Offset Comics: Ivan Brandon Reveals Details Of New Publishing Venture [Interview]
Teased as far back as Comic-Con weekend in July, Offset Comics is an enigmatic new project devised by Ivan Brandon (writer, Viking, Men of War; editor 24Seven) that's set to launch "soon." Some very handsome illustrations by talented co-conspirators Daniel Krall, Chuck BB and Eric Canete have been released very quietly here and there, offering vague hints, but otherwise very little is known about what Offset is or what it intends to offer.
Brandon and co. will set up shop at this weekend's New York Comic Con to sell some limited edition wares and answer questions for curious parties. One of those curious parties was me, and I spoke with Ivan Brandon in advance of the event to find out more of what ComicsAlliance's particularly aesthetic-conscious readers can anticipate from this ambitious new... thing.Brandon confirmed for ComicsAlliance the first three Offset projects, which break down thusly:
DOUBLECROSS by Daniel Krall
"He was the brains behind their operation. An integral part of their plan to hold back a tide of shadows. Then the shadows put in a higher bid."
DEATHFACE by Ivan Brandon, Chuck BB and Ryan Browne
"In 1987 you trapped him and LEFT HIM FOR DEAD. 30 years later the world has changed, but VENGEANCE HASN'T. Today DEATHFACE has escaped... and he's coming... FOR YOU."
DESTROYER by Ivan Brandon and Eric Canete
"What comes after the end of the world?"
ComicsAlliance: What is Offset? A publisher? An imprint? A digital thing?
Ivan Brandon: I'm calling Offset a lab. And what that means to me, anyway, is that it's a series of experiments intended to try completely new routes in terms of story and in terms of who's entertained by it. Comics has been for all of my life and most of its life defined by some very specific logistical parameters: pages are 6.875 inches by 10.437 inches based on bulk paper costs. Margins and trims are determined by the potential for printer error. Comics are expressed in eight-page increments, and so on. Offset is among other things an attempt to discard logistical motivation and be 100% creatively motivated. Not worrying what markets will support a thing or what demographic it speaks to or how economical anything is.
The first experiment people will see from us is, obviously, a form of comics.
CA: What's the publishing situation? Is this a new venture or are you partnering with Image or anyone like that?
IB: We're our own thing. There's no one from the business of comics involved with what we're doing. Only creatives.
CA: How can people buy what you're putting out?
IB: They can't, yet. We're still in a the production/flirting stage. But the mechanism will be clearer soon.
CA: What can you tell us about the actual titles/stories you've got coming out. We've seen teaser art from Chuck BB and Eric Canete and Daniel Krall.
IB: So the three titles we'll be showing off at NYCC all coincidentally start with a D: Destroyer, Doublecross, Deathface.
CA: Are these envisioned as done-in-ones or ongoing serials or... other?
IB: Other. I can say they're definitely not done-in-ones.
CA: Is Offset a collective with "members" or "partners" or is this your thing with people you bring in? I'd like to know what you think each creator brings to the table.
IB: Well, technically Offset is my house. Or maybe better said: my block. But the houses on the block are owned by the people who built them. What the creators bring, hopefully, is something you won't find anywhere else in entertainment. More than anything at my advanced age, what inspires me as a reader/viewer/listener/whatever is being surprised. And that's a really big part of what motivates the kinds of stories we're telling. The logistical parameters I mentioned earlier also apply to movies, games... comics should be a much more agile beast. By media standards comics are created at light speed, I think the creativity should reflect that. So really while everyone in the above projects is grounded in their love of comics and their history in print, they all share an ability and a desire to break from that routine and define new kinds of storytelling as they go.
CA: The iconoclastic terms you're speaking in are typically applied to the digital realm. Will Offset stuff be in print as well as digital?
IB: Offset will take many forms. And a lot more importantly, it will attempt to take those forms to a world and not just a market.
CA: You mean a world beyond the existing comics market?
IB: Yes. The world, the whole world. I think the existing American comics business's idea of who it's allowed to speak to is probably the single biggest obstacle to its longevity. We're trying to take a little of the fetish out of it.
CA: To that end, do any as yet unannounced Offsetters come from other disciplines, or is this a comics-centric crowd? Although Canete obviously works a lot in animation.
IB: Yeah, and what he's doing here is defined by that as much as by his love/experience with comics. Largely the main storytellers of the stuff announced so far are at least romantically involved with comics. So the heart of those stories is comics, but the rest of the body less so. Krall hasn't worked in comics in years. He works as a designer, he works in video games, he's doing illustration work for The New Yorker, Wired, etc. I'd say his design sense is as important to Doublecross if not more so than his traditional comics chops. Design gets a disproportionate amount of our attention in general, probably a lot moreso than what comics fans would be used to
CA: I figured that's what "Offset" referred to; it's a design term.
IB: Yep, it refers to a lot of things, but absolutely that. It also speaks to the origins of comics and a lot of what we're trying to do is try to revisit the form like we're men in suits in the 1930s trying to invent it from scratch.
CA: Is there any ETA on the first proper release, if that term even applies?
IB: The only ETA right now is "soon."
If you're in New York, the Offset crew will be selling some high quality prints of the following images at their station in Artist's Alley, table N2.