Last week ProfessorBLove and Dean Vixen interviewed the creative team behind the upcoming comic Squarriors, Ash Mackzo (AM) and Ashley Marie Witter (AMW)
Dean Vixen: Congrats on the success and reaching your kickstarter goal! How in the heck does it feel?
AM: I’m in awe of the support we got for a unproven comic series. I hit the refresh button over 100 times a day/night. It feels good that we cleared the goal. But now I want more. I want to get #2 on track.
DV: I know you probably get tired of answering this question, but sorry I have to go there. What’s with the squirrels? I’m sort of petrified by those critters.
AM: I love squirrels, I think they get a bad wrap actually but, in general, I just love animals. I am fascinated by the epic world they live in.
DV: I had one in my house and I screamed like I was being murdered by Freddy Kruger. Haven’t been a fan…til now. Now they’re getting a different kind of wrap in Squarriors.
AM: Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily want them running around in my house. I wouldnt mind a pet squirrel… I used to have a raccoon.
AMW: I totally want squirrels in our house…I’m just going to open a window or three and start feeding them…they can model for me.
AM: I think it would be cool if people started looking at squirrels as something cool… “look at that squarrior!” instead of just thinking of them as rodent pests.
DV: Ashley you are amazing, it’s definitely what drew me in. It’s so hypnotizing. This huge squirrel who is striking fear into me. I was sold. You have these two tribes, Tin Kin vs Maw. So dangerous so bloody.
AMW: I wanted to challenge myself artistically with Squarriors (cause it’s personal to me) But a lot of it was about capturing Ash’s story.
AM: The animals in Squarriors are just normal sized… not man-sized. They are still small little creatures, living in a post-human world. living among massive artifacts left behind by man.
ProfessorBLove: Everything is done from our perspective.
AM: Exactly. think of what a cat really is to a little field mouse…. this massive, unstoppable monster. a blood thirsty predator… scary. Imagine the possibilities of a commune of small animals living in a decaying skyscraper. Just that one building would be an entire universe to explore.
PBL: Does the condition we leave the world in play a part in the story?
AM: Yes. Not so much as a ecological problem, but a technological mystery.
PBL: So what we left behind isn’t something the animals really understand.
AM: Exactly. Where Squarriors starts is just 10 years after humans left, so there is a decade of animal history, but its the start of a new civilization. Imagine if man just appeared on a planet… as primitive beings, but in a world of dead futuristic technology. They are developing fast… animals have shorter generational gaps (in general) so we are using that. I wanted to have my story arcs in place for the first year of stories (their year, 4 seasons – 4 issues per season = 16 issues). They aren’t finished in terms of dialog or anything… but the acts are there. the changes… the problems.. the epic battles. Issue #1 is 32 pages. The rest of the issues for that series will be around 26 pages each.
As far as their writing and artistic style influences, Ash Mackzo says he has some favorite books that might be influential, whereas artistically, Ashley Marie Witter wanted to see interior art in comics that look like classical paintings. She credits her art college teachers, Chris Gargan, Ed Binkley, John Ribble, and Mark A. Nelson for showing her this vast world of art. Oh and “Divinci is my dude!”
Ash tells us briefly how they hooked up with Devil’s Due. Apparently Josh from Devil’s Due started emailing them 2 years ago wanting Squarriors. It took Ash a while to be convinced they were the right publisher, turns out they were.
We fired a few random questions to Team Ash: Any comic books holding your attention? What’s on your music playlist and which comic con will we be seeing you at next?
AMW: Squarriors and Bloodthirsty.
AM: I’ll be honest,.. I don’t read comic books. I’ve always loved the idea of what comic books could do/be. but I never find anything that I truly love. The last series that I LOVED was The Crow by James O’Barr. Playlist: Lana Del Rey, Local H, Cracker, MGMT, and Stryper. We’d love to be at NYCC, maybe that’ll be the stretch goal!!
Ash tells us that he did the soundtrack for the Squarriors video, but unfortunately they didn’t use much of it. He always pictured over-the-top Squarriors movie intros set to The Way by Stryper. “Ridiculously epic.” He sent us a mp3 of the soundtrack, SO AWESOME! TEAMASH #1!!!
If you haven’t pledged to this awesome Squarriors kickstarter project click the link and check it out! Hello..WARRIOR SQUIRRELS!!!