Greetings my wonderful minions! Your faithful Indie Huntress has returned! I am here to save you from the migraine inducing tedium of the larger companies, and bring you fresh material that is sure to please! The very reason why I do this is to bring further awareness to independent creators, such as Kevin. These men and women deserve our hard earned dollars and support for their comics. So many of them work hard at day jobs to bring their dreams to reality. Those dreams include comics, art, poetry, books, music, etc...There are so many wonderful people out there, bringing their creations into the world for us to witness, it brings me a great deal of pleasure to give them an additional voice. To share that with all of you, in hopes that you'll find something that peaks your interest. There is a great deal of passion that radiates from the pages of independent creations. You can nearly smell and feel the blood, sweat, and tears that went into bringing the project to life. Gives you the warm, fuzzy feels- doesn't it? Ahhhh comics. I do love this medium, so.
Today I am bringing you an interview with Kevin Joesph. I met Kevin via social media, through another friend- David Brown. David had reccommended Kevin and Tart to me as a project for an article. David has never once steered me wrong, being a creator himself of the amazing, Obscura collection. Kevin was immediatley open to the idea of sending me his current collection of, Tart to read through and review. He will also be guesting with my Cohost, Michelle, and I on out podcast, The Mistresses of Mayhem and Chaos.
Tart was a dream for me to read. It is about a gorgeous woman, filled with so much bad-assery, love and passion- that I wanted to run off and team up with her myself. She is everything that I personally look for in a female character. Strong, bold, and willing to take on anything. None of that damsel in distress business. She is out there, fighting the good fight. Paired with the art. Oh the art. It's beautiful because it emits the proper emotions and scenery required. She often drifts between worlds; therefore, proper imagery is required in order to convey this concept appropriately. Ludo took Kevin's script and not only brought it to life, but also gave it a life of it's own. It is dreamy in the sense of, well- dreams. It sets the tone well. Without further delay, here are the bits you crave.
What brought you into making independent comics? How did you get here?
Just like any party filled with the cool kids, I was forced to crash. I'd been writing screenplays with two friends for a year or so and come to the realization that NO ONE WOULD EVER READ THEM. It didn't matter if they were great or terrible. They were going to be ignored.
I started thinking of indie comics as a way to work on stories that I could actually present to an audience. Even if you don't find a publisher, you can scrounge up $500 to $2,000. I don't know about you, but $12,000 to $80,000 to shoot my own indie film is a little tougher to find in the couch cushions.
In your experience, what are some of the ways being an independent creator has been beneficial to you?
I love that I can play with structure and tell the story how the story feels it should be told. Tart specifically is a book that needs to be surprising. Meaning, we might have a new villain every story for a while. Then we might tell a 5 issue arc. Then we might tell two stories in a row without a fight whatsoever. I'm pretty certain that way of telling the story would not be popular at a Marvel or DC.
How has making, "Tart" a webcomic helped you to spread your work? Would you say that you've gained more readers through the webcomic and supporters for buying the actual print?
In the beginning, Ludo and I put the first three issues of Tart up as a webcomic in order to drive interest in the book.
Just as we got going we made a deal with a small indie publisher and were asked to take them down. Unfortunately, things didn't work out with that publisher, so we're back on our own. I've left Tart #1 up to be read for free by anybody who is interested at tart.kechalcomics.com if anyone wants a taste.
One interesting thing. As newbies to the industry it has been easier to sell our story than give it away for free. Though a little income is nice, our major goal at this point is readers, readers, readers. So get it for free, get it for cheap online, buy it from us at shows. Borrow it from a friend. Just please read it!!! (Side note from me, I love the way you think- Kevin. Readership is the ultimate goal, this brought me great pleasure to read.)
What is Tart? How did this story develop?
Tart is the story of a time traveling demon hunter named Tart Acid. Tart travels the time stream with one goal, protecting our earth's history from demons who are intent on throwing the world into chaos.
I often pitch it to people at conventions (to save time) as Buffy meets Dr. Who, with a little dollop of Sandman thrown in for taste.
The story developed over a few months of emails between Tart's artist (and cocreator) Ludovic Salle,' myself and a woman named Ana who'd introduced us. Thank god for the internet, or a French artist and an American writer would have never met.
Ludo had been working on a group of characters who traveled through time and mythology killing demons, and flirting with devils and gods alike as they did. Fortunately for me, he'd gotten stuck and didn't know where to go from the place he was in. I never figured out what he could do to get unstuck, but with Ana and Ludo's input, I thing we did figure out a really great story that runs parallel to that world.
What will be next for Tart? How long will this story arc continue? What do you currently have available for printed collections of this comic?
The current story arc "Submerged" will be 4 issues long. We'll be collecting those four issues (Tart 4-7) in a trade paperback as Tart Vol 2.
We currently have Tart Vol 1 (which those kids good at math have probably already figured out contains issues 1-3) available in both trade paperback and hardcover form.
It often comes up, so I might as well explain that Tart 1-3 are unavailable as floppy comics on their own (there is a 125 issue special edition of Tart #1 we did for a local convention and a 25 issue limited book we printed for our first campaign's $100 plus contributors, but both have sold out). So far we have never printed single issues of Tart 2 or Tart 3.
Tart- She seems to kind of drift in between these alternate dimensions- How does she do this? How did she come into these powers?
Tart is a field agent for a group that calls themselves The Toxic Fruit Organization. Within that group there are people who scour the time stream looking for trouble. If they see something substantial enough to change history, one of the field agents is sent. Most of the time, that means Tart Acid is on the case.
One small problem though, for reasons unknown to Tart, she arrives at her destination without any knowledge of where she is, when she is or even what type of trouble she's supposed to be investigating. Luckily, her amnesia does not leave her without knowledge of who she is, what her job is or how to investigate.
Why she suffers from this amnesia, how she got her powers, what the Toxic Fruit Organization is really up to? Those answers will come, but we're gonna have to ask our readers to wait until they come organically through the story. I do promise this, Ludo and I know the answers to all these questions.
Who is on the team of artists for this comic? Have you worked with others or have other pinup art for this available?
Ludo is the sole artist for this series. He pencils, inks, colors, and in the case of Tart 2, even paints the pages.
As long as he can continue working on Tart, that is the way I want it. First of all, he's just an amazing artist. Second, we've becoming really close friends through the process and I have such trust in him to do right by the book.
What other projects have you had your hands in or will be working on in the future?
I named my publishing company Kechal Comics (pronounced Catch-All) for a reason. My ideas are all over the map.
I have an absurd comedy called UnderWars that I co write with one of my best friends Christopher Brennan @capnloogie. It's a TMNT meets The Tick style book where animals immediately develop human personalities, the ability to speak and often severe personality disorders the moment you put them in a pair of men's tightie whities.
I just made a deal with an incredible artist I met on twitter named Jessi Sheron (@jessiSheron) to adapt a children's story I wrote into a one-shot comic for the youngest readers out there. I'm super excited about it for tons of reasons. 1: I'll finally have a book I can give my 6 year old without scarring her (She wants to read Tart so badly!). 2: There simply isn't enough stuff for the youngest kids out there. Bone and Amulet are tremendous books (two of my favorite series ever, regardless that they're for all ages), but the child needs to be ready for a long format story to get everything from them. 3: If one child gets it as his or her first ever comic book and falls in love with the medium, I'll be so happy. 4: We're starting right now, so I'm on pins and needles waiting for the first images.
I also have a Western/Horror mashup, that is being drawn by an artist who I can't reveal yet, while he gets downtime on the other book he's working on. I'm not being cryptic to imply he's a big name (just like me he's working hard to get his foot in the door), but because we haven't ever publicly mentioned it and I don't want to offend him.
Where can people find your work at online? Where can they purchase it from and where can we follow you for updates? Also- will you be at any upcoming shows?
We want people to read Tart in whatever way is easiest for them. The first five issues are available on Comixology: Tart on ComiXology (First three issues $.99 and Tart 4 and 5 $1.99).
We have also made deals with Comics Fix where you can read as many comics as you like for $9.99 a month and the Farrago Comics app. An app that lets you read as many comics as you like free, but which does ask you to read ads to drive revenue.
If you're feeling especially sneaky, I've been told there are pirated copies out there on the torrent side of the internet, too (one of our kickstarter backers admitted to reading us there first). As long as you read the book, we're very happy WHEREEVER you find it and for WHATEVER you choose to pay for it.
As for cons, I'll be at Palm Con in September and Ludo will join me at New York Comic Con this October.
You can find me all over the internet!
Michelle Gallagher Poetry (My Podcast Partner!)