TenState: Part Reality Show, Part Comic Book, All Entertainment!

What if ten Americans from all over the country were forced to live together in a biodome? Would you tune in every week to watch the shenanigans? What problems would arise, and of course, who would leave the biodome a star?

Well thanks to this new comic project from Len Peralta and Tom Merritt you will be able to see this show come to light and witness how it all plays out. Thanks to the magic of Kickstarter, Merritt and Peralta have exceeded their expectations of funding and are now looking to bring the title to comic lovers by summer time.

Peralta and Merritt explained more about the comic to Indie Reader:

IR:  Tell us about TenState and the process behind it?

Tom: TenState is a comic series telling the story of ten people chosen for a reality show based on representing the population of the US. The idea is to lock them in a biodome and see if they can overcome their differences. Shortly before the show starts though, something terrible happens. Len draws the book and I wrote the story. We collaborate on the outlines of the story, then I write a script and send it to Len.  He gives feedback, I polish it up and then he draws and sends me the art.  I give him feedback he polishes up and a page is done!

Len: Tom makes it sound like a breeze, but it is a lot of work.  To this point, we have just done a teaser, but it looks like we’ll be doing three full issues thanks to the Kickstarter. For the past year, I’ve been working on a large graphic novel project with Bill Corbett (MST3K/Rifftrax). It’s been a lot of fun and it made me fall in love with creating comics. So this seemed like a perfect opportunity to do that.  I’ve learned a lot about making a comic and I’m looking forward to applying my knowledge to TenState and sharing what I’ve learned with Tom.

IR:  How has Kickstarter helped your project?

Tom: It’s been going well. We have a large budget because we have ambitions of being able to pay for a whole run of ten issues, but we made three issues the minimum for funding and were able to achieve that!  So we’re pretty pleased.

Len: This is my fourth Kickstarter project (the other three were projects to pay for the printing of my Geek  A Week trading card project) and this by far has been the most successful. People who are backing the project are staying with it and that says a lot about the excitement around it.  It’s been very satisfying knowing that there is audience for the content Tom and I will create.

IR: What have been your influences in creating comics and what made you want to do so in the first place?

Tom: I’m a big fan of Image Comics like The Walking Dead, Irredeemable
and such. Also love Y: The Last Man. So I’m a fan of interesting stories. And of course Len is an artist and we’ve been looking for ways to collaborate.  A comic book seemed like a great way to do that.

Len:  I too love The Walking Dead, but I also love Axe Cop, any art by Jim Lee or Stuart Immonen and a host of other artists.  But to a much larger extent, TenState was influenced by serialized TV shows like X-Files and Lost.

IR:  What would you like people to take in when reading your comic?

Tom: Hopefully they’re pulled along by the mystery. We want them to feel like they’re dying to know what happens next.  And even when we answer questions we hope to keep raising new ones, but in a satisfying way.

Len: My hope is that people will pick up on the little things that Tom and I plan on putting into the story.  We’re telling a pretty ambitious tale and there’s a lot to take in.  So, if we do our job right, the audience will love the intrigue, the puzzles and the much broader story of loss and working together in a crisis regardless of what belief system you possess.

IR: What other projects have you been working on and what kind of stuff would you like to do in comics?

Tom:  I’m a podcaster by day, so my main gig is a daily tech news show called Tech News Today. I also host a SCiFi/Fantasy book club with Veronica Belmont called Sword and Laser, plus a ton of other shows and projects. I’m just hoping we can get enough people interested in TenState that we can do the four ‘seasons’ we have in mind.  After that, who knows?

Len:  I’m currently completing work on Super Powered Revenge Christmas with Bill Corbett,  a family friendly webcomic called Buslode with Stephen Toulouse, a monster based card game and a robot themed card game.  Plus, I’m doing a lot of commission based work to round out my day. I’m drawing people’s D&D and RPG characters!  It’s been a blast!

IR: What are you reading right now, any comics right now you are
really into?

Tom: I’m following Walking Dead of course. I’m a big fan of Atomic Robo.
And I just started Doctor Who: The Forgotten.

Len:  I’m into comics for the art, so I’ll go back and look at Hush, early Kevin Eastman Ninja Turtles stuff, Axe Cop and a lot of Alex Ross stuff. Love his painting style!

IR:  What are your plans for the future?

Tom: Hopefully more of the same for me! Keep putting out quality podcasts, and keep pursuing fun creative projects.

Len:  I just want to be able to make a respectable, happy living doing my art and supporting my seven (!) kids. And of course, collaborating with more awesome people like Tom.

IR:  When will your project be released?

Tom: Summer?  I should let Len answer this.

Len:  I’m hoping that after the Kickstarter funds we can hit the ground running.  My plan is to have our first issue by early summer and the three issue run done by fall.  But we’ll see how it goes.

IR:  What is your method of writing/creating how do you come up
with your content?

Tom: Len is an excellent partner to brainstorm with.  No bad ideas. Asks great questions that help eliminate weaknesses. Etc.  I then take our concept and sot of map out the part I want to write by what can realistically happen on a page.  I check to make sure each page has something interesting.  Then I make a draft that sort of describes that action in a more novel-like form.  Then I rewrite it in dialogue as a comic script with some art direction where necessary. Though I leave a lot of those art choices up to Len. Then I polish it over to make sure it makes sense and send it off.

Len:  I’m constantly looking at different news sites and for influences.  Some weird stuff that’s out there seems to make a perfect fodder for the story of the comic.  So I’m constantly thinking of ways to utilize the things and events around me into interesting content.”

IR: Anything else you would like to add?

Tom: I’ve never written a comic before and I have to say it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time.  I really thank Len for wanting to work with me and pushing us to create something that’s much better than I would have come up with alone.

Len: Right back ‘atcha, Tom.  This is going to be a hell of fun and we’re super-stoked to get it rolling.

If you would like to help this dynamic duo with their project you can donate money at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1337047168/tenstate-a-comic-book-project-by-tom-merritt-and-l.

 

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