And we’re back…..

With the concluding second part of our conversation with Brandon Graham and Shannon Lentz about Care Bears, Cayrel’s Ring and Coredoor.

We join our conversation already in progress….

AC: Brandon, I think you’ve recently relocated from Vancouver to the hustling and bustling comics metropolis of Portland.  What lead to that?

BG: It was both a breakup with my long time so and so Marian Churchland (as amicable as these things can be, I’m still a huge fan of her and her work) and the publisher I do most of my work through, Image comics relocating to Portland.

I’m starting to get into a new grove down here. I’m like Angela Bassett as Stella Payne, Being near Image doesn’t really change anything. – past that I can meet with the production artist I work with (Shanna Matuszak -thanks for asking) and make her watch every Phantasm movie– under the guise of talking over work.

I’m mostly just interested in getting my life and my art to a new place.

AC: So far you’ve got a really interesting collection of pieces on the site including reviews, reflections and releases of older material.  Is that was we can expect from Core Door moving forward?

SL: There is no set content rules for Coredoor. We might try to implement a schedule of weekly articles but at the moment posting will be sporadic, essentially as soon as we write or receive articles. I’d like to see short comics specifically written for the site. Also I think it would be great to spotlight podcasts we are enjoying too.

AC: What role will Core Door play in the release and distribution of your work moving forward?

BG: With the short story section on the site, I’m hoping that people who are interested can read some of the work we can post on there and then want to seek it out in print.

Mostly I see it as a place for me to talk about process on my own terms. Ideally if people find the an article on the site it will lead to them going to the comic shop– or looking at a kickstarter someone on there has going.

Shannon, you’ve run a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns this year for the first two issues of Cayrel’s Ring and the third of Horror of the Khor what can you tell us about those stories?

Cayrels Ring

[ed: you can check the entire first of Cayrel’s Ring right now FOR FREE on Coredoor]

SL: Horror of the Khor was inspired by Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. He did a series called Wrath of the Khans and it gave me the idea of a brutal race called the Khor. I asked myself “What if the Europeans went to the Steppe and ran into the Mongels. What if they saw the might of the Mongels and didn’t want them to know of the Europe that lay to the West.” Thats the idea I was playing with. HotK is also a way for me to develop my skills as a storyteller/artist. The fourth issue of HoTK will be the last.  I’ve got a lot of stories to tell but I don’t have the time to illustrate everything I want to do. I’ve put together a bunch of pitches with different artists with no luck.

Then I started working on Cayrels Ring with the idea of creating an entire new galaxy, full of worlds. Its became a repository for all the stories I want to tell. I pitched the series to a bunch of publishers with no luck. At the end of the day, It wasn’t a question of “will Cayrels Ring would be made?” It was more a question of how and the answer was once again self-publishing with Kickstarter funding.

My story telling is definitely influenced by Prophet. I love the idea of having technology with no explanation of how it works, it just does. The trick is to have the reader buy into it. I’m also a big Star Wars fan and love the scope of the galaxy. Cayrels Ring is my galaxy-sized sandbox.

In your inaugural post on Core Door you included a rendering of your own funeral, which was overseen by Babar the Elephant and attended by everyone from Totoro to Obelix to a rather grumpy looking Care Bear.  How do you settle on that rather unorthodox collection of characters?

BG Funeral

BG: The grumpy looking Care Bear, is Grumpy bear. I feel like in the land of Care-A-Lot he’s really the only guy who showed up to work. My memory of every Care Bear movie is Grumpy being pissed about things while the other Care Bears get their heads stuck in clouds and teach kids about hugging and then some dark Cthulhu lord shows up and Grumpy bear is the reason that Earth and Care-A-Lot aren’t plunged into eternal darkness.

But yeah, it was really just a whim of drawing cartoon and comic characters that I’ve loved since I was a kid.

AC: You’re also finishing up Ghost Town, the next volume of Multiple Warheads, when and how will that be released?

BG: Yeah, I’m finishing up the last chunk of Ghost town as a 48 page one shot that will then be collected along with the chapters that ran in Island magazine into a 120 page book.

The one shot, Ghost Throne will be out February 14th , in comic shops or on Comixology. & the 120 page collected edition in June.

AC: What can you tell us this latest adventure for Nikoli and Sexica’s?

I’ve got the characters converging with Sexica pulling a heist on an ancient alligator Wizard, while Nik is lead to the same wizard’s lair through the dreams of the werewolf whose penis he has sewn to him.

Reading what Sarah Horrocks has been writing critiquing comics is really informing a lot of my approach lately. It really has me thinking about WHY I’m drawing things the way I am and what the best or most fun or more risky way of showing something might be.


AC: Lastly, if you could give people one reason to visit Core Door what would it be?

SL: I think it will be a great way to keep up to date with the loosely defined scene that Brandon, Sarah, Simon, et al inhabit. A positive look at the things we love.

BG: Hopefully it’s an interesting place where people can learn about new things or dig deeper into the work that we’re up to and influenced by.

Check out Coredoor online or on twitter for regular updates, art and musings from Brandon, Shannon and their friends.