The following is an interview with Dorian L. Alexander regarding the recent launch of the Kickstarter campaign for the comic book series, Heretics of the Fathomless Realms. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Alexander about the shared creative process of bringing the world and characters to life, the backer rewards available to supporters, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of your comic book series, Heretics of the Fathomless Realms, on Kickstarter! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Dorian L. Alexander: Heretics is an emotionally charged action-adventure comic book series that takes place across numerous different sci-fi/fantasy worlds and follows a diverse cast of queer and magical characters. The first issue of Heretics follows the roguish wizards El and Im as they rekindle their ancient friendship by stealing a magical cactus from the powerful Church of Sylisstrene. This inaugural issue features heartfelt conversations, titanic magical battles, and a beautifully rendered fantasy city as the two heretics flee the scene of their crime and land themselves in even worse trouble.
Jeremy and I initially came up with the idea of two world-hopping wizards while on a trip in Seattle (where we both eventually moved). We’d been interpreting our lives as this grand magical adventure for a while, where repairing a broken teacup or stumbling across a strangely curving alley could be reframed as a weird little story. This sort of “finding the magic in the mundane ” is something we both believe in very strongly in terms of cultivating mental health and self-empowerment. Eventually, we decided we wanted to literalize the practice in the form of a comic.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Jeremy Raab, colorists Gabriel Fischer and NJ Koehler, and letterer Rus Wooton to bring this story to life, and what (or who) have been some of your creative influences?
DLA: Jeremy and I affectionately refer to our collaborative process as our “weekly fight.” We work very closely together throughout the entire process and each page is the result of a constant discussion. We also try to make time to ramble around the city for inspiration. Gabriel colored issue #1 and did some great work, but wasn’t able to return for Issue #2.
Luckily, we were able to find NJ relatively quickly. Jeremy was entranced by the cover work she did for a Trans Erotic comic anthology on Kickstarter, and she has done an INCREDIBLE job with Issue #2. We’re very excited for everyone to see it. As for Rus, the lettering he did for Monstress was, up until Heretics of course, the most dynamic and lush lettering I’d ever seen. We had to have him on board. I should also mention the community Jeremy and I have in Seattle. Making an independent comic series is a ton of work and the people we surround ourselves with have been enormously influential on the world of the comic and its brilliantly shining characters.
In terms of style, we’ve mainly been influenced by older fantasy comics like Sandman and Promethea, where there was a lot more experimentation in terms of panelization and gutter work. Deadly Class has also been pretty influential, especially for Issue #1 where there is a lot of densely packed action. Nothing in the mainstream beats Deadly Class when it comes to depicting action. I’d also say there’s a little P. Craig Russell in there. That man knows how to draw a twink!
BD: What are some of the incredible backer rewards that you would like to highlight for those who support the campaign?
DLA: We’ve got a bunch of really fun variant covers for people to collect, a ton of unique, eye-catching stickers, and a bunch of different ways to see yourself put into the comic.
BD: As an indie creator, do you find Kickstarter to be a valuable tool in the comics-making process and would you recommend it for other indie creators?
DLA: Oh yeah. It’s basically the best out there for indie comic creators. They’re in a bit of hot water for trying to get on the stupid NFT bandwagon, but the myth of endless growth is basically baked into every major company’s strategy manual nowadays. I’ve been hearing good things about Zoop, but Kickstarter still provides the most efficient means of finding new audiences in my book.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DLA: Issue #2 of Heretics is going to be released on Kickstarter on April 19th, and the work on issue #3 has already begun. We’re also working on adult coloring book with a bunch of weirdly erotic monsters, stand alone sticker sets, and resin cast figurines.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Heretics of the Fathomless Realms and your other work?
DLA: Weirdtrails.com has links to all our socials and hosts our storefront. We’ve also got a Patreon where we provide more in depth lore about the Fathomless Realms, behind-the-scenes commentary, spells you can do at home, and a lot more!