The following is an interview with Ray Chou, writer of the comic book series, Skies of Fire, which recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds to complete the project. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor Jason Enright talks with Chou about !
Skies of Fire is an awesome, new comic series that caught my eye at this year’s Long Beach Comic Con. The first issue built a really unique world and a cool conflict, plus the designs and art were incredible. When I recently learned that the creators were turning to Kickstarter to further fund their project, I had to learn more. Here is what writer Ray Chou had to say about his project.
Jason Enright, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor: You’ve launched a new Kickstarter for Skies of Fire. For those just hearing about it, what is the comic series about?
Ray Chou: Skies of Fire is an airship story of loyalty and revenge. It takes place in a fictional world called Aquila, which has a massive, endless storm called The Expanse right smack dab in the middle. Basically, the Raiders have figured out some way to navigate into and out of the storm, which sends the Empire into a panic. An ambitious airship captain named Helen Pierce volunteers to lead an expedition into the Expanse to flush the Raiders out.
JE: One of the coolest aspects of Skies of Fire is all of the detailed world building and design work for all of the vehicles. Can you tell us a bit about the codexes in each issue?
RC: So, the codexes started out as part of our stretch goals for our first Kickstarter, but we’ve since decided to have them standard with all our comics going forward. They’re basically a space where we can put interesting things from the world itself – kind of like tabletop ‘fluff’ or things you would see in an old video game manual.
Issue One had a bunch of articles building on the history of the world, while the big one in Issue Two is a Ships of the World that kind of looks like a page from those old, hardcover Eyewitness children’s books we read as kids – the ones about whales, armor, vikings, etc. The codexes give us an opportunity to tell the history of the world without resorting to a lot of exposition, which we tend to shy away from.
JE: You have a great team for this project. How did this team come together, and how do their talents contribute to this awesome project?
RC: At first it was just Vince and me writing the movie script together. After we finished a draft, we decided to turn it into a comic book, because it seemed like the best way to make the idea . . . more real? Like, without spending a bajillion dollars.
We found Pablo, Bryan, and the other artists through job postings by auditioning them. We would pick our top five, then give each of them a little bit of money to do a proof of concept. Both Pablo and Bryan nailed the aesthetic right away, and, in hindsight, it all seems really serendipitous. It has not been that easy finding artists for our other projects!
JE: What are some of the rewards and stretch goals available for people who pledge?
RC: We’re offering the physical prints, obviously, but we have pretty nice entry-level awards with digital copies for $6 and a cool sticker for $2. We also have the usual Kickstarter stuff – t-shirts, posters, postcards, etc. We try to make things as affordable as possible, even though Kickstarter is kind of a place where people understand they’re paying a little bit more to help fund the production of the art.
JE: Okay, pitch time! Why should readers click over to Kickstarter right now and pledge for the book?
RC: Artwise, I can honestly say we have one of the most beautiful books out there right now. I think everyone involved in the project has done their best professional work to date, and our previous backers can attest that we’re dedicated to seeing this thing through. We’re also a ‘true’ Kickstarter project in that everyone involved is relatively new to the scene, though now one year wiser. Now is the perfect time to be a part of something that’s only going to get bigger and better!