MINIONS! Your Indie Huntress has returned! Now that I think about it, you probably wonder why I call you minions. Every time I say minions, I yell it out loud like the Monarch from Venture Bros. It's staying now, I like it too much. Enough of my ranting. Let's talk about Eric Palicki.
I had several friends tell me that I absolutely had to get a hold of Eric Palicki for an interview. They raved endlessly about his comic, " Red Angel Dragnet". Demanding that I read it because, 'it is up my alley'. They were most certainly correct. My only regret is that I did not come across this sooner. Red Angel Dragnet, chewed me up and spit me out. I am a big fan of the horror genre and everything that goes along with that.
We follow the main character Nate through a series of trouble. Nate is magically enhanced, but not in the way you'd think. No- he has a unique way of battling demons. One that could very well destroy him in the end. However, no spoilers here.
This story pulled me in, right from the cover. THIS cover. I was in awe at the beauty of the art, and shocked by this beautiful woman that was stitched up, with her eyes clearly screaming of inner turmoil that was occuring. I couldn't stop staring at her for several minutes, as I imagined being there with her, wanting to know her story. Staring at her naked and destroyed body. Wondering about her physical scars and psychological. Wanting to know what torture was brought upon her, and how she came to be. Learning that not only was this an act from hell, but there were several others, as we follow Nate through solving this mystery. While he is on the path of protecting himself and others, he uses unconventional ways to do so.
The art paired with this story was phenomenal, it fit perfectly with the tale and displayed the horror, the various levels of emotional and physical pain, the action scenes were a prominent display of power and struggle... it was captivating the whole read. Now that I've finished the first trade, I can say this to you Eric Palicki- it is as if there is something growing inside of me, begging to be set free, to rip me apart from the inside- pleading for more of this story.
What made you decide to get into making comics? What was your inspiration and who were some influences?
I've wanted to make comics for as long as I can remember, honestly. About the time I reached high school, I realized that I can't draw, which I'd always assumed was a prerequisite for the job. After that, I more or less gave up on comics and tried to write prose for a while.
Then, around my freshman year in college, I picked up a copy of a The Authority trade at Barnes & Noble, which included Warren Ellis's script for the first issue. Everything clicked, and here we are. To this day, my comics scripts are formatted just like Ellis's.
Warren Ellis continues to my biggest influence inside comics, just ahead of Mark Waid and Brian Wood, each for pieces of advice they gave me when I was trying to figure out how to work in this medium. Outside of comics, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, William Goldman, Jim Henson, and the usual suspects Hemingway, Shakespeare and Vonnegut. Anyone who knows me, knows that Joe Strummer is the standard against which I measure myself as an artist and a human.
Red Angel Dragnet. Two words: Holy Shit. I loved this story. Why don't you tell our readers what this is about.
Ha! Thanks. I defer to my good friend Brendan McGinley, who describe R.A.D. as (and I'm paraphrasing, slightly) "a tattooed bookseller becomes a demon hunter as a way to cope with a personal trauma," to which I'd add "...which turns out to be a terrible decision."
The big reveal of the story's first act is that Nate Reed, our subject bookseller, found inspiration for all of those tattoos in the books he sells. They're protective symbols. I pulled them from actual supposed magical texts when Anna Wieszczyk and I were designing the character. Intended to ward off evil, after Nate discovers that demons do exist. By the time our story starts, Nate's grown bold enough to believe that the tattoos will protect him from evil both outside and in, so he's summoned a demon into his own body, caging it beneath all those tattoos, where he can draw on its power.
For a long time, I resisted telling potential readers about that reveal, but it's not really what the story's about, which is the worst day and night of Nate's demon hunting career.
What is next for this comic, I couldn't and could believe the ending. What is in store for Nate in the future? Will the detective hang around?
The book's title and the first volume's subtitle are both taken from songs by The Clash, and along those lines, I'll be launching RED ANGEL DRAGNET: The B-Sides Project on August 1st. Each month, we'll be releasing a short comics story set in the R.A.D. universe, some starring Nate and some focusing on the supporting cast. Each story will be illustrated by a different artist, with Ryan Cody (Doc Unknown) and Ryan Winn (Hiding in Time) coming up first. The intent is to explore Nate's world more deeply between now and when the full length sequel is ready (hopefully in 2016). We'll be turning to Patreon to support the B-Side project, mostly to ensure that the artists get paid for their work.
While writing this, what were some influences? What are some of your favorites from the horror genre regarding books or film?
I've never really enjoyed straight horror, in part because I'm a sucker for happy endings (not that R.A.D.'s is all that happy), but I devoured Stephen King books as a kid. It, The Stand and The Dark Half were some of my favorites. I also really love fantasy and adventure stories set against a horrific or supernatural backdrop. Buffy, The Dresden Files, Supernatural, the fiction of Richard Kadrey, especially Butcher Bird and the Sandman Slim books.
Someone told me that R.A.D. seemed to have a '90s era Vertigo vibe, and I suppose that's true. I loved Sandman and Preacher, and that was the best time to be reading Hellblazer, which has its DNA all over R.A.D.
Who were the people involved in the creation of this book? Your artists, colorists and letterers?
Polish-born artist Anna Wieszczyk handled all the art chores on the book, coloring over her own digital illustrations. Anna previously illustrated Lucid and Interesting Drug for Archaia and Godkiller for Black Mask and those are all books worth seeking out if you dig her work on Red Angel Dragnet.
Richard Pace provided the cover art. Richard was just announced at Image Expo as the artist for Expired, written by Jimmie Robinson. It's going to be a great book.
P.A. Nolte lettered the book. I had intended to letter the book myself, but I'm ultimately too slow and not quite good enough. Phil stepped in at the eleventh hour and did a terrific job.
Tell me how independent publishing has worked for you. In your experience, with getting up off the ground- how did you accomplish your success?
I wouldn't have been able to get this far without both Kickstarter and ComiXology. I've been able to build and keep an audience even without the advantage of a publisher and without being in many comics stores, for now. I was resistant to digital comics at first, but I'm not sure even a publisher of physical books would give me the support or tools that ComiXology has through their SUBMIT program. It's changed the entire landscape of self-publishing for the better, and I don't think Red Angel Dragnet would've happened if the response to Orphans hadn't been so positive.
Now that we are in the heavy digital age, how does this affect you and/or the independent community? Do you find that you have more requests for digital copies over physical books? How has this helped you gain readership?
In 2013, Orphans #1 was part of a bundle of comics made available for one weekend as part of comiXology's SUBMIT presentation at SXSW. Sales of that bundle put Orphans in front of more eyes than would've seen it if it had been published by any company outside of Diamond's Big Five. That's huge for me as an independent creator, especially without a presence in Diamond's Preview catalog or in any comics shops outside of a few regional stores.
I'd love, love for my books to find their way onto shelves at comics stores, and then into readers' homes, but given the economics of self-publishing, digital is the most logical distribution channel for my books.
Talk to me about Orphans. This is vastly different from Red Angel in terms of genre. You went into a military, action and flirting with scifi. Tell our readers what the idea behind this comic is.
Orphans is the story of failed super soldier Alexis Quinn, who, along with a group of discarded super-humans, reinvents himself as a revolutionary. The elevator pitch for the book is "What if Captain America had to stop being a soldier, and became Robin Hood instead?"
A lot of research went into the development of the book, and I read up on the politics behind how weapons get designed, made and bought by the military. I came away from all that research with the conclusion that we throw a lot more money and resources at designing new ways to blow shit up than we do trying to make the world a better place. And if that's true right now, when it comes to building bombs and airplanes, why wouldn't also be true when we start building super-humans?
What were some influences for this comic? Because it touches on cloning (in a sense) what was some of the research involved in making this comic?
Much more so than with R.A.D., Warren Ellis's influence shines through in ORPHANS. My two favorite books of his are Planetary and Global Frequency, and this is me trying to write a book like one of those. Which is not to say I was successful, but yeah, his influence is definitely there, including his obsession with five-minutes-into-the-future science fiction.
Who were the people on the team that helped bring this comic to life?
Serbian artist Branko Jovanovic illustrated all five issues. The first issue was colored by Jesse Heagsta, but he had to step away from the book, so Sean Burres and Fred Stresing jumped in and tag teamed the coloring duties on issues two to five.
I lettered the book myself, and like I said, I'm glad I turned to a lettering pro when I made R.A.D.
How long will this story arc continue for? Are there plans to release a TPB?
We did five issues, 110 pages, which brought the story to a close. The collected edition is available on ComiXology, where it will soon be joined by Red Angel Dragnet. You can also get print editions of both books directly from me through my website or at shows.
Where can people follow you on social media for updates? Where can they purchase your work from, and will you be at any shows in the coming months?
Everyone should give me a follow on Twitter @epalicki and yeah, I do maintain a website: Erick Palicki You can buy my books from the site or, digitally on ComiXology. In the next few months, I'll be at Tricon Columbus, Cincy Comicon and Wizard World Ohio. Come and say hello.
Erick also popped up on the Basement Fodder Podcast, which you can listen to here: Basement Fodder Episode 50 NSFW
Todd and Dave also reviewed Red Angel Dragnet on Basement Fodder which you can listen to here: Basement Fodder Episode 59 NSFW
As for me, you can contact me all over the depths of social media!
Mayhem and Chaos Group on Facebook (Come join and share YOUR independent work!)
Twitter @MofMandC (no bars held here. Or anywhere for that matter)
Michelle Gallagher Poetry (My podcast partner)