Wednesday 26th November 2014,
Comic Booked

Comic Confidential #4 – Free Comic Day and Shawn Aldridge!

Raphael Moran 05/04/2012 Features, Reviews

Hot on the heels of one of the biggest comic movie events in history is Free Comic Book Day on May 5th. In a summer filled with more tent-pole comic book adapted blockbusters, it still boggles my mind that a industry that can generate billions of dollars at the movies can hardly sell thousands of copies in printed form.  Free Comic Book Day was created for the very purpose of helping to generate interest in a wonderful medium called “comics.”  Almost always taking place during the weekend of a particular big comic movie, FCBD has been a tradition for years, and has only gotten bigger every year.    Comic shops all over the country are having signings and events this weekend to usher in new fans. If you’re a comic fan and want to get a friend into comics, bring them over and tell them about FCBD.  You might meet interesting creators, see great artwork, hear cool stories, and maybe even fall in love with comics the way I do.      

Shawn Aldridge is one of those pioneers in the indie comic industry that’s trying to help generate more awareness of comics with his new Free Comic Book Day story that’s being published in conjunction with 215ink’s new FCBD anthology.  Shawn is also a writer on the NY Times best selling comic anthology Fubar, and creator of the awarding winning Vic Boone.   I recently did a review of the book a few weeks ago, and I must say it’s one of the best comics to get for a person that is fed up with the superhero genre that most people associate with comics.    I had a chance to chat with Shawn about his love of comics, his creator owned series Vic Boone, and a number of other topics.   Check it out.        

 

 Raphael Moran-

What was the first comic you ever read and how old were you?

Shawn Aldridge-

The first comic I ever read was probably something from Marvel that my Uncle Paul brought over. I was 7 or so. I think it may have been an issue of The Incredible Hulk, because the first distinct comic image in my head is the Hulk punching something. The first comic I ever bought was an issue of Capt. Carrot and the Zoo Crew, in Okinawa.

 Raphael Moran

How did you first come up with the idea for Vic Boone? Also what were your influences?

 Shawn Aldridge-

The idea came to me late at night when I was going through a bunch of old pulp paperbacks I own. A science fiction and a pulp detective novel were juxtaposed on my desk and the wheels starting spinning. Sort of a “What if I blend these two genres?” moment. Yes, completely spacing on the fact that Blade Runner had already done this. The more I thought on the idea the more the B-movie aspect starting slipping in, which, again, I owe to my Uncle Paul. I used to watch all these wonderful b-movies with him. The idea eventually became, “What if all those movies actually happened?” What if there actually was a Day the Earth Stood Still? What if there was a brain that wouldn’t die? Wouldn’t that be fun? And at the end of the day that’s what I wanted Vic Boone to be—FUN! I was just feeling a lot of the fun in comics had been sucked out. Everything was, and perhaps still is, a bit too serious for its own good at times.

As for influences, my Uncle Paul is the biggest influences on Vic Boone. He was the one who got me into reading comics and watching old sci-fi movies. I’ve always said that Vic Boone is a thank you letter to him. Writers who have influenced me are Chester Himes (perhaps the greatest African American writer of all time) and his Harlem Cycle novels, Graham Greene, Gerry Conway, Dashiell Hammett, Donald Westlake… and a crap load of others.  

 

Raphael Moran-

In terms of the look of the characters and Vic himself, what input did you have?

 Shawn Aldridge-

For the most part, I’d say 90%. I knew Savannah Greene was Pam Greer mixed with Tamara Dobson. Andre the Fly was always a fly with the head of Peter Lorre. Vic Boone had a bit of back and forth with then artist Jeff Winstead, until a I realized Boone was Lee Marvin. All the other peripheral characters are based on/inspired by old b-movie characters. So, I usually send the artist reference and say this guy is based on this guy. But every artist has added there own flare to the characters.

 

 Raphael Moran-

What do you see for the future of Boone in comic form?

 Shawn Aldridge-

Vic Boone is going to be strictly graphic novels. It just makes more sense to do it that way. As a small press/indie creator, monthlies just are a viable approach. So, much of the work is marketing, spreading the word, and building a readership. That’s really tough on a monthly/bi-monthly schedule, because you’re trying to do that and produce the book on time. Someone once said, A single issue has a shelf life of about two weeks. A graphic novel has a shelf life of 20 years.

 

 Raphael Moran-

Besides Boone, what other projects are you working on?

 Shawn Aldridge-

I’m working on a short story with Dominic Vivona for a horror anthology that Rachel Deering is putting together. Dominic and I also have plans to do Space Vikings at some point. That’s exactly what it sounds like– Vikings in space. There’s Mr. Zero with Jim McMunn, which is on a slow burn. We’re both new fathers so will squeeze that in when we can. The only other thing, as of now, is a modern take on Paul Bunyun, which should be a blast. That’ll be with artist Spencer Douglas, who came up with the idea and asked me to write it. As for the immediate future… nothing. I put so much time putting together the Vic Boone series and the Vic Boone trade, that I cleared my plate of anything else.

 

 Raphael Moran-

I know you’ve talked at length about various mainstream characters you wanted to tackle as a writer; tell us which ones and what plans you had in mind.

 Shawn Aldridge-

First and foremost is Mister Miracle and Big Barda. I would do anything to write those two. It would be a take on the New American family–Mr Miracle, Barda, and there adoptive teenage son, Shiloh Norman. Firestorm would be next, which almost came true. A couple of DC editors actually read the pitch, but we (Jeff Winstead and I) were told we didn’t have the name recognition to pull it off. As far as the idea for it, I can’t talk about it at the moment. My creative partner for it has plans to reveal it at some point, so I don’t want to spoil it for him. Werewolf by Night is another. The idea I had for it was to explore father and son issues, a legacy left to you by a father you didn’t know, and other pretentious ideas. I also set it up to where I tied in every single Marvel werewolf ever. It’s about the illegitimate son of Jack Russell.

 

 Raphael Moran-

The beard is one intimidating feature, but are people surprised when they meet you and you’re one of the coolest Kats in the world to talk to?   Also, who has the more epic beard, you or Alan Moore.  (Personally I think his is more unruly than epic.) 

 Shawn Aldridge-

I know I’m always surprised when people say, “You’re a lot nicer than I expected.” One friend always jokes that I’m not capable of a non-scary look. Moore’s is probably more well known, but I’d say mine is probably better groomed. I have to admit I find it hilarious that my beard has taken on a life of its own and is probably more famous than I am.

 

 Raphael Moran-

Vic Boone… the franchise.  Do you see a Vic Boone movie, video game, action figures in your future one day?

 Shawn Aldridge-

If the comic gods are kind, then yes, I’d like to see all those. I think a Vic Boone cartoon on Adult Swim makes perfect sense. Perhaps someday the people at Cartoon Network will feel the same.  There was a limited edition Vic Boone action figure. It sold out. Also, if there ever was a Vic Boone movie, who would you want I direct and star in it? Director would be Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), he seems to have a good sense of action and character moments. Who would play Boone? Lee Marvin in a perfect world where he’s not dead. Since the world isn’t perfect, I think Gerard Butler would work.

 

 Raphael Moran-

Shine the light on what it really means to be a indie comic creator.    A lot of fans don’t realize that most of us have day jobs, and barely make any profit off our books.    Personally for me, after coming back from a Con or signing, you’re on an emotional high… and then the next day you’re back to the real world and it totally drains you emotionally.   Is it the same for you?

 Shawn Aldridge-  

It is tough being an indie creator. I do think only a few fans understand the amount of work that goes into being one. It’s more than just producing the work. As an indie guy, you are everything–the marketing department, the editor, the creator, the production dept, etc. It’s like having 20 full time jobs on top of the actually full time job most of us have. You have to do it, because you love making comics not because you’re expecting fat checks to come rolling in. Yeah, I love going to cons, when I can afford to, because you can see the response to your work first hand. It’s that response that pushes me. Knowing people actually like Vic Boone makes those 3 hours of sleep a night a little easier to swallow.

 

There you have it folks.    Go to Free comic day, and pick up the 215ink FCBD comic.   Its FREE!   Need I say any more.   If you like it, please be sure to pick up the other Vic Boone stories, available at 215ink.com.    

If you’re in the Portland area, check him out as he makes a FCBD appearance at Cosmic monkey and Bridgecity Comix.    

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About The Author

I'm a comic writer who happens to also write about comics. In 2011, Ape Entertainment published my first comic series called, Dream Reavers. Future comic projects will more than likely make your brain melt with enjoyment, so do yourself a favor and check them out. That is all.

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