Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pheaturing Tom Hutchinson From Big Dog Ink

Hello, welcome to a Saturday entry of the Phile, readable on the iPhone and iPad. I am your host, Jason Peverett. I was told that I should mention who I am more often. So, a woman in Ohio says she opened a can of SpaghettiOs and found a dead rat. You know what’s even more disgusting — she also found SpaghettiOs. The big news this week is airports in Europe are still closed due to the volcano erupting. Smoke and ash is spreading all over Europe. Meteorologists originally thought it was coming from Willie Nelson’s tour bus. You can’t fly an airplane through an ash plume because the engines will be shut down faster than Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah. The volcano is erupting underneath a glacier, meaning everything kicks up through a hole in the ice. Some scientists are calling it an “ice-hole,” but other scientists are saying the problem is pre-existing ash, therefore it’s more of an “ash-hole.” Did you see Kate Gosselin very upset when she was voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.” Some mothers only have two kids and they cry when they have to go home. It was the Queen of England’s birthday a few days ago. So happy belated birthday, Simon Cowell. It’s a sad day if you’re a fan of Star Trek films, because Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, is retiring. The bad news is, William Shatner is not retiring. That one was for you, Steve. The U.S. Treasury released its new $100 bill. It’s the most high-tech piece of currency the world has ever seen — until Apple comes out with the “$100 bill Nano.” The Fox network had their annual telethon “Idol Gives Back.” I was hoping they would give back the hundreds of hours I’ve wasted watching “American Idol.” Three bisexual men are suing a gay softball league. Apparently the league told them they couldn’t play because they are “not gay enough.” I think, if you’re a man and you’re suing over not being allowed to play softball, you’re already gay enough. The movie Avatar is now out on DVD. James Cameron wanted it to be released on Earth Day because nothing says “save the planet” like millions of plastic DVD cases. It was the 40th Earth Day, which is bad news for Earth. Once you get in your forties, your equator expands, your poles start to melt — soon you’ll look as bad as Uranus. An estimated one billion people celebrate Earth Day. Al Gore, in particular, is wasted right now. A new poll found that a substantial number of Americans still aren’t convinced that President Obama was born in the United States. Only 58 percent believe that Obama was born here, and 20 percent think he was born in another country. I don’t believe Obama was born at all. Vice President Biden appeared on “The View.” They were trying to set the Guinness Record for most Botox on one couch. And they did, so congratulations. As I said, the other day was Earth Day and Disney released their new movie Oceans that day. I thought the tag line for that movie was a little odd. 'Oceans- big a wet like your mom'. I am not interested in seeing the movie, then I saw a screen cap from it and might change my mind. Check it out.
You know I love inspirational posters, right? Well, a reader sent me this one that I think is the coolest poster I have ever seen.

The Supreme Court of Canada declares that though women are indeed legal "persons," they are nevertheless ineligible to serve in the Canadian Senate. The Court agreed that the term "person" applies equally to humans of both genders, but the British North America Act referred specifically to "fit and qualified persons" -- necessarily excluding unfit and unqualified people (aka females).
The present incarnation of actress Shirley MacLaine is born.
Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov soon becomes the world's first space mission fatality after his Soyuz parachutes become entangled four miles above the Earth.
A mission to rescue 53 American hostages from Tehran fails; 8 US soldiers are killed.
An IRA bomb causes $1.5 billion of damage in central London when it destroys several square blocks. One person is killed and 40 injured.
The Unabomber strikes, killing a timber industry lobbyist. Gilbert Murray is killed in his Sacramento office, opening mail addressed to the man he replaced.
A petri dish arrives in an 8x10 manila envelope at the Washington, D.C. offices of B'nai B'rith International. The dish, labeled "anthracks," drips a liquidy red gel which is later determined to contain a relatively harmless strain of Bacillus cereus.

This is the 8th book in the Peverett Phile Book Club. It is available from and The author, Jon David, will be a guest on the Phile next Thursday. So, look out for that.

Artist Month on the Phile continues with the founder of Big Dog Ink, a collaborative dedicated to creating unique and high quality comic book properties. Please welcome to the Phile... Tom Hutchinson.

Me: Hello, Tom, welcome to Artist Month on the Phile. You are an artist, right?

Tom: Thanks for having me but I must admit to being a simple writer. I used to draw but realized that I just didn't have the chops to be a full on comic book artist. I do love to sketch and design characters though so I always get involved in the design stages even if it is simply a written statement of what I want the character to look like. I have a hand in the design of all the characters in my books but I let the professionals provide the final look based on my ideas.

Me: You know, Tom Hutchinson is a very popular name. There was a Governor, an English footballer, even an American footballer. Ever do your family tree?

Tom: I have heard of folks doing the research on their families like this but I have not. It would be interesting for me too because I am adopted and would have two seperate trees to work on. I know my birth father was american indian of some kind so that's pretty cool. Maybe one day I'll have some time to work on it.

Me: I noticed Project Fanboy interviewed you. You prefer the Phile though, right? LOL. By the way, I interviewed Sebastian Piccione from Project Fanboy about Earthbound Comics. Are you you aware of those guys? What about Fierce Comics?

Tom: Yes Project Fanboy interviewed me and gave "Penny For Your Soul" a great review. We have had a number of positive reviews online so far that I really appreciate. Earthbound Comics I am aware of, but not Fierce. The truth is there are hundreds of small publishers out there and unless you go to a lot of conventions or are serious about searching out indy books online, most indy books you will never see which is why I have tried to be very active online and in the comic convention scene with Big Dog Ink. We want people to see us and we think they will like what we have to show them.

Me: On-line comics are getting very popular, Tom. I prefer old school books though. Do you publish books to sell at comic book stores?

Tom: Our aim at Big Dog Ink is to produce comics that can get accepted into the Diamond Comics Previews catalog. With "Penny For Your Soul" and "Critter", we are two for two in that regard. We make a very concious effort to create interesting and fun books with high quality art. We have had many folks who have read our books come back and tell us they thought the art quality is something they would have expeceted to see at Marvel or DC and we really appreciate that feedback. We also keep our production values up with glossy paper and heavier covers and we think it makes for a great looking package. Online comics are fine, but I personally don't care for them. No offense intended to anyone, but it's just not a platform I enjoy. We do have plans to get our books onto iTunes and iPad and such however.

Me: You mentioned two books that I am aware of... "Penny For Your Soul" and "Critter". I admit I like "Critter" a lot better, Tom. I tend not to read books about demons. Even though that is what the book of the month is about. Anyway, I take it you are not very religious creating a book like "Penny For Your Soul". When and how did you come up with that concept?

Tom: Well let's take this in two parts. First off I am not an athiest or anything. I grew up with Sunday School and church and Christmas services etc etc. Also Charlton Heston and The Ten Commandments was one of the greatest movies ever. I just tend to be the kind of guy who questions things that most people just accept as a given. The Bible is one of those things that people just accept as pure truth. That there is no possible way it could be anything but fact from those ancient days. Truth is the Bible has been altered for generations. Even from when it was initially put together. Many books that were written like the Book of Enoch are not in the Bible and there are reasons for that. Religion is a powerful tool to help keep the masses in order. Be good... go to Heaven. Be bad... an eternity of Hell awaits you. The Bible is about faith and anytime you question the writings inside, the answer is essentially "I have faith that this is the truth. That this is the Word of God." In my case I belive in God and such, but I also have my own set of questions as to the hows and whys of the stories in the Bible and some of that will be reflected in Penny For Your Soul. Arguing religion is really pointless so I simply offer this as a fictional tale in the vein of Marvel Comics "What If" comics. What if there was a third party vying for control in the End of Days Battle between Heaven and Hell? So as to the comic itself, it initially started when I wanted to create a character that I could put into virtually any situation. That I could change her appearance as I wished (which goes back to my love of design) and so I started to imagine a shapeshifter. As I started to design her look and her surroundings it came upon me that she might be a demon. Possibly the daughter of Lucifer himself. And so the story slowly started to form. The pieces started falling into place. My interest in religion and the movies like The Ten Commandments and stories of the "End Times" all started working for me in ways I would never have guessed. Also books like "The Di Vinci Code" were inspirations. This is a pop culture book. You will see religion mixed with film and books and even some old school Las Vegas gangster style. So again "Penny For Your Soul" is "What if the End of Days took place in Las Vegas?" I hope you all will read it and find out.

Me: Tell the readers of the Phile what is the premise of the book.

Tom: The break down premise of "Penny For Your Soul" is this: A demon decides she wants to get in on the End of Days battle between Heaven and Hell. So she sets herself up in Las Vegas and offers to buy her patron's souls for ten thousand dollars.

Me: As I said, I like "Critter" a lot better. It dawned on me that you two of your main characters are female, Tom. Is that on purpose? I have a female character as well. Her name is Eve Rest.

Tom: I have had many people ask me about that. And many of those same people have had really great conversations about women in comics and the sexuality of it and such. I love those talks when the people involved are intelligent and open minded and are willing to listen to an opposing view point. But back to the question. Was it on purpose? Not in any particular way. Critter was a girl because I like girls with cat ears and tails who can kick a bad guys butt and look good doing it. She is certainly a bit of cheesecake, but I hope that people will give her a chance to be more than that because she is. She has a fairly elaborate story that I am hoping to have a chance to tell beyond this initial one-shot origin story. And honestly if a character has an interesting story, why can't she look cute at the same time? As for Penny, Danica was designed in much the same way in that she could change her form and clothes as I wished menaing I can have her in a business suit in one story and be a pole dancer in another story. But also with "Penny For Your Soul", I wanted to have a strong female lead for the book since Heaven and Hell are represented by male figures ie: Lucifer and Jesus etc.

Me: I love the art work in "PFYS" though. The drawings of Vegas are very descriptive. Where do you live, Tom?

Tom: I live just north of Burbank CA, in Tujunga. But boy do I love going to Las Vegas!

Me: I forgot to ask you if you had a good time in Orlando for MegaCon. Was that your first time here?

Tom: MegaCon was awesome. It was my first time there and I had a blast. We also just got back from Wondercon and man that was incredible too. Great folks at that show and I absolutely plan on returning next year.

Me: Who are your influences when it comes to writing and art?

Tom: Well I get this question a lot and to be honest I have no writing influences to speak of. I don't follow wirters from book to book like many people do. I'm a character person and I don't belive for a second that just because you can write Spider-Man that does not mean you can write Wonder Woman. That's an odd example I know but I think you get my point. People follow Frank Miller or Alan Moore from book to book regardless of the character they are taking on. But I just couldn't care less about some of the characters that have their own books and I would never follow a writer from one character that I like to a character I have no interest in. I know many people will totally disagree with me and that's fine. I'll even give you an example. I loved Gail Simone on "Birds of Prey" and thank god it's coming back! But when she went to Wonder Woman ( a character I love and have collected since I was a kid) I really didn't think she brought anything to the character. I was excited when I heard she was taking over, but the results were ultimatley me dropping Wonder Woman for the first time in my 25 years of comic book reading. Again, that's just me. As for art, it's guys like Adam Hughes, George Perez, Art Adams and the like that I don't draw anymore. I just never felt like could ever compare to the guys that are my artistic heroes and so I went into writing in hopes that I could work with these guys at some point in my writing career.

Me: I have to ask you about Big Dog Ink. It's your own company, right, that publishes comics. How long has Big Dog Ink been around and are you taking submissions?

Tom: Big Dog Ink is my company, yes. Along with my partner Stephen Smirl whithout whom, Big Dog Ink may not even exist. We started it up roughly a year ago as a way to promote my books and his together. Strength in numbers so to speak. He has an amazing mind for the numbers of comics and I like to think I have the artistic edge and toegther that is a powerful force as we often get together and crunch numbers and ideas and ways of doing things to maximize our efforts to get Big Dog Ink Comics out to the readers. As for submissions, yes. In fact I just signed two guys, Oren Kramek and Alfred Paige, to bring their books "Ned the Chainsaw Guy" and "Pinpoint" respectively to Big Dog Ink. Ned was just accepted into Diamond and will be in the May catalog alongside "Penny For Your Soul" #2 and the "Critter" one-shot origin book. We have a different deal than the other publishers which includes letting you keep your rights to your creations. Big Dog Ink is a collaborative as much as it is a publishing company and we do things a little differently so if you think you have a strong story AND a strong artist, feel free to get in touch with us and we can talk. We will be looking for quality books we think Diamond might be interested in. If we don't think you are up to Diamond standards we won't take the book. Feel free to contact us about how to submit your stuff.

Me: What new projects and other books does Big Dog Ink put out? "Ursa Minor" looks promising.

Tom: "Ned The Chainsaw Guy", "Pinpoint", "Island Tales", "Ursa Minor" are all in various forms of production. We also have some licensing in the works as well as concepts for another half dozen books that are in the pipeline. But we arent going to rush anything. Quality is key and we don't want to do anything to compromise that. If we have to wait to get a strong artist on a book, then we wait. Simple as that.

Me: Okay, I saw a real life picture of Critter and... I... well done. Who is that girl?

Tom: Yeah. Well, she is beautiful. That pic was a photomanipulation of a model that lives in Estonia if you can belive that. I have never been able to get in touch with her though I know who took the picture. Isn't fantasy fun!

Me: Is she available for an interview?

Tom: You're welcome to try but she doesn't even know that this pic was made

Me: Before I let you go to pug all your websites, Facebook and everything, did you know there was an adult site called Big Dogz Ink?

Tom:,,, we have facebook fan pages for Big Dog Ink, "Island Tales" and "Penny For Your Soul". A "Critter" fan page is up next as well as "Ned the Chainsaw Guy" and "Pinpoint". We also have a forums section on the site where we talk comics and release dates and new projects etc. Yeah I know the Big Dogz site. It's a tattoo place so if you're into that stuff take a look!

Me: Thanks for doing this interview, Tom, and taking part in Artist Month. I look forward to see what you come out with next. Go ahead and mention where a Phile reader can purchase and check out your books. All the best.

Tom: "Penny For Your Soul" #1 will be available in retail stores through Previews in May (aiming for the 12th) so head to your local shop and they can order it for you. "Penny" #2 will be solicited in the May Preveiws along side "Critter" and "Ned the Chainsaw Guy" #1. We have a full page ad in the catalog so you can't miss us and any comic shop retailer will be able to order the books for you. We also sell variant covers on our website. We just had Eric Basaldua of Top Cow and "Grimm Fairy Tales" fame do a cover for us that has to be seen to be belived. It will be live on the site in a day or so and also get in on the facebook fan pages because we give stuff away with contests that are only done on Facebook. And if you just want to see what the books look like we have preview pages on all of our sites so you can see it before you buy it!

There you have it. Thanks to Wikipedia and of course to Tom Hutchinson. I go back to my regular days off from work next week so the next entry of the Phile will be next Thursday with the Peverett Phile Book Club author Jon David. Then later on in May one of the biggest interviews you have seen on the Phile. I won't give it away yet but I will give you a clue... Colt 45. Until next week, spread the word, not the turd. Bye love you, bye.

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