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LUKE HENDERSON & RICHIE FRONTERA ring in the season with SUMMER'S END: TALES OF HEARTBREAK

Updated: Jun 29

Comic Book Yeti's own Luke Henderson takes a seat opposite Interviews Editor, Andrew Irvin, with his collaborator, Richie Fontera on Summer's End: Tales of Heartbreak, which is live on Kickstarter until July 6th, so now is the time to give the campaign a look!

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: Luke, thanks for taking a seat on the other side of the interview table, and I appreciate you bringing Richie to the conversation. We’re coming into the close of the campaign - how’s everyone feeling?



LUKE HENDERSON: I’m confident we’ll fund. Just got to keep grinding until the finish!


RICHIE FRONTERA: Feeling good. Yeah, we had a great first week, and we’ve adapted to The Slump nicely.  


CBY: I'm glad to see it coming along, and I hope this brings some more eyes to the campaign as you head into the home stretch! So, you’ve decided on a joint release for two stories each of you wrote individually - how did you two meet and determine you wanted to work together on a comic? 



RF: Both of our stories were accepted into Project Big Hype vol. 3, an anthology masterminded by Doug Wood, but was later canceled. KVGir and I looked for other anthologies to apply for, but our comic didn’t fit their criteria, or just wasn’t accepted for whatever reason. I don’t remember why, perhaps because they and I had been reading each other’s scripts at the time, but I had the feeling Luke had also had a comic in Big Hype, so I checked and sure enough, I was right. So I messaged ‘em, asking them about their comic, and we realized the commonalities between our stories were enough to package them as a double feature. I hit ‘em back with a pitch, including a title, and then together we ironed out the details and edits for what would be Summer’s End


LH: What Richie said. That these two stories fit so well was a happy coincidence. It almost seemed like they were meant to go together. They both explore relationships, but in vastly different contexts. My story is more about forbidden love and making tough choices, but Richie’s is more about moving forward when love is lost. I think together they add so much.



CBY: I think that's a great single-sentence pitch for both stories, Luke. Now, Richie, for Heard You Got Somebody, you collaborated with KVGIR on art and John Jack on letters. Luke, for The Unity of Vapors, John Jack also provided the art for characters conceptualized by Sam Prowse. Can you tell us a bit about how you pulled the broader team together and everyone found their role in the production of Summer’s End



LH: We all met in the Comic Jam, even one of our cover artists, Kamourian King, came from there. Sam was the original artist for my pitch to Project Big Hype, but sadly couldn’t continue for this project. He captured my main characters, P’Yr and L’Or so well that I didn’t want the designs to go to waste. John was already attached to the book, and I had done a one-page comic with him in a past Comic Jam, so I already knew they would be a great fit.


RF: KVGir and I already had a working relationship. When I wrote the script for Heard You Got Somebody, I knew his style fit well with the story. John Jack, too, they and I had worked on a few stories, and their inventiveness and flavor impressed me, so I knew they would kill it on letters. 



CBY: Since neither KVGIR nor John Jack are here, can you both explain a bit about the approach each has taken with the art? What sort of collaborative dialogue did each of you build over the course of getting these projects through to completion with the respective illustrators?



LH: So, I got to learn a lot about John’s process in our interview with Konrad of Wednesday Night Reviews. John has more experience in noir comics, but I think they’d knocked it out with a story that has a lighter touch. In my opinion, noir and romance are not so different in some ways, both heavily focus on the internal words of the characters involved. Since our comic involves two soldiers, John has also drawn a lot of influence from Harvey Kurtzman’s war comics from the 1950s. So, there’s a lot of fusion going on with John, but what I think is coolest is that the backgrounds of each panel also play a large role in displaying the nuances of each scene. They’ve been going nuts with texture and detail, it’s so great.


RF: KVGir has this noirish, Ditko-ish flavor to his illustrations, and that’s perfect for The Smear. We discussed how I saw the characters, where I was drawing from, and he got it immediately. KVGir’s great at designs, and he’s able to take input and turn in cool characters. At one point, we pitched to an anthology that asked for page counts in multiples of 4 - as in 4, 8, 12, blah. Heard You Got Somebody is 10 pages, so I asked him to draw a party featuring the characters - The Smear, La Eau, Steven - at a party with young, 20something superheroes as a double spread (I won’t spoil it, but look closely at Who’s Sort of Who), and he killed it. 


CBY: After having mentioned those influences, I'm sure it'll help other readers connect to the points of reference. So these appear to be one-off stories, but the characters are introduced on the cover in a manner that implies a greater scope beyond the bounds of this release. What other world-building and character ideation have you both associated with these stories?



LH: I’ll say for now that this isn’t the last time readers will see these characters. 


RF: To be announced! 🙂



CBY: Good to know there's more in store! We’ve talked a bit about Summer’s End: Tales of Heartbreak, but can you both share a bit about your influences? How did you both get into comics, and what sort of titles have always caught your eye?



LH: I didn’t seriously read comics until around 2019 and I was deep into Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, but also James Tynion IV and Ram V’s Justice League Dark run. The Sandman and Promethea are what really pushed me to start writing comics. I’m a lover of horror and dark fantasy, but I also really appreciate solid slice-of-life and romance manga. I’m more driven by characters than concepts when I’m writing and strong characters are a must to succeed in those genres, so I think I’m naturally drawn to it.


RF: My path to comics started with cartoons. Sailor Moon, Batman, X-Men, and the Fleischer Superman shorts, those four initiated me into a lifelong love for comics and manga. I’ll always look out for cool shonen manga - Chainsaw Man and Dandadan were welcome discoveries last year. On the other hand, I grew up reading seinen manga as well - Asatte Dance, for example. But I also love shojo and josei manga. There’s this title, Super Baby, that I started reading some time ago, as well as Helter Skelter chef’s kiss.  As far as Marvel/DC, I’ll always give Nightwing a shot, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I’ve read from Taylor and Redondo and Adriano Lucas. And anything by Hickman. Aside from all that, I’m a big fan of newspaper comics/cartoon strips, and always read anything Simon Hanselmann puts out. 



CBY: Sailor Moon, Batman, and X-Men were definitely part of my afterschool/Saturday morning line-up, and Watchmen and The Sandman were entry points in high school, so I know where you're coming from. I didn't know the terms seinen or josei before, so I learn something new every day! Can you tell us a bit about the Kickstarter campaign for Summer’s End, and what sort of rewards you have in store for backers who support the comic? Were there any campaigns that have run previously you’ve found useful for structuring this offering to the comics market?



RF: We have the digital edition, and then we have the digital deluxe edition with our scripts, the concept art, and a chat between Luke and I where we go into detail about stories, and that’s something I’ve been eager to put out, as the creation of The Smear is special to me. We also have several physical options that also come with a digital issue. There are three different cover options for the physical edition. John Jack and KVGir each did a cover, and we’re also including a spicy piece by Kamourian King. KVGir and John Jack are also offering custom, black and white sketches that come with a digital and physical issue. If you feel like spoiling yourself, there’s the Collectors’ Bundle with all three cover options,  in addition to a digital issue. Readers can also buy the original print art from either Heard You Got Somebody or Unity of Vapors, and Luke’s offering their poetry and recipe skills for a hand-written sketch, which I recommend with a soothing tea. 



CBY: Plenty of fun options to snag while the campaign is still live, it seems. So after this campaign concludes, what comics or other projects do you both have in the works? Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers from your ongoing projects or personal development slates?



LH: I’ve got an article coming in the 2nd issue of Geek Collective’s Archetypes magazine where I dig deep into James Tynion and Eryk Donovan’s Apocalyptic trilogy, possibly another Kickstarter for a poetry chapbook (I’m crazy, I know) and I’m working on a short existential horror anthology called Letters from the Void where I letter stories by an amazing team of writers and artists and as Richie says below…


RF: To be announced! 🙂



CBY: Sounds like there's plenty to look forward to! Separately from Summer’s End, what comics and other creative work has been inspiring you? What should our readers check out once they give your campaign their attention?



LH: Silver Sprocket has been killing it with their recent releases. I’m now a Leo Fox stan and Sunflowers by Keezy Young was amazing. I’ve also been diving into Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles and I’m in love with it, especially Clem Robbins’ lettering. It’s got such a unique style and doesn’t follow typical lettering wisdom, but it works. I’m hoping to use some of it as inspiration for Letters from the Void.


I’ll shout out Doug Wood’s campaign for Loser Pool, Dauntless Stories’ latest campaign, Unbroken and one by Jon Renzella called Fractal Cascade. Jon makes comics from woodcut art and I’m always a fan of comic art that uses less explored mediums or mixed media.


RF: I’d shout out Loser Pool, and I’ve been diving into classic Korean films such as Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. I’m planning to watch I Saw The Devil this weekend. I live in Seoul, so it’s illuminating to watch and then chat about them with friends. 



CBY: Oh, nice - thanks for the recommendations to our audience. Luke & Richie, thank you for taking time today to discuss Summer’s End! For our readers at home, please feel free to include any portfolio, publication, or social media links below where they can further engage with you and your work. We look forward to seeing what you come up with next!



LH: Thanks so much! Most of my stuff can be found at linktr.ee/lukewhenderson and I’m on Twitter/Instagram as @lukewhendersonm and BlueSky as @lukewhenderson.



RF: Thank you for chatting with us! Please follow me @RichieFrontera on Twitter and @richie_frontera on Instagram. I’m also on Bluesky at @richiefrontera.bsky.social, and I’m trying out Tik Tok @richiefrontera. Also, check out my portfolio at artstation.com/richiefrontera


 



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