SECRET PROJECT #9 - INCINERATOR...interview with creators Brickthrower, McManus and Quinn

SECRET PROJECT #9 features INCINERATOR, a story by M. Sean McManus, Brian Quinn, and myself. So this week we have a guest contributor, Jeff Brown of Dorkshelf.com, who will be conducting the interview for all 3 creators of INCINERATOR. (check out photo of me and Jeff at left). Please enjoy and stay tuned for our story which will premiere Monday May 3rd (McManus' birthday!).

Jeff Brown (Aka Boss Hogg): How long have you been reading comics?

Mary E. Brickthrower: I started reading comics when I was 12 to get in with the cool band nerds that I hung out with…yeah I was a band nerd and I thought reading comics would make me cooler ! I was strictly a Marvel girl then, loved VENOM and XMEN. I only collected for about a year before the need to fit in wore off. Then later on, when XMEN the movie came out, I thought “hey, I used to like comics” and started collecting again. This time my interests were all about indies – the 1st two comics I bought during my reawakening were PURGATORY and LUCIFER.

Brian Quinn: I have 2 older brothers that collected comics, so I always had them around. I'm dyslexic but was categorized at an early age (around first grade I think). My mom asked one of my doctors if it was okay for me to read comics since I loved them from an early age. His response was something like "I don't care if he is reading the side of a cereal box, just as long as he is reading something."

M. Sean McManus: I've been reading comics as long as can remember. I read Spidey Super Stories, Archie, and of course Batman from a very early age. The first comic I started reading with any regularity was G.I.Joe from Marvel Comics in 1982-- they had some awesome commercials then.

JB: When did you decide to become an artist creator?

BQ: There was no defining moment or anything like that; just an understanding that when I got older, I was going to be involved with drawing comics. I think as I actually started working on more complex stories in my college years, I really discovered that I enjoy telling stories more than just drawing. Probably why I lost interest in the fine arts so soon after graduating. I was able to do some much with comics that I felt very restrained in painting or other forms of fine art that I was studying at the time.

MSM: I don't know that I ever "decided" to do it, it's just what I have to do... sometimes.

JB: What brought about SECRET PROJECT?

MEB: Check out my previous interview with Tommie Kelly, as he was there to witness the birth of Secret Project. Once the idea started to take form on the message board, my artist Brian Quinn suggested I take on editing duties for the anthology. No one objected, and the rest is history.

JB: How did you become involved with SECRET PROJECT?

BQ: Pretty much like everyone else I think; it was being discussed on the Oeming board and I got involved when Mary & Sean approached me with their story. Not sure if this was before or after I suggested Mary take over the job of editing this project (heh heh).

MSM: I believe I was a witness to the project from the very beginning. I was at a pub in times square with Ziggy and Tommie Kelly, and Tommie said something like, "Why don't we all do an anthology together?" To which Ziggy said, "That's a great idea". Then I think by the next morning Quinn had nominated Mary to be the EIC of the project... and then it just grew from there.

JB: Mary, here are couple questions especially for the editor of SECRET PROJECT: What are some words of wisdom you would like to share about the process?

MEB: Always be open to your collaborators ideas, they might just be better than yours! Also, if you know you can’t make a deadline or you know you won’t be able to participate, TELL YOUR EDITOR! A little bit of communication goes a long way.

JB: Where did the title come from?

MEB: We were throwing around ideas on the board for weeks and nothing was sticking. But it seemed like everyone on the board had some sort of “Secret Project” that they were working on…so we thought “why not expand on that concept.” It worked well for the anthology b/c we had no theme for it, so it’s a very broad term. I like to think it refers to our contributors’ best work.

JB: What is it like collaborating with another creator, let alone friend’s?

MEB: Sean and I are together now, but when we working on INCINERATOR we were just friends. I guess that might’ve allowed a certain amount of politeness that I wouldn’t have now! Haha, we have worked on one other comic script since then and I’m sure I was much more of a bitch about what I wanted in that script. Seriously though, collaborating was a lot of fun. It started with just a word ("Incinerator") and we both came to the table with ideas. Sean really took the reigns in combining our ideas and honing the script due to his past script knowledge. Quinn was easy-peasy to work with in regards to illustrating our tale; I think the dark style of our tale really lends itself to Quinn's particular style for the story.

JB: What inspired you for your tale?

MSM: Incinerator grew out of conversations I had with Ms. Mary E. Brickthrower. She had a definite idea for a story, and I had a bit of a fever dream. Incinerator is a merger of those two ideas.

MEB: The first thing that inspired us was a Flickr image of a crazy looking building called "Incinerator." I was inpsired by Plato's idea of "The Cave," and early versions of the script were entitled "Horror" by Sean so I think we were inspired by some bleak dystopia that I can't think of right now.

BQ: It was a strange story that felt like a dream. I know that sounds hokey, but in this case, it really had that vibe. Regarding the style of art I decided to go with, I had been messing around with some wet & dry wash inks on recent Wicked Samurai pages, so I decided to add that to this project as well.

JB: Are you big gamers? if so what are you playing?

MSM: I love video games, but I'm a bit of a serial monogamer. I'm currently obsessed with Halo3-- still. I've tried some other things since it first came out, but I'm all about the on-line play in Halo. It's not necessarily the most realistic or the latest and greatest of games, but I still think it's the best.

MEB: I get obsessive about a game (like PORTAL) and tend to never let go. Even if I don't play it anymore. Same with Tekken. Still love Tekken Tag even if I never play anymore. But like McManus, it's all about Halo ! We like being able to play split screen and using both of our game tags, I'm kinda insane about getting my gamer score higher (hence my recent manic play with Forza Motorsport, getting my score up left and right with that game!)

BQ: I wouldn't say I'm a big gamer, since I rarely have the time needed to devote to any one game. I do however read up on the business and listen to several podcasts each week. Right now I have God of War 3 waiting for me and I just picked up both Army of 2 games. So many games, so little time...

JB: Which do you prefer the online or the convention experiences?

MSM: Interesting question-- both. I definitely prefer both on-line and convention experiences.

BQ: Being a cartoonist, I am mostly locked away on my own working or even on the internet chatting with friends and/or fans on IM or facebook these days. I definitely enjoy the convention experience because it's a rarity to meet fans face to face, or people that have never seen my work before. And the after hour parties...

MEB: Oh yes Quinn, the after hours is where it's at! That's really my favorite part of conventions, being able to hang out with my online friends in a real life atmosphere. It's so much fun! And the FOO! Crew knows how to (in the immortal words of Andrew WK) "PARTY HARD!"

I do like technology as far as communication goes though; I will text or email over a phone call. The only person I talk to on the phone on a regular basis is my mother. I even text with my dad!

JB: Do you have any advice for those out there looking to start a secret project of their own?

MEB: It's a long hard road out of hell but eventually you will see the light. Haha. Be patient, and if you're an editor you have to keep deadlines in check and the communication open. We started this project back in 2007 and through life changes, board changes, etc, we produced a pretty big anthology that features a lot of great talent. I couldn't be happier with it. So much so...I'm actually considering editing another.

JB: What about you guys? Any advice for those starting out?

BQ: So many things... for now I will just stated that it is incredibly important to hit conventions, both big and small. Meet the people that create the books you read, and some you have never known about before. It's very important to know how the machine works before you jump into this business in any capacity.

MSM: "Starting out", you mean like a baby? I don't think I could give any advice to someone just starting out like that, I don't even speak their language anymore.

JB: What else are you working on right now?

BQ: I'm working on a pitch with Lazlow Jones from Rockstar Games & XM/Sirius Radio. It's called "Darwin" and promises to be epic!
Working on "Jigoku City" & "Wicked Samurai" on my own. Two pitches that mix the supernatural with 19th century Japanese culture.
Also working on a book project based on the legend of the Jersey Devil that was initially started when I was still doing stuff over at Weird NJ/US. I don't have a home for this book yet, but I am hoping to have it completed in time for the Fall of 2010. Will most likely self publish.
Will finally get around to updating my official site http://www.brianquinnartist.com so please bookmark it and check back soonish.

MSM: Currently I have a short story out in Outlaw Territory volume 1, available in stores now. I also have several other projects that are still to embryonic to plug right now- check out my website for more info about what I do: www.mseanmcmanus.com

MEB: Sean and myself have worked on a script for another anthology, and for me that's about it. If you need an editor, I'm cheap! Hire me! /shameless self promotion.

JB: Well guys thank you for your time.

MEB: No, no, thank you!
PHOTOS: An image from INCINERATOR; Quinn, Oeming and McManus.
~Till Next Time Kittlings.

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