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Fanbase Press Interviews Louis Southard on Launching a Zoop Crowdfunding Campaign for the Comics Anthology, ‘Comics Are Dying: The Comic’

The following is an interview with Louis Southard (The Blackout Bombshell, Midnight Western Theater, Villains Seeking Hero) regarding the recent launch of a Zoop crowdfunding campaign for the satirical comic book collection, Comics Are Dying: The Comic. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Southard about his shared creative process in working with artists to capture various historical moments and events throughout comics’ history, what readers can anticipate in terms of backer rewards, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of your Zoop crowdfunding campaign! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this satirical collection, as well as its inspiration?

Louis Southard: Thank you so much! And, prepare yourself, because that’s a loaded question haha. So, Comics Are Dying: The Comic is an original graphic novel featuring 100 one-page comics by 100 different artists. Each comic is centered around a historical or significant event in the comic book industry, but presented in a humorous or loving homage.

In terms of inspiration, I’m sad to say it came from me being angry at the end of 2023. I was frustrated by a growing number of comic book fans and some creators bullying others and expressing severe prejudice against either what’s on the comic book page or in real life. All of that was wrapped up in a “comics are dying” argument, which was the seed of the idea. So, I wanted to make a comic that not only celebrates comics but the people who make them, as well.

This project alone features talented folks from all races, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities, and whatever else. It’s a diverse collection of people all unified in their love of the arts and of comics, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

BD: This project is a collaboration with a Murderers’ Row of comic book talent! How would you describe the process for bringing these creators together, as well as your shared creative process in bringing this collection of stories to life?

LS: If you could believe it, assembling 100 artists and the rest of the team was a lot easier than you’d think! I started this project by hitting up all of my past collaborators (well, the ones who still like me) from the course of my career. After that, we kinda spread the word and people were curious. Then, I put out a small press release with the first 50 people and an open call for the latter 50. Two weeks later, we were basically done! Especially when the Joe Kubert School and Savannah School of Art and Design took notice. Both institutions and their students I thank greatly!

In terms of the creative process, I started my career at 19 boldly and cockily declaring myself “the creative genius of a generation.” I’m happy to say that I was right! Haha, but for real, I began with compiling a list of 100 significant comic book events/facts and wrote scripts that captured the essence of the event. After that, I needed to assign the best artist for the script.

For example, the artist Léo Chiola can do ’90s Image Comics Extreme-style art like nobody’s business. So, my brain tells me to have this guy do the page homaging and paying tribute to Image launching with Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood. It really boiled down to giving the right person the right job based on their artistic strengths and vibes.

BD: Comic books hold a special place in the hearts and minds of so many readers and creators. Can you share with us some of the tongue-in-cheek themes and experiences from the industry’s history that may be touched on by the stories in the collection?

LS: Phew, I don’t think I left any stone unturned, but lord knows there’s probably an unacknowledged rock out there someone is gonna be furious about me neglecting haha. I cover a little bit of everything from the Platinum Age to today. There’s stories about all sorts of comic genres like superhero, funny animal, underground, webcomic, and a whole lot more. I’d also like to believe the book is all a love letter that has only a few jabs in there.

In terms of some of the humor, there’s one example that cracks me up. So, one of the first Underground Comix was The Adventures of Jesus. Now, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Jesus Christ is a public domain character. So, to honor the first underground comic, the crackerjack artist Eli Solomon and I whipped up a fun one-page Jesus adventure of Him in a step-by-step guide on making a pizza. It’s simple, sweet, and fun with a trivia box full of knowledge to boot!

BD: In light of the Zoop campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?

LS: You see, I’m a believer in “less is more.” So, we’re mainly sticking with the book; however, I am happy to say that we’ll be doing two exclusive bonuses for the campaign. Artist Linden Cahill (one of the greatest emerging talents, might I add) is doing an exclusive variant cover featuring a cavalcade of characters from the book itself. Meanwhile, the force majeure of an artist and another awe-inspiring talent Julianne Griepp is doing a fantastic companion poster that celebrates not only the book but comics as a whole, as well.

I will also mention that if we go well past our goal, we will be expanding the book to have a director’s commentary breaking down references, fun facts, and Easter eggs scattered across the graphic novel.

BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you would like to share with readers?

LS: Unfortunately, anything I’m working on at the moment is strictly confidential. I am proud to say it is licensed work, so fingers crossed things go well and I’m not thrown out the second I walk through the door haha; however, if you want to see more of my work, be sure to check out my old independent books, Midnight Western Theatre and The Blackout Bombshell. I’m still very proud of them.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about the Comics Are Dying: The Comic Zoop campaign and your other work?

LS: I’ll say this: I love comics. It’s what I feel in my bones that I was put on this Earth to do. My number one goal and hope in all of my past, current, and future works is that readers can feel that love and energy and passion and whatever mushy-gushy word you think of through the pages. It’s an art form and medium that I never want to be without. Comics Are Dying: The Comic is quite possibly my largest expression to date of that love towards comics and to the people who make them. You don’t want to miss out on it, so be sure to check out our campaign!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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