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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, #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.

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #6: CHRIS YARBROUGH

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #6: CHRIS YARBROUGH

CP-RAD-1-1PNP now finds itself lucky enough to get to grips with American creator Chris Yarbrough, co-creator of PNP title Radiation Day, and one of the pin-up artists in the Bullet Gal trade paperback.

[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 here, Andrez Bergen was #4 here, and Ben Gilboa @ #5.]

 

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Chris Yarbrough, an American illustrator, and figure from various world mythologies. I’m based out of Joplin, Missouri. I am co-creator and artist for the PNP title Radiation Day. I’m also the owner (with my dear wife) of Thought and Memory Studios. I’ve done work for boardgames, YouTube series, and books. I am the creator of the forthcoming KRTSDM. (You’ll have to go to the page to find out what those letters stand for.) Also, Daft Punk did not make a song about my life.

How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

Brett Jones (Writer and co-creator of Radiation Day), and I were previously a part of another team that our friend Galo Ramiro Gutierrez belonged to. He turned us on to PNP, and a few digital handshakes and oaths of fealty later, here we are!

Why are indie comics so damned important?

Indie comics are so damned important, because they represent unconquered frontier. Creativity and vision flourish when given room to breathe. This is the environment that the indie scene provides. Like so much bacterial scum on the underside of a rock, our unique perspectives and stories are allowed to flourish in a way they never could in a more mainstream capacity. To the noble comic reader, I think the indie scene offers a flavor they can’t get anywhere else. And, I’m more than happy to be the delicious bay leaf in their comic fan spaghetti.

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

My comic artist pantheon has at its head Cary Nord. At his right hand is Frank Cho, and guarding the underworld is Mike Mignola. Nord’s work on Conan was a revelation to me, and he continues to be an inspiration with almost every picture he posts. I stumbled upon Frank Cho’s work at a formative time, artistically speaking, with his book Women. His command of line, and unique flair for humor in his work, spoke to me personally. Mike Mignola is the master of shadows, but you all knew that. I know this list is meant to only include three artists, but I would be a blasphemer not to include Bill Watterson, as I feel his bones are the pillars that hold up the sky.

Who’s your favorite non-comic book artist, and why?

My favorite non-comic artist is the immortal Keith Parkinson. I would spend hours looking at his work as a child. I once created a “cheat-sheet” of hands based on all the expressive hands in his work. Today, when I paint landscapes, his is the example that I follow. Sadly, Keith passed away the year I graduated high school, so I will never be able to tell him what an impact he had. I can only hope that there is another plain where he can tell me painting tips. Although I won’t be able to hear him, as I can’t speak to ghosts.

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

Image, Darkhorse, and Dynamite. These are the companies I think have the most challenges for their readership. These three companies are almost entirely responsible for every comic I’ve ever read (with the exception of all the lovely indies I’ve read). Admittedly, I’ve never gravitated towards “the Big Two”.

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

I pretty much enjoy anything that has a unique perspective when it comes to comics. I really do think it’s a great way to explore ideas in a visual format. Genre is largely unimportant to me, as long as there is something interesting to latch onto. However, I will read almost anything of the low/historical fantasy persuasion.

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

I consider myself, first and foremost, a fantasy illustrator. My background is less in comic books and more in the classic illustration world. I would love to do a low/dark fantasy comic, someday. For some reason, creatively, I just gravitate towards muck, metal, monsters, and the occasional warrior princess. I’m a true churl, I suppose!

What is the most innovative, landmark comic book title (or graphic novel) in history?

This is a very cliché viewpoint, but for me Alan Moore’s Watchmen removed my brain, rearranged its various components, placed it back in my head for a second, removed it again, and then threw it against a wall. I really dug it. I would like to add, for anyone reading this, that I am open to having my mind blown, in this manner, by other comics. Suggestions are welcome!

Self-portrait by the artist.

Self-portrait by the artist.

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

Red Sonja is hands down my comic jam. I’ve been a Red Sonja fan for as long as I’ve understood which part of a sword you poke someone with (the pointy end). Sonja, aside from her obvious charms, has always been a very important figure to me. She was tough, motivated, blessed by a goddess, and most importantly, showed me from an early age that women could be in charge of their own fate. In the absolute masterpiece that is the 1985 Red Sonja film (fight me!) her trainer declares her to be “the master of the masters”, and this was not lost on little-me.

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

My creative plans for the future are basically represented by a giant tornado of epic imagery, and tragic heroes. I have at least 10 different books trapped in my head, awaiting the day that I find time to commit them to paper. The closest to completion is my graphic novel KRTSDM — which I’m hoping to finish in the next year. Other than that, I’m playing my cards close to my chest. Not because I’m afraid of idea theft, but because I would rather not disappoint people by hyping up something that potentially could never see the light of day.

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #5: BEN GILBOA

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #5: BEN GILBOA

Our next cross-examination is with Israeli writer/artist Ben Gilboa, the man behind the Blue Moon graphic novel via PNP.

[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 here, and Andrez Bergen was #4 here]

 

CP-BLM-1Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Ben Gilboa. I live in Tel Aviv, Israel. During the day I work in graphic design, while at night I draw comics.

I’ve been writing and drawing comics for the majority of my life, but I’ve started working on serious work (long-form graphic novels and such) in the past 3 years. Blue Moon is my first full-length graphic novel.

How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

After completing Blue Moon, I started reaching out to comics sites and blogs, trying to get some feedback and exposure. I submitted it to Project-Nerd for review, and they came back with an offer to publish. Guess they like it!

Why are indie comics so damned important?

Well, I don’t necessarily think indie comics are that damn important in themselves, as much as they can fulfill a vital function for comics lovers. Let’s face it, the vast majority of mainstream comics feature superheroes. The same genre, in literally hundreds of titles.

Reading just one genre can get repetitive, and stale.

So indie comics spice things up. Reads want different stories, different character and genres. And that’s what indie comics bring to the table.

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

I honestly don’t care that much where something is published. The publishers are just the vehicle for the art, made by the creators. If my favorite writer switches publishers, why would I care?

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

I don’t really have a preferred genre to work in, but I do know my limitations as an artist. I’d love to do an action comic, but I just don’t have the drawing chops to pull that off (yet).

So instead I try to aim at my strengths, which means character-based stories, with strong emotional and philosophical overtones. I also tend to favor more genre work, like sci-fi, horror and the like, because it’s comics – I can do literally anything, so why not?

10437680_10153250679162178_6238938492383669897_nWhat are your creative plans for the future — what can we expect from you?

I’m currently working on the biggest project I’ve ever taken. It’s a sci-fi anthology, featuring shorts stories, all taking place in the Free City, an anarcho-capitalist mega-city in a post-apocalyptic far future.

I’m trying to explore the notion of freedom in its many forms, its costs and true meaning. I know, that sounds kind’a heavy, but I think it’s shaping up nicely. I’m at around page 70 out of an estimated 200.

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

If I had to answer that last year, I would have answered Jonathan Franzen. He’s not a genre guy, but his novels are so real, so layered, I find that a lot of my creative goals is exploring that kind of deep character and psychological work in a genre setting.

However, a few months ago I read A Little Life by Hayna Yanagihara. It’s a beautiful and amazing book, but also one of the most emotionally scarring pieces of art I’ve ever experienced. It shook me to my core, so I feel compelled to acknowledge her next to Franzen. The final answer is currently TBD.

  • Check out Ben’s Blue Moon site here.