Indie Comics Underground had the chance to speak with industry veteran Russ Leach about his new project - Only Death Can Save Us - Now In Demand on IndieGogo
Note: This interview first appeared in I.C.U. Issue #8
What was your inspiration in creating this story?
I had two distinct inspirations for the story and a third element that came from the environment we all see ourselves in as creators right now!
If I may, I'll deal with that first!
We all see as fans and creators the mainstream comics publishing world changing radically around us. As a boy all I wanted to do was draw pages in the bullpen with the likes of John Buscema, Joe Sinnott, Starlin and alike. Stan Lee was the uncle you always wanted! When I got the opportunity to do something along those lines in the UK with Dr. Who I realized that 1. It wasn't quite the way I'd envisioned it and 2. even if it had of been it could never be that way again.
Then when it became obvious that page rates and gigs were not as reliable or viable as I thought they were and seeing the comic book publishing landscape shifting around me, I realized I needed to make my own IP and take the passion I had always had for comics and sink it into something that was just for me... at least me and the readers of any stories I created!
Creatively, my main inspiration were the comics I grew up with... bronze age. I love the way the stories are deep and wild and yet at the same time a little cheesy. Never afraid to use long words or concepts that are complex, but at once easy to pick up and fun to read. Throw in some 90's Marvel and Image love as well and my art kinda gets spat out the other end of that mix!
My second inspiration is a bit more personal. I am completely enamored by the connections between quantum theory, physics, astronomy and the more esoteric theories about existence, mind and consciousness. The idea that we may live in a natural, digital reality and that consciousness itself may be the real base of all reality is a heady concept. That all has it's part to play in the world this book inhabits!
So, I had a run on all those books and that was amazing - great fun and experience. But as I mentioned earlier, it all dries up so easily... books get cancelled or runs end and then... radio silence! Fortunately in the last two years I have been producing story boards for film and also involved in a great comics based digital project called Charisma. But the printed page and the comic book bug never left me and so I turned to crowdfunding and committed to producing my own book "Only Death Can Save Us".
What are some of your biggest artistic influences?
Mostly Bronze Age creators. John Buscema, Joe Sinnott, Neal Adams, Kirby, Steranko, Starlin. But also for sheer professional and creative ability Jim Lee, Brian Bolland and Mike Mignola. My art looks nothing like those last three that's for sure. It's their approach to the work and the sheer quality of art and style that is, I suppose, both influence and inspiration. If I get to just 1% of the abilities of Buscema, Adams, Kirby, Steranko or Starlin, I can die a happy man!
Do you see Only Death Can Save Us as a standalone book or are there plans for more stories in the future?
You can read the book all the way to page 58 and see it as a one-shot if you want. However this is very much written with a multi book arc in place. So like the Bronze Age books that inspired me, I'm aiming for easy to pick up and read but also easy to get sucked in to the story and want more if it's for you!
Importantly though I did want the book to be of high quality, so that backers could see it as a worthy addition to their collection!
I will have guest writers for follow up books and there are set-ups within this first story that readers who continue to follow the story will appreciate later on. I'm really enjoying the characters and world I've created and if I can do this full time and ongoing I will do!
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Follow Russ Leach on Twitter: @ComicBBlackBelt