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Fanbase Press Interviews Thom on the Upcoming Release of the Graphic Novel, ‘Botanica Drama,’ Through Pow Pow Press

The following is an interview with Thom regarding the upcoming release of his graphic novel, Botanica Drama, through Pow Pow Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Thom about his creative process in bringing his graphic novel series to a conclusion with this final installment, how he feels that the story has connected with readers, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming conclusion of your graphic novel series with Botanica Drama! Having been with these characters over the course of three books, what can you share with us about your experience in witnessing them change and evolve with each new installment?

Thom: Thank you very much! I thoroughly enjoy working on this series and exploring this cast of characters. As you mentioned, these characters have been with me for quite a long time. I created them towards the end of high school, envisioning them more as characters from a fairly classic cartoon at that time.

That changed as I continuously drew them over the years. They ended up adopting some facets of my own personality. They began to change as I changed myself. Now, they are a sort of echo of my own life.

I didn’t know how they would evolve. I was even surprised by how I made certain characters react. Each story metaphorically addresses something happening in my life. When the characters go through their issues, I am going through things myself. The universe in which this series takes place is even influenced by the characters choices. How they evolve gives me ideas of what else could happen in their world.

I am curious to see where I can still take them. I feel there are other things for me to discover with them

BD: Each of your three books can be read on their own or together given the continuation of the cast of characters. How would you describe your creative process across the three books in allowing these stories to serve as their own standalone installments?

T: After completing my first comic book in this series, VII, in 2017, I didn’t yet know what the next story would be. However, I knew I wanted to continue exploring this universe. I wanted to create a series, but there was no established narrative arc or a grand plot.

Each story is independent while being a logical continuation of the characters’ lives. I try to see each story as significant moments in their lives rather than just another adventure. Each book’s conclusion brings about a change that is present in the next one, but doesn’t necessarily influence the overall narrative. In between these stories, the characters continue with their daily lives

To achieve this, I drew inspiration from the narrative structure of the animated series, Adventure Time. In this series, characters can undergo significant or minor changes at the end of an episode, and the change remains present in the next one. However, it may not be the main focus. Sometimes, the change will be addressed after 5 episodes have passed. I really appreciate this storytelling approach. Living with these changes with the characters gives me the feeling that the universe is more real in this way.

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 Botanica Drama’s story may have connected with and impacted readers?

T: What I increasingly notice as a comment on Botanica Drama is that the book is comforting. I am very pleased that the book has the ability to evoke this reaction; it wasn’t expected.

The book originated from a somewhat dark place. I drew inspiration from general and personal feelings experienced during the pandemic to create this book. It was a constant sense of fear – not just the fear of the virus but the fear of an uncertain future. The fear of the unknown and how to counter it collectively were crucial elements in telling this story. It’s a story about the need to live.

It’s also about the friendship between two characters: Philomène, a small flower, and Death. Both, along with an entire community, navigate through a catastrophe. I wanted a sweet and unbreakable friendship. It was friendships like these that helped me get through tough times. So, I wanted to honor them.

BD: What has made Pow Pow Press the perfect home for this series?

T: I believe that Pow Pow Press is willing to take chances. Their book collection reflects this commitment well, in my opinion. It’s a beautiful blend of various narrative styles, visual elements, and genres, ranging from slice-of-life to comedy, drama, and more. There is a great creative freedom within their approach.

It was definitely my first choice as a publishing house, and I am very pleased to be able to publish my stories with them.

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

T: I am gradually starting to work on a new comic as an illustrator, collaborating with a writer. It will be different from my recent comics as it will include dialogue and unfold in a different universe.

I am really looking forward to working on this project and creating something different. However, I plan to return to my own textless universe afterward. I am currently contemplating the next steps for my characters.

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Botanica Drama and your other work?

T: The best place for updates at the moment is my Instagram page, thom_illustrations. I share illustrations from my ongoing projects and provide updates on upcoming productions.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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