Frederik Hautain Leads Creators into The Broken Frontier [Back Pages]
The comics anthology, having struggled to make a lasting impact in mainstream American comics publishing, has found a home online. Kickstarter has proved to be the place to go if you want to see a collection of familiar and new artists telling stories together, and this month saw a mighty new anthology take to the platform. The Broken Frontier Anthology, edited by Frederik Hautain, is a collection of creator-owned tales presented by Broken Frontier, a website that specializes in creator-owned comics.
Featuring work from an impressive collection of voices, including Noah Van Sciver, Alison Sampson, Farel Dalrymple, Fred Van Lente, Box Brown, INJ Culbard, Karrie Fransman, Marguerite Bennett, and so many more, the 250-page anthology will include 27 stories from 40 writers and artists in total. It's a huge, ambitious project, and one that looks absolutely brilliant --- so we spoke to Hautain about how he managed to pull it all together, and what to expect from the creators.
ComicsAlliance: What’s the general premise of the anthology?
Frederik Hautain: The Broken Frontier Anthology is a fully creator-owned book featuring stories about breaking boundaries and exploring the great unknown. It contains 27 stories by over 40 creators from around the world, ranging from multiple award-winning writers and artists to bright, up-and-coming talent.
CA: What was the genesis of the project? How long have you wanted to get this up and running?
FH: Putting together a big project like this takes time and a huge amount of planning. We started to seriously explore this idea about a year ago and then went to work, building it one step at a time.
The first thing we needed to bring this idea to life was to come up with a unifying theme that not only allowed us to approach a wide range of creators, but which would also mesh well with each of their individual styles and storytelling skills.
The theme came to us pretty organically; our site’s called ‘Broken Frontier’ after all, so we decided we wanted the book to be about breaking boundaries, pushing beyond our human limits and exploring the great unknown.
Once we had that set, it was full steam ahead! [Laughs]
CA: What was it about this project which made you want to pull it together?
FH: Our intention with this anthology is to celebrate the infinite storytelling possibilities found in creator-owned comics. Over on the Broken Frontier website, we’ve always focused heavily on creator-owned and independent material because we feel that’s where some of the best comics stories are told.
Nothing against superheroes --- I’ve been a big Batman and X-Men fan since I picked up my first comics as a seven-year-old almost 25 years ago now, and I’ll be first in line when Avengers: Age Of Ultron hits theaters. But there’s something about the uniqueness and finite nature of most creator-owned comics that appeals to me a lot.
These books and their creators are breaking boundaries and pushing the comics medium forward incredibly. They’re making the industry such an exciting place to be a part of and there are so many new and old readers taking note of that, which is so, so good.
If we can help more people take notice of these kinds of stories through our anthology, we’ve accomplished our mission.
CA: How did you find people to join you for the anthology? Who'll be part of the project?
FH: We’re so happy to have a great combination of established stars and fresh voices aboard, both men and women --- that was incredibly important to us, because we wanted the anthology to reflect how far the industry has come in supporting diversity in comics.
Greg Pak and Tom Raney will do a crazy story about a soldier who’s fighting ghosts with a phantom limb; Toby Cypress is working on a high-tech sci-fi story set in a dystopian desert; there’s also Josh Fialkov teaming with Ryan Kelly; Fred Van Lente with Alison Sampson and so on.
I’m also excited about Carla Berrocal’s take on how people in the future are trying to overcome death and INJ Culbard’s tale about an immortal who finds himself on the edges of the universe, called "Last Dance at Omega Point."
You can find a complete overview of the teams and stories by individual creators here, on the site.
CA: Why take this to Kickstarter?
FH: Well, this is a massive undertaking, especially because we really want our creators to be paid a very good rate for their stories and we want to pay them up front. The bulk of our backers’ pledges goes directly to the talent on the book.
And if we’re lucky enough to go past our goal, we’ll be able to pay the creators more, expand their stories --- and hopefully even bring in some new people as part of the stretch goals we’ve got planned.
But yes, this is a project that can’t exist without a strong vote of support from comic book fans and readers, so that’s why we turned to Kickstarter.
CA: What stage are you at with the project? How much is already underway?
FH: All of the creative teams are in place, and they’ve all started working on their stories. Several creators were so excited about taking part that they already went ahead and completely finished their tales even before the Kickstarter went live!
CA: Should you achieve your goal, what’s your estimated delivery on the final anthology?
FH: If the campaign gets fully funded, we’ll have the digital copies out to backers in September of this year and the hardcover edition will follow in December. We’re incredibly excited to make this happen!