The following is an interview with comic book creator and editor Adam Prosser (Lemuria) regarding the release of the comic book anthology, Strange Romance. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Prosser about his inspiration for initiating the collection of genre love stories, his collaboration with a variety of talented writers and artists, the plans for the next collection, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the release of your comic book anthology, Strange Romance! What inspired you to take on this endeavor?
Adam Prosser: I’ve always been a fan of EC style comics which tell stories united by theme and genre rather than recurring characters. I especially liked it when they’d put a twist on a standard genre–usually horror or fantasy added to a historical, like “Weird War” or “Weird Western.” And, being a hopeless romantic, I decided it would be cool to do that with the romance genre (not that I’m the first one to do this, but it’s always cool to update these kinds of ideas for today’s modern world).
I know a lot of talented comics people who are in various stages of breaking through, and I’d been hoping to work with them on something, so this seemed like a good hook to do an anthology together. There aren’t as many venues these days for people to take that extra step in transitioning from amateur to professional comics creator, and I’ve always wanted to try and provide one of these venues, something that can help people get paid and get noticed. And, of course, to provide some fun stories!
BD: Given that the anthology spans a number of genres, including sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, do you feel that the stories as a whole form a cohesive story or possess a similar theme?
AP: Well, it’s right there in the title! Everything in here is a love story, be it comedic or tragic or heartwarming. They just also happen to feature time travel, robots, and monsters. I was pretty specific that I wanted to put the “love story” aspect first, though I got plenty of stories that also happen to be scary or thoughtful or what have you. It’s a talented group.
BD: Are you able to share which creators are involved with the project, and how would you describe your creative process in working with all of the writers and artists?
AP: Obviously, we’ve got a pretty extensive group. One of our writers, Mike Levine, has contributed to The Onion and The Devastator. Another, Ken Lowery, has been published by Monkeybrain comics, and Charlotte Finn writes for Comics Alliance. We have not one but TWO artists who drew two stories each in this collection, truly an Olympian feat. James Reilly-English (who also wrote one of the stories) was one, and Chris Yao was the other. Chris is one of a number of our creators who have been involved with another local anthology called Toronto Comics, along with Sam Noir, Stephany Lein, Miike Something, Matthew Tavares, Aaron Feldman and Rebecca Slack. Other contributors include Shane Kirshenblatt, Ryan Rosendal, Travis Hymel, Sharon Gauthier, Alex Correa, M. Blankier, Philip Rice, Paul Milligan, Erik Larsen, Daniel Reynolds, Julia Alfano, and Nizamt. Whew! Like an Oscar speech, I didn’t want to leave anyone out.
My creative process is that I take a pitch from the writers, and then I feed them into a sophisticated computer program that rewrites the scripts for maximum commercial profitability. Then, I call the IT guys, because I don’t actually know how to use computers, and during a 6 to 8-week period I’m learning how the writers write the scripts and the artists draw them.
Seriously, these guys have all been dreams to work with–extremely professional and with lots of great ideas. I’ve tossed my own suggestions in there, but I think we’re pretty sympatico, and I think we’re all pretty happy with the result. The artists are absolutely top-notch–most of them are up-and-comers, which is how I was able to convince them to come and contribute. In a few years I’m sure they’re all going to have crowded booths at Comic-Con and they won’t return my calls.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from the project?
AP: Love is real, time travel will not solve your problems, gender is performative, and gum is dangerous. And, anthologies can have high standards, too.
BD: Do you foresee working on additional comic book anthologies, and if so, is there a specific concept or genre that you have in mind?
AP: Strange Romance is, with any luck, going to be an ongoing annual thing, so, that! I have toyed with doing a “weird historical” like I mentioned–maybe about pirates?–but I’m so busy with this and some of my other projects, it would be waaaay in the future.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AP: Everyone involved with the comic has their own projects and there are too many to list, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t once again mention Toronto Comix to which a lot of us have contributed and which is constantly producing new volumes. You can read about it at tocomix.com. I also have a comic of my own called Lemuria, also available at ComiXology–it’s kind of a comedic pulp fantasy thing. Two issues are out so far, and more are coming. You can get them or read more about our upcoming projects at www.phantasmictales.com.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Strange Romance?
AP: You can follow us on Twitter at @PhantasmicTales, on our Facebook page, and like I said at our websites, www.phantasmictales.com or strangeromance.net. The internet is a gigantic octopus, and all the tentacles lead back to us. But, perhaps I’ve said too much.