1. Hello there, and welcome to the Mind Meld here at IndieComiX! For those that may not know of you and what it is that you do. Would you be willing to tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks. I'm the writer of Satanic Hell, a seven-issue comic series out now on Alterna Comics. The series is about a metal band that gets a last chance to save their struggling band - a tour through Texas, which is now ruled by a Christian Taliban. So they have to go through their own version of hell-on-earth if they want to succeed. Readers who like dystopian fiction and satire, will love it. Metal fans too, of course. The first issue is out and the next one is due January 14. You can pick them up on Amazon or Comixology. I also write about creating comics at ZenoTelos.com.
2. Most welcome! What was the inspiration that led you to create Satanic Hell?
It was the rise of the religious right in the US after Bush administration started its wars in the post-9/11 era. You started to see the Christian Right more prominent in the government and the media – like Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman, and Texas governor Rick Perry, who started his presidential campaign at a prayer rally led by Christians who believe the government should be subject to biblical laws. These are the folks that are fighting against homosexuality, birth control, sex education, evolution, and supporting wars based on their religious beliefs. They believe that Satan and the supernatural are real forces to be feared. So the recipe for good satire was apparent. In the series, Texas is the Christian Right’s dream world – this is how they would run society if they had control. Throw a metal band named “Satanic Hell” into the state and you have a powerful conflict with plenty of room for humor. There’s a great story to be told.
3. What's the general reaction to the comic been like? I can imagine Christians and as well as Texans not looking at this title in a favorable way.
Actually, my friends from Texas love it! They swear its non-fiction. Satanic Hell is a satire of the extreme religious elements within the government and culture of Texas and the US – it’s not a slam of the whole state or its people. We’ve had no complaints.
4. Satanic Hell was originally a self-published title through your own publisher known as Zeno Telos Press. Until you decided to turn to Alterna Comics, what led to this decision happening?
We published a few issues but the time between them was taking longer, so it was decided to stop releasing comics until the whole series was complete. During that time, our distributor – Graphicly – folded, so I started to think about established indies because they have good distribution channels and can bring more visibility to a series. With Alterna Comics, Satanic Hell appears on Comixology and Amazon and more places to come.
3rd issue cover! Police can't handle it!
5. Since joining up with the Alterna family, what's the experience been like for you and the rest of the Satanic Hell creative crew beyond gaining more visibility and distribution channels for the Satanic Hell title itself?
Being published is a means, not an end. The creators still have to do the hard work of promotion and getting the comic before readers’ eyes. It’s easier than ever to create comics so getting your comic to stand out is key.
6. Once the series wraps up, what can readers expect to see next from you?
I’m working on a novel right now that should be out before the end of the year. It contains ancient never-before-revealed documents that should alter our conception of life, the universe, and everything. A sequel to the Satanic Hell series is also percolating in my mind and several pages of notes.
7. When it comes to Print vs. Digital, what's your views on it?
I’m a huge fan of digital media. I like the fact that I can access my comics and other media anywhere and not have to take up a ton of space in the process. It fits in with my preference for minimalist living. I sold off all but around 20 comics from my 3,000+ collection and it feels great. That said, I’m not opposed to physical comics and if demand is there, Satanic Hell will see print.
8. If there was any one thing you could go back and do over again. What would it be? And why?
I would have gone to the Metallica Black Album tour. A friend invited me and I turned him down for some stupid reason- it was a school night and I think I had a test the next morning and I was more into punk at the time. He was more into punk too, but he said it was the greatest concert he’d ever been to. Biggest mistake I ever made. As far as making Satanic Hell, I probably would have waited to release issues until the series was complete, which is what we ended up doing.
9. And as for my last question, what sort of advice would you care to give for those looking to get into the industry?
Getting into the industry can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Some people dream of working for the big two on their favorite series. That’s a crap shoot though. If your goal is to make quality comics and attract a fan base, then focus on a story you believe in and finishing the comic. There’s no one path really. Some people are doing web comics, others free releases, others releasing single issues. If you’re unknown, I would focus on digital first and print later if the series warrants it. If you have a completed project, then you can submit it to indie publishers as well. My website ZenoTelos.com has a lot of resources for making comics: essential websites, a list of digital distributors, and important books to read.
Editor's Note:Huge thanks to Grigoris for taking part in this interview! For those eager to check out Satanic Hell, head here! Issue 3 itself will be out March 4th through Alterna Comics, Amazon, or ComiXology, so be sure not to miss out!