The following is an interview with writer/illustrator Amin Amat regarding the launch of his Kickstarter campaign for the graphic novel, The Road To. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Amat about his creative process in adapting the world and characters of The Wizard of Oz for a wholly new story, what readers can anticipate in terms of exciting backer rewards, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for your new graphic novel, The Road To. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the story’s premise?
Amin Amat: A plan to erase the existence of Dorothy is unknowingly discovered by the Scarecrow. Now, he needs to find and protect Dorothy, as well as Oz!
The origins of those plans, who and why execute them, was the most enjoyable part of telling this and building this world.
BD: The creative process of approaching an adaptation of a prior work – especially one as well known as The Wizard of Oz – can be a daunting experience. How would you describe your approach to breathing new life into the story and characters, and what did you find to be most rewarding/challenging about the process?
AA: For me what created that initial spark was after I read Wicked. It really served as an inspiration to take an original story and give it a personal twist, while honoring the source of it. I re-read the first two books and then that the idea came around. Granted that I had put this idea to simmer in my head for close to a decade since I really wanted to tell a story worth drawing but also that could possibly continue. And as they say, once I started drawing and telling the story, it did indeed feel like it went on autopilot with the characters and circumstances telling and moving the story along. So much so that, at times, I had to stop drawing and write it all down. I now have enough material to go for a few volumes which was unexpected!
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your Kickstarter campaign?
AA: I have a number of rewards that offer not just a copy of the book, but sketches, original art used in the book, as well as some unused ones! I also have the Ultimate Bundle, that not just gets you sketches and pages, but also the original pre-production sketches showcasing costumes, vehicle designs, some initial takes on the characters, notes, and 11×17 photocopies of the pencil work with all of my notes!!
Additionally, as the funding gets closer to 100%, I’ll be adding rewards such as upgraded printing, bookmarks, artist remarques with notes (like a director’s commentary), and more!
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 this story may connect with and impact readers?
AA: Besides the connection to the world of Oz, the subtle undertones of friendship and loneliness may strike a chord. Those were themes that came out while creating the project and something I really want to explore in depth in Volume Two. The one thing sequential illustration allows is to really take a breather at times to do great character development. Chapters Two and Three are where I get to really explore more about what make the characters tick, their motivations, and, of course, how the external environment is contributing to that.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about The Road To and its Kickstarter campaign?