Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for the supernatural comics anthology, KITH + KIN. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the anthology?
Heather Ayres: At the heart of every story is a normal family experiencing normal family struggles in extraordinary ways. With KITH + KIN, we wanted to really dive into that and explore how the demons that we all have within our family would manifest as very real corporeal beings. How do they try to tear us apart? How does overcoming them bring us closer together?
Brittany Matter: KITH + KIN brings together the monstrous family drama of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with the dark shades of sadness and heartwarming messages of Tim Burton’s Big Fish.
BD: What inspired you to create this collection, and what or who have been some of your influences?
HA: We’ve always found the inner workings of families endlessly fascinating and have touched on the subject in our individual work. I think we were inspired to take a subject matter that we both find to be so worth delving into, while looking at it through the lens of the fantastical. For myself, I found a lot of my inspiration came from more traditional literary monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dorian Grey when writing these comics. I think that has a lot to do with growing up reading comics and books like Goosebumps.
BM: Heather and I had a lot of ideas rolling around, and, as we brainstormed, we kept coming back to the concept of the family unit, in all its incarnations, and how those connections are important to our lives. What influenced me most in KITH + KIN were the monsters and myths that I grew up reading and watching in film that I loved, but also scared the heck out of me: Anne Rice’s vampires in Interview with a Vampire, the famished trolls in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and Stanley Kubrick’s Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). I also think that Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark influenced how I approached the horror and supernatural aspects within KITH + KIN.
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign?
BM: The Digital Deluxe Part Deux is packed with comics and art extras! For $25, not only do backers get a digital copy of KITH + KIN including concept art and scripts, they also get three extra short comics and three coloring pages from KITH + KIN artists Tom Napolitano, Caroline Autopsy, and Erik Whalen.
HA: I would totally agree with Brittany that the Digital Deluxe Part Deux is one of the most exciting rewards we have. I mean, who doesn’t love to color. We are also offering the Cameo + Credit at the $500 level which gives backers the opportunity to be immortalized in the pages of KITH + KIN by having one of our artists draw them into the book. They’ll also get their name listed in the book, as well, plus all the goodies offered in the KITH + KIN Bundle reward.
BD: What do you feel makes Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms such valuable tools for independent creators?
HA: Kickstarter removes the gatekeeping aspect that is still such a hurdle to get through when looking to go the traditional publishing route. The fact that you can engage directly with your audience to give them what they want is so invaluable.
BM: I think Kickstarter provides an easy-to-use platform to build out the basic needs for creators to be successful and create community. It’s a place for independent creators to also start a following they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that KITH + KIN’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
BM: I love that initiative! I think KITH + KIN will offer relatability. At its center, it explores the connections we make with our families and how those relationships can be either uplifting or toxic. I think they’ll also find that it sticks with them with its subtle messages about what truly makes a monster.
HA: I would second that and add that the beating heart of KITH + KIN is connecting with others. Even if you don’t see yourself as a digital parasite or twins stuck in an endless cycle of growing up, the themes of these stories and the experiences these characters have are universal–whether that’s with your biological family or the found family you choose to be around.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
HA: I feel like I have my fingers in a handful of writing projects at any given time. For the last five years, another writing partner of mine, Jasbir Khara, and I have been working on a comic book series called ABINAASH DAASH VS. Along with Jasbir, artist Tim Brennan is on the book. We were so lucky to have Brittany lend her editing skills to the first issue and really make it shine. ABINAASH DAASH VS. follows first-generation second-grader Abinaash Daash as he navigates school, his Indian immigrant family, and friendships all while fighting off bad guys and saving the day with his deeply rooted ancestral superpowers. Each story arc explores academic subjects like art, history, math, and science enriching the comics with an educational element. You can check out more about Abinaash on Instagram at @abinaashdaashvs.
BM: I’ve been working on a comic book miniseries called DEAD DREAMS: THE LUCID CHRONICLES with artists Dailen Ogden and Hari Conner, editor Heather Ayres, letterer Ariana Maher, and designer Sasha Head. DEAD DREAMS follows the lost-in-life Piña Axletree who ends up in her doppelgänger's body and leads a drug cartel that deals in stolen dreams! Dailen and I also both worked on Riley Biehl’s MIRANDA IN THE MAELSTROM about the interdimensional travelers Miranda and her shark-dog Noodles, out now from Action Lab on comiXology!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about KITH + KIN?
BM: The best way is to support the KITH + KIN: An Anthology Kickstarter campaign before it ends this Sunday, May 3, at 11:59 p.m./EST!
HA: By clicking that link and supporting the KITH + KIN Kickstarter! What are you waiting for?