Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of Critical Entertainment this year at San Diego Comic-Con! What inspired the genesis of Critical Entertainment as a publishing company, and what defines (or will come to define) a Critical Entertainment title?
Christopher Reda: Thank you! The inspiration to create Critical Entertainment came from Mason Mendoza and my desire to spotlight a publishing company that could engage the audience on a thoughtful and meaningful level by featuring comic books of high quality and innovation. With degrees from California State University Northridge, Mason’s focus on Philosophy and mine on Film and Television Arts, we plan to create stories that are original, diverse, and forward-thinking. What will define us is how well Critical Entertainment can deliver reflective content and the reader’s willingness to open their minds and be able to see things from a new perspective.
BD: Your debut coincided with the release of three separate comic book series, as well as an original graphic novel. What can you share with us about the premise of these series and the respective creative teams involved?
CR: I have been writing these four books for many years, and I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with an array of talented artists.
Zombie Zero is a black-and-white series about Alexander Livingston, the last “surviving” zombie. Alexander enters into a post-apocalyptic California and follows his quest to reclaim a past that died before him. The series is a twist on the zombie story where instead of the humans fighting for survival the comic is centered on a zombie protagonist while he tries to understand the rebuilding civilization around him. The comic is illustrated by Leandro Rizzo and his perfect black-and-white style.
Planetary Expansion is a full-color ensemble series about The Aegis Starship and its 1,000 passengers. The book follows the crew’s quest to an inhabitable planet and reconciles their human nature with the unknown. The goal of this series is to inspire people and make them think about space exploration as we continue to make advancements in technology. Illustrated by Alonso Molina Gonzales, his attention to detail and ability to evoke emotion visually complements the story.
The First Americans is a full-color series about a Paleo-Indian and his wolf crossing the Bering Strait in pursuit of a mammoth herd. The hunter’s instincts are put to the test as he and his tribe fight to survive. We are keen on educating the audience on what the environment and the incredible Paleo-Indians had to endure during the late Ice Age as they were the first people to discover America. The series is illustrated by Tadd Galusha’s intricate and experienced style that brings the book to life.
Space Dragon a full-color graphic novel about a gigantic space-creature who jumps from planet to planet, absorbing oceans, in order to quench his thirst. This abstract piece explores isolation, pushing through the unknown, and reconciling one’s past. The graphic novel also stars Alonso Molina Gonzales’s grand imagery.
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in working with creators to bring their stories to life?
CR: I would describe my process when working with creators, other writers, and my artists is to give anyone I am collaborating with the ability to be as creative as possible and give me their interpretation of the work. I find the more patience and understanding I am when dealing with anyone creative, ultimately, the better the results become. I try to present viable options that favor the creators I work with and do my best to help them succeed.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your projects?
CR: We are hoping the readers will look at our comic books and think deeply on our stories and their major themes - hopefully giving our audience a better understanding of the world and the people they share it with. Zombie Zero examines the prejudice against someone with an unknown disease and how we shouldn’t jump to quick judgments. Planetary Expansion touches on humanity’s desire to expand into the solar system together. The First Americans aims to give common-day Americans a better understanding of the people who inhabited this country for thousands of years. Space Dragon finally tackles the importance of water as a natural resource.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working that you are able to share with our readers?
CR: I am currently writing Planetary Expansion Volume 2 as the story continues with the Aegis Starship navigating through our own solar system. The series will again feature art from Alonso Molina Gonzales as we deal with the aftermath of Vol. 1 and the difficult task of running a Starship catering to 1,000 passengers.
Co-Creator Mason Mendoza and I are also going into production of our newest comic book series, Minion, with art from Leandro Rizzo. Minion is about a henchmen team of bottom-tier lackeys who serve under a supervillian who commands them to travel a futuristic world in order to acquire a way to kill their unfocused arch-nemesis, Captain Cool. The humblest of low-life local thieves, Double Zero, gets caught up in the supervillain’s criminal organization and must explore cities around the globe protected by their own technologically advanced superheroes. As he pushes through a difficult journey of pain and humiliation, the story focuses on the henchmen’s constant battles with morality and the unknowing effects they have on the others around them.
BD: Are there any upcoming conventions at which our readers will be able to find you, either in the remainder of 2018 or looking ahead to 2019?
CR: Critical Entertainment will be exhibiting at Los Angeles Comic Con Artist Alley from October 26-28. Expect to find us exhibiting at WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con in 2019.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Critical Entertainment and its catalog?
CR: You can read any of our comic books at www.criticalentertainmentla.com, comixology.com, or amazon.com. Follow us on Instagram: @criticalentertainment, Twitter: @CriticalEntLA, and Facebook: @criticalentertainment!