Friday, May 15, 2009

Pheaturing Fierce Comics


Hey, kids, welcome to the Peverett Phile... proud sponsor of and It was a sad week here at Disney... the Virgin Megastore closed down. Also, the House of Blues is now down to one Blue. The House of Blue. And La Nouba is now down to just one juggler. During the Miss USA pageant, Miss California was asked a question about gay marriage by Perez Hilton. At a press conference, Donald Trump said he thought Perez was "engaging in self promotion." Trump accusing someone else of self promotion!?!? That's like the Octo-Mom accusing someone of having too many kids. Trump had to decide whether she would keep her crown after topless photos turned up. He said it was his judgment that Miss California could keep her crown. Trump would never tell someone to remove a useless piece of rubbish from their head... why would he? President Obama hosted a poetry slam at the White House. These can get out of control. Apparently somebody got up on stage and rambled on and on, and didn't make any sense... when Joe Biden was done, they started the poetry. It was groundbreaking to have a poetry slam there. It's never happened before. I think Dick Cheney once held a torture slam. "There once was a man from Nantucket. I put his head in a bucket."
The three remaining contestants on "American Idol" competed twice to see who would win. Danny Goki was not chosen. Now I have to take the Goki posters over my bed down.  It was a good episode of "American Idol", even though I didn't make any money of it this week. To raise money for California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he's willing to sell some aging landmarks, like San Quentin Prison. So far, the only bid has come from Dick Cheney. He wants to use it as a vacation home. John McCain's mother was on TV saying that she doesn't like Rush Limbaugh. Here's my question: John McCain's mother is still alive!? And finally... A Canadian scientist was arrested for smuggling vials of Ebola into the U.S. This wouldn't happen if we'd just legalize Ebola. Well, it's Artist Month still and today I have an interview with four gentlemen from Fierce Comics based in Tampa. But first...


Top Ten Little-Known Symptoms of the Swine Flu
10. Appearance resembles a pig with lipstick.
9. You cry uncontrollably at the "Other White Meat" commercials.
8. Irresistible craving for truffles.
7. You only want to see movies with Kevin Bacon.
6. You get nauseated whenever you see a football.
5. An unexplainable attraction to Susan Boyle.
4. Impure thoughts about Miss Piggy.
3. Uncontrollable urge to date Madonna.
2. A strong desire to watch "The View".
And the number one little-known symptom of the Swine Flu...
1. Tender-loins.

Star Trek
A time-traveling Romulan (Eric Bana) with a venge-on for Spock (Zachary Quinto) forever alters the known history of the Star Trek universe when he destroys a vessel captained by the father of newborn James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). Twenty-five years later, his next act as retribution-seeking A-hole precipitates the maiden voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise, for which Kirk consequently never became captain. What I liked about it is... all of it. Whether you think "Star Trek" is gay and stupid or you're a Trekkie currently being administered a wedgie by the former, you can forget what you know about the franchise. Abrams envisions a Trek that's cool, not kitschy, opening with-and maintaining throughout-a burning intensity previously absent from the series, while preserving the principles and characterizations that first seduced pudgy, hyperhidrotic social mutants decades ago. Pine and Quinto are nails as nemeses Kirk and Spock, selling, along with the rest of the cast, an adventure that's as much action as it is academic; that's complex, but easy to follow; and that's comic without being campy. Finally, a Star Trek movie that does the laughing at itself! The only bad part will be the cackling gaggle of giddy line campers in Starfleet uniforms flanking you on all sides opening weekend. You might want to save this for a mid-week matinee. From 1 to 10, I give it a ten. Will I get it on DVD?What do you think?

Chuck Daly: Might as well now.

The Soviet Union launches Sputnik IV, a three-ton spacecraft containing a "dummy cosmonaut." The mission goes fine until they attempt to retrofire. A bug in the guidance system had pointed the capsule in the wrong direction, so instead of dropping into the atmosphere the satellite moves into a higher orbit.
Hoping to gain everlasting infamy, Arthur Bremer pumps five bullets into Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace during a campaign stop in Laurel, Maryland. In his haste, the gunman forgets to yell his carefully-chosen catchphrase, "Penny for your thoughts!" And when Wallace survives the assassination attempt, albeit confined to a wheelchair, Bremer's name is soon forgotten.
Three Arab gunmen disguised as Israeli soldiers seize control of the schoolhouse at Ma'alot. Taken hostage are more than 100 teenaged students and their teachers. The captors, members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, demand the release of 26 political prisoners. Israeli commandos storm the school only 15 minutes before the deadline; 18 children are killed in the firefight.
Graduate student John Hauser loses most of his right hand in a UC Berkeley computer room when he opens an innocent-looking box attached to a looseleaf binder. It is the second device left in this building from the Unabomber. In fact, the engineering professor who applies the tourniquet to Hauser's arm was the victim in the previous attack, three years prior.
Alan Cooper stands trial in England for "committing a lewd, obscene, and disgusting act on the 12-foot dolphin called Freddie as they frolicked for 20 minutes off the harbor mouth at Amble, Northumberland." Cooper responds by claiming that his accuser was a sworn enemy and had trained dolphins for a movie to jump out of the water and tear off a woman's bikini bra. He is eventually acquitted of masturbating the cetacean.
Federal prosecutors in the Unabomber trial file the necessary paperwork requesting the death penalty for Ted Kaczynski.

Okay, this is really cool. Not only do I have an interview with one artist, but three, plus the founder and creator of a really cool comic book company based in Tampa, who I met at MegaCon. Comic book fans, please welcome Scott Reed, Karsten Klintzsch, Rob Rhine and Ben Filipiak from...

Me: Scott, I love your work, sir. How long have you been drawing and where did you study art?

Scott: I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I'm a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Me: Growing up, who was your favorite super hero?

Scott: My older brother and I were crazy about Batman and Robin. I think my very first exposure to super heroes were the old Mego toys from the early 1970's, and we only wanted the Batman and Robin figures, as I recall it. Very rarely we would get a glimpse of the old Batman tv series, which was like a religious experience if that happened since this was before cable. I
think it was only aired once in a while, late at night or when the network was desperate to fill some spot.

Me: You worked on some really big icon books over the years... "Star Trek", "GI Joe", "Godzilla". Which one was your favorite to do?

Scott: I worked as an inker in those days, and it was just sort of a job to me back then. I didn't have a strong preference of which book I was assigned to as long as I had the work. "Star Trek:DS9" was pretty cool, though. I love "Star Trek", so it was great being involved in the franchise in some small way.

Me: Is there a comic book series you would love to work on?

Scott: I'd like to get a crack at writing Conan someday.

Me: You drew for Malibu, and Marvel, right? Any plans on drawing for DC?

Scott: No, I was an inker for Malibu and through them, had a couple of inking gigs at Marvel shortly after Malibu was bought up by Marvel. Back then, I didn't really have the chops for penciling, and I didn't have the time to develop it because I was so busy inking. I don't have any plans to work for DC, but who knows what the future holds.

Me: Who is your favorite comic book artist of all time? Mine is Alan Davis
and Jim Baikie.

Scott: Good choices. Davis has such a sleekness to his work. I tend to go back to the source material more. I believe Davis is a student of Neal Adams work, and I can look at Neal Adams stuff all day. I would have to say my favorites are Jack Kirby and John Buscema. I love every single thing John Buscema ever touched, he was just such a master of the human form and had a perfect combination of grace and power to his lines. I love Jack Kirby, but Kirby was ALL power and no subtlety, and I think John Buscema had a perfect combination.

Me: Tell the readers of the Phile about "The Overman" and "High Strangeness", two books you worked on. What are the premise of both of them?

Scott: "High Strangeness" is an essay on U.F.O's, with a hypothetical scenario of what might happen if we did learn 'the truth' but couldn't understand it and didn't really have the frame of mind to deal with it. The second half of the book is an illustrated history of U.F.O's, which I
self-published online as a web comic in 2002, and later collected the work in print. "The Overman" is a science-fiction story about one man's attempt to stop a union between Mankind and machine, and ultimately failing. Shane White illustrated the whole thing, and we collaborated on this project on and off for 20 years before finally getting it right. You can preview it at The collected edition trade paperback is in stores
this month.

Me: Is there anything new you are working on now, Scott?

Scott: I have a big, big project that I'm hoping to have completed later this year or early 2010, called "Champion Of A Lost Universe". It began as a weekly web comic in 2006, but I'm repositioning it as a 150-page graphic novel, and you can watch my progress over at as I complete it. I've devoted the whole site to a weekly production blog, so you can find glimpses of the work-in-progress there, hopefully enough to build up some interest. I expect to shop it around to publishers in the next few months.

Me: What do you like to do better, graphic art or drawing comics?

Scott: I design websites and logos for a living when I'm not dabbling in this comic book stuff. I enjoy doing that work quite a lot, and frankly it's easier and pays far better than comics. You can see much of that work at

Me: Hello, Karsten. I would say hello in German but I don't know how. Anyway, welcome to the Phile.

Karsten: Hello, Jason, and hello in German is easy, just "Hallo".

Me: Where in Germany do you live, sir?
Karsten: I live in the capital city, Berlin.

Me: Did you grow up with American comics while living in Germany? What was
your favorite comic book you grew up reading.

Karsten: Yes, there weren't much European or even German books. First time I had comics in my hands i guess it was Mickey Mouse, which I don't like, I like Donald more or later "Phantomias", the Batman Version. But I read Batman and Superman, too. And Flash, I loved Flash, but then, one day the news stand didn't have them anymore and i had to look for something else, it was 1983 and I browsed though the stand with the little trade paperbacks and saw the Cover of "Die Gruppe X Nr.4". It was The Uncanny X-MEN Cover from 1978, no. 115, inside the storyline from 111 to 114. And that was the day I collected the X-MEN. Which was hard because they came out only 3 or 4 times a year with 4 stories inside but as you can see, years later as they originally were published. But I was hooked; the abilities and characters
were awesome. But the best thing was the art, the art of John Byrne. It is a beautiful style. But there were other books that were produced more, Spider-Man. You see, the question wasn't "what book to collect" there weren't much options; at least in my local news stand and I didn't got too much around all town to look for more. Okay, there were Avengers and Fantastic four, I
have some of them too, but it wasn't my thing. The difference between these 4 books is obvious, the Avengers and Fantastic Four are liked and the public likes them, and they despite the X-MEN, say they are outlaws and should locked up, but that they do good all the time, the public didn't see. And that is what hooked me more, same for Spider-Man and JJJ. Later, in 1996 I discovered a shop that had international Comics, and I started to collect the X-MEN, the originals and the spin offs, everything X-MEN related, and some other books. Beautiful. But I had to stop for a while now.

Me: My favorite super hero is Captain Britain, mostly because he is English, and so am I. Who is your favorite super hero? Nightcrawler is the only German hero I could think of.

Karsten: Right, I couldn't think of another right now myself, I like the elf, when he is with Wolverine, together they are fun, alone he is too sad and way to much into religion for my taste. Also it is fun to see German words and sentences. Sadly they were badly translated at some times. Ha, I hope my English isn't too bad. But a real favorite I don't have. There were times when you could say: "This one is it", but that changed. Depends on my mood I guess.

Me: So, DC or Marvel?

Karsten: Dark Horse. I don't participate in that war, which publisher is better. Dark Horse has some books I like very much, DC does and so does Marvel. I am neutral.

Me: Before you started drawing for Fierce, who else have you worked for?

Karsten: Nobody. At least not in the comic business.

Me: You are working on "Redneck Red", right? How did the boys at Fierce discover you and what made you want to work for them?

Karsten: What made me work for them... hmm, that is easy, two things: The work on a book and the money. It was Mike Foss who found me on a Forum, he saw a comic page I posted wanted me for a book he wrote, but then he showed it to Ben, and he asked if I would do a couple of sample pages, which I gladly did, I had much freedom and had my fun with it. If you want to see them, you can find them here: They liked them in the end and now I am in the team and try to produce the best art I can. Which can be frustrating, I am not easily satisfied, and by looking on the pages today I see some things I would change now.

Me: So, Redneck Red... coming from Germany did you know what a redneck was?

Karsten: Yes.

Me: When you get a script sent to you, how long does it take you to draw the book? Do you send everything through e-mail?

Karsten: Yes, we communicate through e-mail and wait for feedback, and if there is something to change, I do that. Gladly there wasn't much to change in that first book. It depends on the amount of pages the book has. This one has 22 and a cover, it is finished within a month.

Me: Have you ever been to the States?

Karsten: Yes. It was February 1993. New York for two day and then 12 in Orlando Florida.

Me: Karsten, any future projects you are working on, or will be working on? Also, is there a book you would love to draw for?

Karsten: Oh yes, I have some stories of my own in my desk which I would love to get out, but they are epic and need time. But first there is "Redneck Red". Yes, there are 4 titles I would love to draw for: PREDATOR (if it still exist, I don't know), STARWARS, X-MEN (no specific title) and BATMAN.

Me: I wish you luck, and hope to see you at a convention soon, my friend.

Karsten: Thank you very much and good luck to you, too.

Me: Okay, now to you, Rob... where did you study?

Rob: The international school of awesome. Honestly, I don't have any formal art training. I have been into drawing and art since I was a more wee one than I am now.

Me: Do you have a favorite super hero?

Rob: Is that a trick question? I mean there are so many to choose from... Spiderman, Green Hornet, Usagi Yojimbo... I am afraid to go on any further as I will just bore everyone. I am a nerd.

Me: I love the "Maniacal Smile", Rob. How did you create it, and tell the Phile readers the premise.

Rob: Thanks! I love that you love it! I created the character when I was 16. I originally just wanted to put a book out that would shock readers and gross them out. You can ask my esteemed publisher, I hit my goal on that. :) Over the course of 11 years, I tried to fine tune it and make it as good as I could... but alas, I am no writer. I now have the privilege of working
with Mike Foss who is making my art look better with great storytelling. Basically, Smiley is the story of a guy who isn't good at anything. He has the worst super power ever... irritable bowel syndrome. He wears a big inflatable rubber suit to look muscular, and is guided by his
quadriplegic-ex-superhero-uncle, Richard Reed. (LOL) It's like South Park meets The Tick. If the Philes have a good sense of humor, this book is for them!

Me: So, can I get a Maniacal Smile t-shirt XXL? LOL.

Rob: Actually, HELL YEAH! we have SOOOOOO many shirts... Tell Ben to comp one to you!

Me: You are working on a graphic novel called "Blue Manta", right? What is that about and when will it come out?

Rob: "Blue Manta" is in the works. It has taken a bit of a back seat to our current work on Smiley. People really love the look of the character, so I am sure we will get it out under the Fierce label soon... as for the skinny on the story, we still have lots to figure out on it... BUT be sure to check out future issues of Smiley, the Big blue will be lurking in it's pages soon...

Me: Let's talk about the comic book company you three work for... Fierce Comics. I never heard of it until I went to MegaCon. When did the company form and how many different titles does it have?

Ben: It was originally founded in 2003 and initially published mostly web-based comics. In 2005 the company began developing concepts for print and searching for high-quality creative talent to help lead the growth in that direction. Most of the company¹s promotional efforts were focused on the Tampa Bay area during this time, so it's not surprising that you hadn¹t
heard of us. At this point, the company publishes "Redneck Red" and the "Maniacal Smile" on an every other month basis. Two additional titles are in development for release in 2010 and several others are earmarked for 2011, assuming a successful launch of the 2010 titles.

Me: If a Phile reader wants to get a Fierce Comic comic, where would they go?

Ben: Until recently, the books have been sold direct to the public; however, we are working with ComicsMonkey to establish a distribution channel that will make the books easily available to comic shops nationwide. We hope to have that in place by the end of April. The real key is for comic readers to ask their comic shop owners for the books. Nothing is more
powerful than end-user demand when it comes to getting books into comic shops.

Me: Also, if a budding artist or comic book writer wants to work for Fierce, what would they have to do?

Ben: Well, we aren¹t currently looking for writing submissions, but it's fairly easy if you're an artist - just go to the submissions page of the web site and download a submissions form. The instructions are right on the form. We maintain a list of freelancers and rank them according to
different variables including quality of work, turnaround time, industry experience, and page rate.

Me: Any chance Fierce will be releasing trade paperbacks?

Ben: Right now we're focused on hitting deadlines and maintaining our current frequency of an every other month release schedule per title. It'll ultimately be customer demand that dictates our trade strategy.

Me: Okay, what is the website and what is next for the company?

Ben: The website is There's a free members section on the site called MyFierce, where you can sign up to get inside access to what's coming up and interact with our core creative team. There aren't many independent comic companies offering this level of interaction on their web sites, so I encourage your readers to take advantage of it and sign up.
We also offer sneak peeks at available issues, wallpaper and avatar downloads, and an awesome gear section with a lot of great products. We have aggressive expansion plans for the company, but for now our primary focus is building a solid distribution channel and fan base. When that's
locked-in, the steps that follow will be very, very exciting for our fans.

Me: Thanks for doing this interview, I am a big fan, and thanks for my t-shirt. I hope this was fun, was it?

Rob: wait... you already have a Tee?! Ben, scratch the comp for another one to him... JK! This was fun! Thanks for taking the time to get to know the greatness that is Fierce Comics! Punch and Pie...


Man, that was freakin' cool. Check out And if they make a Manical Smile movie, I want that part. A super hero with IBS can't be wrong. Thanks to Ben and the boys from Fierce Comics, who I would love to interview again one day. Thanks also to Wikipedia. The Phile will be back again on Monday with an interview with the very attractive and talented Jennifer Newberry. Then on Friday the Phile will be back with another artist. Thanks always for reading, and spread the word, not the turd.

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