The following is an interview with Dren Productions publisher James Mascia regarding the publishing company’s new and upcoming comic book releases. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Mascia about the multi-genre publisher’s approach to storytelling, his own contributions to their catalog of titles, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: As the publisher of Dren Productions, what inspired the genesis of this multi-genre publishing company, and what do you feel defines a “Dren” title?
James Mascia: I’ve loved comics since I was a kid, reading Superman, Batman, X-Men, and the like. We moved into titles from Image and Valiant and enjoyed these more indie titles that were allowed to explore territories that Marvel and DC just wouldn’t do. We wanted to do something more like that.
A Dren title is just something that should be fun, and then a little off-kilter. We want people to think of those old sci-fi and horror B-movies when they look at one of our titles.
BD: In addition to being the publisher, you have written several of the company’s titles, including The Poe Murders and Plan 59 from Outspace. What can you share with us about the premise of these books?
JM: The Poe Murders was our first official graphic novel. It is essentially the story that started it all. It takes many of Poe’s stories and poems and weaves them together into a singular murder mystery. So, you’ll see elements of the Tell-Tale Heart mixed in with Ligeia, Annabell Lee, and The Pit and the Pendulum–all of them connected.
Plan 59 is simply a sequel to the often-monikered “worst movie ever made,” Plan 9 from Outer Space. In Plan 59, the aliens come back, again, after 50 more failed plans to annihilate the human race. But this time, their plan is diabolical. They plan to turn us into zombies, using the very things that already turn us into zombies–our cell phones. This time, they will win… or will they?
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in working with creators to bring these stories to life, whether directly in the case of serving as the writer and/or in your role as publisher?
JM: Depends on the team. As with any group of people, there are those who are easy to work with, and other that aren’t. Bringing the stories to life, though, is one of the most rewarding things in this field. When we bring it out to the public and get their feedback, it is a wonderful experience. But the process of getting there is often a rocky slope. If something goes awry, it is often on this end where everything needs to be fixed. But it’s often working with a lot of talented people who put their all into their art. So, in the end, it’s all worth it.
BD: For creators who may reading this interview, is Dren currently accepting submissions, and are there any particular types of stories for which you may be interested?
JM: Yes, we accept submissions. We are always looking for great stories and great art. We are, however, looking for completed projects. We are looking for stories that are original, with artwork that really pops. As we said above, we like those kind of out-there, B-Movie type stories. We generally stick to sci-fi, horror, and fantasy titles and are good with stories suitable for teens all the way through to titles we’d classify as “definitely adult.”
BD: Are there any other projects on the horizon for Dren Productions that you are able to share with our readers?
JM: We have more coming up for our Flesh-Eating Cheerleaders series, as well as a couple of new titles, including Amazon Women and Alien Armageddon. Amazon Women explores the inner-Earth theory, where a group of scientists find a society of Amazons that have been living underground since Ancient Greek times. Alien Armageddon starts off as a normal World War II epic, but then the aliens arrive, and throws everything into turmoil.
We are also working on a number of other titles that will be coming out over the next year, but details on those are not ready yet.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Dren Productions and its current and upcoming catalog of books?
JM: Subscribe to our Substack or visit our website (https://www.drenproductions.com). Everything you need to know can be found there. We also have our Facebook and Instagram pages (@DrenProductions). Or come and see us at a convention!