Eisner Nom Jason Brubaker talks Creating Horror Comics
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Yesterday we caught up with Comic Book Creator and Eisner Nominee, Jason Brubaker, to talk about his Latest Comic Book project ‘PHOBOS.’ An immersive horror story which pays homage to the Nostalgic side of Horror Storytelling. PHOBOS is available exclusively on the Macroverse App which is available of the Apple and Android stores.
Here’s what Jason had to say.
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Jason Brubaker: Thanks for having me. I worked in Hollywood for about 20 years doing storyboards for movies and commercials, then animation for commercials, and then the last 7 years of Hollywood I worked at Dreamworks doing Visual Development for animated movies like the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. Five years ago I left Dreamworks and LA to self-publish my own stories and I’ve been doing that ever since.
My first graphic novel was called reMIND which won the Xeric Award and was nominated for an Eisner. It also was one of the first comics to raise over $100,000 on Kickstarter back in the day. After reMIND I created my next book series called SITHRAH which got picked up by Webtoons.com to be a featured comic. It ended up becoming a 6 book series with over 1000 pages. In 2018 I was commissioned to write and draw a graphic novel for Cave Pictures Publishing called SHAPES. I also developed a drawing curriculum called COGNITIVE DRAWING and now I’m working on PHOBOS as well as other pitches.
Anthony Pollock: Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind Phobos.
Jason Brubaker: PHOBOS was inspired by the old black and white TV shows that I used to love as a kid like The Munsters, The Adams Family as well as the old Twilight Zone. I wanted to somehow mix comics and superheroes into that creepy monster feel. I created the idea when I was in high school and created 5 issues.
The first issue was published back in 1994. But then I started my career in Hollywood shortly after that and didn’t draw comics again for over 10 years. Then when I decided to start working on comics again I couldn’t help but to pick up PHOBOS again and rework it with all the new tools in my tool bag. It’s a pretty big difference from my old high school version but it still has the same flavor. It’s just executed much better.
Anthony Pollock: Phobos is an immersive horror story featuring a Vampire archetype character who discovers his castle has been taken over by a Frankenstein-like character. Do you find
more in common with the older style of Horror storytelling like Bram Stoker and Mary
Shelley versus their Modern contemporaries?
Jason Brubaker: Yes, I still try to watch some modern horror movies but they definitely don’t have the same feeling as the older ones. Things seemed more mysterious with the older movies. Now
everything is right in your face.
Anthony Pollock: Where did comic book creating start for you and what is your origin story?
Jason Brubaker: Well, I grew up loving to read the newspaper comic strips in the Sunday newspaper. I tried to do that while I was in grade school. At age 11 I got my comic called Scruffy published weekly in the local newspaper for about 6 months. Then around 8th grade my dad brought home some Spider Man comics and I instantly fell in love with the art of comics. I started collecting all the Spiderman comics I could and then Image comics was formed and it I was hooked on the idea of becoming a comic artist.
Anthony Pollock: How did the Macroverse gig come about?
Jason Brubaker: Back in 2009, I started my first webcomic called reMIND and I started seeing the power of the internet and self-publishing online. But then about 5 years later the whole webcomic world started shifting away from individual webcomic websites to social media. So I tried to start developing a new website that would be a better reading experience than the old-school webcomic templates that are common and after years of frustrating trial and error, Macroverse approached me with their new beta app and I instantly fell in love with the reading experience. It really solved many of the problems that I felt were common with reading comics online. Most of the time, reading comics online or on your phone, takes away from the reading experience, but Macroverse actually seemed to add to the reading experience.
Anthony Pollock: How would you explain the Macroverse app to people unfamiliar with it?
Jason Brubaker: It’s the closest thing to reading a comic book that I have experience on a phone. Macroverse is like Netflix for comics with curated and lovingly crafted stories and a great reading experience.
Anthony Pollock: What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to your work? How do you overcome them?
Jason Brubaker: I think the biggest obstacle for me (since being full time at my own comics and stories) is knowing what to focus on. There are so many ideas flating around in my head and it’s hard to know which one I should spend the 6 months of focus on. Because it really is an all-or-nothing thing for me. I hate to work on something half-hearted and so if I start a project I want to know that there is enough interest and motivation to get it across the finish line if I start.
Anthony Pollock: Many of us creators work on projects outside of our 9-5 jobs. Do you have any advice for balancing careers with passion projects/side hustles?
Jason Brubaker: When I worked full-time at Dreamworks Animation I would get up at 4:45AM so that I could quickly shower and make coffee so that I could put in around 2 hours of uninterrupted time before everyone else in the house woke up. Once 7AM hit, I became a dad and husband again. But before 7AM, I had a singular focus to get as much work finished on reMIND as I could before the day began.
Another thing I would do (and still do) is eliminate distractions. I have a dumb phone on purpose. I don’t use social media very much. The more I allow unscheduled interruptions into my work hours, and fracture my time and focus, the less I can get that deep focus that I need to make really groundbreaking stuff. I highly recommend reading the book Deep Work which dives deeply into this subject and is life changing if you ask me.
Anthony Pollock: Do you have any upcoming events/projects/releases you would like to discuss?
Jason Brubaker: Yes, I’m working on a new Female Cognitive Drawing book that will hit Kickstarter in 2021. My son and I made a card game together called Diesel Derby that I’d like to Kickstart with him next year as well. And everything else is on the down low until the right time comes to announce it. 😉
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to do this! Where can readers find you and your work?
Jason Brubaker: Almost everything can be found at https://coffeetablecomics.com and if you join my mailing list I will send you reMIND Volume 1 for free. You can also find my books (Sithrah and reMIND) on Amazon. And you can read reMIND and Phobos on Macroverse!
Thanks so much for having me!