Interview with sCrypt Comics about “S4S: Ghostly Hauntings”
Q: “Ghostly Hauntings” is the 4th title from sCrypt Comics. Can you tell us what it is about?
Rick: It is a spinoff from my novel “Souls 4 Supper,” and centers around different ghost stories.
Dan: And a touch of other paranormal things.
Q: Who are the artists involved, and can you tell us a little bit about them?
Dan: There are nine artists in all. Mao Estheim is our first international artist. She lives in Japan and has a very classic Manga style. She brought her vision of our story about a haunting hoax, by incorporating heavy influences from Japanese horror films.
Dan: Yeah, Jake has a very crisp line and caricature style to his art. He was able to take characters that we’d already had done in our first comic, and make them his artwork while staying true to what the original design was. His story in this one is actually a direct sequel of the first story I did back in our first issue “Zombie Incidents,” and I was very happy with the outcome.
Rick: Michael A Garard Jr found us through Google Plus, and he has a very comic booky style. He was one of the few artists who did full color this time around, and you can tell he’s very passionate about the genre. He’s also our savior of this issue, and did two stories instead of just one. Both used differing ideas and styles that made them each unique, and entertaining.
Dan: He also did everything in half of the time as everyone else without sacrificing quality.
Rick: Next up we brought back Kelly Swann whose military style art is very realistic and accurate to the eras she portrays. Kelly’s story centered around a genie of the lamp, which I think expanded her area of expertise. As supernatural as it was, she was able to keep it grounded and still hold the magical feel we desired.
Dan: Muhammad Nurul Islam is another international artist. He was born in Indonesia and resides in Great Brittain, so his culture has influenced his talent. What he did was portray a ghost story in a way that was family friendly to begin with, but made it almost feel like you were reading a children’s book, which is what we wanted.
Rick: Joe Parisi is another veteran with us. He’s actually the only one aside from us that has been involved in all four of our sCrypt publications, and his art is ever evolving. I’ve never seen an artist who can stay true to themselves while portraying a wide range of work; until we met Joe. He’s really a pleasure to work with, and is passionate about taking on another of our stories. He even told me he feels like he has to continue stepping up his art because of the increasingly good talent we bring on board. The funny thing is that the story he drew in this one was perhaps the most difficult one to make work so far, and he managed to capture it well.
Dan: Then we have Asher Humm, who had scheduling conflicts and wasn’t able to do our last one, but he was more than eager to come back this time. It’s his third venture with us, and as a professional artist, he has complexities that can’t be easily mimicked. The detail he puts in really makes a six page story feel like a full novel at times, and we look forward to continue working with him.
Rick: Kristie Vanderzee had first choice of stories this time because she’d been our last minute saving grace with our previous publication. With a little more time to work on the art, she did some really cool things. I don’t know how, but she managed to juggle getting married in the process, and found a new job in the comic book world as well. With everything she had on her plate, I’m amazed at the quality and effort she put in. Her final product was outstanding.
Dan: Finally, there is me. I’m just trying to find a style to fit in, so I’m constantly trying new things. I’d like to take my art to a definitive style with comic books, and I feel I’m close to what I finally want to settle upon.
Rick: Dan’s got a lot on his plate with these comics. He not only does a story, but is a consultant to the stories I write, and brings my cover art ideas to life as well. It gets a little hectic at the end with trying to piece it all together, but we’ve been happy with the final outcome, and it gets better each time.
Q: A project of this magnitude often comes across obstacles. Did you guys run into any hurdles along the way?
Rick: Well, we won’t go into specifics, but this time around one of our artists had an unfortunate health issue, and he wasn’t able to complete the story he wanted to do. Thankfully, as we mentioned before, Michael Garard Jr was able to step in at the last minute and do it. Sometimes these things just happen that are out of our control, and for the artist who had the health issues, we only wish that person the best, and hope that we can one day work together again.
Dan: There was also some printing issues because of sizing and boundaries in post production. That was annoying, but we worked through it.
Dan: Rick had the idea to have a kettle with boiling souls escaping in the steam. Luckily I worked in a kitchen at the time and I was able to get a good picture. If you look closely at the ghostly faces in the steam, you might see something recognizable. I incorporated some classic horror face poses into it as a sort of tribute, and fun Easter egg. I like the photographic covers as opposed to fully illustrated. It makes it more of a real item than just a collection of fiction stories. This is also a new trilogy in the novel forms, so being able to introduce a new color palette in the graphic novel counterparts is exciting.
Rick: We were really limited to mostly red colors with the vampires, zombies and werewolves, so now that we’re on to the next thing, it allows our color range to open. Ghosts, demons, and technology leave a lot of room with which to work, and it’ll help make our comics stand out as trilogies (just as the novels do).
Q: When can we expect the next entries in the novels and in the sCrypt Comics graphic novels?
Rick: “Techno Feast” is the next novel in the series, and comes out in March 2014. Then we are going to take some time to get reorganized. Instead of publishing another comic in 2014, we will work on the novel trilogy, which will have those stories in it plus extras. 2015 will be our next sCrypt release. We just want it to be right, and it takes our attention away from our normal projects greatly. Don’t worry though… they keep getting better, and the extra time will allow us to make it even more so.
Dan: “Demonic Entities” is the title right?
Rick: Yes. Our next comic will be about angels and demons, and the “Devil’s Dessert” spinoff will be called “Demonic Entities.”
Q: Do you have a particular favorite story in “Ghostly Hauntings” that stands out above all of the rest in your mind?
Rick: Being as I wrote them all, they each hold an equal place in my heart. I can’t really choose a particular favorite of them all. If I had to absolutely narrow it down, it would probably be the “Dreams” story because it has very important historical ties, and is a key element in the novel.
Dan: For me, I think it’s a three way tie. Rick had chaos as a common theme throughout the book and the comic, and he wanted to see how an artist would portray chaos. So, for those frames, we have Pandora’s Box opening, and each particular artist’s version of what would come out. It is really cool to see a total inventive translation like that, and gives insight into the artists’ minds. They look like they actually collaborated together in some aspects, when in reality they had no contact at all. The reason I chose the story that I did was because Rick based it on events from our childhood, and so it held a place in my mind that sits above the rest. I didn’t want anyone else drawing that story because I knew what I had envisioned it as.
Q: The tie ins you mentioned establish that continuity you mentioned. What really made you take this route?
Rick: I actually hadn’t thought to do it until the stories were already written. It was an afterthought in the storyboarding phase where I wondered how I could make them coexist better. It comes natural to me in novel form. Art is out of my jurisdiction, so I had to think on a different level. I figured that it would help to describe Pandora’s Box contents even better if I could emphasize that chaos in one person’s mind doesn’t necessarily mean it is the same in another’s. I’d like to do more of this with future installments as well.
Q: There is no concept art page this time. What made you decide to get rid of it, after it was present in the first three installments?
Rick: Timing really. The end was a lot of rushing around, and not many of the artists had concept submissions. It takes hours to put together something like that out of cutting, splicing, and finding the correct parts to fit like a glove. We didn’t have time to put together a jigsaw puzzle of scrap art.
Dan: It is unfortunate, but he’s right. We will definitely add that back in to future comics, but we had to skip it for now. The funny thing is that I don’t think we missed much. A lot of the time, concept art is often just pencils of what becomes the final product, so it isn’t like you would have seen a whole lot more.
Rick: The only thing I actually regret about this decision is that we didn’t get a ghost stick family, as Dan did with the previous three.
Dan: Yeah, they were fun. Maybe we will get one for the website though.
Rick: Or maybe we can work on a merchandizing idea for it in the future. I could see a custom sCrypt Comics bumper sticker with the creature family of your choice.
Rick: Ha! Tons. Dan, did you put any in yours that I’m unaware of?
Dan: No. No hidden penises this time. It was straight cut and dry.
Rick: There are a few hidden items as tribute. The cover as Dan mentioned has some things in it. The sCrypt Comics logo was written into the story in a coffin scene. Slimer, The Wizard of Oz, Evil Dead, Aquaman, and even fitting in our last name, as well as one of the artists’ last names ended up in the final product. I love that kind of stuff for people to look at the detail closely. There are others too, but you have to look for them.
Q: I understand you now have a free online comic as well. Tell us about that.
Rick: When we were kids, we’d read the Sunday Funnies in the newspaper, and wanted to do something similar. So, I began writing “Munchies and Deedoos.” It’s a family friendly thing we post on our site that has a touch of humor and cuteness. A lot of it is inspired by my own kids, so it’s a lot of fun to do.
Dan: Rick told me about the characters and I began sketching the art for them right away. I think it’ll be interesting to see how each artist renders them. I like the smartness with which it was written, because it is relatable to everyone, even if you don’t have kids. We were all children at one point, which is why it is universal.
Rick: We also wanted to stick with what sCrypt is all about, so the two main characters are not human. Munchies is kind of like this slug like alien creature with hair that has a mind of its own, and Deedoos is a robot with a pajama like butt flap that displays gears instead of butt cheeks. The horror of it all comes into play with how the two characters perceive everyday things. Kids have wild imaginations, so you really get to see what a child might be thinking in a really disturbing and humorous way.
Dan: When I heard the name “Deedoos” I immediately thought of the beeps and boops that old computers made, and I knew he had to be a robot. Munchies was actually my niece’s (Rick’s daughter) idea. I asked her what kind of creature she might be, and she said “I think she’s a slug, but not really a slug, and her hair is just like mine.” Her really curly and long hair combined with a slug gave me the instant image of Medusa, but my niece has big bright eyes too, so I added cartoonishly large eyes. With that and how I find the old comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” so simple, yet so intelligent, I eventually came up with what we have now.
Q: So will you work the other artists into “Munchies and Deedoos” the way that you do with the other comics?
Rick: Not exactly the same way, but yes. We’d like to have a different artist for each chapter. It’s a great way for people to get their names out there, and if someone doesn’t make the cut for one of our bigger productions, then they can still have a place here because it will probably fit their styles differently.
Q: One of my favorite features on your site is the “Artist of The Month” spot. Do you only spotlight artists with whom you’ve worked at sCrypt, or is it open to anyone?
Rick: So far, it’s only been people who’ve done work for sCrypt, and I think I want to keep it that way. It makes it a little more special. That being said, however, we are always open to more, so if someone were to send us fan art or wants to get involved to some capacity, that door is always open.
Q: Where can we get copies of sCrypt Comics graphic novels and the Rick Pipito novels?
Rick: The comics (Zombie Incidents, Legends of Vampire, In Case of Werewolf, and Ghostly Hauntings) can be found at www.indyplanet.com, and the novels (Flesh and Leftovers, Blood The Second Helping, Bones at Breakfast, Souls 4 Supper, & Devil’s Dessert) can be found in print at www.lulu.com or for the kindle at www.amazon.com