SECRET PROJECT #8 - THE MISSION...and interview with ZeeS

This week we chat with ZeeS, the creator of Secret Project #8, THE MISSION. ZeeS is multi-talented...he wrote and illustrated this edition of SECRET PROJECT. Be sure to check the web site on Monday when his story premieres!

Mary E. Brickthrower: How long have you been reading comics?

ZeeS: I remember reading Captain America, and the old Incredible Hulk and Savage Sword of Conan magazines when I was 4. Shortly after that I started drawing. While I was in high school, I neglected any type of reading I had for school to read comics – I think the only story I read was Hamlet. Since I was 18, my reading has been cut down drastically. It just wasn’t worth it after awhile, I had to read every little book in order to work out a storyline. It wasn’t until I was 21 that I really took literature seriously and, ironically enough, read Fahrenheit 451, which led me to writing and creating more stories. Now it’s limited to any Hellboy/ BPRD mini, Scalped, and the occasional catch-up on classics like Watchmen or V for Vendetta. Right now, I’m trying to build up my Moebius and Taiyo Matsumoto collection. The latter’s work seems really informed by Moebius, and Moebius is king of composition, and panel layout. Matsumoto’s got a very cohesive idea about how his writing and art coalesce.

MEB: Moebius is indeed awesome! When did you decide to become an artist / writer / creator?

ZeeS: When I was 13, I decided that I would either have to continue drawing for the rest of my life or completely stop all together. My brother (Chris Moreno) and I would create
little comics to feel it out, but nothing really serious. I was always better at developing the stories in my head, since that’s where most of my ideas stay anyways. Later, while I was inking a comic written by Tony DiGeralamo, I got more of an idea of what working in comics was all about. Now there are so many ways to self-publish, it takes away the intimidation of having to go through the whole pipeline of comic companies. The good thing about self-publishing is that there’s more of an opportunity to tell stories that don’t always get told in the mainstream, particularly for communities of color. I really looked up to the Hernandez brothers. It was great to read stories about other Chicanos and know that Chicanos actually wrote and drew those stories. Making comics is something I hope to pass down in my family, because I think of how much my dad drew and didn’t have the opportunity to continue it. He passed something amazing on to my brother and me. I want to give that to my students and eventually, my kids.

MEB: How did you become involved with SECRET PROJECT?

ZeeS: I was kicking around on the Oeming Board talking to a bunch of schlubs, when someone brought up the idea of doing an anthology. I was all for it. Originally, I was going to work with JefUK on his story, because I was working on a pretty heavy story at the time and didn’t want to write something new. But I worked out a story idea from a dream and decided to work on The Mission; I think the character in The Mission is very Moebius influenced.

MEB: What else are you working on right now?

ZeeS: Right now, I’m on a long break from school – art school is expensive. (I advise anyone thinking of going to seriously debate alternatives that cost as much - like investing in a car and driving around the country, or opening your own studio) Experience and practice can beat an art school education any day, and you can always take outside classes that are more specific (and cheaper). But while I am on my break, I’m working on my thesis animation and another AmericansUK comic with JefUK called Just Super. I hope to finish 2 more comics. Space Funk and my Presidential Debacles comics this year. Presidential Debacles is a 2-parter, Kerry Zombie vs. Bush Alien and Bush Alien vs. Obama: Space Avenger. I’m also about to get started on a mural and web comic called The Modern American Couple with my partner, inspiration and my energy, Mensen.

MEB: Sounds like you're busy - good luck on all your projects! And thanks for chatting with us!
~Till Next Time Kittlings.

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