Friday, May 15, 2015

Kickstart the Weekend: Broken Frontier—The boldest comics anthology in the galaxy

By: Nicole D’Andria

This weekend I’m Kickstarting The Broken Frontier Anthology which features 27 creator-owned stories from 40 creators located around the world. The contributors include Cullen Bunn (Deadpool, The Sixth Gun), Greg Pak (Action Comics, Incredible Hulk), Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker, I Vampire)  and many other award-winning writers and artists as well as new talent.

The Broken Frontier Anthology is a 250 page graphic novel. It is larger than the standard graphic novel at 11.2''x7.6''. The cover is drawn by Robbi Rodriquez (Spider-Gwen). A full list of the creators involved in the project can be found on their Kickstarter page. Expect a variety of science-fiction and horror stories.

If you pledge at least $5 you will get BACKER ONLY updates as well as a mention on the thank you page of the book. You will get a digital copy of the book for $12 and a physical copy of the hardcover graphic novel for $40 or more. The Kickstarter will finish on May 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 am EDT. It will be successful if at least $58,000 is raised. You can pledge to their Kickstarter here.

I spoke with the editor of the project, Frederik Hautain. I also talked with Tyler Chin-Tanner, founder of the publisher A Wave Blue World and writer of two stories in The Broken Frontier Anthology.

Frederik Hautain

Me: Who came up with the idea for this massive anthology?

Frederik Hautain: The initial idea for doing an anthology was mine, but the execution of the idea is a total group effort, with Tyler and myself as the main drivers, Tyler as publisher of the book, me as its editor.

We wanted to create a special project that was in line with what Broken Frontier stands for - supporting creator-owned and independent comics from creators from all across the globe - but most importantly, we wanted to give our creators a good deal for their work. They’re the stars here, not us.

Me: What was the process of contacting all of these creators to be a part of this project and getting everyone and everything together to make this anthology a reality?

Hautain: It was a long process that took quite a number of months, because you’ve got to make the schedules of over 40 people fall in line at some point.

We also wanted to make sure that our lineup featured not just established creators or only men or US-based creators. We really wanted to present a great mix of talent based on nothing but their storytelling skills and how they interpreted the anthology’s theme of breaking boundaries and exploring the great unknown.

Me: Can you give us brief summaries of some of the stories that will be included in the anthology?

Hautain: Phew, where do I start? We’ve got 27 stories to cover here. [Laughs] I’ll name just a few, but you can find out more about the stories on the Kickstarter campaign page, as well as the update section over there, where we’ve posted several creator videos and spotlights.

Tom Raney (Outsiders, Stormwatch, Avengers Academy)
David Hine (Storm Dogs, Strange Embrace, Spawn)
So, there’s Phantom Limb Ghostpuncher by Greg Pak and Tom Raney, about a former soldier who discovers he can see dead people and hit them with his phantom limb. Also a story about vikings encountering the supernatural by Phil Hester and Daniel Warren Johnson and ‘Terran Omega’, by PJ Holden about the last human being in the known universe, dystopian sci-fi by Robert Sammelin, time travel by Jamie Coe, existential murder mystery by David Hine & Mark Stafford and on and on!

Me: As the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Broken Frontier, can you tell me a bit about the news site? Why did you decide to create the website versus joining an already established site?

Hautain: Well, we’ve been around since 2002, which in online terms is like eons ago -- you can only go back there using the time travel glove from Jamie Coe’s story I think. [Laughs]

Seriously though, 13 years ago, there were no blogs, no social media, and we were part of a limited number of dedicated, daily updated comics news sites; the landscape was very different back then.

We’ve always very much wanted to do our own thing and that’s covering indie, small press and creator-owned first, superhero and mainstream second. That primary focus has only increased since we launched the latest iteration of the site in 2013. I’m very happy that we’ve got a great team in place to cover all the exciting, rich and diverse material that fits our bill.

Me: What tips can you give for editing?

Hautain: The answer to that question depends on what you’re editing really -- it’s different if you’re editing a story as opposed to editing a blog article on a website.

That said, my personal truths are:

1) Have a clear vision. Make sure you’ve got a good idea of what you want the project to be, share that vision with all of your collaborators and make sure you have the buy-in from all of them.

2) Be transparent. Creating a story or some form of content for a website is a process. So is managing a project in its entirety. Be transparent with your collaborators from start to finish, even when the news you’re sharing isn’t all shiny and fluffy.

3) Empower your collaborators. This is the most important one of the three. Your collaborators on your project are your creative partners. Not only should you realise that you can’t do it without them; you’ll get so much more out of working together if you give them the creative freedom for them to do what they do best. Not only will things usually fall in place nicely at the end; you’ve built up a strong bond between all parties built on trust and respect for one another.

Tyler Chin-Tanner

Me: I read that you taught English before you pursued a career in comics. Why the change in career path?

Tyler Chin-Tanner: Actually, being a comic book writer was my first dream. As a child I wanted to grow up to be just like Ann Nocenti, Chris Claremont and Jim Starlin. But I stopped reading comics in the 90's (this was when I was in high school), but during this time I started volunteering as a tutor for younger students and discovered how rewarding I found that. So in college I followed that path.

But shortly into my teaching career I became disillusioned with the public school system and took teaching positions abroad, first in Tanzania, Africa and then in Costa Rica. It was during this time that I not only starting writing again, but drawing as well. I applied to The Kubert School from a small village in Costa Rica, and even did my phone interview from the pay phone by the market.

Me: As an attendee of The Kubert School, what did you learn?

Chin-Tanner: Well, art school can’t really teach you how to draw. That only happens during the countless hours at your drawing table. What The Kubert School taught me was how to be a professional and approach drawing like a job. There are a lot of tricks of the trade that you just have to learn along the way and having so many experienced artists as teachers was an invaluable resource.

Me: You founded A Wave Blue World with you wife, Wendy.  Can you explain what A Wave Blue World is?

Chin-Tanner: A Wave Blue World’s primarily purpose is to allow me to self-publish my own comic projects and provide some structure when hiring artists, dealing with printers, or setting up a publisher’s page on ComiXology for instance. Recently, I’ve been taking on other people’s creator-owned work as well as a way to share with them some of the knowledge and access I’ve gained. This is where my role with the Broken Frontier Anthology comes into play.

Me: How did you meet your wife and discover you both had a passion for similar things?

Wendy Chin-Tanner

Chin-Tanner: I was introduced to my wife by my sister. They were both studying at Cambridge University at the time. I was in my first year at The Kubert School and had just drawn my first mini-comic. It was pretty bad, but Wendy liked it and was very encouraging. She took me back to her parent’s house in New York and showed me her collection of Dazzler comics and all her old Star Wars toys. It was love at first sight (of her, not the toys).

Me: How did you come into contact with the Broken Frontier website and become a writer on the site?

Chin-Tanner: I believe I sent Frederik a press release about my first comic series, Adrenaline, and he invited me to write a column on Broken Frontier about my experiences self-publishing. It was called Delusions of Grandeur: A Small Press Survival Guide and ran for a couple of years until I got tired of writing about myself, so I switched to writing interviews and providing coverage for conventions and various  creator appearances.

Me: Can you tell me some of the details for the story you wrote in the Broken Frontier Anthology?

Chin-Tanner: Actually, I’m writing two stories for the Broken Frontier anthology. I accidentally fell into that when I invited Toby Cypress to take part in the anthology. I assumed he would want to write his own story, but was pleasantly surprised when he asked me to write it with him. We came up with a story called, The Wall. It’s got a lot of the subversive political elements which I like, and Toby gets to draw a badass, female hero with a giant sword riding a futuristic motorcycle.

Toby Cypress (The White Suits, Rodd Racer)

My other story is a collaboration with a very promising young artist, Aysegul Sinav, who is about to graduate from The Kubert School in May. She was a recipient of the A Wave Blue World Scholarship and since then I’ve always known I would want to work with her as soon as she finished school. Our story is a cross between Murder, She Wrote and Sandman. I’ll just leave it at that.

Ayşegül Sınav (Legendary Comics Featured Artist)
Me: What other comic related projects have you worked on?

Chin-Tanner: My first comic series out of art school was called Adrenaline. Then I wrote a graphic novel called American Terrorist about protest and revolution in the U.S. I’m about to release an art book for Toby Cypress, called Punkrock* Jazz. That debuts at Heroes Con in June. And I have another anthology due out this year called Loved & Lost about failed romances. I wrote all nine of the stories for that while collaborating with a different artist for each one.

Me: What advice would you give aspiring comic book artist?

Go through the process of learning how to draw a comic, even if you no desire to be a professional artist. In order to write comics, you need to fully understand the form and the techniques for storytelling.

Also, work with the best artist you can find. A mediocre script drawn by a fantastic artist will always read better than a fantastic script drawn by mediocre artist.

Me: Thank you for your time and best of luck with your bold project!

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have it showcased on “Kickstart the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my personal website

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