Matt Miner and Jonathan Brandon Sawyer Usher in ‘GWAR: Orgasmageddon’ [Back Pages]
We're always up for something new here at ComicsAlliance. When comics writer Matt Miner got in touch to let us know that he was collaborating with a group of interdimensional aliens who were also members of a rock band called GWAR... it wasn't the strangest thing we'd ever heard. But it was intriguing. And with the recent announcement of GWAR: Orgasmageddon, a new comics story from Miner, GWAR, and artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, we had to find out exactly what was going on.
With the comic now running on Kickstarter and edging towards a funding target of $39,000, Back Pages sat down with Miner and Sawyer to get their insight on how this bizarre, violent, musically disturbing collaboration came about. Fear everything!
ComicsAlliance: So okay, let’s get a handle on all this. What... what is GWAR?
Matt Miner: GWAR are a shock rock band of interplanetary aliens who were banished to Earth eons ago, had sex with apes, and created humans. They were frozen in Antarctica and thawed out back in the 1980s --- they’re now the best heavy metal band of alien blood spewing monsters that exists.
CA: And... what can people expect from, uh, Orgasmageddon?
MM: It’s a time travelling story --- think of it like Bill & Ted’s, but if Bill and Ted went on a bath salts bender and killed everything. It’s going to be a ton of irreverent fun with GWAR’s brand of social satire, and you don’t need to be a GWAR fan to have a good time with the comic.
CA: How did this project come together? How did you both get involved?
Jonathan Brandon Sawyer: Matt pitched the idea to me when we were working on Critical Hit a couple of years ago, before he'd even started pursuing the idea with GWAR. I don't think I realized at the time how committed he was to the idea, haha. A year or so later, he made a connection with them and asked me if I really wanted to do it, and of course I said yes.
MM: When I got into the comics biz I had this goal in the back of my mind --- I’ve been a fan of GWAR since age 16, and once I started making comics, I knew one day I wanted to make GWAR books. After doing several series with Black Mask Studios, and shorts with other various companies, I approached GWAR through a mutual friend and we went from there.
CA: What was it about GWAR that made you keen to work with them on this story? What do you enjoy most about their attitude, their style?
MM: GWAR is fun, above all. They’re violent and blasphemous, and they use puppets and special effects --- they have a rich mythos, hundreds of fun characters, and their live show is the stuff of legend. GWAR exists in chaos, but they have a social conscience that is undeniable --- they remind me to have fun and not take life too seriously, but to care about the things that are actually important.
JBS: GWAR's just as much about the visuals as the music, if not more so. Their mythos is packed with a variety of characters with fun, interesting designs that draw elements from sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and other genres. The last few projects I've worked on have all been set in a modern, fairly grounded world, and I've been getting the urge to work on something that was really out there. This definitely scratches that itch.
CA: How involved have the band been with the book, as it's gone from concept to reality?
MM: Since the first time I met with Matt Maguire (aka GWAR’s Sawborg Destructo) they’ve been involved heavily at every step. They’re co-writing, they’re providing art and story, they’re helping with the Kickstarter. This is the only way I’d want to do the book --- with the guys from GWAR having a huge role in its creation.
CA: How have you found working together as a creative team? What's the collaborative process been like for you both?
JBS: It's great. Matt's one of my favorite people to work with ‘cause we really collaborate in every aspect of what we work on. Neither of us are afraid to approach the other with an idea or a suggestion. Matt will let me know if he has an idea for a cover, or how a certain sequence should play out visually, and likewise, I'll occasionally give him suggestions for dialogue, or we'll brainstorm on story elements together. There are actually a few hilarious moments we have planned that came from us having one of those brainstorming sessions.
MM: I love working with Jonathan --- we worked together previously on Critical Hit, from Black Mask Studios. His art is rad; and he’s a GWAR fan and a punk and metalhead guy, so when I got the idea to pitch this series to GWAR I approached him first.
CA: Why bring the project to Kickstarter?
MM: Money. It’s all about wanting to pay page rates to the creative team that allow them to keep the lights on and feed their cats. I’m not rich, GWAR’s not rich, so we took it to Kickstarter.
CA: Matt, you've worked on a few Kickstarters over the last few years; what's your approach to crowdfunding comics like this? What are the common pitfalls that people encounter with Kickstarting comics?
MM: My approach is to hustle for any kind of media attention I can get for the project. To get the comics world excited, but to also think outside of comics, to who else would be interested in the book. Obviously with GWAR there’s a built-in audience, but we have to reach out further, to horror, music, performance art, and comics journalists. The biggest pitfall people have, in my opinion, is rushing the launch of the Kickstarter project and not having a media outreach plan.
CA: Should the Kickstarter hit goal, what's the expected delivery on the final book?
MM: Well, we have a publisher onboard so long as we make goal and can fund the art --- they’re looking to start publishing next summer, which works for our schedules, too. We’re really excited to bring this crazy story to the world!
GWAR: Orgasmageddon will run on Kickstarter until 26 November 2016, seeking a funding target of $39,000. To find out more, check out the Kickstarter here!