Publisher: ACTION LAB – DANGER ZONE
Written by: Adam Wollet and Rick Marshall
Art by: Jon Reed
Colors by: Jen Hickman
Main Cover by: Jon Reed and Jen Hickman
Variant Cover by: Francesca Ciregia and Gloria Martinelli
Summary: It’s Game of Thrones with cardboard homes as this wild new series brings an inner city’s hidden world to life in contemporary fantasy style! First Coast City’s homeless suffer under the thumb of tyrant, Philip the Ax. As the seeds for a violent coup begin to sprout, it falls to benevolent vagabond Simon to try to stave off war and bring peace back to the alleys.
Thanks! It’s great to be back.
What’s your origin story?
Nothing Spectacular, Amazing, Fantastic, or Uncanny.
I’ve always been creative, or at least been drawn to creative things. I wanted to be a comic book artist when I was a kid, but never really stuck. Years later, I still loved the creative aspect of storytelling, so I started to write.
So tell us about “Kingdom Bum”
Kingdom Bum is a wild story about a secret society of homeless people who live right under our noses. I originally referenced Game of Thrones in my longer pitch to Action Lab, and when we were preparing to solicit the book they synthesized that down to the tag line “It’s Game of Thrones with cardboard homes,” which perfectly captures our concept.
At its core, Kingdom Bum is about many of concepts and problems we face in the world today, but viewed through a slightly goofy and irreverent lens. What does it mean to be free? How much of that freedom is worth risking for safety? How difficult is it to open a can of beer when you don’t have any thumbs?
One thing Rick and I were concerned about while writing the book was that we didn’t want the work to come off as insensitive to the real world homeless population. There is a lot going on in Kingdom Bum, and if we’re fortunate enough to be able to continue telling stories in this world, the place these characters hold in the larger scheme of things will become apparent.
How’d this project come along?
The earliest seeds of Kingdom Bum were planted when I reread Lord of the Flies several years ago. Certain elements of that book stuck with me, specifically how society is kind of pre-programmed into us as social creatures. Even a bunch of kids stranded on an island ended up facing many of the same problems that adults do in “civilized society.”
Eventually a leader emerges, differences arise, groups split, and this is commonly paired with violence of some sort. In the end, individual situations almost always improve when people work together. This lead to Kingdom Bum when shortly after finishing Lord of the Flies, I realized how willfully blind people can be to the homeless. It made me think about what people could get away with when everyone is trying not to look at you.
This stewed in my brain for a few weeks until I was visiting my good friend Rick Marshall, and randomly dropped on him the idea of “Lord of the Flies, but with bums.” His eyes lit up and the rest was history…
…which consisted of the same crap that all aspiring comic book creators go through. Most of the time is spent learning your craft and screwing up a bunch while you figure out what does and doesn’t work. On top of that, most of the time making comics requires a group of people, time, and money. Keeping all of three of those plates spinning and fluid at the same time is difficult. That’s why it’s taken so long from the conception of the idea, to the final book finally coming to stores. Because…comics.
I hear this isn’t your first rodeo. What other works are you most proud of?
I’ve only done a few things, but I’m proud of them all for their own reasons. I’m proud of my comic, Widowed, because it was the first book I actually saw through to the end of the first issue. Up until that point I was mainly working pitches. Widowed was my first attempt at breaking away from the pitch and trying to make my own comic just to have it done – to get through the whole process. I learned a lot from working on Widowed, and hopefully one day I’ll finish it in one form or another.
I’m proud of my anthology book, Panels, because I was able to work with so many amazing talented people from all over the world while making the book. It was intended to be a place for me to explore different story ideas that I hadn’t quite filled out into a fulle series worth of material. This is also the first time Kingdom Bum appeared in print, as the first ten pages of what ended up being issue 1 were the included in Panels.
I’m also proud of every lettering project I work on. I freelance as a letterer to help fund the production of my comic projects. I’ve worked with some really talented writers and artists, and I feel like each lettering project I work on helps make me a better writer and creator. The experience of seeing a variety of art and writing styles, and breaking them down as I letter, is invaluable.
Who inspires you and why?
Creatively, my biggest inspiration is Erik Larsen. He’s the only Image founding member who is still working on the same book he launched when Image started in the early 1990s. Not only is he still working on Savage Dragon, he has written and drawn all 210 issues (including the 3 issue mini that ran before the ongoing started). Watching the evolution of Erik’s art and storytelling over the years has been incredibly inpsiring.
Personally, my family is the most inspring to me. Everything I do, is to make them proud of me.
What are your future goals and aspirations? Any other projects on the horizon?
I want to keep doing comics, but I’d also like to expand into screenwriting and prose. When I first started writing, I dabbled in a little of everything, but the collaborative nature of comcis sucked me in. I have some ideas floating around that I want to explore, but nothing at the stage of development that’s ready to announce. Right now it’s all about Kingdom Bum and getting it to as many reader’s as possible. We’re very proud of this book and are excited to see what people think.
Is there anything you’d like to say to any aspiring writers out there?
Read a lot. Write a lot. See a comic project through from idea to print. Self publishing is inexpensive for a few dozen books, and the process of taking a comic to print will teach you more about making comics than any book on writing.
What sounds right on a script page doesn’t always work on the art page, and the easiest way to learn how to write a script for sequential art is to take some lumps and work with an artist. And speaking of artists, listen to them. You’re not drawing your own book for a reason. They have spent a lot of time honing skills that you don’t as a writer. Comics are a collaboration, embrace that and more often than not you projects will be better for it.
“Kingdom Bum” hits shelves this December, order now!
Item Code: OCT151027