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Fanbase Press Interviews Mathew Groom on the Upcoming Release of the Graphic Novel, ‘Inferno Girl Red: Book One,’ with Image Comics

The following is an interview with Mathew Groom regarding the upcoming release of the graphic novel, Inferno Girl Red: Book One, from Image Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Groom about his shared creative experience in guiding the book from crowdfunding to the traditional publishing route, how readers may have connected with the story during its initial release, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Inferno Girl Red: Book One through Image Comics!  When we last chatted, you were launching the book through a successful campaign on Kickstarter.  What can you share with us about your creative journey with the book from crowdfunding to traditional publishing?

Mathew Groom: Thank you so much! It’s been quite a ride. It was our first Kickstarter campaign, so there was a lot for us to learn, fast. I think having some experience in creator-owned traditional publishing (I had done a book called SELF/MADE with Eduardo Ferigato, through Image previously.) meant we came in with some useful knowledge—about printing, about publishing formats, about workflow processes, and communication.

But there were elements we weren’t prepared for, too. It’s one thing to work on a comic quietly in the background, in secret. But to do it when you have an obligation to more than a thousand people, who are (rightly) hungry for regular updates—that’s a whole other thing. So, when Erica injured her hand and was unable to draw for a few months, it was a stressful time… but it also showed us how supportive and caring our community of backers really was.

I think that was the other big thing we learned—the power of having a community invested in the process. Sharing updates, reading reactions, the widespread support… people were drawing fan art, others were like ambassadors, helping us spread the word… it’s so inspiring and motivating. 

It actually pairs really well with being published through the direct market and book store market with Image—because Image provides total creative freedom, we were able to produce exactly the book we wanted to. But unlike in times past, we didn’t have to take it on faith—our Kickstarter backers had already experienced the story, already loved it, already reacted to the moments and the characters and the art… so we knew we putting something worthwhile out into the world.

BD: For readers who may have picked up a copy of the book via Kickstarter, are there any updates or additions that we may anticipate with the Image release?

MG: No additions—we always wanted our Kickstarter backers to have the ultimate version of the book, since they invested the most and supported us from the start. The Image release is a chance for everyone who wasn’t able to back our campaign to enjoy the story—and hopefully for our Kickstarter backers, it’s a chance to share the story with more people!

BD: In looking back at the development and creation of the story, what can you tell us about your creative process in working with artist Erica D’Urso, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey, and editor Kyle Higgins that really made this series unique?

MG: It hasn’t been altogether too different from any other Image Comics project I’ve worked on— constant collaboration from the start; tremendous, reciprocal creativity. Erica’s role as a co-creator was so vital in helping define this world and these characters. Igor brings depth and vividness and energy that inspires the rest of the team. Becca gives our characters their unique voice, and helped us experiment with the form in some unique ways I think readers will delight in discovery.

But one thing I loved about doing the Kickstarter was it allowed us to do a big hardcover addition with heaps of process material—which allows people to come behind the scenes and see a lot of how that development happened. You get to see how much Erica’s personality and style shaped the characters, as well as how much work she put into dialing in exactly the right feel for them. You get to see what a page looks like before and after Igor transforms it. I think all readers get a sense of how much joy we get from working together, because it all comes out on the page—but it’s nice to give people an opportunity to understand how that all comes about.

BD: Given that you have been able to share the story with readers (through the Kickstarter release), how do you feel that Cássia’s story has connected with and impacted readers, especially in light of the incredible critical and fan response? 

MG: Well, when we were developing this story, we felt it was timely and relevant—being a story about finding hope when darkness is pressing in from all sides. But we’ve certainly had that confirmed now—it’s been really touching, seeing how Cássia’s journey resonated with so many people. I was also confident that the book had something different to offer the world of superhero comics, with its blend of influences, and seeing people respond so enthusiastically to that was validating, too.

Perhaps more than anything, though, one of the greatest joys for me has been watching the world discover Erica and Igor! I legitimately think it’s the best-looking superhero graphic novel to come out in recent memory, and seeing that come from relatively new talent, absolutely taking everyone off-guard… that’s undeniably fun!

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?

MG: It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that we’re planning a Book Two follow-up to Inferno Girl Red: Book One—so we hope people keep their eyes out for that! I have a few other projects in the works, too, but nothing I can talk about right now unfortunately!

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Inferno Girl Red: Book One and your other work?

MG: If you’re looking for a bold, energetic, completely self-contained superhero story that draws influences from Kamen Rider as much as Spider-Man, we hope you’ll check out Inferno Girl Red: Book One—it’s out June 7!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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