REACH FOR THE STARS: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS MOSES
Comic Book Yeti contributor Alex Breen recently corresponded with Chris Moses, writer of the Kickstarter comic Saturn Effect: Alpha, to discuss his approach to worldbuilding in science fiction comics, along with tips for how to run your webcomic and Kickstarter campaign.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Chris, thank you for joining me today to discuss Saturn Effect: Alpha. What was it that first sparked the Saturn Effect concept? And what inspired you to branch Saturn Effect out into multiple titles, like Alpha?
CHRIS MOSES: Honestly, I had just seen a terrible sci-fi movie and upon leaving the theater I vowed to write something better. In all seriousness, sci-fi has always been a genre to talk about the world today in a far away setting, and since 2020, the world hasn’t stopped giving me things to write about.
When it comes to branching the Saturn Effect into multiple titles, I wanted to give multiple perspectives in my books. Alpha even has multiple different storylines moving at the same time. Seeing things from multiple/other perspectives is a core theme to TSE and the form in which I tell The Saturn Effect is just another manifestation of it. That, and number-ones always sell better. Who doesn’t want to sell a bunch of number ones?
CBY: What immediately stood out to me when reading Saturn Effect: Alpha was how imaginative the worlds are, both in storyline as well as visually. What goes into your worldbuilding process for Saturn Effect and its spinoffs?
CM: Lots of the worldbuilding is inspired by just some of the crazy ideas that science has for the future. The things that could be possible, it really is endless and makes it perfect for telling different unique stories and creating visually stimulating worlds. My words though are just one piece of the puzzle, and tons of credit needs to go to Francesco Mazzoli, Marco D’Alessandro, Christian Wolf, Iacopo Calisti and everyone else that's done work for us towards building this beautiful TSE universe.
"...anytime you’re setting out to tell a story, it’s your chance to tell the world the right way to live."
CBY: What goes into the scripting process for your stories? Do you prefer meticulously mapping out where your story goes or do you enjoy leaving yourself some room to improvise?
CM: I started off as a pantser but have become much more of a plotter as I’ve written more. I always know where we’re going in a story, though sometimes exactly how we get there will change during the scripting process. For me, it's important to be organized enough to tell a well-written story from start to finish while also having enough room for a story to grow and change along the way.
CBY: One thing I’m always curious about with indie comics is how writers find their artists. Can you share with us how you found your collaborators for Saturn Effect: Alpha? What is your collaborative process like with your team?
CM: Francesco Mazzoli was recommended to me by the artist on The Saturn Effect: Ajax #1 (available free online at www.thesaturneffect.com) Iacopo Calisti. Luckily for me, Marco D’Alessandro and Francesco are best friends. So I got both of them as a duo.
It was a lot easier that way, putting the team together! Word of mouth tends to be the best in finding great artists to work with, but when that doesn’t happen, I spend a lot of time scrolling through Instagram, Reddit, Artstation, Twitter, and other websites looking for potential collaborators.
CBY: Chris, the more I hear about the scale of these projects that you and the rest of the team have crafted, the more impressed I get. Do you have the ending in mind for Saturn Effect: Alpha and the larger Saturn Effect world or is this more a playground for you and your collaborators to go for as long as you want?
CM: The Saturn Effect and TSE: Alpha is going to end in TSE: Alpha Vol 2. That means four more issues to go! It’s all written and ready to go, and Issue #5 is already inked. What happens after TSE: Alpha #8? Guess you’ll just have to find out!
CBY: At the time of this writing, your Kickstarter campaign has reached its funding goal. So, a preemptive congratulations on the successful campaign! Are there any lessons you’ve learned from previous campaigns, and what pitfalls would you recommend fellow creators watch out for with their own campaigns?
CM: I learned a lot definitely but the number one difference was my marketing strategy. Any creators thinking about doing a campaign, make sure you’re networking with other creators and have a plan for posting/promotion. The more work you put into it, the better your campaign will do. And a pitfall I recommend creators watch out for is messaging dropped/adjusted pledges. Just don’t do it!
CBY: I noticed in your Kickstarter’s campaign that Saturn Effect has also been running as a webcomic. What was your thought process behind that decision and do you have any advice for creators who are looking to start their first webcomic?
CM: It was my first comic that I had written, so I had no audience and no social media presence. Putting out the story for free allowed me to get readers that wouldn’t have taken a chance on a new writer. I think, if you are just getting into creating, that doing webcomics either on your own website or on the multiple platforms out there can be a great way to get fans that will want to support you so they can enjoy more of your work.
CBY: What are some of your favorite science fiction stories you’d recommend CBY readers to check out? It could be in any medium, not exclusively comics.
CM: My top 5 sci-fi stories: Foundation, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Interstellar, The Fifth Element.
CBY: Are there any upcoming projects you can tease for us?
CM: Definitely! My next project is titled the Boggart and it’s a sci-fi thriller where a rich Black family brings home a terrifying alien to take care of their family estate. Issues #1-2 will be launching at the end of the summer, and all backers of our current campaign will get a 10-page digital preview when the campaign ends!
CBY: When does your Kickstarter campaign end and what other ways are there for people to support your work after the campaign concludes?
CM: Our campaign ends on June 29th so make sure to head over today and get any of our exclusive Kickstarter rewards! People can also support us at www.redseacomics.com.
CBY: Where can we find you on social media?
CM: Find me on Twitter at @rchrismoses or on Instagram @thesaturneffect !
CBY: Chris, thank you so much for your time.