I was able to grab the ear of comic book creator and writer Darker Sho, who’s comic book Ruin is on it’s last couple of weeks of it’s Kickstarter funding. Looking over the facebook, twitter, and Kickstarter pages, this comic really grabbed my attention. The artwork is gritty without being muddled and at first reminded of Punk Rock Jesus from Vertigo comics, but cleaner. The concept – a graphic novel about a nomadic survivalist trying to make ends meet in a future dystopia after humans have destroyed the civilization they worked so hard to build, leaving only a vast wasteland of primal human behavior with little hope for repair – is immediately intriguing. Once you delve a little deeper into the plot, it becomes even more so.
It’s the year 4602 and our protagonist, Ayden, is scouring the harsh desert badlands with only a map and his three-legged canine companion, Sasha.
Ayden is on a mission to rescue his kidnapped sister from the fallen city of Ataraxis, the capital of debauchery and depravity on the Outer-Terra.
I knew I had to find out more about this comic book and the minds behind it. Luckily, Darker Sho was more than willing to answer a few questions and give us some insight on his comics Ruin, Wicker, and his creative partnership with artist Ruben Rojas.
Geekin’: First, can you give us a little background on you and the artist, Ruben Rojas? How’d you meet, how did these projects come about?
Darker Sho: My love for film and comics inspired me to write. I had a little luck with a screenplay I’d written four years ago, but it never materialized. Screenplay writing can be lonely with little reward, although a full feature film would be a huge payoff. Comics are similar to film; it’s a visual medium with story telling. Comics are a great way to expedite the creative process and share the fruits of my labor as a writer.
Ruben and I met on the Digital Webbing Creator forum actually. He lives in Malaga, Spain, and I live in Austin, Texas. He’s published with Amigo Comics, a back-story titled, “Rogues!” and is also working on a webcomic titled Blue Yonder. I’d written the RUIN #1 script a while ago and shopped it around. An artist worked on the story previously but we encountered a schedule conflict and I was just waiting for the perfect artist to come along when I met Ruben. It’s a little strange that we’ve never met, never even talked on the phone, but somehow it works.
Geekin’: How does Ruin and Wicker, respectively, differ from comics already on the shelves?
Darker Sho: Well, I think Ruben and I collectively bring a certain creative dynamic that is fresh and unique to the scene. We are friends, listen to a lot of the same music, similar tastes in games etc. so I think the high concept quality of RUIN is apparent and it sets us apart from other comics. We specifically created RUIN because it’s the book we wanted to see on the shelves but couldn’t find.
Geekin’: Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process? Do you script like a typical comic book writer? How much direction do you give Rojas and how much do you leave up to him?
Darker Sho: I write when I want to write. I try to write every day but if that doesn’t happen, I don’t beat myself up about it. That eliminates the stress and allows the creativity to flow. I feel like I accomplish more with that mindset. I try to let the characters and story remain as organic and free as possible and try not to hinder it with too many cliches or plot devices.
I am rigid with comic formatting; I try to be as professional and tidy as possible because you never know who may read your script. I build up the world, the characters, set the stage, and then Ruben and I work together to finalize project specifics. If character attributes or features are imperative for the story, I push for them. Otherwise, I try to be purposefully vague and only offer important descriptors so that Ruben is free to add detail that’s true to his style and inspiration. I encourage Ruben and other artists to take creative liberties if they think a page layout or panel or character should look like this or like that. And the payoff is great. I letter too, so I can write on the fly if art preferences are made. I think the art is just as important as the story; this is a visual medium after all.
Geekin’: Do you have a set ending for these stories, or do you intend to keep them going as long as they’ll sell?
Darker Sho: I know how the first arc ends, but I try to avoid plotting way in advance. I have an idea of where I’d like to go, where the characters want to go. I make notes, may even write a rough draft, but it’s mostly up in the air. I want to avoid setting restriction on the story and characters. Sales are important to continue doing what we love, but for me, if I write the story over the next five years and I find myself churning out scripts that don’t inspire me any longer…I’ll wrap it up. Making comics is supposed to be fun. There’s a tremendous amount of effort involved but when the creative part of the process isn’t fun anymore, you need to know when to quit.
Geekin’: Why write comic books over another medium? Why not novels?
Darker Sho: I have several screenplays and will be publishing a novel in 2014 that I’ve been working on four years now. I’m adapting RUIN into a fiction novel as well. Why comics? I love the medium. I am able to write a story, email it off to Ruben, and then BAM! like magic the character or world I envisioned is staring back at me. That kind of instant gratification in the creative field is hard to come by and to master; so right, it’s got my full attention.
Geekin’: What current comics are you reading?
Darker Sho: East of West, Hellboy, Punisher, Batman, Watchmen. I read these over and over again. I grab creator owned issues at my LCS all the time and check out new stuff from indie creators over at Comixology.
Geekin’: If you were going to cast Ruin and Wicker as movies, who would be your first choice for leading actor/actress?
Darker Sho: We toyed with the idea of Ayden looking like a 90s mo-hawked Maynard Keenan, frontman of TOOL. I think Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) would kick ass as the film adaptation of RUIN.
Rooney Mara would be a wise casting decision for Wicker I think. Marcelo and I are having a lot of fun with that character, and that’s one chick you don’t want to mess with.
Geekin’: If a major comic book company approached you and said “We want to produce your comic books”, which company would be your ‘dream’ choice?
Darker Sho: Hmm, tough choice. We’d be thrilled to land any creator-owned publishing gig as creators (Image, Dark Horse, IDW). I’d loving nothing more than to publish several concepts with any of those publishers. As far as dreaming big, I’d also love to hustle and write a franchise character one day such as Batman or Spider-Man. As a comics fan/creator, I think that’s a trophy we all aspire to achieve one day.
Geekin’: When (not if, these look like amazing books) these books take off, do you have any other projects you’d like to see come to fruition?
Darker Sho: YES. I’m constantly working on new ideas and scripts. I have a project I’m working on now called Aftermath Inc. and I just need to find the right artist and fine-tune the story. There’s no better time than the now!
If you’re interesting in supporting Darker Sho and Ruben Rojas on their journey to see this comic become everything it’s destined to be, hit the links below –
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