Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: For our readers who may be unfamiliar with Cutthroat Comics, what initiated the publishing company, and what defines a Cutthroat Comics title?
Josh Nealis: I was in a band for a number of years. We broke up basically because I was exhausted. Being a pro musician can be extremely stressful, especially when you’ve had a certain amount of success. At the time, I was in the band, I was also full time in college, as well as working full time. Unfortunately, the band got the short end of the stick. Once the dust settled in my life, I knew I wanted to write. So, having only school work as experience, I started a movie and video game review website. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t gratifying. One day at work lightening struck. All of these ideas and concepts started flooding my mind. So, I got to work, and really haven’t slowed down much since. That was about 5 years ago. At the time of this interview, I’ve written 5 comics and 5 books, currently working on a new comic, and a new book. Not to mention all of the administrative things that go along with owning a publishing company.
BD: What can you share with us about the creators with whom you have worked on Cutthroat’s previous publications, including Stingray, Pedoman, and Ginger Avenger?
JN: Our creators camp is small as of yet, but there are some talks being thrown around with some other creators. I expect soon to have a stable of creators ready to show the world what they can do. Currently, it’s mainly me, as well as Cristiano Reina. Cristiano is from Italy, and has completely drawn every comic book we’ve released as of yet. Except for the cover of Stingray #2, which was penciled and inked by Matt Horak. Matt is the current artist on Spider-Man/Deadpool for Marvel. He’s also done The Punisher and has his own comic called Octo-Skull. As far as Cristiano, we’ve built a pretty good working relationship, even despite the language barrier, which really has only been a hurdle on occasion. Personally, I think both of these guys are super talented, and deserve a lot of credit for bringing my weird thoughts to life.
BD: As the CEO and a creator within the company, how do you find that you balance both the business and creative aspects of your work?
JN: Balancing the two is difficult sometimes, but like with any business, and especially when you’re talking artistic endeavors, you have to learn to ad lib and roll with the punches. You just have to be flexible and figure out when to promote yourself, and when to promote the company as a whole. I’ve recently become better at doing both simultaneously.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your projects?
JN: I try to create things that are interesting and witty, but also have a deep thought type of motif. I have a knack, most of the time, to be able to tell a story but also have some themes and lessons and ideas that are hidden under what’s going on in the story. South Park is great at this type of storytelling. I know personally I always enjoy when I’m thinking about a story, whether it be a book or a comic or a movie, and days later I realize that there was more to it. More to what the writers and whoever else was trying to say. Great storytelling has those layers that keep you thinking. I think I’m successful at that, at least I hope so.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you are able to share with our readers?
JN: Currently, we are working on Ginger Avenger #2. It’s almost complete. I’m hoping by August 4th, for Neo Comic-Con. Which Matt and I will both be vendors. Wink Wink. I’m also currently working on a follow up to my book of short stories and poems, You’d Be Surprised! Also included in this compilation will be the final closing of the Stuffed Squirrels & Porcelain Angels stories. It will be a short story that caps off the last character’s story arc from that series. Other than that, there are things in the works but nothing solid. Like I mentioned, we have some other creators I’m trying to wrangle under my banner, but it’s a tough business, and artists in general can be…well they’re artists, we all know at least one.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Cutthroat Comics and its titles?
JN: Once I started going out to cons and signings I quickly learned that I was only able to draw in a certain demographic. Basically, dudes like me. Since then I’ve tried to create something for everyone. We have three different comic titles that vary from super violent, to slapstick, to basically all ages. We have a self-help book for newly single people, which part of the proceeds go to a local charity for people coming out of abusive relationships. We also have a kid’s book about making friends. What’s important about Cutthroat Comics is the diversity in storytelling. We push the envelope when we can. I want people to think, learn from life, but also have a laugh.