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All Aboard the Akomi – An Interview with ARI GROSS

Ari Gross drops by the Yeti Cave to talk about his current campaign for Awakening, it's themes and concepts as well as his work on other previous projects! With his campaign in its final week, the best time to check it out is now!!


COMIC BOOK YETI: Hello and welcome to the Yeti Cave, Ari! I appreciate you stopping by for our Cryptid-Bits segment in which we ask you questions about yourself and Awakening, which will have a Kickstarter going live from 2/1 - 2/25! How are you today?

ARI GROSS: Getting over a cold (or one of the other fourteen viral infections my kids bring back from school), but otherwise doing great!

CBY: You have a pretty impressive start in comics, with work credited in Tales from the Cloakroom, Fairytales From Mars, and much more. How have those experiences been for you, as a writer, to have worked with all of these creators?

AG: One thing I learned is that every creator is different - every writer, artist, editor, letterer, etc. has their own style, both in terms of the content they produce and how they work. You can learn a ton from other creators, both in terms of what to do and what NOT to do – you just have to pay attention, stay flexible, and be true to your own style and creative vision.

CBY: Outside of anthologies, you have written some really compelling stories, some only being 4-5 pages, such as The Longest Case and Quantum Kirby. Do you feel you have more room to explore your concept with your upcoming sci-fi one-shot Awakening?

AG: Sometimes you can get away with “short and sweet”, but the story I wanted to tell with Awakening needed a full issue to get fully fleshed out. I try to keep all my stories as tight as possible to keep the reader engaged, but having a full issue gives me the space to really engage the reader with the characters and allow for the visuals the story needs to succeed.

CBY: What is Awakening about? Without spoiling anything, what can readers expect to find aboard the starship Akomi?

AG: Aboard the Akomi, readers can expect a colourful team of diverse but familiar characters, all doing their best to come to terms with the strange, celestial anomaly in front of them and Lau’s bizarre new mental state. It’s also a not-so-subtle allegory for how groups of otherwise smart, agreeable, and united people can become divided on matters of faith.

CBY: Celestial anomalies and reality-shattering revelations sound like a nightmare for Lt. Lau to wake up to, but it doesn't look like it's all fun and games for everyone in the preview on your website.

AG: Without giving too much away, before Awakening’s over, some (many?, all?!) of the crew might be in for a bad time…

CBY: I noticed the nod to Star Trek with the uniforms right away, are there any other Easter Eggs to look out for within the story?

AG: The Star Trek setting helps readers to jump into the story right away, allowing them to recognize without too much effort who everyone is and what their roles and personalities are. It also just works perfectly for the specific story I’m trying to tell. As for other Easter Eggs, to quote The Prisoner, “That would be telling…”

CBY: The interiors are rich in color and detail! Who is involved with the making of Awakening? If I am not mistaken you have Aubrey Lyn Jeppson as a letterer, who was also on the Cryptid Creator Corner podcast with Jimmy Gaspero!

AG: Line art was done by Greg Woronchak (Twitter: @GregWoronchak) and colours by Emil Carlos. In addition to letters, Aubrey also edited the script.

CBY: With your Kickstarter currently approaching the final week, what rewards and tiers are you most excited to share with our readers? Do you have any Stretch Goals in mind yet?

AG: In addition to the stickers and postcards I had a blast making, my favourite reward tier is the “Admiral” tier, where people can get an original custom sketch from Greg of yourself and one of the story’s characters, or maybe even something else, if you ask real nice ;). I’m a big fan of the sketch he did of me! As for stretch goals, I’ve been releasing digital trading cards as milestone unlocks - if we surpass our expectations, I’ll include some physical cards (and maybe extra postcards) as a bonus thank-you to all our backers.

CBY: Outside of Awakening you also have Wardens #1 in the works. Can you give us a bit about what it's about and the team behind it?

AG: Wardens is a supernatural/crime/historical fiction comic series set in in the 1920s in Toronto’s early multicultural immigrant community “St. Johns Ward,” or, simply, “The Ward.“ It features Rachel Tussman, a down-on-her-luck 20-year-old Jewish seamstress, whose life is turned upside down when a factory fire claims the life of her sister, Goldie, and gives rise to “The Schmata”, an assemblage of magically possessed clothes out for bloody revenge! Drawn into a hidden world of Jewish mysticism, Rachel must unite with Goldie’s dispossessed spirit, Sonny (Goldie’s Chinese lover), and Nick (a Black jazz trombonist), to stop the Schmata, uncover the source of the fire, and survive a gang war that threatens to tear The Ward apart!

Can you tell I’m excited? I’m REALLY excited!! Robert Jennex (Morgan’s Organs, Broadleaf), the pride of New Waterford, Nova Scotia, is on art (line art and colours), and Aubrey’s editing.

CBY: Do you have any social media platforms you would like to shout out to our readers?

AG: Twitter: @aribgross. Check out my website for all my other comics, and sign up for my mailing list to keep up to date on all my ongoing comicy goodness!

CBY: Thank you so much for swinging by the Yeti Cave to talk about Awakening and much more. We hope you have great success with your campaign!

AG: Thanks - my pleasure!


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