CB: HI Daniel and Thomas thanks for dropping by ComicBuzz
CB: Could you introduce yourselves?
TH: I’m Thomas Hall, the writer & Co-Creator of Robot 13 and KING! For Blacklist Studios.
DA: Daniel Bradford…I’m the artist and Co-Creator of R13 and KING!
CB: How did you get into the comic industry?
TH: I feel like we kind of snuck in the back when nobody was looking… I have been working with Daniel on projects for about 9 years now, and we started out just looking to put together stuff to pitch to other companies. We actually got a contract with Markosia Comics from the UK, but that project never saw the light of day. We ended up realizing that we needed to self publish to get our stuff out there, so we did but in our minds that was going to be temporary at the time. That temporary gig became Blacklist Studios and we are still going after 5 years of self publishing…
DA: What Tom said.
CB: Who are your favourite comic creators?
TH: Larry Marder, Jacob Chabot, Jack Kirby, Evan Dorkin, Daniel Davis, Neil Gaiman & Grant Morrison. Anything by those guys I would read in a heartbeat.
DA: Bill Watterson, Ashley Wood, Eric Powell, Guy Davis, Mike Mignola, and (even though he’s not a comic creator but a storybook artist who had a massive influence on my storytelling) Stephen Gammell.
CB: What was the first comic you worked on?
TH: Together? It was a book called “Enlightenment” that Markosia was going to put out but it never happened. Someday we will revisit that, I hope. The first thing Daniel & I did that people actually SAW was KING! Though. We did a 1 shot back in 2007, then followed that up in 2009 with Robot 13, then more KING!…
DA: I also did a brief gig on a book called Smoke and Mirror from Markosia.
CB: How did you meet each other?
TH: Online. I saw some of Daniel’s work online and thought his stuff was amazing. I wanted to work with him immediately, but figured he must be working for Vertigo or something… so I wrote him a fan letter and tossed in a, “If you ever need a writer, let me know…” line at the end. He wrote me back & we found that we had a lot in common, and that we both had a lot of the same influences.
CB: Can you tell us about Blacklist Studios?
TH: It started out as a way for the two of us to pitch ideas to other companies. Daniel came up with the name… When we started publishing our own books, we just kept rolling with it, formed an LLC., and wound up doing everything ourselves. Blacklist is really just the two of us- Daniel does all the art, coloring, lettering, pre-press and whatever else and I do the writing, marketing, sales and all the business. I send all the books to the stores and fill the mail orders and whatever else needs doing.
CB: When you created Blacklist Studios, what was the goal for the studio?
TH: Not to suck! Seriously, that was my goal. To do something that could sit next to an Image or IDW book and be just as likely to go home with someone who was looking for something new. I hate it when “Indy” equals “Sloppy.” I can take not selling 100,000 copies of a book, but I can’t stand it if I know the book doesn’t meet our high standard.
DA: I just really enjoy storytelling, particularly of the visual variety. It’s something of a passionate hobby so when Tom and I decided to work on our own books it wasn’t because we wanted to start up a company and rake in the bucks. We just wanted to tell stories. Plain and simple.
CB: Can you tell me more about Blacklist Studios first comic Robot – 13?
TH: Robot 13 is “The Borne Identity” meets “Clash of the Titans.” It’s about a character (who happens to be a robot) who doesn’t remember who he is, but who has an amazing ability to kick monster ass! Just like both movies, the main character goes on a journey to find his destiny and who he really is.
DA: R13 was kind of spawned from an afternoon warmup sketch that Tom got a peek at and just took it from there. I just wanted it to fight monsters, but I thought keeping them strictly of the greek mythological kind would’ve added an interesting twist. We were just sorta making it up as we went. When a story actually started coming together we became a bit more serious about it.
CB: What has the response to Robot – 13 been like?
TH: Humbling. It’s hard to understand that to some people, I write their all time favourite comic. We have had an amazing response from people, and it drives me to write even better. I think we need to keep topping ourselves and to make every new issue that much better.
DA: Yeah, humbling.
CB: I understand that you are looking for comic readers to get involved with the printing of the first trade paperback of Robot – 13, how can readers get involved?
TH: Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackliststudios/robot-13-trade-paperback and become a backer! We are offering the trade collection for $13, but we also have Glow-in-the-Dark tee shirts, Robot 13 and KING! Toys, original art and sketches and a bunch of other stuff.
That’s it for part 1, keep an eye out for part 2 when we find out more about being creating an indie comic!