Comic Book Yeti contributor Alex Breen recently corresponded with Anthony Stokes, writer of the Kickstarter comic Decay, to discuss his philosophy on writing dialogue, along with the pitfalls of creating too much lore.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Anthony, thank you so much for joining me today to discuss your Kickstarter series
Decay. From looking through your previous campaigns, I heard you mention that Decay was your first comic. Can you take us through what first inspired you to make comics?
ANTHONY STOKES: Absolutely. So while I have massive respect for the medium of comics, my first love is making movies. Making a comic was much easier, relatively speaking of course. I love the freedom that comes with making comics and the fact that I get final say on everything, which is a luxury I would not be afforded in filmmaking.
CBY: Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for Decay, along with some of your major inspirations for the story?
AS: Decay is about staying alive for someone else and what happens when it doesn’t work. Heavily inspired by Frankenstein and The Monkey’s Paw. I love morality plays/cautionary tales. Giving characters no-win situations and seeing the fallout from their choices is a classic storytelling device and seemed like a great place to start.
"...I love dialogue, which goes back to my love of movies. I have been writing screenplays since 2009, so dialogue has been nothing short of an obsession for me"
CBY: What immediately stood out to me when reading Decay issue #1 is how natural your dialogue feels for someone’s first comic. I'm curious, were you writing in other media prior to comics, or did you spend numerous drafts refining the dialogue?
AS: Let me first say I love dialogue, which goes back to my love of movies. I have been writing screenplays since 2009, so dialogue has been nothing short of an obsession for me. I get less of it in a comic book since it’s a visual medium, so I have to make the moments where characters speak really stand out. My main strategy was to cut out anything that didn’t need to be said and it worked out pretty well.
CBY: Have you noticed your scripting process evolving from Issues 1 through 3? Is there any advice you can give new comic writers when developing their first comic?
AS: The process is the same. I just have a way better understanding of the medium than I did before. It just comes with experience and I’ve tried to become a student of the art form. I would expect a massive jump in quality when I get to my next series.
The biggest pitfall I see new creators fall into is that they’re too wrapped up in their lore. They’re seeing 50 issues ahead so much, they forget to craft a story that is welcoming to casual readers. All your favorite franchises started off with something that’s relatively simple (A New Hope, Fellowship [of the Ring], Iron Man, etc). Starting off simple is the most cliche and essential advice to new writers.
CBY: How did you find artist Marcelo Olivera? And can you describe what your collaboration has been like so far?
CM: I met him through Reddit under r/comicbookcollabs. Marcelo is fantastic to work with. He’s consistent, does good work, and his coloring is fantastic. It’s been a treat working with him the last 2 years.
CBY: Now that you're on your third Kickstarter campaign, what are some of the lessons you've learned from running them? Is there anything you recommend for creators to avoid with their campaigns?
AS: Get that pre-launch page up as early as possible. Followers convert to backers at a pretty good clip. Make sure you have your price points spread out. Don’t price someone out who wants to give you a couple of dollars and don’t undersell yourself to someone who wants to drop some money on your head. My cheapest reward was $5 and my most expensive is $300. It’s been working out so far.
CBY: Can you give us a tease on where the story will go after issue 3?
AS: The Revenge Tour continues.
CBY: Are there any other future projects you can tease for us?
AS: My next project will be called “Intrusive Thoughts” and I’m expecting it to make a splash in a big way when it drops.
CBY: When does the Kickstarter campaign end?
AS: November (Tentative date).
CBY: Where can people support your work after the Kickstarter campaign is finished?
AS: Decaycomic.com is my official store.
CBY: Where can we find you on social media?
CBY: Anthony, thank you so much for your time