I’ve not slept much this week. I’ve been consumed by thoughts of an imagined reality. I’ve been filling in the gaps, if you will: fleshing-out video game lore with some disturbing possibilities. Imagine the horror of being an animal trapped inside one of Dr. Robotnik’s murderous cybernetic shells: trained upon killing your only potential savior and being powerless to stop yourself. You try to resist, but the mechanical death-suit overpowers you: contorting and forcing your limbs into committing unspeakable acts.
You gaze downwards in horror at your blood-washed metallic hands: feeding tubes sustain your existence and damn you to a perpetual waking nightmare. As you gaze in horror at Sonic’s desecrated entrails, the suit gives you just long enough to truly absorb the horror of it all, then it contorts your limbs once again: wrenching your frail body towards an even darker purpose. Now you know that your family will die at your own hand.
When I interviewed writer Steven Walters back in June, he told us that an 8-page AKA prequel was in the works. I immediately began foaming at the mouth and had to seek medical attention. Unfortunately, my brother had me committed to a macabre asylum. It was a truly trying time, with the only silver lining being that my roommate was a loon-bag named Renfield who liked to eat birds.
Fortunately, my case of spontaneous mad-dog has subsided just in time for me to tell you about AKA: One in the Chamber!
Not only is this comic going to give readers some back-story to the crime’n’blood, babes’n’bullets wonder that is AKA, it’s also going to help creators Steven Walters and Rob Reilly spread the word to retailers. In their words:
Being an independent comic creator and publisher is difficult. In this market projects like our’s, despite having a previous successful Kickstarter campaign to pay our colorist and letterer, tend to get buried under the popularity of mainstream & established superhero books.
It is our hope to raise the necessary funds to produce 10,000 FREE promotional comics with a story that predates our graphic novel, AKA, in order to increase our readership.
The plan is to have this 8 page prequel, along with an advert for the trade, be distributed to indie-friendly retailers and given out to potential comic readers.
Do you like comic books? Awesome action scenes? 1970s exploitation flicks? Supporting the underdog? Unless you’re a total butthead, you’ve answered “Yes” at least once, so there’s only one thing to do. That’s right, head over to Kickstarter and help get AKA: One in the Chamber made! I know money’s tight for everyone these days, but I promise you that you’ll enjoy AKA: One in the Chamber much more than thatRed She-Hulk vs. Fathom variant cover you were planning on buying.
A couple weeks ago I sat down with a comic called A.K.A., fully intending to just read the first issue in the collection. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and final panels of the book were quickly transforming from mysteries into memories. What was it that inspired me to keep readin’, ignorin’ the ringin’ phone and the frantic cries of the mailman outside my window to save him from the vocal veteran’s rabid mailman?
Pure comics bad-assery.
A.K.A. is a perfect throwback to those golden years when mawkish snooze fests hopin’ to snag Oscars weren’t the only films considered high-quality. No, this comic summons the spirits of the 1970s exploitation flicks that taught moviegoers the value of flawed heroes, babes with dangerous measurements, and gratuitous violence. As the (anti)hero of A.K.A., Guy Doyle navigates his way through these elements, in the process teaching the reader how to revel in the chaos of a mob war.
So won over was my heart that I decided to reach out to Steven Walters, the man responsible for penning this tasteful tale of tawdry turmoil. Walters proved to be incredibly gracious, answering each of my questions with vigor and poise. Which was reassuring, as many of his characters are less gracious and more bloodthirsty.
Hit the jump to check out what Walters’ thoughts on the comics medium, exploitation films, and the quest of artistic expression.
There is no shortage of taxons for comics creators. There’re the Marvel guys and the DC guys, the independent bros and the artsy-gals. Some artists are known for illustrating superheroes and some writers are summoned to script crime noir. When we think of members of the comic book community, chances’re pretty good that we pigeonhole `em.
But I think I’ve come across a breed entirely unique unto itself.
As a writer, this being has brought fan-beloved and critically-acclaimed series into existence. In the editorial department, this same comics-creature has made contributions that have earned him both an Eisner Award and a Harvey Award. Upon further inspection, it appears that this individual is now rummaging through the Creator-Owned Forest, using Kickstarter to put comics directly into readers’ hands.
What are we to call this amazing creature? Here’s a name – Mark Andrew Smith.
Mark Andrew Smith is the writer behind such works as The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors and The New Brighton Archaeological Society. Moreover, he is one of the editors that helped elevate Popgun to the award-winning status it knows today. So after learning about Mr. Smith’s plans to distribute Sullivan’s Sluggers (a collaboration with the mighty James Stokoe) via Kickstarter, I sought an interview and was obliged!
Hit the hyperspace jump to check out Mark Andrew Smith’s thoughts on finding inspiration, the daily life of a comic book writer, and what conditions would have to be met for him to drink with Hemingway!