Hello ladies…and gentlemen, I’m Matt Dunford welcome back to the Indie Corner here at Comic Impact. Here at The Indie Corner I take a look at comics and creators outside of Marvel and DC and give them the attention they deserve. In this Indie Corner I will be talking with artist Joe Phillips about his new book “JoeBoy”. Here is our will talk.
Matt: Hello fans out there at Comic Impact, I am sitting here today with Joe Phillips. He has a new book coming out. So Joe, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and about your work?
Joe: Well I’ve been doing comics for well over 30 years. I started back in the day doing Speed Racer and it was a lot of fun. After that I started doing Interview with a Vampire and Vampire Lestat. Then I moved to DC and started drawing Mister Miracle, some Justice League and whatever DC had to throw at me. I picked up some Marvel projects here and there including Wolverine, Punisher, Fantastic Four, What If?, Incredible Hulk and a run on Silver Surfer and a bunch of other stuff including Marvel Masterpiece trading cards.
Matt: So right now you’ve got a new self-published work coming out so why don’t you tell out audience a little about it?
Joe: It’s called JoeBoy. It’s going to be a 128-page book of fun in the sun. In the gay community there are a lot of books geared toward sexual exploration and exploitation. That’s all well and good but I’ve always felt there should be something else. There should be something showing the other side, just having fun that shows that gay people are normal folks. Having material promoting that normal side of gay culture would be a good thing and that’s what JoeBoy is all about. I started doing JoeBoy books about 20 years ago and I made magnets, t-shirts and all kinds of promotional materials to get the word out. From there JoeBoy developed a nice following and it’s been about 6 years since we’ve done a book and I feel like it’s time to do a new one.
Matt: So what can readers expect in this new JoeBoy book?
Joe: You can expect it to be colorful, playful, fun, a little bit romantic, touching and a little naughty. It’s very inclusive so we feature people of different ages and races. We have a lot of themes to the art, everything from walking in the park with your dog, hanging out with your boyfriend, cooking dinner with friends, going to the club and sitting around cuddling. I think the art will be very eye opening and very fun.
Matt: To launch a book off the ground it’s a usually a bit of an uphill battle so could you tell us about some of the difficulties you’ve faced while self-publishing?
Joe: Fortunately for this is a co-publishing thing more than a self published project. One of the publishers I’ve worked with over the past 15 years is going to co-publish this with me. They have extensive connections in printing, distribution and logistics when it comes to mailing out books and keeping a close eye on print quality. I think a lot of times when people do self-publishing the publishing aspect of creating the artwork is one thing but they sometimes fail on the quality of the product. There are a lot of people who do print to order material and it doesn’t hold up where quality is concerned. It may work for small runs but whereas my book is concerned it requires something special. I’ve been through the ins and outs of publishing so it’s going to be something very achievable that you can keep and share so I really wanted to do something in that sense. However working with crowdfunding via Kickstarter allows fans to drive the project. In other cases the publisher has certain limitations on what they think the audience will want. But here the audience can make it very personal and if they don’t fund it then it doesn’t get made. So we can all walk away with clean hands as opposed to a project that you put a lot of time and money into that doesn’t sell and then you’re out of money, time and patience becoming a stressful situation.
Matt: So what are the different options for the Kickstarter?
Joe: There are several different options for the Kickstarter. We have an early bird special where people can buy the book before it goes into retail locations. The book will normally sell for $75 so they can get it for $40 a huge saving. At some of the different pledge levels you can get a special limited edition print made especially for the people who support the artwork that I am going to be creating and assembling into a limited run which will be signed. You can have your name put into the thank you page for showing your support, because I like to immortalize my fans in this project. We are also going to have opportunities to be drawn in the book. I’ll be asking the fans to submit pictures of themselves and they can be drawn into a big double-page spread party scene, which shows that this is a live project and people are part of it. And for a couple of really special pledge levels they can get drawn in their own page them and their lover, parents or whoever they choose will be drawn in their very own scene, we will have 4 of those slots for the book. So I think it’s got a unique approach to the publishing most books are just set in stone but this one is more organic and gives people the opportunity to be a part of it which shapes the book. When it comes out you’ll be able to share it as opposed to just collecting it. You’ll be able to show off your signature or you’re your picture. It will also have a lot the fan letters I’ve received over the years and how it helped me connect with fans and inspire me. After so many years or drawing comic books I’ve grown used to people flying around and punching things but you do something like this which is more personal it has a real life affect and gives people visual options and a point of view that they may have never had before.
Matt: How long is the kickstarter going on for?
Joe: The kickstarter is going on right now. It lasts for 30 days we are 3 days into the kickstarter right now 27 days left. Certain options have been maxed out but there are plenty of others to support. If we reach our goal then there will be additional opportunities for fans to be a part of the book. We’re even open to sponsors, say if you’re a club owner and you donate enough I would be happy to draw your club as a setting for one of the pictures.
Matt: So are there any other Indie projects that you care to talk about to the Comic Impact readers?
Joe: Well they aren’t so much independent but more codependent than anything else. I’m working with IDW on a new book called Midsummer Night, which I’ll be teaming up with the fine folks at Lionforge. And I have another IDW project called The N-Crowd, which is my take on the Endless from Sandman. I think The N-Crowd will be a good read because there are three different types of stories: Man vs. Himself, Man vs. Society and Man vs. Man. This is really a man vs. himself story where we see the processes of growing up and how sometimes you are your own worst enemy.
Matt: And before we leave is there anything else you want to tell us?
Joe: If you buy the JoeBoy book you get to see Matt Dunford naked.
Matt: He’s not kidding. Joe thanks so much for joining here today.
Joe: My pleasure.
– Uncle Dunfy