ICU caught up with the creator to of The Ghetto Dragon, now on IndieGogo to find out once and for all - Who's the master?!
The comic seems clearly influenced by both Bruce Lee and The Last Dragon. Is this accurate and what other influences are there?
You hit the nail right on the head. Yes, this book is heavily influenced by those two films, but the actual story is a page from my upbringing in a somewhat ghetto area of Orange County. It’s a love letter of sorts to the beloved city as well as a love letter to everything martial arts as it was martial arts movies that highly influenced my decision to produce this story.
As for other influences, I love stories about characters who step up to the plate per se. Matt Guerra is just a kid, 20 years old, and he takes the step to spy on the gang and commit himself to take them down not by purely kicking ass, but slowly uncovering the gang’s secrets, but this ultimately ends up biting him in the ass as the gang discover what he’s up to.
What made you decide to make a comic book?
I love telling stories. There’s nothing I love more than the comics medium. There’s so much you can do with it and it’s plain to see just how far you can go with stories written in the comics medium. Can you imagine the Ghetto Dragon as a movie? Or TV show? Perhaps, but to see it in the comics medium, it can thrive because I’m not held down by executives telling me what I can and can’t do to tell my story. I agree with Alan Moore wholeheartedly when he said we haven’t even scratched the surface of what the comics medium can offer to storytellers.
You've stated that the book is already complete, so backers can be confident they will get it. How did you get the book finished before funding?
Save! Save! Save! I can’t recommend that enough. I can’t draw comics. I’m confined to writing, so I understood that I had to hire an artist to draw the Ghetto Dragon, so what I did was I saved every nickel and dime that I could, sacrificed so many leisure activities just so I can have the budget I needed to pay the artists I wanted to hire. I worked on producing the book for two years with the artist before I launched the crowdfunding campaign. All the artists involved have been paid upfront, and the money I have raised for the campaign will help pay for printing and any extra funds I do raise, will go directly to the pocketbooks of the artists involved.
So, you want my sound advice? Save your money, build your budget, and pay your artists. Backend pay only works if you are a superstar named writer and I’m not that.
As a new creator, do you feel it's necessary to have the book completed before funding, to reassure potential customers?
Absolutely! Unless you’re confident in your ability to handle the money raised in your campaign, then go for it, but if you’re a relative unknown, I highly recommend you complete your book first, launch the campaign, print your books, and deliver them on time just so backers can gain your trust. Once they see that you deliver your product, they will come back, and hopefully, bring some new readers along with them.
Do you have more plans for Ghetto Dragon beyond this book?
Book 2! Originally, I had planned to release the Ghetto Dragon No Good Deed as a 100+ page volume, but circumstances that arose forced me to change my plans, so I split the book into two volumes. The more I can raise for the Ghetto Dragon, the extra funds will funnel their way to the production of Book 2, which will be a slobber knocker. I really can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on that book. Stay tuned.
As for Book 3 and beyond? You better believe it. People don’t realize just how epic the Ghetto Dragon story will be. Book 3 and Book 4 are going to blow people’s minds, so all that rides on the success of Book 1.
Back The Ghetto Dragon on IndieGogo
Follow Julius Freeman on Twitter: @A_Lucid_Comic