Good day, Twisted Fans. Recently, the creative minds behind Twisted Studio had the opportunity to sit down with long-time Studio Consultant, Chris Walker, to talk about the new direction for the studio, and what’s in store for its fans.
Chris: For the reader/audience who may not know Twisted Studio, please talk a little bit about what Twisted Studio is and how it came about?
Dave: I will let Paul answer this one (Smiles)
Paul: Twisted Studio officially came to be in 1999, my eighteenth birthday. Though, I had used the company’s iconic twisted ‘T’ on a number of pet projects for a few years previous. Back then, the intention was to create a local publishing house to produce my own comic books, and eventually use it to promote other local talents.
Chris: Who are its members? Tell us about how you got involved, and what are your roles?
Paul: I’ve worked with a lot of people throughout the years, and I’m thankful for every minute of time they’ve put into the Studio. Over the last couple years, I’ve been working with Dave on the Studio as a whole. He’s taken a very pronounced role in the studio, and has really helped me to stay focused, and push forward. I handle the art and design side of things along with the marketing plans, Dave deals with the technical side of running the studio’s site, as well as maintaining the literary and research needs of our projects.
Dave: Well, I am Dave Rocha, writer on the Underground and creator/writer of Tecumseh: A Heroic Tale of War of Shattered Dreams. I’ve known Paul forever and jumped at the chance to write for Twisted Studio the moment it was offered to me about a year and a half ago. I am also the webmaster.
Chris: So comics are obliviously a big part of your life tells us when it started and where it is now?
Paul: Comic books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I learned to read with Casper the Ghost, Wendy the Witch, and Archie. That moved on to Ghostbusters, and eventually Spiderman and the wider world of superheroes. Many of my first favourites are still my favourites today. Greg Capullo’s Batman line is really keeping me captivated right now.
Dave: It started pretty much at birth for me. It only got stronger in grade school when I was given a bunch of old Zorro and Archie digests. By high school I was knee deep in X-Men, G.I. Joe, Transformers and other Marvel comics. Now I collect mostly stuff from my heroes Jan Duursema and John Ostrander who are drawing and writing for Dark Horse currently. Their version of the epic Star Wars universe inspired me to start collect comics again after a long hiatus. Twisted Studio’s stellar performance in the small press idol encouraged me to start writing again and led to me seeking out Paul. The rest will be comic book history. (grins ear to ear)
Chris: Speaking of now, by that I mean modernly, digital media is a big part of comics. How does Twist studio use modern technology to make comics and most importantly paper comic vs digital comic, which is better for you and why?
Paul: Digital media has certainly changed how we create books. On the art side of it, I’ve moved on to colouring things digitally. I still do my line work on paper though.
When it comes to the books themselves, producing them digitally has opened the game up to nearly everyone with a computer. Artists, writers, and creators all over the world have the opportunity to get their stuff out there. Get real exposure, and maybe attract some of the big publishers. It’s an exciting time, but it makes it much more competitive as well. I’ve got a list of web comics that I enjoy to read, but I still can’t get away from the feeling of having that paper copy in my hands.
Dave: All of the modern tools of the trade from a writer’s perspective will come to bear. I use laptops, tablets, smartphones, digital cameras and so on. My hydro bill is crazy <laughs>. Digital comics are the wave of the future and we will continue to offer all our comics in digital format; however, we all love print and will continue to publish in that media as well. It’s no fun collecting PDFs, so I don’t think that print comics are going anywhere.
Chris: Tell us; what are some of the genres of comics that you have produced? Let us know about the projects in general and give a little synopsis on what the major story is.
Paul: Our flagship comic has been The Underground. It’s a story about bugs really, bugs with attitude… and swords …and guns. (*laughs*) It’s been a project of mine since I was sixteen. A few years ago we published issue one of the series. A year later, issue zero, which actually takes place between one and two. Wrap your head around that one. It’s an action comic, where we see the evil Hive usurping the land. Our hero, Cyrus, is a Ladybug whose home was decimated in the Hive’s wrath. He’s an unlikely, clumsy hero, but his journey will bring him to a much stronger place.
Dave: I’ve only been in the game for a short while but I have had the pleasure of working on Sci-fi, Fantasy and Historical comics so far. I hope to take a stab at a horror comic sometime soon. I am actively writing two titles currently: Tecumseh and The Underground. The Underground is an epic fantasy about an-thro-pro-mor-phic , sorry… I always have a hard time pronouncing that, bugs fighting against the forces of evil, which are also bugs. Tecumseh will tell a mostly historical tale about the rise and fall of this amazing hero. We will spend a lot of time on local history on that one as it’s all around us here especially during the bicentennial of the war of 1812 this year. Research is a plenty for this project, I have been to Walpole Island, all around Essex and Kent counties and have been to the Niagara peninsula getting first hand research.
Chris: What are some of the other projects that Twisted Studio produces? How are they are they linked together under the same umbrella known as Twisted Studio?
Dave: Twisted Studio is Paul’s baby; I’ll let him talk again.
Paul: The Underground. Did I mention the Underground? We’ve got our new project, Tecumseh. And then we’ve been using the Studio to help out other local businesses and entrepreneurs. We’ve developed a great website, and marketing scheme for Prime Lighting Design, and we’ve started doing the same for Cheryl’s Crafty Creations producers of MANY Monkeys. We try to create a strong relationship with all of our affiliates so that we can all help and cross promote one another, whenever possible.
Chris: What makes you different from other production companies? What themes do you carry out through your projects and what are Twisted Studio’s missions, goals, and objectives?
Dave: <Points at Paul>
Paul: I like to think of us as a creative development team, we try to work with others to build their own business identities and better reach their audiences. It’s not all about the studio profiting, but rather the people working within it. However we can put our skills to use, we’re all for it. I guess it boils down to everyone working together, to help, learn, and grow.
Chris: What Projects is the studio currently working on? I hear a timely project around the war of 1812 is in the works; can you give us some details on that is and what you think of the process so far?
Paul: Yes. Tecumseh’s our focus right now. We’re working on getting it out to the public for January 2013. It’s a really cool project, that’s evolved already since we’ve started work on it.
Dave: I would LOVE to expand on this Sir! Tecumseh Issue 1 will be his origin story. Issue 2 will start in 1812 and tell the story of the first two months of the war. It is progressing nicely. Production of Issue #1 is well underway (I bet Paul has a sketch book somewhere on him right now with some art for it) and the script for Issue 2 is currently being written.
Chris: Where would you want to be 5, 10, 15 years down the road with these projects, with Twisted studio: what would you be doing; where would you be then, what would Twisted Studio look like?
Dave: Tecumseh should be well in the books. I would like to have also completed at least one series in each of the major comic genres. 10 Years I would like to have finished at least 10 issues of the underground and finished the first five issues of my sci-fi story “five”. Five years down the road I would like to have Tecumseh finished. Twisted studio will be pretty much all of my spare time for the foreseeable future. :D
Paul: There’s so much we’d like to do, the biggest obstacle is maintaining focus. I’d really like to assert ourselves in the community as a source for creative assistance. 15 years down the road I’d like to have a physical study/art gallery. I’d like to expand the studio to include other local artists and writers, who can work together to create some really fun innovative projects.
Chris: Finally and most importantly, who would you thank? We all know having a family, full-time job and comic books can take up a lot of your time. Who has inspired you to do what you are now and who are some of your role models, idols, mentors?
Paul: I have a great circle of family and friends that I am very thankful for. My family has been awesome, my parents and siblings have always been so very encouraging. My wife has been incredibly supportive, and my son is my number one fan. He inspires me to keep going, to try my best, and to believe in myself. It’s funny when your child starts teaching you lessons that you’ve tried to pass along to them.
Dave: I would LOVE to thank, my brother for introducing me to pretty much all of the things I am obsessed with in life. Also I thank my mom and sisters for keeping me sane for the most part. Thanks to my wife and immediate family for inspiring me. Chris Walker and Paul Reaume of Twisted Studio for giving me a chance and last but not least John Ostrander and Jan Duursema for being the most epic duo in comics today, besides us that is <Huge Smile>
Chris: Well Thanks guys it was “awesomeness sauce” to hear more about what Twisted Studio is and what we can expect in the future. All the best to future projects and look forward to doing this again. Thanks guys.
Paul: Thank you, Chris. This has been lots of fun.