Jurassic Meets Assassins in Jason Horn’s ‘Ninjasaur’ [Back Pages]
Here at ComicsAlliance, Jason Horn's webcomic Ninjasaur has been a firm favourite for quite a while. Mixing ninjas and dinosaurs might be part of why we like it, although Horn matches the silliness with first-rate artwork and some of the most enjoyable comics storytelling around.
And happily enough, Horn is currently running a Kickstarter to bring volume one and volume two of his series to print. We're big advocates for anything that forcibly mashes dinosaurs and noble assassins together, so we spoke to Horn about the Kickstarter and his work on Ninjasaur for the first installment of our new crowdfunding Q&A feature, Back Pages.
ComicsAlliance: What’s the basic premise of Ninjasaur?
Jason Horn: Ninjasaur, as you may have figured out on your own, is a dinosaur ninja. The name gives you an idea of the silly tone of the book. Ninjasaur is a hero in a world where everything exists at once. Time is broken and cavemen get into fist fights with aliens. Scientists are roommates with pirates. And when things get out of hand, Ninjasaur is there to keep the peace. His world is like the bottom of a kid's toy box. On any given day, a dinosaur can ninja kick a medieval knight, and that's the norm.
Ninjasaur was trained in the ways of the ninja as a young stegosaurus by his Sensei, an elderly Japanese ninja master. As Ninjasaur was completing his training, his Sensei was taken by a dark entity. Ninjasaur spent years searching for him with no luck. But after meeting a mysterious rhinoceros named Moonwell, Ninjasaur is finally close to discovering what happened to his Sensei. To save him, Ninjasaur must face an omniscient being older than time who threatens all of reality… even my readers.
CA: What was the genesis of the project? How long have you wanted to get this comic up and running?
JH: I came up with the word 'Ninjasaur' in 2007 but didn't know what to do with it. After some doodling, I came up with the basic character design and decided to make it into a comic book. A few of my friends were doing web comics, and they encouraged me to do the same. So in late 2007, the Ninjasaur web comic began at ninjasaur.com.
CA: What was it about this story that made you want to tell it?
JH: Ninjasaur is an all-ages comic with a pretty big middle school-aged following. I want to tell stories that not only entertain kids with diaper jokes (and there are a few), but I want to tell stories that make them think. It may sound silly to use a dinosaur ninja to attempt to broaden the minds of our youth, but I'm trying.
In Ninjasaur: Volume Two, Ninjasaur learns that he is a fictional character who must face the void that existed before all creation. Every time something new is created, a little of the void has been eaten away. The day I created Ninjasaur was the straw that broke the camel's back. The void is using Ninjasaur's story (and its readers) to destroy all of reality.
This all probably sounds like too heavy of an existential crisis for kids, but they love that kind of stuff. They're more clever than we give them credit for.
CA: What’s your process for the comic?
JH: I do Ninjasaur all by myself. I had to learn the entire comic business. From thumbnails to coloring, I handle it all. Thankfully, I'm a graphic designer, so utilizing all the software that goes into creating comics was second nature to me. And I've been drawing since I was watching Bugs Bunny cartoons as a little kid!
CA: Why take this to Kickstarter?
JH: I've successfully ran and fulfilled two previous Kickstarters. I did a black and white collection of the first Ninjasaur stories a few years ago. And I Kickstarted an all-ages prose novel about a sixth grade girl who creates time travel titled, Kathryn the Chrononaut.
Kickstarter is a great way to go straight to the public with your creation. Especially for someone like me who enjoys doing it all myself. With this Kickstarter, I can finally release a full color version of Ninjasaur Volumes One and Two. Full color printing is super expensive, so I can't really do it without everyone's support.
CA: What stage is Ninjasaur at right now?
I have hundreds of pages completed at this point. Both Volume One and Two are almost completely done, I just need the funds to send it to the printer!
CA: If you achieve your goal, what’s your estimated delivery on the final comic?
Volume One is ready to go. I just need to get ten pages of coloring done on Volume Two and get the files to the printer. I'm using a printer I've used before and I expect to start getting the books in the mail by September. I set my delivery dates a little later than that, just in case I run into any problems. But I've done all this before, so I'm ready for what comes after the Kickstarter funding part is over. Bring it on.
Ninjasaur is running on Kickstarter until March 31 2015, and is looking to reach a $6500 goal. The series is also available on Thrillbent while the Kickstarter runs.