Welcome back, my faithful companions! I have a lot to catch up on this week, so I'll just keep cranking em out here. I have another book for you to check out on kickstarter, Girl's Heist Out- written and created by a table top gaming creator: Rob Wieland. He is an author, blogger, pop culture writer and game designer that writes about pirates, gangsters, Jedi, dragons, zombies and whatever else pays. Noted for his work on Shadowrun, Star Wars Saga Edition, and Firefly RPG. Creator of CAMELOT Trigger, Mafia Century, Encore and Save Game. Other projects include work on Honor and Intrigue, Edge of Midnight, Hillfolk, Our Last Best Hope, 7th Sea/Swashbuckling Adventures, Night's Black Agents, 13th Age, CHILL (3rd Edition), and Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary. His online presence includes multiple game blogs, interviews and articles for Milwaukee Record and Onion AV Club. He lives in scenic Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife, who has many skills more useful for the zombie apocalypse.
Now that the proper introductions have been made, let's talk about Girl's Heist Out. I'll be honest, when he first came to me about the comic, I thought to myself great- this is probably going to be some lame comic that is centered around women in scantily clad outfits, with a lot of guns and no real point other that to show off some boobs and weapons.
I couldn't be more wrong.
While I will say that it does hold the traditional premise of being a heist story where there is a typical double cross, the geek, the pretty girl and one that is a rough and tough badass- it is well written and captivating. I have often complained about comics not having originality or the women being used solely as sexy distractions, which hey- if that's what you like, more power to you. Me? I like independent comics for a very specific reason: original works. When I am looking for comics, I don't want something that tastes like everything else out there. I want to see what you can do with your imagination. So, when Rob came to me with Girl's Heist Out, I was concerned it would be like most other heist stories. Which, if you think about it, how many spins can you really put on a heist story?
Rob took the genre and did something special with it in the way that he wrote the three main characters. I am going to go out on a limb and say that I respect what he did with this book. He wrote these women in such a way that they are not presented in a cheesecake fashion, but are well rounded women that could be anyone you know. They are smart, self-reliant, and able bodied in every situation they encounter. They are drawn comfortably and within realistic parameters. Artist Manuela Soriani does a magnificent job in translating Rob's script and giving these ladies what they needed to be fully formed. Not all of the art has been completed at the point that Rob contacted me; however, the script for issue #1 was finished, and I must say that for being a first time comic writer- I was thoroughly impressed with Rob's ability to not only write an engaging script, but was also able to provide solid imagery based on notes to the artist. I believe that providing a PDF copy of the script is available as part of the digital rewards for the kickstarter. While that may not seem like much to some people, it is always fascinating for me to see the bare bones of a comic. Where it began and how it took shape from that point on. Comics are more than just books with scripts and pictures: they are an out-pour of love and art from their creators that involved many late nights, sweat, anxiety, blood and tears. It's a beautiful medium. Especially when you get to know the creators better. Join me for an interview with Rob on his book...
What made you decide to create comics?
Comics have always been a big part of my life. My grandpa taught me to read using Batman comics. They were my first nerd obsession as a teen. When I read for pleasure, it's usually comics. I believe you should also create what you consume. Since comics go in, comics should be coming out.
You've been into creating table top games for some time now, can you elaborate on that?
Tabletop games were my second big obsession as a teen. I started writing professionally about fifteen years ago. I've worked on big names like Shadowrun, Firefly, and Star Wars as well as smaller, creator-owned games. They taught me a lot about writing and the creative process. When you have to entertain your friends week to week, you learn a lot about deadlines, pacing and crafting audiences.
What is your hope with this comic? How far do you see yourself taking it?
My focus is getting this one done. I know Kickstarters are there to more or less break even on production. I want my backers to enjoy it and come back for more. If there's demand, I would love to do more adventures with the girls. They are a blast to write.
When will distribution begin, and will it be available through Diamond?
We'll be releasing digital single issues as we complete them with a full trade in January. It should be available through Diamond once we have a physical book.
What are some of the reward tiers for this kickstarter? Which do you feel can benefit retailers and consumers the most?
We have digital tiers for folks who have moved onto reading on tablets as well as international backers who would like to support us. On the higher end, we have tiers where backer names can see their names used as street names, hotels and other in-world elements. Higher level backers can also have their likenesses uses in the comic in cameos as security guards and background players.
Retailers can take advantage of our retailer level and our product placement level where their logo will be features in the comic book. I also have an add-on where I'll run one of the many games I've worked on in my career for you and your friends over Skype, which is an experience very few people get outside of going to a big gaming convention.
The script reads like a love letter to Heist and Charlie's angels mashed up. What were some of your favorite heist stories?
I mention a few of them in the Kickstarter video - Ocean's Eleven, Leverage, Sneakers. On the comics side, this book is heavily influenced by the Cooke/Brubaker run on Catwoman.
Who is on the creative team for this book? How did you meet these people?
Manuela Soriani is the artist and Mattia Bulgarelli does lettering. We all worked on separate projects for Evil Hat Productions, an excellent RPG company that best known for Fate Core. While asking Fred Hicks (the owner) for Kickstarter advice, I asked him for suggestions on who he thought might be a good fit for the project. He introduced us, we hit it off and here we are.
Reading your script, it seems that you've had a good amount of prior writing experience. Can you touch on your history of writing and how it led you to this point?
Running tabletop RPGs helped develop my process. Often, I would write up little script pages to help my players remember what happened in previous sessions. Writing and designing RPGs has been fun and talk me a lot about how to be a proper professional. A lot of the things I learned there are the same things you hear in panels about breaking into comics. Be nice. Be direct. Hit deadlines. Every time I went to a comic con I learned a step of the process and completed it before the next show. That's helped me learn a lot about the pro side of comics, but the next step clearly was having a finished product to show to people and hand to editors for more work.
What have you learned from making this comic?
You have to think visually as well as narratively. 20 pages isn't a lot to tell a story and most of the time, the art is doing the heavy lifting. Manuela's been great in understanding the references I use to convey my ideas. For the longest time I thought I was going to be a successful writer all by myself, but com
ics writing has shown me the joys of a collaborative process. Something I should have learned all those years running RPGs, but it didn't sink in until I started on this road.
Is there anything else you'd like to add about this book and your campaign?
One of the big things that spurred me into taking this chance was the birth of my daughter. I grew up with a lot of great women in media like Marion Ravenwood, Ellen Ripley, and Wilma Deering. We have some excellent modern examples too, like Furiosa and Rey, but if I can do my small part in having even more smart, clever heroes for her to love, why would I not?
Where can we follow you on social media or visit websites for you?
My blog is robowieland.blogspot.com My twitter is @robowieland
Manuela Soriani https://www.facebook.com/manuelasorianiart/
As always, you can catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter