Interview with sCrypt Comics about F&L: Zombie Incidents
Here is an interview featuring sCrypt Comics creators, Rick Pipito and Dan Pipito. They answer fan questions about issue #1: Flesh And Leftovers: Zombie Incidents. We’ve included a picture of the back cover to show the synopsis. Enjoy!
Dan: It’s an independent venture without funding behind it. We want to get artists involved who have talent and like us are struggling to get their names out there. Working for free is hard this day and age, but sometimes it is the only way to get where you need to be in the end.
Rick: I’ve written up a contract for the artists so that they understand about the “pay.” Basically it is agreed that they will take the storyboards and make it their style while keeping the story the same. Once it is completed our end of the bargain must be fulfilled. We give each artist a copy of the final product as well as any contact info that they want attached to their name in the book. The new blog also will feature artists of the month, which will give them more exposure when they are chosen.
Q2: Tell us about the cover art: front, back, and credits page.
Rick: I came up with the concept based on the title. The first thing a lot of people think, when they hear “Flesh and Leftovers” is Hannibal Lecter. So we took some leftover pasta, Tupperware, and Halloween props and took a photo in the fridge for the front and back at different angles. The credits page was a picture of fake skin stretched over a board and placed under the words.
Dan: We wanted it to be a photo. Photography is an art form as well, and we didn’t want any one particular cover artist doing it for fear that it would represent all of what is inside. This way, with the photo passed through a “saran wrap” style filter, it calls out to the viewer to take a peek.
Q3: What is the whole process from hiring to finished product like?
Rick: We took an ad out on Craigslist and immediately got a dozen hits. Most of the responses we got were enthusiastic. We chose the ones we liked based on pieces of art they had sent us. Then the stories, which are already written and copywritten, are turned into storyboards. I am a horrendous illustrator. So what the artists do with the storyboards I give them is amazing. To explain what I am trying to portray I also send them a document with the script and explanations of what is going on.
Dan: Once the artists submit their work in the allotted time, we filter and do basic editing of page sizes and making sure there is bleed along the edges. We are learning more each time ourselves, because the publishers have terminology and things that we have to sometimes work around. Our first publisher probably won’t be around much longer only because they just don’t know how to run a business, but we switched to IndyPlanet and have since been overjoyed with the process.
Rick: When the files are ready to be printed I pay out of pocket for each of the artists’ copies. The payoff is actually getting to meet some of them in person. Obviously not everyone is from around our area, but if I can’t physically meet them, we send it in the mail. Everyone is understanding and patient, which helps a lot. When one person submits art late, it screws every artist on the team, but looks bad on my part. We do our best to avoid any problems, but sometimes it is inevitable and you have to just roll with it.
Q4: Where did you guys come up with the sCrypt Comics name and logo?
Dan: We wanted something cool and catchy, and we had a horror theme. I grew up watching Tales from the Crypt the TV series, so when Rick handed me a script for one of the stories it reminded me of the old show I used to watch. I took the word script and made it sCrypt. The coffin logo had to be simple. I used to draw old logos and I wanted it to be something we could do on the spot if need be. It’s easy but catchy and that is what we wanted.
Q5: So are all these stories just graphic versions of your existing novels?
Rick: yes and no. I didn’t want to repeat anything from the novels or change the image that people may get in their heads when reading them. That is the beauty of a novel. It’s that you can picture the story in your head, and it becomes personal for each reader. I had a lot of reader requests for more zombie stories, but I had already done what I wanted for zombies. Dan was a fan of the book, so I went to him with the idea, and he liked it. There were a few ideas that I cut and some back stories with characters and settings that I thought a comic book version would be the perfect place for. These stories are more of an accessory to the Flesh and Leftovers novel. Both go hand in hand, but you don’t need one to enjoy the other (though I highly recommend the full experience).
Dan: At first, I thought it would be great, but it was too big of a task for just the two of us. That is when Rick told me about getting other artists on board for the stories as a collaborative effort. It was a genius idea really.
Q6: Where can I get the comics?
Q7: What kind of obstacles did you face with “Flesh and Leftovers: Zombie Incidents”?
Rick: It’s a trust thing really. Everyone agrees to a deadline and they commit themselves to it, but there are always bad seeds. Something comes up and then suddenly your artist is afraid to communicate with you or they back out. We had to get rid of a couple people, but we scrambled last minute to fix the problems.
Q8: Dan, what is your input in the writing process?
Dan: I had loved the stories Rick had written and he basically came to me for criticism and advice. So when we wanted the new stories to be in the comic, we really sat down together and took notes on how we would lay it out in the easiest way for the artists. I co-wrote the circus story using faces of some people I knew or at least some inspiration. I had never written before, and though Rick came up with the whole story, he basically gave me a beginning and an end and let me do the in between based on his narrative and dialogue. It’s a lot of fun, but takes time to get right.
Q9: I see that there is a concept and sketch art page in the back. Why did you include this as well?
Rick: I hadn’t read comic books in years, so when we started I had to do some research in the library. I must have taken out thirty or so graphic novels for their layout ideas and stories, but then I noticed that they all had one thing in common. There was at least one concept art page at the end, and that was something I thought would be cool. Dan had some art lying around, as well as a couple other people, and my storyboard stuff was filtered through to select a couple of those. It’s really to show our progress, but at the same time is funny to look at. Dan also put up the zombie stick figure art, which in my mind was perfect.
Dan: Yeah, everyone in the world seems to have those stick figure families on the backs of their cars. It drove me crazy as I thought it was a stupid trend, but then I got sucked in and made my own parody family with zombies. It had nothing to do with the comic, but they had to be presented. The sketch art page is basically the director’s cut of things that didn’t make it. As bad as some of the sketches are, they are all responsible partly for the final product.
Q10: What can you tell your fans about the artists?
Rick: Like I said, we took out an ad on Craigslist, and the first response I got was from Phillip Allie. He had a pretty cool portfolio with skulls and zombie heads. It was dark and a unique style of art, so I didn’t hesitate to bring him in. Asher Humm contacted me next and I was immediately blown away. He had a published comic book already and his style was exactly what you see in the professional industry. He also has some great ideas and criticism on how the whole process goes, so I’m glad to have his input as well.
Dan: Sequential art amazes me as well, and when I saw Asher’s work I was super excited to have that skill level involved. We both worked with Fred Loeffler. It took some convincing, but he was on board eventually and brought a more retro style to it. He is from a different generation and has more experience than the rest of us, so it worked well with his talent. We had two high school girls who were trying to build their portfolios. TJB and Tiff Pugliese had seen the ad and were in the process of college hunting. We had seen their portfolios and were happy to add their styles to the collection.
Rick: Our cousin, Vince Pipito, came in and hadn’t been a practicing artist in a few years, but he had loved the novels and wanted to work with us. He needed help scanning and laying out the panels, but the art looks sweet and really captured the feel I was going for. Joe Parisi was a guy we had ready to go for the second graphic novel, but we had to fire a couple of artist last minute and he was more than ready to jump in the slot. He had the zombie children story and contacted me and said, “Hey, man, it’s your story, but I was thinking since it involves children, I’m going to do it in crayon.” I called Dan and said, “This guy might be crazy, but his art is fantastic.” We laughed and wondered how he was going to pull off crayon in a very limited amount of time, but it is one of the fan favorites now.
Dan: Leanne Wiedmeyer also came in to save the day. We put up a status on facebook that we were looking for an artist last minute to help us out in two weeks’ time. We didn’t expect anyone to actually do it, but Lee was also on standby for comic 2 and she said she’d do it. Using pencil, she got back to us in a week and a half with a finished product that blew us away.
Rick: Dan also had to pick up a last minute add on for the third artist we fired. So he has 2 stories in this one, but each was done in a different style.
Dan: Sure, there were a few that might not have lived up to some of our expectations initially, but it was the passion of the group of artists that really gave us the final product that we were hoping for.
The series so far includes the novels available at www.lulu.com: “Flesh and Leftovers,” “Blood, The Second Helping,” & “Bones At Breakfast”
DIGITAL FORMS OF THE ABOVE NOVELS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE ABOVE SITES. YOU CAN ALSO GET THE PRINTED NOVEL OF ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS MORE IN THE “Flesh And Leftovers: Eden’s Order Trilogy”