We're in the homestretch of SECRET PROJECT and what a ride it's been. This week we're focusing on the creators of FLAG OF TEARS, and they just happen to be 2 of my closest friends. I interview Jeff Brown and Rob Reilly about their past and present. Enjoy!
Mary E. Brickthrower: How long have you been reading comics?
Jeff Brown: I have been reading comics since I was about 7, I jumped onboard with the typical Marvel and DC books. When I was 14 I found more indie books, like SCUD The Disposable Assassin, Love and Rockets, and Mad Man. During the 90’s I left after all the sagas and variant covers, I was brought back to comics by a book by a good friend (Mike Oeming) called Bastard Samurai, which led to Powers, Ultimate Spider–Man and now I will read just about anything that comes out.
Rob Reilly: When I was a kid (age 5-10 years old), I never really “read” comics. I mostly looked at the pictures. I’m a visual person first and foremost. My dad had stacks of old DC Comics from when he was a kid, so that’s how I got introduce to them. There were a few years where I didn’t read, look at or collect comics and then when I was 13 or 14 I really started reading comics, mostly anything Todd McFarlane and have continued since then expanding my tastes from small press, independent creator owned to a few of the major company titles. Which has been a great inspiration for me, other people’s work makes me want to create more and work harder.
MEB: When did you decide to become a writer?
JB: I think it just happened, I was six and can remember creating stories and movies with the action figures I got as gifts. I would recreate things I saw on TV then I quickly started making my own story lines and eventual crossing heroes and villains over just because I thought it was cool. I also was teaching myself how to draw so that helped me visualize what I wanted to do. While I grew up the art took a side step, my parents were incredibly supportive of my art career, though high school is where I caught the writing and directing bug. The knowing that I created and crafted something was so much more appealing at that time. I have not stopped writing or creating since. I was very thankful to meet an incredible group of people thanks to exploring my creative side. So it’s worked out.
MEB: What about you Rob? When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist?
RR: I knew that I wanted to be a cartoonist since I was 5 years old, in my mind there was no greater profession. At that time (and currently) I was a huge animation nut. I loved watching the old WB cartoons from the 40’s and 50’s as well as the Disney catalogue. I suppose that I really didn’t narrow my career choice until I started college. I felt that I would never have the patience to be an animator and comics would be a faster and more convenient way to get my voice/work out there.
MEB: How did you become involved with SECRET PROJECT?
JB: It’s weird. I went to the jinxworld forums and tried to make myself known of the Bendis board, but found that to be a bit too...not overwhelming, but crowded we'll say. Then I found the Oeming board and started "the big bad Oeming Q&A" thread, which was my way of getting to know Mike, and by proxy everyone else on the board. Later on once we became really comfortable and met pretty much everyone face to face, we started joking about everyone having a secret project, and once we decided to do this project I hopped on board. I will say that I did not have an artist at the start, but I could not be more grateful and thankful to Mary, Sean and Rob. Rob was a great guy to work with and I felt we both knew where we wanted the story to go, and this story wouldn’t be here without his incredible talents.
RR: I remember that this was discussed for sometime on the Jinxworld forum. At first, I really had no interest since previous attempts were made and I had spent time on pages that never saw the light of day. So I waited to make sure that this was a serious venture and once it was clear that this was and you guys still needed an extra story, I was on board.
MEB: What else are you guys working on right now?
JB: Right now I am the co creator of Dorkshelf.com, where I am the comic content editor, podcast host, cameraman, and host with my friend Will. We are growing the site with a voice for all things dorky in Toronto or with the Toronto twist. I have also completed the follow up to Flag of Tears, and have several other script projects for comics and television/ film looking for homes. Dorkshelf.com is my primary focus these days so come by and comment and let us know what ya think.
RR: I recently finished a short story for the Shrek Prequel published through Ape Entertainment. Currently I am awaiting approval for a new Dreamworks Animation property that will be work comic book format and illustrating another Shrek short for an upcoming issue.
In addition, I have been working on a new creator-owned mini series with my friend Steve Walters. We have about 1 1/2 issues in the can and are looking for a publisher.
Lastly, in the upcoming fall, I will have an original graphic novel released through Ape Entertainment that I had complete a year or so ago, titled “Planet Zoo”. Be sure to keep a weather eye on that book and order it like crazy!
You can see more of my work by visiting www.skatoonproductions.blogspot.com
MEB: Thanks guys!