Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Oswald Chronicles Interview

UPDATE: 10/29/2012
CONGRATULATIONS!!! The project hit it's funding with 14 hours to go! Well done!

Welcome to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by JD Calderon from the Comic The Oswald Chronicles. Thank you for joining us today. As a current webcomic creator what made you decide to bring this project to Kickstarter?

Being a long time indy publisher one of the things that has always concerned me is being able to cover my cost on the printing of books. This is a major concern for many indy publishers, especially when you’re dealing with Diamond and the direct market things can get dicey quick if you don’t hit your numbers. Kickstarter allows the fans to have a direct impact on a project and give a creator the financial certainty that a project can get printed, which is pretty awesome from where I’m sitting.

Would you care to give us a brief overview of the story of The Oswald Chronicles?

The Oswald Chronicles is about Oswald a lone mouse in a world filled with magic, wonder, adventure, and mystery. Oswald finds himself in the precarious position of being the only mouse in the world who is sentient so it drives him on a quest to find out who he is and why he’s the only one of his kind with the affliction of thought. During his many travails he discovers he is apt at sorcery and eventually becomes an accomplished sorcerer, while discovering he’s the inheritor of a great power.


What was your inspiration for this story? Did you read the Mouse Guard books?

That’s funny because I actually started writing Oswald in early 1994 which predates Mouse Guard by a number of years. The only caveat to that is that it was a prose work and not done as comics. If I were to point to anything as inspiration for the Oswald Chronicles we’d have to look at the old EC comics where there was always a type of host for all of the stories which Oswald was supposed to be just a type of host for me to tell all of these strange fantasy stories that would come to me from time to time, but Oswald managed to make himself the center of it all and that’s where we’re at currently, although I still do use him from time to time as a host for others tales. As for the creators who I think directly influenced my work on Oswald, I would have to cite Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison, HP Lovecraft, Dennis L. McKiernan, Brian Jacques, Frank Herbert and about a dozen different authors I’m not remembering at this moment.

After a year online with The Oswald Chronicles how do the stories in this collection fit in?  Are they just a collection of stories already online or other tales entirely?  

Both, the title story ‘My First Day’ has yet to appear on the site and this book will be its first printing in its entirety, along with it will be ‘The Great Turkey Rebellion’. The story that has appeared on the site that will be printed in the book will be ‘On the Wings of Diadra’. Because of the insanity that drives me I intend to make the book either 160 or 192 pages and more likely than not a hard cover. If you look on the Kickstarter you’ll see I’m trying to raise funds for a 128 pg trade paperback, but I have at least one other story I want to see in there and a fifth story that I recently wrote if I can get it back from the artist soon enough to make the printing, I have my fingers crossed :)


So what is the long term goal with this project?  Are you discontinuing the webcomic to go print?  

The long term goal is to tell the whole story in its entirety which may take a few years. As far as discontinuing the webcomic that’s not part of the plan. I want to keep the webcomic running for as long as possible and if I can for the entire duration of the project. The goal for me is to share these stories with as many people as possible.


Why did you bring in a second artist for this publication?  Have you worked with Daphne Lage before?  Does the different art styles detract from the collection?  

Variety is the spice of life as they say and I love seeing what different artist do with Oswald. Jade Gonzalez who is the main artist on the series is fantastic and I’m going to work with her for as long as she’s willing to work with me, but Daphne Lage is my long time partner in crime and my wife :) We’ve been producing a book called Tall Tails together for many years and will continue to do so for many more. As for the different art style detracting I don’t think so. If you look at any book from the big two how many artists have worked on let’s say Spiderman? Hundreds I would say, but does that detract from the character or the story, I don’t think so and over the course of the next few years we’re going to see several different artistic takes on Oswald. Let me put it to you like this if Arthur Adams one day lost his mind and said hey, JD can I draw an Oswald Chronicles for you, what am I supposed to say? No, to one of my favorite artists, lol, no that’s not going to happen, man I hope he loses his mind :)   

(Laughs) Fair enough. You are asking $5,000 for a 128 page black & white graphic novel?  Minus the $500 or so Kickstarter and Amazon will take will that be enough money?  Have you ever printed a comic before?

Will that be enough money, probably not but I’ve always been one to put my money where my mouth is and I’m willing to put up the difference in cost to get what I want. I have printed many comics in the past. I was a print broker for a number of years so I’m familiar with the mechanics of the entire system.

One of the keys of a successful Kickstarter project is backer participation.  How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates?  Interviews?  Interesting excerpts from the book? Artwork?

All of the above actually, I have already done one podcast interview that should be going up soon and I have another that I’m setting up. Updates will come as major milestones are broken or met during production. Most of the artwork is already done, but we do have one story that is being illustrated for what I hope will be for this volume and as I get those pages I will be showing them off.


What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to help things along?
I had some nice write ups at comicbooked.com, queenoftheneerds.net and I should be appearing soon on one of the podcast on comicrelated.com soon. My three main sources of spreading the word has been Facebook, Deviantart, and www.theoswaldchronicles.com. I have also placed ads on a few websites. I haven’t looked at Kicktraq and to be honest with you I don’t think I need any more distractions, maybe for the next one I’ll utilize it but for now I’m just using the specs and graphs Kickstarter is offering on their site.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?  

Take your time and set up your podcast interviews early don’t be like me, lol, who waited until he already had it up and running to start contacting people. The other thing I would advise and this goes for anyone creating a comic of any kind, have as much of the work or all of the work done before offering it up to the public. If I had to I could lock the book down 160 pages and have it done and put together in a few weeks no problem. I constantly see creators come on to Kickstarter looking for some strange form of validation for their work. Like they need people to tell them it’s okay for you to do your work and we’ll pay for it. That’s nice but if it’s in you to do it just do it and if you put your heart and soul into it and produce quality work people will come out to support it. That’s how I feel about it anyway.

Thank you for spending your time with us JD!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Yes, live the dream and go read about it at www.theoswaldchronicles.com and www.talltailsonline.com

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!