In case you haven’t noticed on Twitter and Facebook, we love the guys over at Wayward Raven and the work they’re creating. Up until Special Edition: NYC, we’d only known each other over social media. It was a lot of fun to meet each other face to face and get the chance to interview 2/3 of them, CEO/COO Mark C. Frankel and CTO/Creative Director Alexander Sapountzis. Missing on Sunday was Editor-in-Chief Joshua Lee Andrew Jones, but we soldiered through, talking about current and future Wayward Raven projects, pull lists, and…costume choices? Read on below.
Rosemary: So you guys are putting some seriously epic storytelling out there these days: Horsemen, Ascendant, [Signed] C–
Mark: I’m putting out some epic…he’s [Alex] occasionally drawing something epic.
Alex: I’m doing some of the better comic strips.
Rosemary: –so is there any chance, are your universes going to connect at some point?
Rosemary: Sorta kinda?
Mark: Yeah, we don’t…actually the funny part is they’re all kind of self-contained, but here’s the interesting part. So, Signed actually arose from…Signed C actually arose from Signed O. We wrote O first, but it hasn’t been done yet. So, the whole idea behind the whole Signed series is myth, magic, mayhem. You know, basically it’s the whole kind of, what if the gods die out, they got day jobs, right? So we kind of have you know with C, and I don’t think I’m giving so much away, but she’s a sorceress with the first name “C” who might come from Greek mythology. I’ll let you try to figure that one out.
Alex: And since C comes before O in the alphabet, we decided that one should come out first.
Rosemary: That makes sense.
Mark: Actually, we were actually looking for artists to do one or the other, and they ended up, they ended up, he wanted to do C over O. It was interesting but that was kind of his preference, so we said “Okay, that’s great.” So we went with that one. O is pretty much ready to go and we’re actually talking with someone right now who may do that. So it needs probably one more edit, and then once we’ve done that…those universes are joined, however Horseman doesn’t necessarily go with The Ascendent, and…they’re all kind of their own separate universes, but the Signed series definitely has a joint universe.
Rosemary: That’s really cool to know. Can you talk a little bit about your children’s graphic novel, Percy?
Mark: Sure, absolutely! So, Percy is a sirrush, and the inspiration for Percy–if you look, he’s a little bit different looking. He’s actually part eagle, part dragon, part lion. In this case, he’s actually something that was on the Ishtar gates in ancient Babylon. No one’s sure exactly what a sirrush is, they kind of think it’s sort of a dragon type of creature. Basically I was able to go, well that’s cool, let’s go play around with that. What’s if he was the only one of his kind? What if he’d never met another sirrush before? So it’s kind of that he’s going on a journey to hopefully find other sirrushes. So it’s a nice children’s book, I think, and we had a fantastic artist, Elke Reva Sudin, do that. She’s a local Brooklyn artist, she’s fantastic; really did some nice work on it.
Rosemary: It’s a beautiful book, I was looking through it just before. Good luck with it, I hope it does well. I’d love to see more all ages stuff, too, because I’m always one for trying to get younger kids reading as well.
Mark: We’re a big proponent of…we want to do a little bit of everything. We don’t want to do just this or just that. I think sometimes people fall into that niche of “this is all we do.” We want to get outside of that, which is actually why we started with The Committee, where we’re starting to publish other people’s stuff, it’s not just ours. So this is James Emmett’s book, he was the writer, and also the pencil and inker on it. We brought in the rest of the team to round out, so the colorist was Nimesh, the letterer was Zakk, we brought in some other folks to help out with that. But at the end of the day it’s really mostly James. With us doing more of the editing as opposed to the writing.
Rosemary: So for your comics, can people put these on their pull list at their local comic shop?
Mark: Some. We’re working on distribution, but we are at, let’s see, we’re at Carmine Street Comics, Alternate Universe in Milford, Connecticut, we’re at Quimby’s in Chicago. We’re working on a few others. I’m trying to think, I know we’re also down in Norwalk, Connceticut, I’m trying to think of the name of the store right now–
Alex: If you go to our website, we have a stores section at the bottom where you can click to find out what stores we’re in. Or, if you own the store or have a friend who owns a store, you can request our books for the store and we can just get them to you guys that way.
Mark: Tell them about Damned Heroes, Alex.
Alex: I’ve been itching to do this. So speaking of all ages and crossover stuff, we like to sneak in a lot of pop culture references and jokes, and…I’m actually showing the book to the microphone–
Julie: He is. Which we will be photographing. We would do that ourselves.
Alex: Basically, it’s making fun of superheroes. A guy goes five miles over the speed limit in a town full of superheroes and has to do five years of community service. Since we’re always poking fun at superheroes and all that mixed universe stuff, we’ve had a couple of Horsemen things show up in the background. I had Modok [from Marvel] as a lawn gnome. Or like Pinky and the Brain.
Mark: The present run actually incorporates Alex and myself into it, and it’s kind of funny because he’s put me in the Horsemen t-shirt pretty much every time I’ve showed up. Fortunately with a mask because you don’t want to see this.
Alex: We’re both in disguises and they’re just ridiculous. The best part was that we had Mark show up with a top hat and a Magneto helmet with a fur lined boa…cape–
Mark: I call that Tuesday.
Alex: And then he switched to Wednesday, which was the luchador mask.
Rosemary: As you do.
Julie: On Wednesdays, we wear luchador masks.
Rosemary: Anything else you want to tell us? Anything in the pipeline? What’s coming up?
Mark: We are working with some other artists. The young lady, Cynthia, who we’re starting to work on her book, so we’re pretty excited about that. We’re going to be doing a graphic novel for her. I’m hoping that’s going to be out in about the next year or so. Also, initial stages right now. We do listen to people, we do listen to synopses. We have a limited amount of resources to actually put towards stuff, meaning my time, Alex’s time, Josh’s time, predominantly. But when we see something we really like, we’re certainly not afraid to go after it. It’s a lot of what we like to also do, besides pitching our own stuff and getting out to these things [cons].
Alex: Another thing,too, we’re getting a lot of stuff on social media. We just started a You Tube channel, Tumblr, Instagram, any other ones we come across, and as new projects come up, check our website. We’ve been throwing around some more children’s or all-ages things, so definitely check that out.
Rosemary and Julie: Thanks so much!
Mark: Thank you, this is great, I love it when you stop by!
A note about that last thing that Mark said: Various Rat Queens stopped by the Wayward Raven booth at least five times during the course of the weekend, so it was becoming a thing by the time of the interview. We can’t express how awesome it was to finally meet the Wayward Raven crew, especially after we introduced ourselves on Saturday and Alex told us “We love you guys! We’re your biggest fans!” (Alex, you were the first person to tell us this, and you will always have a special place in the Rat Queens’ hearts for it.) I think we bought every single title they had for sale on their table, so look forward to more Wayward Raven reviews in addition to the one Roe did of Horsemen #2 soon!