The following is an interview with Gabe Cheng regarding the Kickstarter campaign for the third chapter of his comic book series, For Molly. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Cheng about the inspiration behind the series, his creative process with artist Benjamin Sawyer in bringing the project to life, the impact that the story may have with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for the third chapter of your comic book series, For Molly. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the story?
Gabe Cheng: For Molly is about an anti-social talking dog named Molly that lives alone in the New Jersey forest. She helps a recently divorced outsider named Greg rescue his sister from a hidden evil. At first, they don’t get along, but as they navigate this hidden world filled with feral talking dogs and human cultists living off-the-grid, Greg and Molly realize they need each other in more ways than one. They form the bond that only a dog and a human can have, but in this case the dog can talk.
BD: What inspired you tell to this story, and what or who have been some of your influences?
GC: There are so many things that have inspired me! I’ll just share one. I used to be a high school teacher, and Molly’s personality is based on one of my former students. This girl is stubborn and sassy, but she has a good heart. Molly is the same way. It takes a lot to earn her trust, but when you do, there’s no one better in the world to rely on.
My biggest literary influence was the book Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It’s a modern fantasy story about a guy who’s unsatisfied with his life, and he discovers something worth fighting in the magical hidden world under the streets of London. I thought about that book a lot when I was writing For Molly.
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign?
GC: My artist Benjamin Sawyer and his co-creator Jim Ousley have another Kickstarter that’s running concurrently with For Molly. We’ve teamed up so that anyone who backs both For Molly and his comic, Butcher Queen, gets a free drawing from him and a free sticker from me. The sticker says “support indie comics,” so it’s a cool way for people to show their support for the whole independent community!
BD: What do you feel makes Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms such valuable tools for independent creators?
GC: I think people on Kickstarter trust Kickstarter. Both backers and creators know that it’s reliable. And I feel like people that back comics on Kickstarter are very discerning. They know what a good campaign looks like, and when a creator is being genuine, and what campaigns are worthy of their contribution. On the flip side of that, Kickstarter gives creators the opportunities to be creative and transparent with their projects. I feel like Kickstarter gives me a lot of the tools that I need to “tell the story” of my comic on my project page.
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 For Molly’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
GC: This story is for anyone that ever wanted to go on an adventure with their dog. I guess that’s one of my other inspirations for writing it. On the surface, For Molly is an adventure story with big action set pieces and a huge dogs-versus-humans battle scene coming up in chapter three. But it’s also about two lonely characters that are at very low points in their lives, and how they, very unexpectedly, pull each other out. And I hope that connects with people because that’s the story that I want to tell.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
GC: For fellow Futurama lovers, I co-host a biweekly podcast called Another Lousy Millennium (www.almpod.com) where my brother and I summarize, analyze, and discuss Futurama episode by episode. As for my next comic project, you’ll have to stay tuned to my Kickstarter page! In the last week of the campaign, I’ll have a big announcement about that.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about For Molly?
GC: You can find For Molly on Kickstarter. The campaign is going on right now and ends Friday, May 22nd.