A few months ago I had the chance to talk to comic book artist Zach Howard about his career from the beginnings up to his collaboration with Jason Ciaramella on Joe Hill’s The Cape mini series from IDW. In the interview, Zach tease a bit about his creator owned series, Wild Blue Yonder.
Announced officially during this year’s San Diego Comic Con, Wild Blue Yonder is currently in the last few days of it’s Kickstarter campaign, so I thought it would be nice to get some more details from Zach about the project and Kickstarter in general.
Steve A. Wilcox for Comics Bulletin: Zach, first of all, thanks for taking the time to do this second interview.
Reactions to the first The Cape mini series were great. The prequel series is written again by Jason Ciaramarella, but you decided to step back from the art, save for a few select panels here and there and covers, while Nelson comes on to illustrate it. Was it hard to step away from the project?
Zach Howard: Oh, it was definitely difficult to step back and let Nelson take the reins. However, I had promised myself that I was going to do my creator owned book immediately after The Cape no matter what. Nelson is more than capable in filling my shoes so it’s no loss to the fans!
CB: Now, along with covers on The Cape:1969 your art is gracing the covers of a number of books from IDW, including the new Judge Dredd series and Godzilla. What's it like working on these iconic characters?
Zach: It’s always fun to interpret characters that have been around for generations. Both characters are highly iconic and have a huge built in audience. That can be a double edged sword, but it seemed to work out on both fronts. I had a blast doing Godzilla and all the goofy monsters that go along with him. However, I will be continuing on the Dredd covers for the foreseeable future. Good stuff!
CB: You've teased a little about what Wild Blue Yonder is about but can you give a little more details into what readers can expect from this series?
Zach: If you like Miyazaki films, I believe you’ll dig our book too. Wild Blue Yonder is a coming of age story starring a young girl – very basic. However, we have it set in a fantastical post-apocalyptic world. Plane battles, starvation, and other gnarly shit will be her obstacles. It’s a beautiful yarn about survival and love hidden within a fun action adventure three act structure.
CB: For those unfamiliar with your co-creator, Mike Raicht, what can you tell us about him and his writing background? And are the two of you co-plotting this together?
Zach: Well, Mike’s credent
ials stand alone. He was a Marvel editor that got his head screwed on straight and decided to become a freelance writer. He’s worked for pretty much all the companies, but everyone should be reading his NY Times bestselling The Stuff of Legend.
And yep, we are doing every aspect of the story together. We have also brought in producer Austin Harrison to help us make the story more multimedia friendly. So we can get Hollywood involved and bring this story to many different formats. We all work very hard on the plotting and then Mike goes to town on the scripting.
CB: Can you tell us what led to you go through Kickstarter for Wild Blue Yonder's funding?
Zach: Well, Mike and I didn’t want to sacrifice the majority of ownership of the property. If we took on a traditional contract with pretty much any company besides Image, we’d be giving away control and ownership. We knew that we had a special story on our hands, so we took the dangerous route of funding this book ourselves. Kickstarter seemed to be the perfect solution.
Now many people are giving us flack for signing with IDW. However, IDW is just publishing our book, not paying us a rate or anything like that. And the reason we chose them over another company that publishes creator-owned books, is that they are paying for Nelson Daniel to color the series. Not to mention the shelf space and the fact that they are the best company in comic books. It’s a win win for us. We have a great publisher putting Wild Blue Yonder out there, but we still own the series. We couldn’t be happier about that.
CB: I've read the incentives for donations and you've got some really cool, one-of-a-kind rewards for backers. Can you tell readers of this interview what some of those incentives are?
Zach: Oh, wow – that’s a long list. People should just check it out and see if anything tweaks their fancy. We are putting up a couple new ones, too. You can get sketches, signed books, prints, advice, and even become a character (good or bad) in the series. We tried to do things that we would have liked if the roles were reverses.
CB: Zach, thanks for taking the time to do this second interview. Good luck on the Kickstarter campaign.
For more information on Zach Howard, visit his website
To check out his new series, Wild Blue Yonder, visit the official Kickstarter page.
Steven A. Wilcox is an aspiring comic book artist whose work has appeared in various small press books. He has been a comic book fan for as long as he can remember. His favorite part of doing reviews and interviews for Comicsbulletin.com is it gives him an excuse to read more comics, watch cartoons and talk to his favorite creators.