If you missed part one you can read it here: http://comicbuzz.com/blacklist-studios-chat-with-comicbuzz-part-1
CB: Will there be more Robot – 13 comics in the future?
TH: Yep. We are getting ready to do the next installment later this year. I am SO excited, because the story we have lined up just takes the story to this crazy new level. I know everyone says that, but it’s true.
CB: The second comic book from Blacklist Studios is King, what is King about?
TH: Daniel came up with the idea for KING!. I am just along for the ride on KING!, although I do write it, I leave so much leeway in there for Daniel to go nuts. It’s really just about fun and energy and Comics being action oriented and funny, like they were in the 60’s and 70’s…
DA: It’s just an imaginative toy box. We take our toys and pit them up against whatever we find digging around the other toys…be it a monster, or a robot, or a giant chicken…King is our way of just being stupid.
CB: Do you plan to add any more titles to Blacklist Studios in the near future?
TH: We have ideas. Right now, I don’t seeing us having time… but I also don’t see Daniel and I not working together, either. We’ll be making comics for a long time, so yea, we will do other things. But we have a ton on our plate right now with the 2 series and the rest of life.
CB: Could we see a King cross over with Robot – 13?
TH: No. Not as a serious comic.
CB: Creating an independent comic must be a lot of hard work; can you give us an idea of what it is like?
TH: It’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff- the creative side is great when we are doing it, but finding time to do it is always a challenge. I handle the business & promotional side of Blacklist too, so that aspect is very time consuming and is a lot about contacting people and negotiation and making sure books get sent out to retailers and all. Dealing with the printers, making sure that any licencing deals we make work out… even stupid things like making sure we pay our yearly business fees all fall on me, where in a large company you would have a dozen people doing all that. So it takes hard work and time management, but the other side of it is, if you have a good book it’s worth the effort to do things right.
DA: And I just kinda wait until the deadline is a week away then I work in a feverish panic to get the book done.
CB: Could you tell more about the creative process, when you are both working on a comic?
TH: I do a lot of research. A ton of research, actually. I not only like to read up on subjects, but I am always looking for visual reference to see what things looked like, and I pass a lot of that off to Daniel. I think he probably thinks I overdo it… but I am obsessed with detail, because I think having those unusual details in a story really sell the realism of it. As far as the writing process goes, I like to write my first draft as quickly as possible because I think the energy and flow is important. When I revise, though, I take a while because I not only try to make it all work and improve what I can, but I look to see what aspects of my research I can fit into the story organically that I might have missed in my first draft.
DA: The flow of the page is the most important to me so I work up a lot of rough pages to get an idea of how the panels will work together and how to guide the reader through easily and without stumbling over any weird or awkward pacing. Sometimes it’s easy. Other times, not so much. If I can get that out of the way then I can relax and draw.
Unless I have to draw cars. I hate drawing cars. I’ve turned down gigs because there were cars. Cars are stupid.
CB: Can you tell us the factors that you look at when you a pricing a comic?
TH: We sell the bulk of our comics through comic shops, which we offer to retailers at a pretty standard 50% discount. That means whatever the cover price is, we take in 50% of that, and we have to pay shipping to the stores from that as well. That means if a book costs $3.99, we have to make a profit getting $2 or so back. Since the market will only bear so much in terms of cover price, we have to find a way to have all costs associated with producing a book to fit within that and have enough profit to make it worth it. If we go through all the expense and effort and make .10 an issue when it’s all done, then we are basically giving the book away even at $3.99… so a big part of my job is making sure we work with our printers and all our vendors to strike that balance.
CB: What have the sales of Blacklist Studios comics been like?
TH: We have always sold well. Our first one shot of KING! Sold out, and we sold out our first print of all the Robot 13 issues from the original story arc and had to reprint Issue 1 as a Director’s cut which also sold a ton of copies. The first two issues of the most recent KING! Series are not sold out yet, but have sold very strong and continue to sell strong.
CB: What is the best way for readers to get Blacklist Studios comics?
TH: Our online store needs to be revamped, which we will be doing before our next issue of Robot 13 comes out. You can go to http://www.mycomicshop.com though, because Lonestar Comics has been a HUGE supporter of Blacklist Studios and they have just about all our books and have always been one of our biggest retailers. Many shops around the country and in Canada also carry our books, and we have a list on our website of all the retailers we currently deal with. If your comic shop isn’t on the list, you can have your shop owner contact Tony Shenton at “[email protected]” to order any of the Blacklist Studio books that are available. We are also doing a kickstarter right now to put out a trade collection of the first Robot 13 story arc, so until March 13th, 2012, you can go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackliststudios/robot-13-trade-paperback and become a backer and get a copy for $13 including shipping.
CB: Any message to the ComicBuzz readers?
TH: Thank you for supporting Blacklist Studios and for reading Robot 13 and KING!. We work really hard to make the best comics we can, and we really want to make every issue better, and we appreciate every one of you who buys a book, stops by our table at a convention or sends us an email. Blacklist Studios would be nothing without the fans, and we don’t take that lightly.
DA: Yep. What Tom said. You guys rock.
I would like to thank Daniel and Thomas for taking the time to drop by ComiBuzz!