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.


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.


Secret Project #7 - Donal Delay's THE MEETING + EXCLUSIVE News about our upcoming PROJECT!

As some of you may have noticed, SECRET PROJECT began on Mike Oeming's forum over at Jinxworld. Donal Delay took that to heart when crafting his story THE MEETING for the anthology. I asked Delay a few questions about his tale which will be premiering Sunday April 4th. Check'em out!

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

Donal Delay: A little over 20 years. It started with a couple issues of Marc Silvestri's Wolverine, and some Whilce Portacio issues of X-Factor on a road trip with my parents. It was just a casual reading. I started seriously getting into comics when Image formed.
MEB: When did you decide to become an artist / writer / creator?

DD: Probably around the time I started reading
comics. I wanted to start telling my own stories. Making my own characters. etc.

MEB: How did you become involved with SECRET PROJECT?

DD: I post on Michael Oeming's message board from time to time. He's one of my favorite artists (hence the story) and a bunch of cats on the board were putting together an anthology and taking open submissions. It sounded like fun..

MEB: What else are you working on right now?

DD: I'm working on a short graphic novel called HERRIN MASSACRE. It's about the slaughtering of 50 scabs in 1920's Illinois by the coal miners who were on strike. It'll be about 70-80pgs. You can see the progress of it on my blog http://donaldelay.blogspot.com. Later this year I'll have a short, 24pg comic called BOSTON STRONGBOY coming out. It's about John L. Sullivan. The first World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.

MEB: Thanks Donal!

EXCITING NEWS!!! M. Sean McManus and myself have been tapped by a major publisher to oversee their new imprint of Graphic Romance Graphic Novels. A formal press release for the imprint known as HEART'S INK, INC. is being drafted by the lawyers now. Our first adapted GRGN, will be Nora Robert's BORN IN FIRE and is being scheduled for a fall release.