Free-Fallen with His First Kickstarter – An Interview with RAYMOND LOLACHER
At the time of this writing there are 9 days left for Fallen to reach its funding goal on Kickstarter. Amidst the stress and emotional rollercoaster of running a Kickstarter, Raymond Lolacher enters the Yeti Cave to discuss his dream of making comics and the main character of Fallen, Zander Knight.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Raymond, thank you so much for joining me here in the Yeti Cave to discuss Fallen #1, currently on Kickstarter. How have you been doing?
RAYMOND LOLACHER: I am doing great, all things considered. Excited, nervous, hungry. Sounds like I'm describing my dog. Thanks for having me over in the Yeti Cave, Jimmy!
CBY: What is your origin story as a creator? Were comics always a part of your life and when did you know you wanted to create your own stories?
RL: It all started when I was 9 and my mother bought me a 50 pack of comics from Sears. I flipped through the pages and managed to look at every comic book in a month. So then I got another one. Oh man, I have a love/addiction to comic books.
I always dreamt of making comics. I believe I was in high school when I started actually creating. So I have a lot of ideas racing around in my head. About twenty years' worth.
CBY: What is it you do when you aren’t creating comics in Saskatchewan?
RL: I work at the Wheel Shop. We refinish vehicle wheels for people that are attracted to curbs. I also have a love for cooking. I really just spend a lot of time with my family. We enjoy the summers in Saskatchewan and dread the winters.
"I am still a little stressed because it hasn't reached it's goal yet. The best advice I have is take a day off work on the first day of the campaign, have patience and just breathe."
CBY: For Fallen, you created the story and are the artist. What is your writing process like when you have an idea for a story – do you outline first or just start scripting to get that first draft done? Regarding your artwork, when did you get your start drawing and what’s your process to create the artwork for Fallen? Your work is traditional rather than digital, right?
RL: I actually did this ass backwards. I drew out the comic before writing anything down. I had what I wanted to happen in my head and went with it. I guess that's a perk of writing and drawing your own comic. To a pure writer, I'm sure they would be screaming from the rooftops. That's wrong! But it's my process.
My start in drawing was at a very young age. I've always had a love for creating art. I am a traditional artist so, yes, I go through a lot of paper. I make thumbs/rough sketches of how I'd like the page laid out and begin my process. I pencil everything, then ink them with a crow quill and brush.
CBY: The rest of the creative team for Fallen is Sean Baggs handling the coloring and Joni Hägg lettering. How did this creative team come together and what makes your collaboration successful?
RL: Actually, I need to include Matt Wilding. He was very instrumental in this comic book. He looked over my pages before anyone else and offered his input.
I also met Sean through Matt. We worked on a short story together. I knew right away this guy's got it. He really knew the kind of feel the art was portraying. Sean's style is very attention-grabbing.
"We are just getting to know these characters and we have inspirations from all the people in our lives. But for now they are based on emotions. Anxiety is the theme for the first issue. The fear/frustration of how things don't work out as planned."
As for Joni, I put an ad out for a letterer and he answered. I knew Joni before from a discord channel. I didn't know that he lettered as well as wrote fantastic stories. Joni really has a great understanding of how to lay out the balloons and make the story flow.
I can't say enough about the crew we have on Fallen. Very talented individuals and great people!
CBY: Fallen tells the story of Zander Knight. He seems to be your average Joe, but he has these disturbing nightmares that may be real. Meanwhile, there are two detectives investigating grisly murders in Queen City. What was your inspiration for this story? The Kickstarter page describes Fallen as being for fans of Batman or Spawn, but with a magical twist. What is it about those two characters, in particular, Batman and Spawn, that you wanted to capture with Zander Knight?
RL: I wanted to tell a story that has all characteristics of the things I love: Superheroes/Mystery and Fantasy. I'm a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore. His writing style is very descriptive and I like how his stories have a fast-paced flow. So I wanted to have that same feel with Fallen.
To intertwine great characters you need an event. The murders are the event. Who, what, why and when are the things that link them together. Also, Regina is called the Queen City and you might be able to see some inspiration in the art. It fit the story so well I had to use it.
I thought about the detective side of Batman. Trying to piece together the events that are happening to him. With Spawn he has the mystery of why he exists and the search for the truth. Both have unlimited potential and hidden abilities.
CBY: Is Zander, or any of the other characters for that matter, based on any person you know or are there parts of Zander’s personality based on people you know? Have there been any real life events that have influenced Fallen or with such fantastic elements are you trying to capture a particular emotion with this story?
RL: You know it's still early. We are just getting to know these characters and we have inspirations from all the people in our lives. But for now they are based on emotions. Anxiety is the theme for the first issue. The fear/frustration of how things don't work out as planned. This is a thing that many people have in common in the trying times we live in. So I'd like Zander to develop his own personality based on the events that shape him, as they do to us all. Not just based on one person per say.
I myself have gone through some difficult times in the past and remember that feeling of questioning why these events happen. What lesson is to be learned?
CBY: There are a lot of great pages in the ones you sent me, especially the ones that have been fully colored. Can you tell me what has been the most fun for you to draw and then see colored, so long as it doesn’t spoil anything?
RL: My favorite page is a detective page. The impact that it brings to the reader is the feeling I was looking for. Page 19 to be exact. People are going to have to invest in the comic to see where I'm going with this.
CBY: Is this your first Kickstarter? What’s the experience like running a Kickstarter and do you have any advice for someone planning to self-publish their comic?
RL: Yes, it's my first. It's a bit funny running your first one. My resume isn't filled with a lot of previous comic jobs. But people that know me personally know that I always finish what I start.
When they say it's a windfall of emotions, they are right. I am still a little stressed because it hasn't reached its goal yet. The best advice I have is take a day off work on the first day of the campaign, have patience and just breathe.
CBY: Do you find it difficult to market/promote yourself when running a Kickstarter?
RL: Do I ever. I'm really not the type of person that likes to blab about themselves. Sure I like to show off art, but that is more of a visual thing. Also, I am the absolute worst person with spelling/grammar errors on the internet. Sometimes, I feel like a total buffoon posting these things.
CBY: Who are the comic creators working today that have inspired & influenced you?
RL: That's a long list. Jim Lee, Todd Mcfarlane, Arthur Adams, Szymon Kudranski, Brett Booth, John Bryne, Ryan Benjamin, Sandra Hope… the never-ending list.
CBY: Do you have a long-term comics goal?
RL: I would love to draw comics full time. If I can create a few of my own in my life, I'd be happy with that.
CBY: If you were the curator for a comics museum, which 3 books do you want to make absolutely sure are included?
RL: X-men 1991 #1: Jim Lee killed that book; Spawn #1: The beginning of something special; Batman vol. 1 #351- my first comic book "What Stalks the Gotham Knight“.
CBY: Are you currently working on any other projects CBY readers should check out?
RL: I've been doing Indietober/Inktober this month to help keep me sane. I might have a few cards up my sleeve after the Kickstarter.
CBY: Do you have a website and/or are you active on Twitter? Anywhere else you can be found online?
RL: My portfolio is on ArtStation
Twitter is @RLolacher
Just look up Raymond Lolacher you'll find me!
CBY: Thank you so much, Raymond!
RL: It's been a blast. Never thought I would have ever felt so welcome. Maybe it's that fur welcome mat.