ICU had the chance to talk to Lucifer Storm about his dark new graphic novel
- Lady Satan - Now funding on IndieGogo
Obviously this story deals with some very dark themes and situations. What made you want to tackle these subjects in Comic Book form?
Oh, there are several reasons for wanting to tackle very dark themes and subject matters like the ones presented in this book. Some are personal and some are artistic motivations. On a personal level, I wanted to have an intimate moment with the reader that can only be accomplished on the page. A moment where I get to say to the reader 'It's okay. We all have our demons. Let me show you mine and how I deal with them'. It's cathartic. It's like a self-exorcism. There is beauty in darkness. You just have to be brave enough to go on the journey to find that out. And it's a lot easier to be brave if someone you trust is willing to hold your hand and walk with you through hell. On an artistic level, I don't like it when the storyteller has that 'It's good enough' to 'That'll do' mentality. I believe that 'Good' is the enemy of 'great'. I would rather see a storyteller strive for 'Great' and fail than strive for 'good enough' and succeed.
I also wanted to tell a story where hopefully the reader will get to the end of the book and either (a) be moved to tears (b) be horribly disturbed, or (c) both. I don't like getting to the end of a story and not having a strong emotional reaction as a reader. I want to finish a book and be left in awe and thought. I want the storyteller to make me feel something. And to me, the best way to accomplish that is to present a story that doesn't pull punches or pussyfoot around subject matters. Instead, it's relentless. From the first page, it says to the reader 'This character will go to hell and back while being torn apart emotionally, mentally and physically. They will breakdown and wallow and they will rebuild themselves, stronger than before but still fragile in many ways and YOU WILL WATCH'! And that's a good thing, believe it or not.
Why do we know that violence is bad? Because we have seen it in all of its ugly glory. Why do we know that murder is bad? Because we watch silently as bystanders while someone takes a life and then we see how that affects everyone around them. If we don't get those reminders from time to time, it's easy to forget the lessons we have learned and the philosophies we have developed along the way during our journey in life.
You are writing and illustrating the book. How has it been to tackle both those roles as well as now being in charge of the marketing for the Indiegogo campaign?
Honestly, it's been a blast. I love writing stories. That's my specialty. So, any time I get to sit down and flesh out a plot or give a character more development and depth is absolute bliss for me.
It can be a struggle as a writer to draw your own book because the drawing aspect is very time-consuming. But when I'm drawing those characters and bringing them to life visually on the page it's wonderful because the more I draw the character the more real she feels to me. And the more real she feels to me the more I want to give her a hug and apologize for putting her through so much shit in the story.
The marketing does take me away from the book from time to time, but it means that I get to sit down and have a great conversation with so many incredible, intelligent, talented and passionate creators and readers from the Indie Comics world. Those experiences are priceless. I've already met so many incredible people along this journey and there is always room to meet more.
Lady Satan is a huge book at 130 story pages. How far along are you in the process of completing the book?
It is a huge book, ain't it? At present, I'm a fraction of a hair away from hitting the halfway mark. The story is told in the confines of a five-act structure which helps bring out the multiple layers of the story and the character. However, it still plays along with Aristotle's theories of storytelling while breaking a fair few storytelling rules as well. So, I let each page take as much time as it needs.
There's no way I'm going to let myself get slack on this book. I get up every day and get straight to work on the book and every day that I do this I walk away knowing that the progress is consistent and reliable and that brings a huge smile to my face. By the time the campaign ends on IndieGoGo, I should be very close to the 60-70% complete mark.
Are you illustrating digitally or traditionally?
I'm working digitally. There was one double-page spread that I illustrated traditionally and I'm eager to throw a couple of other pages into the mix that are illustrated traditionally. However, the majority of the book has been illustrated using Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop and a 13-inch HD Wacom Cintiq.
Can you give us a little bit about your background?
Absolutely. After my father died back in 2010 after a ten-year battle with cancer, I realized life was too short to be rolling from one job I hated to another. So, I decided at that moment to jump headfirst without any experience into the world of telling stories through the medium of comics. I should have failed the moment I started but with my first book (Jericho) people gravitated to the character and her story. I realized I was doing something right but I had no idea what it was. So, I began to learn as much as I could about the craft of making and writing comics while still working on Jericho and a few other titles. On top of this, I was also writing novels and poetry. But unfortunately, all of the comic titles I was working on during that period of my career never got finished. I was taking someone to court who had put all of my work in jeopardy and to make sure my characters and stories were safe I temporarily assigned the rights to them over to a trusted friend (and now those rights are back with me, so yes, I do intend to finish those books come hell or high water).
Is Lady Satan a one shot or is there the possibility of more stories featuring her in the future?
While Lady Satan is a one-shot self-contained story, I have plotted five books in total. Each one of those books is a one-shot self-contained story and they each have a Giallo-esque title. That way you can pick up this book and read a complete story with no major loose ends. And whether those books come to fruition or not will depend on how well received the crowdfunding campaign is and how well received the book is by readers.
If the campaign does exceptionally well then chances are you will see the second book (currently titled 'Lady Satan: Hath No Fury') and a third book (currently titled 'Lady Satan: The Glass Doll with Hands of Stone'). If the campaign does moderately well but the readers adore the book, then you can expect to see a second book. I have faith in the character and her story. I know exactly where her story goes and how to get there.
Back Lady Satan on IndieGogo
Follow Lucifer Storm on Twitter: @TheLuciferStorm