Day One of MoCCA begins -- and here's a quick update on some of the other CCSer comics available there today (and soon online; links to follow, post-MoCCA), before today's interview marathon...
See last night's post -- below -- for a quick eleventh-hour update on Zombies (this handsome, horrible Accent UK anthology will be for sale at the CCS table!) and Sean Morgan's Capsule: The First Dose, with the Morgan/Bissette jam alien abduction story.
Though I won't be at MoCCA, much new (and old) work by yours truly is there -- and I made sure to sign and do a sketch in every copy of Capsule, sign all the Zombies covers, and sign and do a sketch in many copies of Sundays before they were packed up and spirited away to MoCCA for this morning's setup! Look for 'em, ask for 'em, buy 'em!
But enough on that, here's a quick wake-up call to some of the CCSers we didn't have time to interview (or post interviews for) who are at MoCCA this weekend with new work:
These two Penina Gal creations are at MoCCA this weekend,
We've also got an interview with Matt ready to run, but I'm saving it for Sunday AM!
Sean's Only Skin cover is a reminder that we've already covered a lot of ground with these Myrant interviews, and I want to remind folks of the great books that are at the CCS, Sundays and other tables today.
They'll all be on sale via online venues, too, after this weekend, and I'll post that info as well as it's available.
As time permits this weekend, I'll also post links to all the CCS/MoCCA interviews I've posted for easier one-stop reference. It's been a heady couple of weeks, and it's all about today -- I'll get a new interview (three more to go!) up ASAP!
Here's the first:
First interview of the weekend: Bryan Stone generously provided an interview about the Sundays anthology, but I coaxed a solo interview from Bryan about his work. He and his wife Amanda Ann have made this year a really special one, and it's a pleasure to share Bryan's vision and voice with you via this venue.
SB: What's your background -- where you are from, Bryan?
BRYAN STONE: I actually grew up right on the dividing line of two towns in central Alabama, Munford and Coldwater. The area was, and is, pretty typical of the south.
I went to elementary and high school in Munford. After that I went on to a community college in the closest town and from there to a college called Jacksonville State University about an hour from where I grew up. The whole college thing was a slow and terrible process. Most of the time I was working and taking classes.
Photo: Amanda Ann's leg, Bryan Stone, beer, beer. What more does a man need?
SB: When did you first get into comics?
BRYAN: I first got into comics when I was really young, probably 5 or 6. There was a drug store close to the grocery store that we shopped at that carried some Marvel stuff. The first book that I can remember buying was a G.I. Joe comic with Stormshadow on the cover... I think it took place on an aircraft carrier. After that point I would grab any comics that I could get my hands on because stuff just wasn't available.
SB: How about making your own comics -- ?
BRYAN: I remember drawing comics type stuff off and on for most of my life. The first thing that I did that saw print was a one page story called "Mr. Smiley" which was about this guy who was some kind of super hero with something like a big smiley face for a head. I think he was half alien. That got printed by a local guy, Derrick Samuels, who was putting together a comics anthology called Sin. That was in 1996.
SB: You just completed your first year at CCS, and will be into your senior year in the fall. White River Junction is a long haul from Alabama; what brought you to CCS? How did you find out about the Center?
BRYAN: When I was in my final year at JSU I read about CCS in a design magazine -- How, I think. I had just gotten married and my wife, Amanda Ann, and my drawing professor and good friend Gary Gee were both incredibly supportive about the idea so we worked for a year to save as much money as possible and moved to Vermont.
SB: We talked about Sundays earlier this week. What’s your latest solo work debuting at MoCCA?
BRYAN: My new comic is called Frogherder Stories. I'm hugely influenced by the stuff like the Fraggles [Fraggle Rock], anything of Jim Henson's for that matter, and Peyo's Smurfs. On the other hand I've always been a really big fan of science fiction story telling, hard sci-fi or space opera. I guess Frogherder is a result of those obsessions.
The Frogherder story is set on a planet called Noria which was discovered by a handful of humans after fleeing a dying Earth. On the planet exist several different races which were all categorized by the humans. Nor'landers are the race that Frogherder Stories focuses on, more specifically a single Nor'lander family with the surname Frogherder.
The family name Frogherder, as with all Nor'landers, is the name of their profession. The Frogherder family members that I focus on in this book are Timo, who has discovered that he has the ability to affect the world around him, especially plants, and Timo's brother Doogan and his family which consists of his wife Sira and his two children Skip and Sparrow.
SB: Bryan, you’ve been working on this concept for a number of years -- let’s get into this a bit. Where did Frogherder come to you, and when did you initiate writing and drawing his adventures?
BRYAN: I was in college at JSU in Alabama when I started working on Frogherder so it was probably around 2002. Initially the story focused on the entire Frogherder family but Timo's character had to be on his own I guess. A while after that I got involved in a webcomics contest called The Daily Grind which is a competition between cartoonists to see who can keep up a Monday through Friday comics posting schedule. I finished about three hundred and seventy strips. I guess I'd still be going if I hadn't moved to go to CCS.
SB: Hmmm, we've got to get you Alabama cartoonists together for Frogherder Meets Montgomery Wart -- y'hear, Mark Martin? OK, now, you've also completed another solo book for MoCCA -- what is it?
BRYAN: The new book is called Ominum Gatherum. I think it's really an attempt at defining myself for myself more than anything. I had also, for a long time, wanted a venue for publishing different types of stories under one title. I'll probably do two of these per year, or maybe more, depending on how much material I generate.
SB: You've had a very active first year at CCS. What are the highlights in terms of the work you've done, solo and collaborative?
BRYAN: Yeah, it's been a busy year. I think I'm happiest, or maybe just surprised by, the quicker one and two page stories that I've done at CCS like the 'Mountain and Me' comics that we did for your class and some of the shorter stuff that we generated for James [Sturm]. It's always amazing when you are able to take something as time consuming as comics and condense the process into just a few hours. I'm also very proud of my Frogherder work from this semester which is in the Frogherder Stories book. I felt like those stories were a big step for me.
I've worked on a few collaborative projects. The ones that come to mind as highlights are the Taking Care anthology from the first semester which is no longer available and the Sundays book that we're wrapping up now. Both have been invaluable experiences.
SB: What else, outside of CCS, have you done in the way of comics, online comics and minicomics?
BRYAN: The Frogherder webcomic was a pretty big deal for me. When I started it I had been doing a weekly comic called Beating Around The Bush for a year or two with a good friend named Corey McDaniel.
Before that I had several projects that I tried to get off the ground including a story for a ten issue comics series called 749 Pace St. that I wrote with a couple friends, Lee Jiles, Nick Phillips and Corey again. We actually got pretty far with that one. We put together a mini with all the character info and story previews and such and took it to a Wizard con in Chicago. After that life got in the way for all of us and nothing else ever happened with the story. Even further back I was involved with a guy named Derrick Samuels who, I'm told, is the 'creator' of one of the biggest video game console debacles in the history of the industry. The 'EVO Console', that's a long story.
do not ask Bryan or I anything about this! We know nothing!
Before all that he was determined to publish comics and he did a few books over the years to which I contributed several strips and pages along with my good friend Donald Beck. Derrick actually published the book with my very first comics story, "Mr. Smiley."
SB: What are your future plans for Frogherder?
BRYAN: I'd thought about pursuing a monthly series but I think I'm leaning toward a couple seventy or eighty page books but honestly I'm just trying to let it do what it needs to do. I've still got a ton of story to tell and I'm working very hard on getting my writing up to snuff so I can do it service.
SB: Do you have any other continuous characters and/or concepts in the works?
BRYAN: There are several stories that take place on the same planet, called Noria, that the Frogherder stories do. They mostly deal with the fate of post-Earth humans that find their way there. There's another story about a robot named Issac that also takes place there as well. Other than that I've got a couple stories that I'm pretty far into. One of my favorites at the moment is called Onion Head which is about this amateur astronomer who has an onion for a head. I guess it's kind of a messed up relationship story. There's a science fiction story that I've been working on that's about plant people which was inspired by an Astro Boy story. I'm actually very excited about that one. There are several others, there's just not enough time to draw everything!
SB: If there were no hurdles -- no time, money or income constraints, venue in place -- what would your dream project be?
BRYAN: I'd probably work on a few of the Frogherder books. For a while I felt like I was trapped by the Frogherder stuff because I was working on it so much but now I've realized that I really love it. After doing a couple of those I'd probably move on to another story so I could come back to it later with a fresh perspective.
SB: Thanks, Bryan, and good luck this weekend!
Next up: Joe Lambert's mighty, mighty interview and mighty, mighty art and comics!
Get thee to MoCCA, though, and meet all these folks -- and their work -- face to face!
Have a great Saturday --