirts and action figures.)
Who are the members of the team you've been working with on this comic, and how did you come to meet them?
I created the world and story, and co-wrote it with Sarah Hollis, who I've known for years. Sarah Hollis and I sat down together one night after the script for Issues #1 and #2 were finished, and began emailing artists. We had several respond, but only one stuck out to us: Saint Yak. Hailing from Russia, he has done art for many books before. His style just fit. We asked for concept art from each artist for Ace, and his was perfect. I hired him on the spot. After he began writing for us, Sarah and I stumbled upon HdE's Wordpress blog, and began discussing the project with him. He was our first choice for letterer, and when he let us know his availability, we also hired him on the spot. Matt, however, was another story. We went through six or seven colorists before I found Matt James on Facebook. I showed his work to Miss Hollis, and she asked him to provide a sample, as we had with all the colorists before him. His work was by far the best. I finally had assembled the team for Bullets & Angels.
I understand you're already jamming away at some additional projects. Will you elaborate on what these are and who you will be working with?
One of the additional projects that I am very excited about is actually still in conjunction with the Bullets & Angels title, however, it does not fit into the main storyline. It is a prequel to a character that we will meet in Volume 3 (that's book three, not issue!), and will be a bit different as it will only be 6 issues long instead of 12. I will be working with a wonderful artist from Thailand for this book. I actually have the first three issues written already.
There are a couple of other projects I have in the works, but they are all on the back burner until Bullets & Angels is finished.
As a new creator coming into the fold of independent comic making, Has it been intimidating? Or do you feel that you're breaking down walls?
The short answer is a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. When I first set out to write Bullets & Angels, I had one goal, and one goal only in mind: to make a good comic. But I surprised myself. I don't feel like I made a good comic...I feel like it's great. Where that might sound a little biased, I don't see anything else like Bullets & Angels out there. I was intimidated at first, especially when I would read submissions rules from Indie publishers, and look at how long of a list they were looking for...It scared me to think I was going to have to put that all together. Now, my pitch is written and waiting. I feel like I'm going to be kicking in the door of every Indie publisher I can find: and jamming my book down their throat. I feel like I'm making waves, and I haven't even left shore. It's a great feeling. But the door I want to kick in the most is Image Comics. I love them.
Where can people find you and your work on the Internet?
I have a Facebook all set up just for fans and colleges, and that's Comics Write Me. That's my handle for just about everything: ComicsWriteMe. The official Bullets & Angels Facebook page is here. You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr, both under that handle I mentioned above, @ComicsWriteMe.
As always, you can find me all over the internet here:
Facebook: The Indie Huntress
Michelle Gallagher Poet (My partner in crime!)