Interview Content Editor Jimmy Gaspero is back with another Cryptid-Bits, this time with Leo Mancini about his current Kickstarter for Corrupting the Youth Anthology. This is a fun Anthology and Comic Book Yeti contributor Luke Henderson has a story in it!!! The Kickstarter campaign runs until October 6th.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Leo, thank you so much for joining me in the Yeti Cave for another segment of Comic Book Yeti’s Cryptid-Bits to discuss the current Kickstarter for Corrupting the Youth Anthology. What is this anthology all about?
LEO MANCINI: It’s great to be doing this! Thanks for the opportunity! This book is about telling funny and unpredictable stories that bring you deep into the minds of some really weird cartoonists. I tried to pick a theme that would let people preach their weird little messages in their weird little voices. And the people in this book delivered.
CBY: The theme of this Anthology is so much fun. What was the inspiration for you to put together Corrupting the Youth?
LM: Well, honestly, I think a lot of anthologies kind of suck a little bit. Like, I see a lot of stories that don’t really go anywhere or say anything. So to avoid this, I chose a prompt that would encourage creators to start with a message and develop the story from there. The original flyer said, “cute stories, dangerous ideas!” The people who submitted stuff just got it immediately.
I also think the “corruption” theme let us play with a glitchy aesthetic that was really fun. I’m actually really proud of the theme. I think it’s genius.
CBY: What’s your comic creator origin story, meaning when did you first get into comics and what was it that made you want to create comics?
LM: So the long version of the story is that when I was, like, eleven, my dad would let me borrow his laptop because he thought I was learning how to code in this program called GameSalad. But really I was looking at YouTube videos and porn and stuff. He had this app called Pixelmator (photoshop knockoff) and that’s where I learned to draw. I drew four full issues of a comic about a purple marshmallow character with the trackpad on that laptop.
Once I got to high school I started self publishing (via Kickstarter) a comic called Sharkman. I took it to a bunch of conventions and drink n’ draws with my friend Finn Belknap. It sold through a couple printings and I stopped reprinting it once we graduated. You can actually still get some of the last copies as a reward for backing the Corrupting the Youth Kickstarter.
Now I’m in my fourth and (hopefully) final year of college.
CBY: Was this your first time putting together an Anthology like this? How did you establish the submission criteria and decide which creators/stories you wanted to include?
LM: Yeah. This was my first time. I think the main question people had about our submission criteria was some variation of “how edgy can I go?” And I had to explain that we were looking for stories that were quirky or subversive, not outright offensive.
The other thing I had to consider was the mix of familiar creators I could trust to deliver a good story, and more unknown creators I wanted to take a risk on. I ended up playing it relatively safe. But there were some borderline-incomprehensible pitches that I kind of wanted to greenlight just to see what I’d get back. Maybe you’ll see some of those in my next anthology.
CBY: I looked at the great list of creators on the Kickstarter campaign page, but can you tell me more about all the creators involved. I was excited that CBY contributor and all around swell human Luke Henderson is included!
LM: Yeah! Luke is great! Let me just go down the list. This kind of actually ties into the last question too.
Okay, so first is Nancy Hollis. I hadn’t met her before this Anthology. She pitched this story called “Cheesebuns the Burgerboy.” Her pitch was really detailed and I actually ended up accepting it before submissions closed. It’s about sandwiches bullying each other. Awesome.
Next is a collaboration between Michael Allen and Derek Mola. I know Michael from a drink n’ draw we both go to so he was able to workshop his pitch with me a little before submitting it. He also does a really cool comic called Melon Cat that everyone should go check out!
Next is Andrew Misisco. I had seen his stuff at cons and zinefests for years so it was really cool to get a submission from him.
Next is Charlotte Day. They did a really dark weird story that I like a lot. They don’t have a ton of comics out yet but look out for their name on stuff in the next few years.
Next we have Luke writing a story with Brian Beardsley drawing and Kevin Lintz lettering. Their story is about an unsatisfied kid with a plan to shake down the tooth fairy.
And then, finally, we have Eva Tuszynski. I met her in a storyboarding class and just immediately became a huge fan of her stuff. We ended up collaborating on this really weird dinosaur revenge story for that class that I’m still really proud of.
CBY: Were there any stories/nursery rhymes/books you remember from being a kid that when you got older upon later reflection you realized, “oh that was problematic” or “I can make this more fun”?
LM: So, yes. Cinderella is basically a story about a head of state using his power to touch hundreds of womens’ feet.
That’s not my story for the book but I wanted to share it.
CBY: What are the comics, books, tv shows, and movies that you are currently enjoying?
LM: Everyone should read Action Hospital by Dave Baker. He’s blowing up now but that book is still super underrated and it’s my favorite comic. Other than that, anything by Allie Brosh or Simon Hanselmann.
CBY: Tell me about any upcoming projects or friends’ projects that CBY readers should check out.
LM: Yeah actually! My friends Eric and Joe put together this super awesome robot-themed anthology. Not sure if it’s available to order online yet but it’s very good.
CBY: Where can you be found online?
LM: @leomakecomic on everything. Also I host a podcast called “Leo’s Podcast.”
CBY: Thank you so much, Leo, and good luck with the rest of the campaign!
LM: Thanks, Jimmy!