The following is an interview with Eisner Award-nominated Deron Bennett (letterer of Tale of Sand, Cyborg 009, Thrilling Adventure Hour, Masters of the Universe), writer of the creator-owned comic book series Quixote. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor Jason Enright chats with Bennett about his sci-fi and fantasy take on the age-old Don Quiote tale, the process of working with artist Dan Mora and letterer Paul Little, and the future of the comic book series.
This interview was conducted on May 8, 2014.
Jason Enright, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor: Congratulations on the release of your first creator-owned comic book, Quixote! For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the comic, how would you describe the story?
Deron Bennett: Thanks, man! I’m really excited about it. And, so far the positive response has been tremendous. Couldn’t be happier.
Now about the story.
The book follows Quixote and his buddy, Sam, as they journey the Nine Continents, searching for clues to unravel the secrets of the past. Quixote descends from a mystical race of people known as Lemurians, who are all but extinct from the planet. He’s trying to figure out how things got that way and takes up the adventurous life of a Questtaker in order to do so. Tagging along for the ride is his friend and squire, Sam, who keeps the hero in check and is definitely the more chivalrous of the two. In their quest to discover the truth, they find themselves facing a maniacal king, pirates, robots, and all manner of obstacles. It’s just a fun adventure in a fantastic world, with tons of room for exploration.
JE: This story takes some elements of the well-known Don Quixote story and blends them with sci-fi and fantasy elements, as well. What inspired you to create this story and build this world?
DB: I absolutely love fantasy adventures. I don’t care if we’re talking about books, movies, animation, or video games – it’s my favorite genre. I grew up on shows like He-Man and Thundercats and eventually graduated into fantasy books and classic literature. Now, I’m just a big kid who likes big-budget games and Hollywood trilogies. All of these forms of entertainment had me constantly thinking of how I would create my own fantasy realm, if I got the chance. I wanted to establish a new mythology and a world that blended the ancient and the modern. Quixote gave me the opportunity to do just that.
In regards to the Don Quixote ties, I tell readers – if you’re looking for an adaptation, this is not it. Instead, I used Cervantes’ masterpiece as a jumping off point and went off in a whole different direction. I liken it to the television show House and it being derivative of Sherlock Holmes. Sure, they had similarities, but you ended up engaged for different reasons.
JE: The art by Dan Mora and Paul Little is incredible. How did you find this team, and how would you describe the creative process of bringing the book to life?
DB: Yes and YES! These guys are phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about them.
I found Dan after seeing a post of his on Behance. I was looking for a particular art style for Quixote, and he had exactly what I was looking for. The expressions, body language, and energetic linework had me sold. From the outset, I wanted it to be an artistic collaboration. While the story was my invention, I wanted to give him the freedom to visually describe the world that these characters would live in. My script had basic direction, but Quixote was written for the artist to let his imagination go wild. And, boy, does Dan have an imagination! He’d show me his interpretation and blow me away with the first attempt. He’s very talented at delivering exactly what you need.
As a letterer, I worked with Paul Little before on the Fruit Ninja comic from Ape Entertainment. I was always impressed with his colors and his work ethic. I had to have him along for the ride. Dan conceptualized some of the colors early on, but when Paul first showed me what he had in mind for King Argus, he brought everything to another level. His color choices were spot on. Creative freedom is the difference maker in this book, and I’m happy to have two artists who I trust absolutely.
JE: What are your plans for the book? Do you see it as a miniseries or an ongoing comic?
DB: I like stories that end. My original intention was to do a self-contained story in a hardcover graphic novel, but, obviously, fronting costs myself for that can be daunting. So, I’m breaking it up into chunks for now until I can find a publishing home. In the meantime, I plan on doing a Kickstarter for subsequent issues, so stay tuned for that. And, while this story may end, I’m really looking to build a world that is so expansive, more stories can be made with the inhabitants of the Nine Continents.
JE: Where can our readers learn more about Quixote and purchase a copy for themselves?
DB: For more information, readers can go to facebook.com/quixotecomic. I post all of the latest news and sneak previews there. I also have a paypal link set up on the Facebook page to purchase a signed copy of the first issue and will be creating an online storefront, as well, to make it easier to find.
The book has been submitted to ComiXology for digital release, so once that is available, I’ll be posting to Facebook, as well.
JE: Okay, pitch time! Why should readers buy this book?
DB: I think if you’re a fan of books like Saga or Rat Queens, you should consider this. If you’re itching for a fix because you miss Battlechasers, this is it! There is a nice balance of adventure and action, humor and seriousness that readers can appreciate. We’ve got a solid creative team, putting together a quality book. Trust me, this thing is gorgeous. You’re missing out on the start of something special by passing this up. Okay, enough self-praise! GO AND BUY THE BOOK!