MisFit Month - Forensic Analysis
July 10, 2005 - 17:46
Easy Cats :)
Last week (week #1) we got to meet the Co-Founders of MisFit Comics. Found out, why & how they got started and what they want to achieve in the industry.
This week though, we’re breaking things down even more and taking an in depth look at each Co-founders BIG jump-off.
First up is Shannon Chenoweth, the Cheshire Cat of the group. Seriously, if you have the pleasure of meeting her at a Con, wear shades, because she just doesn’t stop smiling.
We also get to meet her partner in crime Eric Gravel, the Q, to her Bond.
Under The Microscope
(1) Koncise: Hey Shannon :)
Well I know you’ve been busier than a bee lately, so why don’t you tell everyone what you do?
I'm a co-founder of Misfit Comics
, a small comic studio designed to help indie creators get their work out there. Foremost though, I'm a writer. My first comic, "The Line
" premiered at WWLA
this past March. Oh, and to pay the bills, I work full-time at a bookstore.
(2) K: So, do you actually get time to relax (lol) and what do you like to do? SC:
Of course. :)
I enjoy watching movies, reading, playing with my pet birds, or hanging out with friends.
(3) K: So what comics do you read? SC:
Some of my favourites these days include, "New Avengers
," "Ex Machina
," "The Ultimates
," and "Kabuki
(4) K: Do the films and comics help with your writing, or do you gain inspiration from other sources? SC:
Oh yes, definitely. I get inspiration from all sorts of places. Movies, books, real-life, inspiration is really everywhere.
(5) K: Do you have certain Creators in film/comics or other fields that influence you?SC:
Oh, definitely. Writers like David Mamet
, Brian Bendis
, and Joss Whedon
are all big influences on me. As well as artists like David Mack
, Alex Maleev
, and Mike Oeming
. These guys continue to amaze me at every turn with their work, and inspire me immensely.
(6) K: I know you have a few projects on the burner, but the first is going to be The Line, right?
well, "The Line
" is my first baby, and I give it a lot of attention. But, it isn't my sole focus. I basically work on whatever I'm feeling in the mood for at the time.
(7) K: Now this is the first book that’s coming out of Misfit Studio’s. Does that cause added pressure for you, as you’re not just representing yourself, but the whole collective? SC:
Um, well first of all, "The Line
" was originally published in association with Ronin Studios
. The first issue was printed under that studio. So, I've already been through all that comes with your first time out of the gate sort of stuff. To answer your question though about pressure, I think that every creator feels some level of that with every book they put out. But, if you are making comics for the right reasons, because you simply love doing it, that's what's really important. All you can do is do your best, put a book out there that you are happy with. Am I worried or concerned about what potential readers might think of Misfit Comic
s? Yes, part of me is, but if I'm doing what I love doing, in the end that's all that really matters.
(8) K: I was wondering why you decided to bring The Line over from Ronin?
And not jus launching one of your other books as your first Misfit offering? SC:
The simplest answer I can give is that it just felt like the right way to go. Every creator needs to do what he or she feels is right for them. It was something I thought about for awhile, and it just was something that, in the end, I wanted to do. Thankfully, I have a great and supportive creative team in Eric Gravel
and Jason Query
, they were willing to go where-ever I took the book. As far as simply launching a new series as my first Misfit Comics
book, honestly, that really never entered my mind.
(9) K: That’s fair enough :)
So how did the concept of the book come together? SC:
For as long as I can remember, I've had a fascination with the police. Actually, I almost went to the police academy a couple times. Part of me still has that yearning to experience that "life." "The Line
" came from that love.
(10) K: You mentioned that Power’s is one of your favourite books already. Do you ever get worried that your book will get trapped under its or another police books shadow? SC:
No, not at all. By that logic, any new superhero book featuring a male hero that ventures out to protect his city could be trapped in the shadows of "Daredevil
" or "Spider-man
." You can't let yourself think that way, otherwise you might as well throw the towel in now and forget about making any kind of stories. Now, what's great is if someone who is digging "Powers
" or "Gotham Central
" picks up "The Line
" because that's the type of stories they enjoy reading.
Sure, you're going to be compared to other books, there's nothing you can really do about that. You just have to be confident in what you put out there, and love the stories you are crafting.
(11) K: Do you have any fears bout the story connecting with readers?
What I mean is, District X, is being cancelled, Gotham Central has the same threat hanging over it. For some reason, police type books never seem to be big sellers (in the Direct Market). SC:
Like I've said, first off, the story has to be something that I would want to buy. You can't go out trying to please everyone, because that's just not possible. It will never happen. Love what you put out there. Write it because you have the urge to write it. If you write something you love, you will find your audience. There's an audience for everything.
Now, as far as police books in general succeeding, I don't know. Really could be any number of factors involved with a book not being a big seller. The thing with books like "District X
" and "Gotham Central
" is that they are being published by the big two. That's not to say that this genre couldn't be successful with Marvel
, because they probably could be. But, I just think that a lot of comic book readers see the Marvel
logo on the cover and think that the book should have to do with mutants or superheroes. Maybe 'should' is a bit of a strong word, but if you look at the core titles these companies put out, they are just that. You have Spider-man
, The X-Men
, Green Lantern
, the list goes on. Primarily, those are superhero books. Now, "District X
" DID have a mutant as the main character, so maybe that line of thinking is wrong, I don't know. Brings me back to what I originally said, it could be any number of factors.
(12) K: It’s a confusing conundrum I know :)
These stories do seem to do better in the Book Stores/Shops though. So do you have any ideas on how you’ll package this for that market (to look like a Forensic File, etc)? SC:
Honestly, the trade seems so far off right now that I haven't even given it much thought. I'm concentrating on getting the story written, then into Eric's
hands. Once we complete this arc, then I'll have more of an idea of how it will be collected.
(13) K: When did Eric come on board? SC:
I was introduced to Eric
by Nathan Patton
of Ronin Studios
after seeing some of his art samples. He did a character sketch of my lead, Jessi Myers
which I fell in love with. Really, it seemed as though we clicked right from the get-go.Eric Gravel:
had seen my page online at erigrav.deviantart.com
and had asked me if I’d be interested in working on a book with Shannon
. After taking a look at the script and series outline, I thought Shannon
had something pretty sweet going on so I was definitely interested in working with her on The Line
. And thing’s have been going pretty good since then.
(14) K: I’ve checked out your site, man, your work is really catching.
How long have you been drawing for? EG:
Thanks man. I’ve been drawing for a very very long time. Probably since I’ve been able to hold a pencil. I even used to work on comics at a really young age. I think the first book I drew was when I was about 3 or 4. It was about something lame like “The Three Little Pigs” or something. I drew the pictures and my mom wrote in the words.
(15) K: Everyone has to cut their teeth somewhere man……….:cough:flaxen:cough:
How do you like to construct a piece? EG:
Nowadays, it’s pretty damn complicated. I’ll do up thumbnails for a page concentrating on panel composition and layout. Then when I have that, in a sketchbook I’ll work out a rough for each of the panels on the page. Then I’ll scan all that and in Photoshop I’ll create a mock rough to use for the final page. I’ll enlarge everything in there to its proper size and print everything out (usually with two sheets) as a 10x15” page. I’ll then tape that onto the back of an actual comic page and with the help of my self-appointed light table, I’ll use the printout as a guide for the final page. It’s been working well for me lately.
(16) K: Damn, that’s a lot of work man. How long, rough estimate, would you say a page can take. Or how many you can do in a week? EG:
Well, it depends on the page of course but on average a page seems to be taking me about 10 on and off hours, which usually ends up being about 3-4 days. If I’m really pushing it, and I have time off of my full time job, I can do just under 10 pages a week.
(17) K: Hmmm, give or take a little, that’s a 22 page issue, in bout 3 weeks.
So what type of lead time do you like to have for a buffer? EG:
Well 2-3 months to work on a 24 page book is nice to have, it gives me enough time to work on a book while still giving me leeway for whatever else that might be thrown my way.
(18) K: That’s quiet a while. How’s the scheduling going with this book, how many issues you got in the bank? EG:
So far I only have the one out of about a 6 issue or so run. I’m currently working on issue 2 and hope to have the art done by the end of June/middle of July and so the book should be out some time in August.
(19) K: When creating a cover, does it take you longer or less time than an average page? EG:
About the same I would say. I do put more thought into the overall message and idea that I want to convey but I suppose that the fact that it is only one overall illustration (or panel) instead of several small illustrations like an average page would have, that makes up for the time spent on working on the idea behind the cover.
(20) K: When you create a cover, what do you want it to convey for the readers (as it’s like a window into an issue)? EG:
Well that would depend on what the issue is about, mostly I want to display kind of like a teaser to what the whole story inside is about but sometimes, if the story may call for it, I will pull back and concentrate on the overall mood of the cover do give potential readers an idea of the emotion inside rather than the actual story.
(21) K: Do you work in different formats or is the pencil your true buddy? EG:
(laughs) I’ve been using the same mechanical pencil for the last ten years so I would definitely consider it to be a very good friend. I like to use pencil for most every project i work on but if the project asks for it, I’m definitely willing to stray from that and use a different medium.
(22) K: What other mediums have you worked in? EG:
You name it, chances are that I’ve at least dabbled in it. I’ve used pencil and inks, paint (including acrylic, watercolour, gouache, and tempera), conte, pastel, colouring crayons, scratchboard, Photoshop, illustrator... whatever I can get my hands on.
(23) K: Man, I haven’t even heard of some of that stuff. I would laugh, but I feel ashamed now lol
I know a lot of artists do (and Bart Sears has jus had it added as a condition in his exclusive with DC) prefer it, but do you like inking your own work? EG:
Up until The Line
I have always inked my own work. I really enjoy it and if I had it my way I would definitely bee inking my own work. I’m pretty controlling when it comes to inking and so I normally prefer it if I do it myself. Although we have definitely had some very good luck so far with Bradd Mielke
as the inker on the first issue. I think Bradd
did an awesome job with the inks on the first book and it was a pleasure working with him. Unfortunately Bradd
will not be inking the second issue.
(24) K: Is there anyone lined up for issue #2 yet? SC: Eric
is going to ink the issue as well as pencil it, though we do have an inker we are both interested in possibly using on the book.EG:
Yeah this guy has some amazing inks although I am very excited to ink my own work so it’s quite the difficult decision.
(25) K: Do you have a set style, that you’ve made your own or do you let the vibe dictate the style? EG:
For the most part I think I have a fairly set style I use. But yeah, depending on a certain project, I will tweak it whether I realize it or not to better suit whatever it is I’m working on. I try to let a project dictate how my style will come out and just let it merge into something that hopefully will be visually entertaining.
(26) K: Do you ever look at your finished product and think that style is off? EG:
Why do you?! (laughs) Sure I do. I would be surprised if there was an artist out there that never had the feeling that there was still something to fix with a finished drawing. Especially in the world of comics where the time frame to work on a drawing is so much smaller than with other forms of illustration.
(27) K: That’s the last time I confide in Shannon lol
What I was wonder, was. Even though at first the style may seem off, do you then think that’s good? As it can put a different slant on a character, that not only gives the reader something new. But sets you apart from other artists. EG:
Tough question. Yeah I guess it has happened before where at first I thought that a certain style was not necessarily right for a book but as time went by I started liking it more and more. I think that is a normal thing for artist and most readers. When most people think of a certain genre they usually think of the same kind of style and when an artist applies a new style to it, it may not seem to fit to most people, even the artist might be apprehensive as to whether it suits it or not but most of the time it is that difference in style that makes it stand apart form other books and makes it a more recognizable book. My style may not look like what you would normally see as a style for a crime noir book but that is what will draw it from other crime noir books.
(28) K: Do you have certain Creators in film/comics or other fields of art, etc that influence & inspire you?EG:
I try to keep my inspirations skewed between several different sources and several different artists. As far as films, I'm definitely influenced by a lot of what Pixar puts out, they have an amazing sense of storytelling. I like a lot of what M. Night Shyamalan has put out in the past, he gets creative with his shots, my film influence just branches out from there. As far as comic influences, growing up, a lot of my influence came from Greg Capullo, Todd McFarlane, J Scott Campbell, and lately, Humberto Ramos and Mike Wieringo. The most recent comic artist that I've really been getting into though is Tony Moore. There is something about his work on The Walking Dead that just amazes me. I'm really inspired by quite a few people on deviantart.com, there are so many amazing artists on there. Check out my Favourites listed on my page at erigrav.deviantart.com
to see what I'm talking about.
(29) K: So how did the whole artistic feel of the book develop Shannon. Did you have a definitive look in mind or was it something Eric came with? SC:
I had a pretty specific vision in mind of Jessica Myers
, and I conveyed that to Eric
. She honestly was the most important look in my mind right off the bat. And, like I said, Eric
really nailed my wants down well for her. As far as the overall style, I loved what I saw on Eric's
online portfolio, so I knew basically what he could give to the story and was happy with that.EG:
For the overall style of the book, I am trying to concentrate on something dark and mysterious. I am going for something that clearly represents the book as being crime noir. I may or may not have gotten that across in the first issue but I have a few ideas for the future that should be pretty interesting.SC:
Those who know me, know I love the noir style a lot. I love watching old movies like "The Big Combo
" or "T-Men
(30) K: Do you think this is a predominate reflection in your writing and character visualisation? SC:
There are some stories that I am writing with that style in mind. "The Line
" does have that dark feel to it, but it is nothing like some of the other stories I'm working on right now. It's hard to really say at this point what is predominant in my writing, as it's still early on. I'm sure there is a mixture of influences in there.
(31) K: So what can you actually divulge about the book? SC:
It's about a cop who obtains an ancient power that has been passed down for centuries. Right now, she is discovering this
gift, these powers that have been given to her, and is trying to come to terms with them. A lot is going on and she has some decisions to make.
(32) K: OK, so it’s not just a straight up cop book? SC:
" is a police book at it's core. But no, it's not a JUST a cop book. I don't want to reveal too much this soon, but the second arc is really going to see some pulling away from the police stuff in a way. It will always be there, but it will be to a lesser extent. There really is so much more going on to the overall story.
(33) K: You better send me an advanced copy, young lady :)
So does the title signify Jessica’s inner struggle with her new powers, or is there another meaning behind it? SC:
" has multiple meanings. One is the police meaning most will see right off the bat, having to do with police lines and that sort of thing. The second has to do with the power she inherits, it has been passed down the line for centuries. I have to give special thanks to Tom Schloendorn
for helping rename the book. Originally, the title was "Legacy
," but due to possible legal issues, it was renamed.
(34) K: Was it important to you, that the title have significance to the book and not just be catchy? SC:
The two need to be friends. You have to come up with a title that means something, but yet peaks a potential reader's interest.
(35) K: Is the book a Mini series or On-going series? SC:
It is ongoing. I have the first year plotted out, and a definite ending planned. How long it goes on really depends on a number of factors. Eric
is committed through the first arc, after that he may be moving on to other things. So, at minimum, the book will be 12 issues, at most, well your guess is as good as mine. :)
(36) K: Have you considered going the Aspen route and making your books mini series’ that can be continuously built upon?
So readers get a confined story (in some regards) and rotating artists is so much of an issue. SC:
does in fact leave the book at the end of the arc, I don't foresee it being a problem. The way the story flows will make the transition easier if a new artist comes on board.
(37) K: OK, is there anything else either of you’d like to mention, before I kick you out.....ummm, I mean, say goodbye :) SC:
Heh. I just want to thank those who give or have given "The Line
" a chance. Head on over to my website, www.rangerchic.com for all the latest on what I'm up to, including updates on "The Line
." Also, I'll be at Wizard World Chicago
in August with the rest of the Misfit Comics
gang making our big studio convention debut. If you attend either show, be sure to stop by and say "hi!" I promise, we don't bite. :)EG:
...not all of us anyway. :P I want to thank everyone too who has supported our book with either reading it or wit helping out with production. The book would be nothing without you guys. I’m not going to be attending any cons in the near future unfortunately but you can bet I’m working hard on the next issue and it will be even better than the last. And thanks for the interview Kevin, it’s been a pleasure.
(38) K: Well that’s great, I really appreciate you taking the time out.
Would you come back after this first arc or to talk bout other projects? EG:
Definitely, I'd love to. Thanks!K:
OK cats, I hope you enjoyed this second installment of MisFit Month
And remember to tune in next week, when we speak with Alysha
& Colin Mck
about what they have cooking.
But if you want to talk to the crew before then, you can always stop by the MisFit Comics Message Boards!
and pop a question there. Or go to Shannon’s site
an out :)
Last Updated: February 5, 2023 - 09:06