The following is an interview with artist Chris Anderson regarding the recent launch of the Kickstarter campaign for the comic book series and tie-in RPG, Chaotic Neutral. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Anderson about bringing the essence of role-playing games to Chaotic Neutral, getting inspiration from artists like Errol Otis and Bill Willingham, his process of working with writer and co-creator Mark Sable (Dracula: Son of the Dragon, Miskatonic, Graveyard of Empires), and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign with writer Mark Sable for Chaotic Neutral. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this series and its gaming tie-ie?
Chris Anderson: Chaotic Neutral pays tribute to early fantasy role-playing games. Mark had this incredible idea where we would follow a group of lowly townsfolk, led in part by a literal s#!t shoveler named STELLAN. They are a diverse crowd of your typical RPG classes and races, but in game terms, they start out at first level and have about 1 hit point. When the town gets fed up with paying tribute to the “church” and appeasing “those below,” they take matters into their own hands and mayhem ensues.
As far as the game part, it allows you to be dropped into the world of Chaotic Neutral. You can play the characters in the book or make your own. Face the same challenges they do in the story or find your own corner of the Chaotic Neutral universe. It’s very flexible, much like most RPGs.
BD: As a D&D gamer yourself, what can you share with us about bringing the essence of role-playing games, characters, and worlds to the sequential art medium?
CA: RPGs are a creative storytelling device by their very nature. Everyone has their own idea of what characters or situations look like when they’re playing. There are certain elements that have been locked into our imaginations by 40-plus years of these kinds of games existing. So, on some level, it was just about combining those two elements and translating it into the greatest form of media that mankind has ever devised which is comics. In my humble opinion, of course.
BD: You have an incredible and unique artistic style. How would you describe your creative process of working with Mark to craft the look of the characters and the feel of the world?
CA: Well, thank you. I appreciate the kind words. Mark came to me a few years ago with the idea that this should have the essence of the original RPG art from the game modules, player’s handbook, monster manual, etc. We studied artists like Errol Otis and Bill Willingham before he became a writer. We wanted to capture that feeling. Mark’s scripts are very descriptive and full of reference but also left me a lot of room to do what I do. He’s incredible in a lot of ways. So, this was a true collaboration and labor of love that I think shines brightly in the book. I’m already well into drawing issue 2, and it’s just plain fun.
BD: In light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
CA: Well, first off, we designed a special 10-sided die with a Chaotic Neutral logo on it. That seemed like a no-brainer. We are making an uncut sheet of monster cards, much like in days of yore, drawn by some of the best in the biz. We were lucky enough to get Jim Rugg, Kyle Straham, Jeremy Haun, Jeff Johnson, Max Dunbar, Maan House, Tim Seeley, and Dan Panosian to whip up some baddies. One exciting option is to be able to play the game with Mark as the GM. When have you ever gotten to play with the person who actually wrote the module? It’s a unique experience and the one that I personally would pick if I was on the other end. In fact, if there are any spots, I may buy in anyway. I’m drawing people’s RPG characters as a tier, but really, I’ll draw whatever you want. And we have all of the original art up for grabs. There’s more, but I’ll let you dig in and discover for yourself.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you would like to share with readers?
CA: Horrorium is an anthology written by Kyle Straham and Matthew Mitchell which just came out. I have a nine-page story in that. It’ll be up on our respective online stores. 21st Century Pulp: Weird Worlds is another anthology that will see itself on Kickstarter soon. David Accampo and I worked on a story for that. David and I are also continuing our One-Shot Horror stories, where we are spot coloring our way through the spectrum. I’m in the process of pitching some things, so I’m excited to see what’s next myself.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about the Chaotic Neutral Kickstarter campaign and your other work?
CA: One thing that needs to be said is that you don’t need to be a RPG fan to get into Chaotic Neutral. It stands on it’s own as a really crazy and exciting story. It just so happens that if you love it, you can get friends together and also play it. Same goes the other way around. It really has something for everyone. As for my other work, Lost Angels by David Accampo and I is available on my site, www.chrissndersoncomics.com, along with other things like original art. A second Lost Angels series called the School Daze Playlist is on ComiXology. Hopefully, we will have more exciting news about Lost Angels soon, as well.
Thanks so much for chatting with me. It’s always a pleasure. I’m a big Fanbase fan.