Welcome back, my faithful companions! Your beloved Indie Huntress is here once again, to rescue you and take you off into the magical land of independent creations. It really is a vast and beautiful world out there. There is always a new comic, just waiting to be unearthed. Pored over, soaked in and giving our senses the pleasure we so desire, through vivid imagery. It's intoxicating.
Before I go too far into my deep (and sometimes unhealthy) passion for comics, let's talk a bit about what I'm bringing to the table today. Bayani and the Nine Daughters of the Moon: written by Travis Mcintire, illustrated by Grant Perkins, lettered by Taylor Esposito, and graphic design work by Rich Bloom.
I had the luxury of speaking with Travis about his comic, which will be released through Caliber publishing. I had read his pitch on Facebook, and told him as soon as it was live, to reach out to me for an interview. Also, small world- Travis resides in northern Michigan, around my old stomping grounds.
Travis promptly sent me the PDF to the first issue of Bayani, and I immediatley adored it, just looking at the front cover. The artwork provided by Grant, flows beautifully with the story. The style is animated, bold in colors, and is rendered smoothly. It shaped the story in the way it was intended to be for the script. I commend him on his intrepretation.
The story starts out with Bayani looking after his bed-ridden father. The island has not had much luck in the way of rain or food gathering, and night has not fallen in some time. The blistering sun, paired with the lack of hydration and food supplement, has left the town weary and unable to cope. Bayani sets off in his father's boat, in attempts to spear fish- so that he may feed the hungry natives. This is where the tale turns and Bayani takes on the responsibility of being the hero for his village. He comes into this role through a series of dangerous circumstances, and is part of a centuries old tale. He recruits his friend for the adventure he is about to embark on. With naivity being his weakness, yet curiosity and passion being his strength- he sets off into the unknown to complete the mission. Here is the scoop from Travis.
What are the origins of Bayani? What portions of mythology is this a derivative of?
Bayani started as me digging around on the internet looking for some different kinds of monsters to use as examples for a horror project I was working on. I ended up crawling through a wormhole in the internet and discovered this vast wealth of monsters and creatures and storytelling traditions that I was wholly unfamiliar with. I spent several hours reading (and reading about) Filipino folklore. It was really fascinating stuff. I mean, we're all pretty familiar with European and Norse based mythologies, but this was something completely different. And the monsters...the best EVER! Later, Grant Perkins (series artist) was showing me some of his previous work which happened to include a little 3 page unfinished short written by Andy Lanning (Guardians of the Galaxy) that told a version of the Filipino creation myth. I loved the art style, and Grant wanted to return to it. After working out a pitch and a script, we sent it off to Mr. Lanning to make sure we weren't stepping on any toes and away we went. As for as what exactly do I use....I use a lot of the mythology and stories. Nothing wholesale, really. But there are tons of easter eggs, and bits here and there. Lots and lots of the creatures. Definitely a focus on the Filipino relationship to the natural world.
While this is a work of fiction, hunger and thirst are very real problems- all throughout the world. Was it part of your goal to bring this issue into light, as a purpose to teach children (and adults) that they too can contribute to helping with these matters?
I think my main goal was to give the story a sense of consequence. Hunger and thirst are real things, and sadly, many children can really relate to those issues. I wanted the story to have an edge, and be true to the sometimes scary nature of the folklore tales themselves. And I definitely don't want to talk down to kids. I wanted the story to be dealing with fantastic creatures and monsters, but the real problems be everyday ones. Problems that a kid often feels helpless to do anything about.
How did choosing Bayani's ethnicity shape your story?
Bayani and Tala (the heroes) are both native Filipino children in the story. I think they had to be for the story to be true to its roots. So many of the stories and creatures I wanted to adapt and use are so specific to the islands that making them anything but Filipino seemed disingenuous.
Having children of your own, did you base any of the character personalities around them? Also, do you teach them about your work and get them involved?
Ha! My kids are 1 and 3, so I spend most of my time trying to keep them OUT of my work. Really though, when you have young kids, something you get to do is experience the world a little through their eyes. This includes really nice stuff, like how cool sprinklers are, and how awesome bugs can be. Also strange and scary things. Like the terror of the unknown and how your imagination can get the best of you. Like looking around and finding out you got lost and being so scared that you didn't know where Mom was. Everything is sort of deeply visceral to young kids and I think that idea helped me shape the story.
What are some of the rewards backers can expect to see from your Kickstarter?
Tons of original art from a gamut of different artists. I had friends come out of the woodwork, from established industry pros; to up and coming artists donate art! You can also get a copy of the first issue with a variant cover that won't be available anywhere else, ever again. There is also a print by Lloyd and The Bear creator, Gibson Grey, that won't be available ever again. The kickstarter is actually to cover the first 3 issues, so you can get all 3 issues individually, or the trade paperback version as published by Caliber Comics. There's a podcast review by a professional podcaster, script reviews by Source Point Press managing editor, Trico Lutkins and Michigan film making legend David C. Hayes. You can even get a customized piece of flash fiction, handwritten, by me!
Who are the illustrators and letterers involved in bringing this creation to life?
Grant Perkins is handling the art duties. He is most known for his work on Dreamwork's "Penguins of Madagascar" and for his work with 2000AD. Taylor Esposito (of DC Comics) is the letterer. Rich Bloom (who previously did the logo and graphic design work for Image Comic's C.O.W.L.) is handling graphic design.
What can we expect to see for the future of Bayani? Will this story arc continue through him saving the 9 sisters, then end? Or are you intending to do branch off stories involving these girls and/or various other God's of this mythology?
I suppose that depends entirely on how successful it is. It will definitely go through the 11 issues of the initial adventure. After that, if people are interested, I'd love to do more in that world. It's an amazing place!
How did you come into being published through Caliber comics?
I knew Gary Reed (EIC of Caliber, writer of Deadworld) for a little while and shown him various projects I worked on. He was always really nice and helpful but never "jumped on" any of them. Then, at a convention in Traverse City we were hanging around chatting about comics and I mentioned that I had a new thing going and asked if he'd take a look at it. Since I'm a huge dork, I had the artwork for the entire first issue on my phone so I passed it over to him and he was interested. Later, I emailed him the pitch, scripts and full first issue and he sent me the contract! I'm incredibly proud to be a part of the Caliber family. This publisher is a Michigan legend and they published some of the earliest work from a lot of my favorite writers like Bendis, Warren Ellis, Paul Storrie, and Ed Brubaker.
What are some of the other works you've had your hands in?
Well, with the Michigan Comics Collective I work quite a bit. I recently edited and published the MCC title Wild Bullets and I also had a minor hand with editing and putting together the publishing files of David Hayes's graphic novels Rottentail, and Scorn. Along with my horror comic series, Up The River you can find those titles from Source Point Press.
Where can readers locate more of your work at, as well as the artists you are currently working with? Also, where can we find you on social media to follow for updates?
The first issue of Bayani is free here: http://www.calibercomics.info/bayani.html
The kickstarter for Bayani is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1626767528/bayani-and-the-nine-daughters-of-the-moon
Michigan Comics Collective work can be found on drivethrucomics.com and ordered from Michigancomicscollective.org.
I'm @tmcintire1 on Twitter and I pretty interactive, so please, hit me up!
You can check out more work from Grant Perkins here: http://www.thegrantperkins.com/
Taylor Esposito here: http://ghostglyphstudios.com/
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