Terraform Comics: Changing the Landscape of Comics
About a year ago, I set up as a vendor at the Indie Author Book Expo here where I live. While I was at the event, I met Brian K. Morris, an indie author who runs a small press called Rising Tide Publications. Brian runs a few podcasts every week (Clever Title Pending and Nevermind the Furthermore). When I got a chance, I listened in. Through those podcasts I met indie author Rob Andersin and comic book writer and artist Luke Stone.
Within the last month, Brian, Rob, and Luke joined forces with Varian Grant, Erik Hodson, and Meredith Loughran to form Terraform Comics (http://terraformcomics.com), a new comic book publisher. Among them, they have over 100 years of experience in comic books, publishing, and marketing. Although not a strictly Christian press, they’re governed by those principles. Brian has joined me today to chat about this new venture.
Cindy: There are many book and comic publishers out there. What makes Terraform unique?
Brian: We’re combining a number of aspects that we believe will make us attractive to readers and creators alike. For one thing, we don’t go for long, drawn-out storylines. If a story takes more than one issue to tell, it’d better be an epic. For another, we’re looking forward to working with skilled storytellers, both in terms of writing and in visuals.
Terraform’s direction is decided by six people who share similar goals; and while we each have a specific function in the group, our skills overlap to a degree where we speak a similar creative language. For instance, I’m the “face” of the team, but with my own Rising Tide Publications, I can talk editorial, art, promotion, and overall business with the rest of the team.
Also, no one who works for Terraform does it for free. We have a business model that while we don’t pay upfront, the creators will get paid. There will be contracts. There will be oversight. Expect ethical treatment.
Cindy: Ethical behavior is a critical need in so many businesses these days, and it’s good to have overlap in skills. You can compliment each other and make sure that no one person gets buried.
I noticed that Terraform is looking for submissions. What do you look for in a good one?
Brian: Although Luke goes over the majority of submissions, the ones that make it to perusal fr
om the rest of the team are judged on how skillfully the story is told, both in words and in pictures.
Me, I look for a cohesive story told in a visually-stimulating way. I want to have enough information that I can understand the characters, whether I’m rooting for them or not.
Cindy: A coherent story is so helpful. I’ve read works in a number of genres and media types that are just too far all over the place in the story-telling department.
Because of the comics I collected when I was a kiddo, I usually associate comics with superhero stories, but I have since seen other sorts. Do you focus on a particular genre or are you open to a variety?
Brian: Our brief from Luke has always been we want to produce and publish “good comics.” We hold ourselves to the same standards we expect of others.
The initial wave of books from Terraform include all-ages humor, zombie horror, pulp adventure, and superheroes. While the comics field is dominated by the “long underwear” books, there’s plenty of variety out there and I don’t think any of us want to pigeonhole the company into one specific genre.
Cindy: Diversity is good. There are many good stories out there that would fit in the comic book style but don’t involve phenomenal cosmic powers. What are some of your current projects?
Brian: One I’m personally involved with is my co-creation, Scarlett Trace. It’s a nod to the great pulp heroes of long ago. Scarlett Trace fights off big crime in the early 20th Century and a number of the wrong people seem to know who she really is. However, the right people don’t, one of whom is Scarlett Trace. By the way, I’m thrilled to have Luke Stone as my penciler and co-creator.
Cindy: I’ve read some of your other pulp action tales including The Original Skyman Battles the Master of Steam. Good stuff! I can’t wait to see what happens with Scarlett Trace.
If everything goes according to Hoyle, what goals will Terraform Comics achieve?
Brian: World peace.
Cindy: That’s a lofty goal to aim for, but who needs easy goals, right?
Where can folks find out more about Terraform Comics?
Brian: Our delightful website at www.terraformcomics.com where you can read all about us and submit your work.
Cindy: Lots of interesting stuff happening there.
What question do you wish I’d asked?
Brian: What the heck do I do around here? What were they thinking when they asked me to join? ?
Cindy: I think you’re the Chief Fez Collector and Bowtie Organizer, right? As for what folks were thinking, I don’t know. I’m afraid my telepathy gene is on the fritz. Probably safer for everyone that way.
Thanks for joining me today.
You can find out more about Terraform comics (including submission info) on their webpage and connect with them on Facebook.
fascinating! I’ll have to keep an eye out…getting into comics and graphic novels is definitely something I’d like to pursue in the future!