Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President: Can you tell us a little about your creative background and how it led to you becoming an independent comic book creator?
Ryan Burke: Well, I’ve always been a writer, if I’m allowed to self-prescribe. I’m always tinkering with something or studying pop culture, and Coronary is the project that’s never let me go. I feel that indie comics is the best home for it.
BD: For those who are unfamiliar with the title, what can tell us about the plot of your comic series, Coronary?
RB: In short, plastic surgery becomes free, and everyone gets the body they want. We follow the businessmen that started it all, and the remorse is growing inside him. He meets a protestor and she tries to get him to change his ways before it is too late.
BD: Do you mind telling our readers more about the world and cast of characters in Coronary?
RB: The world is consumerism set to eleven. The world is based around party drugs and living for an image. The old traditions have died, but there are those wanting to bring them back. There’s the law to one side, and cold killers on the other, and Justin has to change his ways. Before, you know, murder.
BD: You've describe Coronary as “Romeo and Juliet meets Black Mirror.” Can you expand on that description a bit and tell us which elements of those two iconic properties are present with in the pages of Coronary?
RB: Of course. To me Romeo and Juliet was always about two people who lived in different worlds, and reaching out over old grievances. That’s Justin and Luna to me, trying to overstep the trappings of past wrongs. Black Mirror terrifies me. Always does, but it exaggerates to point to a greater truth about ourselves. Coronary points to a truth in all of us, about our opinion of ourselves, and our position in society.
BD: In a piece posted on BleedingCool.com, you expressed that, “We've all been tricked to feel inadequate about our bodies...We've all been made to think these things...Coronary will be the thorn in the side of this movement.” What can you tell us about your inspiration for creating this comic series and your personal feelings regarding the plastic surgery and beauty industry?
RB: It sucks. I’ve been inspired by the great dystopias of the past to derail it. It’s why political systems have been described as ‘“like 1984,” and it’s an insult. This shows us the power of books to change peoples perspectives on the world around us. And that’s words on a page. Coronary will do the same.
It’s easy to get miserable when facing an enemy so huge and so widespread, but it’s a worthy adversary. If Animal Farm can gut Communism, Coronary has a fair shot too. This system of forced insecurity has seeped into everything. It affects my relatives, spouses, parents. The women in my life are angelic, and some f**k in a magazine is telling them they should eat, love and smile less. F**k that.
BD: What type of readers do you think might enjoy the subject matter present in Coronary?
RB: I’ll get off my soapbox now. I balanced it so the plot and substance never override the other. If I do say so myself, it’s got pace. The characters bounce of each other, to show multiple perspectives on the issue (like Watchmen, if you’d pardon the comparison).
BD: Can you tell us about the rest of the creative team behind Coronary?
RB: Joel Saavedra and Damian Panalba run the artwork side of things way out in Argentina. They worked under Marcelo Frusin, and I’ve got to thank him for teaching my team to be as great as they are. We work great together, and I hope that shows on the page.
BD: What do you enjoy about the comic book and sequential art medium when it comes to writing and storytelling?
RB: I like that there’s such an openness to experimentation. I’ve seen crazy things that I’d never think could be in a movie, but it works perfectly within sequential art. There’s magic in the page beats, there really is.
BD: Has your writing style been influenced by any specific comic book or non-comic book creators?
RB: My writing style has been influenced by Alan Moore more that I feel comfortable admitting. Coronary is my Watchmen, to be frank, and I put that on a pedestal so tall it looks like Nelson’s Column.
BD: At Fanbase Press, we love to find out what creators are fans of. So, what are you currently a fan of? It can be anything you choose, but what are you enjoying that you can share with our readers?
RB: Currently, anything Brian K Vaughan. I’m a decade late on Y: The Last Man, but that plot just grabs you. I swear I ran through three volumes worth in about a week. That and Saga. Two fantastic stories.
BD: You currently running a Kickstarter campaign for Coronary. What have your experiences with crowdfunding been like and what can backers of Coronary look forward too in regards to backer rewards?
RB: It’s been fantastic. It’s humbling to see the outpouring as support for the work. People really connect with it, and pick out stuff I didn’t even consider when I scripted it. Thank you all!
I’d say the best one is getting included in the comic itself. There’s people that will always be in the Coronary canon, and that must be a damn good bar story.
(Editor’s note: You can find the Kickstarter page for Coronary here.)
BD: And, finally, where can our readers find out more about you and Coronary online?
RB: My twitter (@RyanBurkeWriter) is always live with the latest updates, so just drop me a message and say hello.