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QRD #60 - Indie Comic Creators Part V
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about this issue
Indie Comic Creator Interviews:
Mike Dawson
Floyd Lewis
A.P. Fuchs
Darin Shuler
Trevor Denham
Jules Rivera
John Steventon
Lorenzo Ross
John Allison
Michael San Giacomo
Matt Chic
Jackie Crofts
Don W. Seven
Derek Baxter

Interview Series Updates:
Nate McDonough
Jason Dube
Brian John Mitchell
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John Allison
John Allison
John Allison
John Allison
John Allison
John Allison
Indie Comic Creator Interview with John Allison
April 2013
John Allison
Name: John Allison
City: Saint Petersburg, FL
Comics: Botched
Websites: www.escapeartistentertainment.com

QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?

John – I was 12 years old when I really began reading them seriously.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?

John – Spawn #1
.  (Thanks Todd.)

QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?

John – I began working on several projects over the years but never actually finished & published one until I was 33.

QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?

John – I think that depends what you’re in the mood for.  I think comics are great right now, as there are so many talented writers & artists currently working.

QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?

John – I’ve always loved telling stories.  I’m also a singer/songwriter, so I guess I would say that I’m always trying to tell a story one way or another.  I was attracted to comics initially because of the power of strong visuals that you just can’t nail down with words alone.

QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?

John – Both.  It really depends on what you want to do.  For a no-name like me, I have hopes that the indie comic becomes more mainstream eventually.

QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?

John – For the time being, I’m only publishing digitally.  When I finally do go to print, I’ll probably do a run of between 800 & 1,000.

QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?

John – I think it depends both on the number of pages & whether or not it’s printed in color.  The prices these days seem pretty reasonable.

QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?

John – I would love to do 12 a year; but I’m currently wearing all the hats (writing, drawing, inking, coloring, lettering, publishing), so I’m only able to put out an issue every 2 to 3 months.

QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?

John – I prefer complete works, but see the need for breaking it up into issues.  The money from the sales of the first issue of Botched have allowed me to eat & live while I work on #2.  Without that, it would take vastly longer to produce the book because I would have to find some other way to put food in the belly.

QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?

John – I prefer books myself.  I enjoy long stories with big pay-offs.  That seems a lot harder to achieve in a strip.

QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?

John – The first issue of Botched was a labor of love that I really only worked on when I had the time, so it actually stretched out over two years.  Now I’m shooting for around four months.

QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?

John – Everything!  It’s almost comical (no pun, I swear!) how much I’ve grown & learned just putting one issue together.

QRD – Do you do thumbnails?

John – Absolutely!  I always thumb out the entire issue before I start working on any finished art.  It just helps me figure out pacing & mood.

QRD – At what size do you draw?

John – I work 100% digitally now, so it’s relative.  Traditionally, 11x17 Bristol board.  Digitally, 11x17 PSD at 300 DPI.

QRD – What kind of pens do you use?

John – The stylus that came with my Wacom Cintiq 21UX

QRD – What does your workstation look like?

John – Heaven.  It’s my favorite place to be.  I keep it pretty neat when I can, but being creative is a messy prospect.

QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?

John – At this point, the entire time.  Even my thumbnails are drawn digitally now.

QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?

John – I dig all comics, so they’re great!  Plus, they give indie folks like me an affordable way to do their work & get it out for people to see.

QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?

John – Color, all the way for me.

QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?

John – Ideally, a team numbering between 4 & 6 people.  I hope to be able to hire some help in the coming year so that I can produce the book a bit faster.  For things to run smoothly, I would imagine you would have a writer, a penciller, an inker, a colorist, & a letterer.

QRD – How do you find collaborators?

John – I’ll let you know as soon as I find some.  (Chuckles.)

QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?

John – I write very loosely because I know I will be the artist & I already know what I want to see.  If someone else were writing though, I would always want as much detail as I can get.

QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?

John – Mmm...  I guess it depends.  As a writer or penciller or inker, there are too many to list.  As a whole, maybe Frank Miller.  He’s kinda one of those guys who does all the jobs & he does them very well.  Being compared to him would be extremely flattering.…  Misguided, but flattering.

QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?

John – They are all very kind & supportive to my face.  What they actually think could be anything.  (more chuckles.)

QRD – What do you think of superheroes?

John – I dig superheroes.  My comic doesn’t feature any, but I like them.  There are a few superhero books that I’d love to get a shot at.  Mostly Daredevil or good ol’ Batman.

QRD – Marvel or DC?

John – Mostly Marvel, but I LOVE Batman.

QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?

John – Daredevil, Batman, Spider-Man.

QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?

John – Sure!  It’s rough at the start, but you get to say whatever you want!  That’s my favorite part really.  At the end of the day, I am responsible for the content & that makes me very happy.

QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?

John – I’ve only ever been to San Diego, but I will be at a lot more in the near future.  Why?  To peddle my books.

QRD – What do you do to promote your books?

John – I’m working with a marketing agency now; but other than that, just mostly word of mouth & social networking websites.

QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?

John – I think they’d do fine at comic shops or bookstores.

QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?

John – All of the above!

QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?

John – Definitely a reader.

QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?

John – It looks like it’s going more & more digital.  It’s cheap & easy to both create & purchase.  Tablets are getting more & more popular, so that’s my best guess.

QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?

John – Reading them?...  Just kidding.  I would love to see more genres explored in this medium.  The possibilities really are limitless.

QRD – Anything else?

John – Thank you for including me in this series!  Read more comics & check out “Botched” at www.escapeartistentertainment.com!