Crazy! Absolutely crazy. I have been working on Maurice & The Metal for 6 years but in the last year, it has been an absolutely crazy ride and right now I have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the second issue. This isn’t my profession, it’s my passion, so I’ve had to make room for the comic around working a full-time job.
I think the reception has been great. Maybe slightly slower than I had anticipated which is fine. I think it’s a big ask to get a new comic out there, for readers to take a risk on a new title and I think there might be some misconception that the comic is only for metalheads… it’s not it should be anyone who understands the strength of the music.
It is a strange mix. I feel like I have created something that is a niche audience within a niche. But it’s for comic games who have an understanding of heavy music and for heavy music fans who are willing to give a comic a go.
I see that you’ve been hard at work on issue two of Maurice and the Metal lately.
Yep crazy amounts of work on at the moment. I have been creating a production plan for issue 2, finding a new audience, connecting with groups, and getting multiple variation covers and T-shirts ready for Kickstarter rewards – some big comic guests Leila del Duca and Aaron Conley.
Yep, 100% ready to go. There will always be some changes when the first mock-ups of the issue are put together. Sometimes I need to stop writing because not all ideas can make it into a 40-page comic. But I am happy with issue 2, lots of room for the characters grow and heaps more action and humour … and more metal!
Without giving too much away, we get to see the height, depth and origin of Maurice’s power. We find out what happened to the walkman and what Maurice chooses to do with his power. Also, a few characters will be introduced to this issue.
Will you be working with artist Jesse Hamm again on this one?
I can’t imagine getting this issue done with anyone else. I have never done anything to this level before and I was very fortunate to find Jesse to help me through this process.
Jesse Hamm is amazing. Probably has illustrated more comics than I have ever read, and he has worked on comics like Hawkeye and Batman in the past and now he is bringing this story of heavy metal slacker to life. Leila del Duca (instagram.com/leiladelduck) is an award-winning illustrator, she is the amazing mind and style behind Image Comic’s Sleepless and Shutter, and wrote the comic Afar. Aaron Conley’s (instagram.com/aaronconley77) amazing style is what got my attention first. Instagram is a great way of finding comic illustrators – but his resume is just as impressive! Aaron started the comic Bully Wars for Image and Sabertooth Swordsman for Dark Horse Comics.
It’s insane. It’s absolutely crazy to think that these guys have worked for them all; Marvel, DC, Image, Darkhorse, Boom, Dynamite… it still blows me away that they are working on contributing to Maurice & The Metal.
Jesse does amazing artwork, and I look forward to seeing his work on the next issue, but where do “guests” fit into a comic book?
Guests are huge in comics. When a comic is put together it is generally released with a standard cover but when the comic is reprinted due to popularity guests are asked to do variant covers. They generally happen again when a volume is created too, that when a publisher would collect an entire run of paperback comics into one book. I am not on my first reprint (yet) but I also don’t have the patience and I really wanted to see what these guys could do as variant covers, but the work also doubles up as posters, stickers and t-shirt designs for pledge rewards.
Are they names that you really wanted to work with, and found a way to pull it off? Or was it more of an organic coming together?
It was organic. I follow so many illustrators on Instagram and there is probably about 100 that I would like to work with, but I am glad that Leila and Aaron came as highly recommended by Jesse Hamm. These guys have been fantastic to work with and the result is incredible. You can see Leila’s variant cover/poster on the Kickstarter and Aaron Conley’s variant cover is yet to be unveiled.
It’s been like a full-time job so far connecting with the audience and there are still 15 days to go. It’s an ongoing job. Making sure that I am connecting with the audience and getting as many eyes on this campaign as possible.
Comics are very expensive.70% of the funds raised will be going into the illustration, 20% will be going to the printing of issue 2 and the remainder will be on the pledge rewards. This is not about me making money… I just want to make comics and find an audience for this story.
And you have some cool packages lined up for the project’s backers, tell us about those.
The packages were so fun to put together and there are levels for any backer; from digital copies of the comic for $5 all the way through to being immortalised in the comic as a background character. But in between, there are posters, art prints, t-shirts, stickers and of course the comics! Always looking for new rewards too. Also, there are some original artworks in their as well, some one-off exclusive illustrations from the amazing Leila del Duca.
Readers can check it out here www.kickstarter.com/projects/sammut-aaron/maurice-and-the-metal-issue-2 and please be sure to like, support, follow and share the campaign like crazy!
If the target isn’t met, what will the future hold for issue two of Maurice and the Metal?
That would be sad but I am prepared for it. It will just mean that the process will slow down and the issue deadline will be pushed back and will have to be self-funded again. But that’s okay, I am 100% in on getting this comic done.
I have plans for another 3 issues after this but no idea about the deadlines and when I could get a chance to make a start. As far as funding goes for follow up issues, I would totally use Kickstarter again. It’s a fantastic platform for all indie comic creators. It’s not charity, creators are selling a product that just doesn’t exist yet. It’s the best way for creators to gauge their audience size and demand. It means that creators know exactly how many copies of their comics to print. Little to no waste. Having said that the stress is insane. That looming deadline, and if the campaign doesn’t reach 100% goal it all just disappears.
Thank you so much for all the support! This comic means the world to me and it’s out of this world when people show so much love for it too!!!