Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your comic book series, Butch the Butcher! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Michael Mettlen: Thank you. I appreciate it. Butch the Butcher was something that spawned from the feedback I kept getting on my first comic. People kept telling me how much they loved my violent illustrations and offbeat humor and said I had a real talent with drawing gory scenes. I wanted to capitalize on that and create, write, and draw a horror comic mixed with dark humor undertones. I started thinking of concepts and during this time a mob movie was on TV, and I have a big mob and gangster movie collection so the thought came to me: “I don’t believe these 2 genres have ever crossed in comics. This would be really cool and unique!” I started to form the concept and plot and created Butch the Butcher (4-part mini series). I spoke with Corry Heppler and had him co-write a bit with me for just the first issue, and now it’s published with Nerdanatix. OH - other great news! I just signed my third publishing deal! So, yaaay! Michael Mettlen’s Kane #2 releases next month in print and with a free digital downloaded copy. I’ll be attending 3 Rivers Comic Con May 19-20th.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working on the series, and what have been some of your creative influences?
MM: My creative process to me is pretty simple. I let the ideas come to me. I feel like forced ideas are the ones that are never as good as the spur-of-the-moment ideas. So, I get this idea in my head and start to develop a little concept story, then I begin writing a big, detailed plot, and from there I start to tear it apart and create a full script. I read the script and draw thumbnails to see how I feel I can best illustrate the layout of the story. Then, I begin penciling the page then to inks. From there, I send the final scanned inked page to my colorist Federico Sioc Jr., then to my letterer Mike Montalvo, and I contact artists I have a lot of respect for to do the cover art. Kane #2 and B.T.B. #1 has Bryan Silverbax on the cover. From there, it’s submitting the comic to publishers and hoping they bite. Some creative influences: mob movies, '70s, '80s, and '90s horror/slasher movies, and thanks to my wife and her obsession with Dateline, Law & Order, and serial killer TV shows, I drew inspiration from real killers and how they think. (I think my wife is planning to kill me. Her obsession with those shows is sketchy.) Issue #2 of B.T.B. really gets deep. The plot thickens and I really dig deep into the characters and how Butch thinks. It really shows true serial killer traits. It’s a much deeper approach with the different characters, plus new characters are involved in the story.
BD: How many issues do you have planned for Butch the Butcher, and what do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
MM: It is a 4-part mini series. I hope readers see I’m trying to do something different and appreciate that. I hope they dig deep into the story and it’s something that they will cherish and love. There’s more to B.T.B. than just a slasher/horror comic. It actually is also a tragic tale. I mean Butch was literally an ordinary butcher, husband, and father-to-be that - due to the mob - loses his family, his business, and all and snaps. He’s just an ordinary man pushed to the limit of his sanity. You witness Butch attempting suicide, abusing alcohol, and prescription medicine before he just loses it and becomes this deranged, homicidal serial killer getting revenge against the mob. Take all that then add in graphic, ultra-violent illustrations, and offbeat dark humor undertones. It’s definitely pretty crazy. I hope fans/readers see how much was really put into making this story and appreciate that.
BD: What makes Nerdanatix the perfect publishing home for the series?
MM: Nerdanatix published Michael Mettlen’s Butch the Butcher, so I feel like they obviously must see something. Publishing is expensive and in order to put money out, you have to believe in it. That’s why I’m happy with Nerdanatix. B.T.B. is selling print copies, and people are loving the free digital download copies. I chose Michael Mettlen’s Kane #2 to be published by Nerdanatix also. I signed with them yesterday, actually. They love what I do, and I appreciate it a lot and satisfied with their professionalism. Not to mention my contract allows me to have creative rights and ownership of my comics and characters, so I keep all my rights. I absolutely love that.
BD: In addition to your comic book series, you have also illustrated sketch cards for the 2018 Marvel Premier/ Upper Deck trading card sets. How would you describe your work on sketch card illustrations in comparison to your work with sequential art?
MM: Yeah, well with those Sketch Cards for Marvel/Upper Deck, I took a more cartoonish approach instead of doing a lot of detail. I just felt that would be more fun. My next Sketch Cards I do will be more detailed. That was my first try doing sketch cards. They hired me based on my portfolio on my website (www.MichaelMettlenArt.com). Drawing that small was challenging, but out of a 40-card set, they only rejected 3 cards, so I’d say they really liked them and now I have a much better feel for it so my next sketch cards will certainly be more in my comic book style, more details for sure.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
MM: I have Butch the Butcher #2 in the works, as well as Kane #3. (Kane #2 releases in February) I’ve also done a mini comic for a writer in London and will be penciling and inking his next in February, as well as I’m also currently working on a writers full-size comic right now. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say names of the commissioned comics I’m working on for these writers, but just keep in the loop with me and I’m sure you’ll be seeing them soon.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Butch the Butcher and your other work?
MM: Send me a friend request on Facebook (Michael Mettlen) and/or like the Facebook fan pages for my most current comics, Michael Mettlen’s Butch the Butcher and Michael Mettlen’s Kane. View my official website and you can get purchase your print physical copy of B.T.B. #1 from my publisher's website (www.Nerdanatix.com) under the SHOP tab or get a FREE digital copy of B.T.B. #1 under the "Comics" tab.