The following is an interview with Sage Coffey regarding the recent launch of the independent crowdfunding campaign for the graphic novel, Wine Ghost Goes to Hell, in association with Iron Circus Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Coffey about the how their work in video games and newspaper print media translates to the sequential art medium, what makes Iron Circus the perfect home for this story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of your crowdfunding campaign for Wine Ghost Goes to Hell! For readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this original graphic novel?
Sage Coffey: Ooh, thank you! I’m excited to be working with ICC on publishing the graphic novel. Wine Ghost Goes to Hell follows the all-too-messy and a little too drunk hairy legged ghost Wine Ghost as she’s saddled with more responsibility than she’s prepared for when a friend from her living days unexpectedly shows up to her apartment, asking for help in finding a place to live! Sebastian, Wine Ghost’s old friend, doesn’t really know how to start living his best afterlife, but Wine Ghost sure does…Well, her version of living at least.
BD: Your body of work as a cartoonist and illustrator has spanned various mediums, from GLAAD Award-nominated video games to nationally syndicated newspapers. What made this story best suited for the sequential art medium, and did you find that your creative process differed from your prior work in other mediums?
SC: Wine Ghost actually started out as a series of self-published mini-comics and, because of that, a graphic novel felt like the next logical step for her to sashay in, haha. It’s, I’d say, almost a middle ground between newspaper comics and games writing. With games you’re writing almost like a spiderweb; you start at the center with an individual character and then continue expanding out based on player actions and reactions, connecting all of them together. With newspaper comics, usually they’re a max of ten panels in my experience, so while the writing process is more similar to graphic novels, it’s a lot shorter. For Wine Ghost Goes to Hell, there were challenges for sure, but I think once I found my groove, it was easy to dance to!
BD: In addition to the fact that Iron Circus has a stellar catalog of titles and an amazing stable of creative talent, what made the company the perfect home for this story?
SC: I think a lot of the work Iron Circus Comics champions is in the intersection of horror, humor, and sexy. That vibe really gels with Wine Ghost as a character and the sinisterly psychedelic world she inhabits! Spike Trotman, the founder of Iron Circus, understands Wine Ghost as a character, and, because of that, she’s been passionate about ICC putting their best foot forward to make sure the overall project is a success! Wine Ghost Goes to Hell has legs! Hairy ones, but the graphic novel has ’em for sure, hahaha.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Wine Ghost Goes to Hell’s story will connect with and impact readers?
SC: At its core, Wine Ghost Goes to Hell is about relationships – platonic, romantic, or otherwise – and how those relationships shape our interior lives. It might sound a bit heady for a comic about a drunk ghost with hairy legs and a love for wine, but I think it’s that balance of emotional realism and off-the-cuff goofiness that makes Wine Ghost a comic that’ll stick with the reader well past when they’re done reading it. That’s my hope, anyway!
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
SC: Currently, I’m working on an unannounced 40-page comic with an absolutely fantastic small press, and I’m also collaborating with Planned Parenthood Pacific Northwest for their Artists for Planned Parenthood series! I’m super excited about both of these projects, but I’d absolutely love to make more Wine Ghost in the future, too. Whether that future be animation or more comics, I’d love to keep visiting that sweet hairy-legged goof.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Wine Ghost Goes to Hell and to support your Backerkit campaign?
SC: You can support Wine Ghost Goes to Hell by going to this handy dandy link here to pre-order the book. Plus, we got some really neat plans for our stretch goals! And to keep an eye out on my personal works, you can follow me at @sagemcoffey on Instagram, @sagecoffey on twitter, and my website – sagecoffey.com. I do my best to make sure most of my comics are financially accessible, so all of the self-published Wine Ghost mini-comics are on there for free, as well. Thank you so much for having me!