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The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #11: IGGY MICHNIACKI

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #11: IGGY MICHNIACKI

13483198_745872652182514_8084690759386400589_oOK, so we’re calling the mad Q&A series a wrap (for now), and what better way than to book-end it with a chat with Iggy Michniacki — the brains (and mayhaps brawn!) behind Project-Nerd and PNP, as well as upcoming comic Billie?

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson hereAndrez Bergen was #4 here, Ben Gilboa @ #5, Chris Yarbrough, #7 with Bryan Timmins, Brett Jones, Paul Bedford, and lastly Zack Rezendes @ #10.]

 

Who are you?

I am the founder and CEO of Project-Nerd Publishing, along with being a creator and writer.

How did you think up Project-Nerd Publishing?

I have had a dream to make comics since I was 10 years old, so once Project-Nerd had established enough of a reputation and enough partnerships in the community I thought it was time to chase that dream. But I wanted to take some awesome folks on the ride with me.

Why are indie comics so damned important?

I, therefore Project-Nerd, live and breathe by the indie model. In all aspects of it, Project-Nerd is an independent brand; an outsider infiltrating a community of geek blogs being bought up by big corporations. I love reading things from those that get to create and own, it gives the projects more of a sense of passion.

Slide-5DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse, all of these — or something else?

I enjoy any publisher, especially smaller and indie ones. It’s not a matter of the publisher name on it, it’s a matter of what’s a great read with some strong art.

What style/genre of comics do you prefer to read?

I prefer anything really, and that’s why there is such variety at Project-Nerd Publishing. I am happy to sit down to a superhero story, or take on a dark, slow paced thriller, or even read a family-friendly book with the kids.

Who is your all-time favorite comic book character — and how did he/she/it achieve this status?

Clearly it’s Batman. As much as superhero comics aren’t my first target when scoping out books, Batman is not only what I grew up on — but he was different than anybody else. Not to mention the cast of villains in Gotham are truly unmatched giving Batman stories more depth.

What are your creative plans for the future?

I just finished writing my first comic book, Billie. Billie takes place back in what some call the Wild, Wild West and follows a woman who lost her family at a young age and was trained by her neighbor to handle her own. Now she’s chasing down the gangs that took her family out. It’s set to debut in September.

1001585_466231273503351_490877967_nIf Netflix or the Syfy channel made a TV series of your latest comic book, which actors would you cast in the key roles?

This one’s fun. But you’ll have to wait until a future ‘Casting Call’ article over on Project-Nerd for me to divulge those answers.

The future of comic books — what’s really going to happen in this industry?

Even though the industry can struggle at times we need to remember that entertainment industries don’t die. Even during the Great Depression people flocked to theatres to see movies and escape life. Comics, like other forms of entertainment, offer us an escape when we need it and an adventure when things are going good.

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #10: ZACK REZENDES

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #10: ZACK REZENDES
Slide-5

‘Billie’

Our final creator Q&A is with American artist Zack Rezendes, who will be illustrating the upcoming PNP title Billie, written by Iggy Michniacki and coming in September!

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson hereAndrez Bergen was #4 here, Ben Gilboa @ #5, Chris Yarbrough, and #7 with Bryan Timmins, Brett Jones, and lastly Paul Bedford.]

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! I’m Zack Rezendes, a comic book co-creator and illustrator. I was born and raised in the United States, in the small town of Marion, Massachusetts. I am now living in Western Massachusetts with my wife Cathy, and five year old son, Zack III.

I’ve worked on projects that have been published, and others that have yet to see the light of day. The stuff you can currently find right now is Hail Odin #1, Mr. Malin and the Night, The Battle of Whatsworse, Zombie: New York Contagion, and One-Pager. However, when I’m not working during the day I spend time with my son and love every minute of it.

How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

It was just a series of events that lead me here, but the person that brought me in was Galo Gutierrez. He commissioned me for a cool drawing for his daughter’s birthday. We kept in touch and talked often; thankfully he kept me in mind whenever an opportunity would arise. He introduced me to Andrez Bergen, and we got to talking — they featured my pin-up art in Bullet Gal, and it just worked its way from there. I’m forever grateful for being a part of this.

'Bullet Gal' by Zack

‘Bullet Gal’ by Zack

Why are indie comics so damned important?

They’re so damned important, because we need a damned voice to express our damn selves. Some of the great meats and potatoes of comic books are not all capes, cowls and spandex. There is lot of freedom for expression in indie comics, including art style and story telling, that you are not allowed to use in big time comic publishers.

DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse, all of these — or something else? 

DC has great characters; I was always drawn to them. Yes, I do love X-Men, Spider-Man pre-“One More Day” …Man that’s a horrible story, totally tripped up that character. However, DC has the original superheroes, larger than life ‘gods’ that walk among mortal men. Batman, both animated series, and Tim Burton’s movies (sorry Christian Bale), have heavily inspired my art throughout my life. I would love to draw for Batman before I’m dead

Who is your all-time favourite comic book character? 

Though I’m a huge fan of Batman, my all time favourite is Superman. Yes he is seen as a boy scout, but he’s OK to be that, he’s a symbol of strength and hope. I have been epileptic since I was 6 months old, and officially diagnosed at five. From that, along with other things I don’t really want to get into, the Superman emblem stood for the strength I needed to get through it all. My mom made me a Superman costume for Halloween one year, and I used to wear it until I basically grew out of it.

Why is the readership of comics important?

Other than the pure financial benefits to indie creators that work long hours into the night and lose sleep to bring you the best story they possibly tell? I would have to say that it’s about the real reason: letting our voices be heard. We all have our own stories to tell, and hopefully people will want to hear more of what we have to say.

12096105_838150406282240_2580016072308293837_n-2What are your creative plans for the future — what can we expect from you?

I have many plans for the future. There are books that I can’t yet announce, but there are some in the next couple of years that you can look forward to. The two that I can mention right now is Hail Odin through Inbeon Studios, and Billie — grown right here at Project-Nerd.

Though I just have one plan in general, and that is to set an example for my son. No matter how “crazy” his dreams may seem, he can work on them until they seem a little “less crazy”, to “improbable”, to “probable”, and ultimately to “inevitable”.

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #9: PAUL BEDFORD

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #9: PAUL BEDFORD

Untitled1Let’s start our wrap of the PNP creators with our latest inductee: Paul Bedford, a name famous around comic book traps around Melbourne and the rest of Australia, for his suave personality as much as the madness that is The List.

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson hereAndrez Bergen was #4 here, Ben Gilboa @ #5, Chris Yarbrough, and #7 with Bryan Timmins, and most recently Brett Jones.]

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Paul, your friendly neighbourhood psych-horror writer… from Australia. It’s nice to meet you. Mind if I borrow your brain? Why? Well, I’d like to mess with it a little. How? OK, it’s your brain, so I guess you deserve to know. You see, I wrote a 200 page (very) graphic novel called The List (pencilled by Henry Pop and inked by Tom Bonin). It was my first foray into this medium, and has done OK for itself, winning a loyal following of sickos and receiving nice words from critics from all across the globe, as well as having its international film rights optioned. I never expected it to be the next Star Wars, but I’m very happy with the reception it has had.

What’s that, you say? What’s it about? OK, you asked: it’s the tale of a young man, The Son, who tattoos a list of words down his torso, claiming them to be the New Commandments given to him by an Angel in exchange for the life of his mother. He then stalks the streets seeking to fulfil each of the commandments (slicing them off as he does so) and subsequently plunging his city into a state of terror.

Along the way he visits some people from his past who weren’t so pleasant to him, is guided by his dead parents, and speaks with the Angel who chose him for this quest. However, the execution of the story is not so straight forward as it may sound. It comes to you in the form of a waking nightmare; it is surreal and heavy with menace and dread. It taps into your shadow and makes you want to stop reading while compelling you to see more.

And then it will hit you with a revelation throws you back through the story to leave you, like the multitudes of readers before you, questioning the veracity of all you just experienced. Aside from The List, I have written a few minis (life-observation stuff), and contributed stories spanning a variety of genres to several anthologies. When not writing, I’m a warehouse manager, proud dad to a maniac son, loving hubbie and dog owner (the stupidly spoilt Noodle Mcdoodle). Oh, and I’m stupidly addicted to Total War Warhammer.

Untitled2How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

I was previously with a publisher that collapsed, falling right onto its underbelly. Galo of Project-Nerd, who is a fan of The List, saw this, and was good enough to welcome me into the PNP family. I am most glad and proud to be here among a passionate and talented bunch. I look forward my book’s particular brand of insanity corrupting many more minds.

Why are indie comics so damned important?

More so than most commercial works, indie comics are unrestricted by corporate mandate, and thus, their stories are free to contain content that challenges us. Being challenged by story is its most vital role.

Who are your favourite three comic book artists, and why?

Bobby N (an Aussie writer/artist): Oxygen. Powerful, subtle, amazing observation on individuality vs. conformity. Shook me to the core. James O’Barr: my primary influence. Those who read The List will see its tip of the hat to The Crow; more with regards to the art and atmosphere than premise. The Crow is such a dark and personal story. Such rage and heartbreak. Incredible. Darren Close: Another Aussie writer/artist who produced one of my favourite comics of all time last year, Struggle — which was, amazingly, a 24-hour comic. A confronting, heart-wrenching, brutally honest account of one man’s battle with his personal demons who, in this telling, take on the form of his creation, Killeroo.

DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse, all of these — or something else?

Hmm. Can’t say I have brand loyalty. Never really thought of a publisher I prefer. I tend to go for the story. I will, however, take note of a publisher who is willing to take a risk with the stories they will release.

What style/genre of comics do you prefer to read?

Personal stories. I don’t mind if it is wrapped up in spectacle and plays before a grand backdrop, it just has to be personal; the plot must serve the character’s journey. Get me with your character’s plight, and I’m in.

In terms of your creativity, which styles/genres do you prefer to work with?

I write across a range of genres, and often they are mixed. Going firstly with my main work The List — when I was writing it, despite it having a few spooky moments, it didn’t feel like a horror to me; it felt incredibly personal, though it did bring up so much stuff that I would often feel nauseous while writing it. It was only when people started labelling it as psych-horror that I decided I’d go with it for the sake of convenience. Aside from that, I have written philosophical gear, fantasy, straight drama, and comedy. Of all genres, I’d say that fantasy it the one I enjoy writing most. Because I’m a great big f**king nerd.

13450792_10154248224376449_6531988040936640643_nWhat are your creative plans for the future — what can we expect from you?

In April of this year [2016] Henry, Tom and I were proud to release the first book of The List 2. It’s been great to see the response to it and already be receiving positive feedback. It’s also confirmation that people enjoyed The List. The sequel explores different themes to the first and ultimately reveals the true nature of the story.

The future of comic books — what’s really going to happen in this industry?

I can only see it getting bigger. With publishers and creators learning how to exploit the internet to get their work out there (and make it more readily available), more and more comic to movie adaptations, and geek/pop culture exploding and being accepted with no sign of slowing up, the future looks very good indeed for the medium. To support my contention, you should go and buy The List right now.

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #8: BRETT JONES

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #8: BRETT JONES

CP-RAD-1-1And now, as our Q&A spotlights of PNP creators begins to wind down, let’s take a peek at American writer Brett Jones, who co-created Radiation Day.

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson hereAndrez Bergen was #4 here, Ben Gilboa @ #5, Chris Yarbrough, and #7 with Bryan Timmins.]

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Brett Jones — the writer and co-creator of the PNP published series Radiation Day. I currently reside in the Kansas City area.

Who are your favorite three comic book artists, and why? Which titles of theirs are the best, so far as you’re concerned?

It’s quite difficult to narrow it down to just three, but three of my favorites would have to be Menton Matthews, Greg Ruth and Greg Capullo.

Menton has become a recent favorite over the last few years with the beautifully gothic style and creepy vibes that his work embodies. Greg Ruth has been a long time favorite of mine with his incredible ability to capture an unrivaled realism with just a pencil and paper; his book Freaks of the Heartland is a must read, as well as his newest book Indeh. Last, but not least, the illustrious Greg Capullo. Greg’s art is the entire reason I am even working in comics. His work on Spawn in the ’90s was where I first fell in love with the medium. His style has continued to grow in a mind-blowing way, with everything from his creator owned series The Creech, to his current work on Batman, he will always be in my top three.

What style/genre of comics do you prefer to read? 

I absolutely love horror, hands down. When I was younger I discovered the McFarlane toys series Clive Barker’s Tortured Souls, and I thought they were grotesquely fascinating. From there I branched out and read a few of Clive Barker‘s books on the Cenobites and other creepy anthologies he created. Through my research into his work, I found H.P. Lovecraft, and after reading about the Cthulhu mythos, I was hooked on horror for the rest of my days. When I was a teenager my brother bought me the first 50 issues of Spawn and after devouring those I would read anything horror or creepy-related, and that lead me to the great horror writers and artists in the comic world.

Brett JonesWho’s your favorite three comic book writers, and why? Which titles of theirs are the best, so far as you’re concerned?

My top three in no particular order are Steve Niles, Scott Snyder, and Joe Hill.

Steve Niles’ credits are limitless, with everything from one of the most definitive works in the horror comics world 30 Days of Night to his beautiful and creepy prose and short stories in the Kickstarter-funded book LUST with Ben Templesmith and Menton Matthews. Scott Snyder is of course most famously known for his work on Batman, but it was his book Severed that caught my attention. A series about an aging vampire and a young boy, filled with murder and deception set on the open road in 1916. Joe Hill possesses an amazing ability to craft as genuinely tense and fantastical world like that in his series Locke & Key, absolutely amazing book that everyone should read, which comes as no surprise considering his father is the great Stephen King, however he if fully capable of standing on his own despite the family name.

Who’s your favorite non-comic book writer, and why? Which book of his/hers is the best, so far as you’re concerned?

My favorite non-comic writer would definitely have to be H.P. Lovecraft. That man’s work was awe-inspiring in the way he was able to firmly grasp the horror/terror narrative and make you feel scared as you read his stories. I would like to say Call of Cthulhu was my favorite, but he has far too many that I enjoy.

“I have looked upon all the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me.”
― H.P. Lovecraft Call of Cthulhu

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #7: BRYAN TIMMINS

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #7: BRYAN TIMMINS

CP-BAR-1-1Next up in a series of Q&A spotlights American creator Bryan Timmins, who illustrates Barrens with CW Cooke, and is the colorist on fellow PNP title Radiation Day.

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson hereAndrez Bergen was #4 here, Ben Gilboa @ #5, and Chris Yarbrough.]

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Bryan Timmins. I live in Kansas City with my family and I draw comics. Currently, I’m illustrating Barrens with CW Cooke, and coloring Radiation Day by Brett Jones and Chris Yarbrough. Both books are published by PNP. I’m also working on a few other projects.

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my family moved around a lot. Like, a lot. Drawing was one of the things that remained constant in my life, so I always knew I wanted to do something with it. Comics and animation were always my interests, and I’ve pursued education and employment in both fields. I’ve worked as a freelance animator for the past few years, on many projects including animating characters on children’s shows, creating motion graphics for Pro Sports stadiums and commercials, and medical animation. I enjoy it, but am mostly drawn toward storytelling. Which is why I’ve made the push back to working in comics.

Some of my other interests include reading, writing, riding motorcycles, and scuba diving.

CP-RAD-1-1How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

I got involved through my friendship with CW Cooke. CW and I have known each other for a few years now, and have always wanted to work on a project together. He reached out to me to see if I would illustrate a new story that would be coming out from a new publisher — PNP.

Why are indie comics so damned important?

I’ve pretty much always sought out more underground-type entertainment, whether it be music, movies or comics. I have, and still do, read mainstream comics but more often I am drawn towards indie stories and books. There’s just so much more out there than what’s usually in mainstream culture. With Indie books, you get a much broader spectrum of storytelling, art, genres, characters, themes, et cetera. Indie books are where it’s at.

Who are your favorite three comic book artists, and why?

I think my 3 favorites are Bill Sienkewicz, Paul Pope, and Bill Watterson. Each of their works have left profound and lasting effects on me.

ScubaBry1Who is your all-time favorite comic book character?

One of my absolute favorite characters is Abe Sapien from Mike Mignola‘s Hellboy. He’s a cool character with a great design and a mysterious past. I can really relate to Abe’s searching for his place in the world — plus he’s a super cool fishman, which would be really fun. I love the ocean.

What are your creative plans for the future — what can we expect from you?

Currently I’m working on a Victorian ghost story with my wife. The plan for it is to be more of a storybook than a comic. I’ve also got a few other titles I’m developing as comics or storybooks.