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Fanbase Press Interviews Mat Groom on His Return to Kickstarter for ‘Inferno Girl Red: Book Two’ and Much More

The following is an interview with Mat Groom regarding his return to Kickstarter for Book Two of the the graphic novel series, Inferno Girl Red. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Groom about returning to the world and characters alongside artist Erica D’Urso, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey, and editor Kyle Higgins, his contributions to the Bad Blood card game which will soon be coming to Kickstarter, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: It has been a great pleasure to follow the trajectory of Inferno Girl Red over the past few years! You recently returned to Kickstarter to crowdfund the next chapter with Inferno Girl Red: Book Two. What can you share with us about where readers will find their favorite, new hero in this next volume?

Mat Groom: Well, I think the first thing I’d say is that if you haven’t read any Inferno Girl Red before, now’s the perfect time to jump in, because our Kickstarter has both physical and digital copies of Inferno Girl Red: Book One available, along with Book Two. So, if you’re interested in vivid, earnest superhero storytelling inspired by a mix of Western superhero fiction, Japanese tokusatsu storytelling, and British boarding school fiction in equal amounts– we’d love for you to check out our campaign!

For those new readers: Inferno Girl Red is the story of Cássia Costa– a teenage girl who bounced from city to city as her mother struggled to find work. After a difficult upbringing, she gets a chance to redefine her future when she’s invited to an extremely prestigious academy, in the near-utopian Apex City. Everything is looking up for Cássia– until the entire city is ripped out of our universe and cast into darkness, taking Cássia’s hopes of a brighter future with it. But she gets a chance to turn things around when a magical bracelet rockets into her life, empowering her to take on the legacy mantle of Inferno Girl Red – though the bracelet is powered by belief, forcing Cássia to find a reason to hope when all seems lost, so she can live up to a secret legacy, save her only family, and protect her new home!

As for where Cássia’s at in Book Two – she’s just had a huge win and has proven how much she is capable of… but it came at an immense cost, which has left her reeling. But Cássia won’t have much time to find her footing, because a new pair of adversaries are about to emerge, a fraught potential romance will crop up when she least expects it, and she’s going to discover more about the seemingly omnipotent puppet master behind the darkness that besieges Apex.

BD: You are reuniting with artist Erica D’Urso, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey, and editor Kyle Higgins for this new story. How would you describe your shared creative process in being able to call upon your prior work together?

MG: I feel immensely privileged to a) work with some of the most talented people in the industry, and b) have a fantastic, joyous working relationship with all of them. And it has only improved with time. Erica and I work closely together on building the foundations to the world, conceptualizing how to bring form to the ideas and themes we want to communicate, with Kyle bringing his experience to bear to guide us where necessary.

Then, Igor brings vivid color and depth to that world – in fact, I think Igor’s color work is one of the striking trademarks of our series, because of how expressive and brave his choices are. Finally, Becca gives voice to our characters, and her subtly organic lettering is the perfect way of representing my more naturalistic dialogue, and she works very hard on ensuring her style meshes seamlessly with the work of Erica and Igor.

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 Cássia’s story may connect with young readers who may be struggling to find their own identity while dealing with the incredibly challenging world around them?

MG: Really, Inferno Girl Red was created for exactly that reason – to give narrative form to the reality that we’re asking the teenagers of today to discover and define themselves whilst also being saddled with disastrous consequences of decisions made by prior generations (with a global pandemic thrown in for good measure).

How can we find a way to believe we can succeed when the odds are stacked so heavily against us? And how can we find that sort of radical self-belief without being lost to self-delusion? Those are the core themes of IGR, and I think they’re particularly relevant to younger readers right now, so I hope in Cássia and her friends, younger readers see people can both relate to and be inspired by.

BD: Are there any specific backer rewards that you’re most excited about with the campaign and wish to share with readers?

MG: My favourite part of doing Kickstarters is reaching out to artists I love and asking them to interpret some part of the Inferno Girl Red world, to contribute to our set of prints. And I’m so happy with how this set of prints came out, a powerful look at the previous holders of the IGR mantle by Valeria Favoccia, a previous of our new villains by V. V. Glass, a hugely striking graphic interpretation of IGR by Tom Whalen… and that’s just the start!

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

MG: Well, my artist friend Kelly McMahon will be launching a Kickstarter campaign for her newest set of gorgeous illustrated playing cards, inspired by the roaring ’20s and crime noir – and I wrote a murder mystery featuring the characters from the card art which you can experience and solve while playing any of your favourite card games with the cards. That project is called Bad Blood, and it’ll be launching on Kickstarter soon! [Editor’s Note: Any Kickstarter backers that back Inferno Girl Red: Book Two at a physical reward level and back the Bad Blood Kickstarter campaign will receive an exclusive holographic print by Kelly McMahon!]

Bad Blood IGR Card
Art by Kelly McMahon

There are other comic projects in the works, too, but nothing I can talk about just yet!

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

MG: I’d encourage them to come check out our Kickstarter page and learn more about IGR! Everyone is welcome, no matter your level of familiarity with IGR or even superhero comics in general. Inferno Girl Red: Book Two has what I genuinely believe to be some of the best art in the industry, as well as love-to-hate-them new villains, dramatic twists, and a take on superheroes I think you’ll find fresh and exciting. Plus, you don’t want to miss out on the Kickstarter-exclusive elements, like the ability to get Book Two as an oversized hardcover! So, I hope you’ll consider joining us on Cássia’s journey!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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