Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for Immortal Studios’ first comic book series, The Adept. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this story?
Peter Shiao: The story of The Adept is centered around the life of Amy, a young woman who has seen more than her fair share of challenges and troubles. Those challenges are first exacerbated – and later transcended -- by the appearance of a Shaolin monk in her dreams who trains her in the ancient ways of transformative Kung Fu. So, this is a modern retelling of a classic “Wuxia” martial fantasy story with some surprising elements.
BD: What is the mission of Immortal Studios, and what do you feel defines an Immortal Studios title?
PS: The mission of Immortal is to awaken the inner hero in everyone we have the opportunity to touch. And in order to do that, we must first have worthwhile and awesome stories. Because we have chosen to that within a specific genre we love, we hope ultimately to be defined as the place that rebirthed one of the world’s oldest, storied genres onto the world stage with a powerful and personal call to action.
BD: You have an incredibly talented team working on The Adept. What can you share with us about your shared creative process in bringing the story to life, and what (or who) were some of the influences for the story and for Immortal Studios overall?
PS: Thank you for referencing the collaboration that is so much of the spirit of this project. Having never worked on a comic book before, we cannot lay claim to any kind secret sauce. But we did start in an intentional way to surround a very basic story that I came up with the best and brightest minds who each brought something very specific and powerful.
The co-writers added a lot of the flesh to the basic structure, gave it specificity, vibe, and emotionality, and because we wanted to tell an authentic story, we brought in a Shaolin master and action blocker to work out the actual sequences, and it all got gelled together by our artist under the coordination of a great production and campaign team who made sure all the parts sang together. So many influences and individuals contributed in an orchestra like fashion to the ultimate product.
In terms of a larger influence, we as a Wuxia studio, are working in a storied cultural, literary, and cinematic tradition about martial heroes. In the case of The Adept, we dove into that tradition along with Shaolin Kung Fu – literally the place that started Chinese Kung Fu – so it was extra meaningful. And because this is a genre that has been slowly watered down from Wuxia to martial arts, to “Chop Sockey,” we do have a bit of a chip on our shoulders on going back to the roots of everything while staying current at the same time.
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign?
PS: Personally, I love the big stretch goal reward when we hit $35,000, where all of our backers will have the opportunity to access a dialogue with a real Shaolin master. There are a lot of cool stuff associated with our Lady Gaga like Diva in the story, Sasha True, that I am looking forward to getting too. The Shaolin collectible cards are quite cool, too.
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 The Adept’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
PS: First, I wish to applaud you for what you are doing – because stories do matter a great deal, maybe a lot more than we even realize.
Because of our mission, our choices in having a Chinese American woman as the lead during a time when Asian Americans are under attack, a character who has been hurt by life but found a way to be empowered, and ultimately transformed, a story about accessing our inner heroes, during this very unique moment, are all intentional. It is our prayer for the world right now – and for ourselves. If Amy can do it, we all can – and it is all there for the taking if we want to – to be heroic in our lives.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about The Adept and its Kickstarter campaign?
PS: Our Kickstarter campaign is live until July 15, and the easiest way is to get to it is right here. We share a lot of the art and many pages of the work in progress on our page. We have been blessed with a strong showing on Kickstarter by meeting our goal in the first few hours, so now it is about generating further validation for the premise of this story and what we stand for as a company. Anything helps our cause. Everyone is also welcomed to look for us on social (@immortalglobal), where we put out quite a bit on our whereabouts and updates.