Raygun Gothic part 4 is up at Issu.com and I highly recommend giving it a look.
Writer and creator GMB Chomichuk has launched a full scale, good old fashioned, Sci-Fi, assault on the traditional comic book medium, and he has done it with a notable style and original voice.
Raygun is a delicate mix of magic and technology. An introduction to a world where human blood is cheap, while robotic technology is an expensive, coveted thing. In many ways it’s a world not so far removed from our own, where money and power rule, and corruptions thrive.
As a treat for all those who have already become fans of this ground breaking series along with those new to the life of the immortal King, we reached out to GMB for some insight on his creation, and he was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to chat.
HS: Where did you come up with this idea? The quality of the writing screams novel, am I far off the mark?
GMB: Not too far. I’m a bit obsessed lately with changing the “standard” page layout of comics I work on. I love the pulp serials. There the images seem too much of an addendum to the story though and I wanted to do something here that draws the words and pictures together. But I wanted to leave out the clunky conventions of the word balloon. The Imagination Manifesto started as a novel and became a graphic novel, but Raygun Gothic started as a straight comic and become more like a novel as I wrote it. My new projects attack these same traditions in some other ways.
HS: Why did you choose to give this away for free on Issu.com?
GMB: I credit a student for the push into the DRM free arena. He challenged me with the idea: “The purpose of writing is to be read.” We talked about all the steps between a reader and the work in traditional models. We spoke about everything in the way of the core ideal of storytelling when commerce gets in the way. I have a book coming out this year using the existing model from Renegade Art Entertainment called The Underworld, and I had Raygun Gothic ready to place somewhere. So I thought I’d do an experiment and really watch the progress of both.
HS: Tell us a little more about the world of Raygun Gothic. I’m reading along with everyone else and this seems to have the potential to be epic. Are you planning on keeping the story tight, or is this going to expand into something huge?
GMB: The setting is huge. Too big in fact. The challenge has been to stay focused on the main character, when so many of the supporting cast wants my attention. My favorite stories are like that, bigger than their pages. I generate story pages that end up cut as I refine the writing. But as all of my creator-owned work is part of a shared universe, I never fear that those lost characters are gone forever. The ending of Raygun Gothic is rather large in scope, but I hope it says as much about the little things in life as well.
HS: I’m curious about the illustrations. Where did you learn to draw? The artwork is loaded with energy. Are you working on paper and then scanning the pages in or is this all being done digitally?
GMB: I always draw. Everywhere. I was a self-taught artist up to a point, then I spent a year studying with Diana Thorneycroft, a proper genius, and I started to look at “art-making” in a new way after that.
The art process in Raygun Gothic is more akin to collage than straight drawing, which is the beauty of working mostly digitally. Large parts are drawn and scanned in, other parts are photos converted to lines then cut into pieces as I need them. I build panels like set pieces in this way and it gives me freedom to change my mind, follow my whim and focus on the joy of telling the story. I’ve done some work in film, and some art direction which I think has sharpened that sensibility in me.
HS: And one finale question for the road. What’s your dream for this comic? I think it would make a killer animated film. There must be something interesting rattling in that imagination of yours.
GMB: Every book wants an audience. The audience of this one gets bigger every month. The feedback has been very positive. What I want for Raygun Gothic is for as many people to read it and share it freely (and in this case legally) as possible. I work with the folks at Electric Monk Media and they did some game testing for it, which was amazing. Watching your character walk around under the control of someone else is deliciously surreal.
But my biggest wish for Raygun Gothic is that someone who reads it says to themselves: “Yes. I want to make comics.” Comics have changed my life for the better, I wish that on everyone.
About GMB Chomichuk
GMB Chomichuk is a Canadian writer, teacher, mixed media artist, graphic novelist and proud Winnipegger. He won the Manitoba Young Writers Award when he was 15. He won the Manitoba Book Award for Best Illustrated Book in 2011 for his graphic novel serial The Imagination Manifesto. He has been nominated for the The Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction and nominated for Canada’s Best Graphic Novel by the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association. He is the founder of Alchemical Press and is always on the lookout for literary oddities. He puts words and pictures together. Some people call that alchemy. He calls that comics.
You can follow him on twitter @gmbchomichuk and see some of his work in progress at www.comicalchemy.blogspot.com.