As summer turns to fall, children everywhere are trading in swimming and sleeping late for homework and the Pledge of Allegiance. After Labor Day concluded, you heard the collective groans of children who will miss the freeing vibe that summer brings. Though that may be rough for kids to endure, there is a school in the comic world that will be having fun all year long.
From the creative mind of Nick Doan, Monsters Elementary tells the story of an integrated public school system of children and monsters. Don’t worry, these monsters are friendly and will change the lives of the children they inhabit school with.
I got the opportunity to converse with Doan over his latest project and he told me where his inspiration comes from.
Steve Urena: Tell us about your independent project and the process behind it?
Nick Doan: MONSTER ELEMENTARY is an all-ages comic book about five monster children that are forced to attend a human public school after their monsters-only private school is raided by the FBI. I originally came up with the idea specifically to lure artist/co-creator Caanan Grall into a collaboration, but wound up involving many other superb artists, including Lee-Roy Lahey, Josh Gowdy, Cal Moray, Beth Sotelo, Patty Variboa, Daniele Serra and Bobby Timony. The book will collect a series of short stories, each illustrated in the various styles of these artists.
SU: How have you been able to fund your project?
ND: Kickstarter made this happen! Kickstarter is quickly becoming THE new business model. It is amazing! Two years ago I would have never even dreamed that I could raise $20,000 on the internet to finance my comic book and I can’t imagine how things will change in the future. Kickstarter is going to become a major influence in future creative endeavors and I hope it remains a powerful and positive force for independent creators.
SU: What have been your influences in creating comics and what made you want to do so in the first place?
ND: Comics have always been a part of my life. Superman (the movie) was released the same year I was born. It’s still one of my favorite movies and comics were a part of helping me learn to read. I haven’t stopped loving comics in every shape and form. In addition, Charles Schulz, Mark Waid and Jimmy Palmiotti have been big influences on me as a writer.
SU: What would you like people to take in when reading your comic?
ND: I just want them to have fun. The comic deals with issues of belonging and fitting in, but mostly it’s a response to the shortage of fun, all-ages comic books in the industry. To me, Superman is an all-ages character. The Fantastic Four are known as, “The first family of comics.” But in this day and age, The Fantastic Four have a PG-13 movie that glorifies Jessica Alba’s lack of clothing and Superman is toppling enough buildings to be responsible for the deaths of millions before snapping the neck of his nemesis. Don’t get me wrong, I also write horrible serial killer stories that are bathed in blood. I just think we need to have both and sacrificing Superman’s all-ages appeal leaves things unbalanced.
SU: What other projects have you been working on and what kind of stuff would you like to do in comics?
ND: I will be writing the third children’s book for FAT RABBIT FARM soon. I am publishing some short stories on the Emanata app and continuing to think about what’s next for MONSTER ELEMENTARY! But mostly, I’m finishing this book. That will absorb enough of my time. For the future, I have an idea for a western comic that I really want to do.
SU: What are you reading right now, any comics right now you are really into?
ND: I just read TORSO by Brian Michael Bendis, the first three issues of AW YEAH COMICS and the third volume of Mark Waid’s DAREDEVIL! Spoiler alert! DAREDEVIL is actually a fun superhero comic! I’m also eagerly awaiting my copy of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s Kickstarter comic, WEAPON OF GOD.”
SU: What are your plans for the future?
ND: My primary goal right now is to finish this book, get it into reader’s hands and hopefully, continue on with the MONSTER ELEMENTARY forever. Nothing would make me happier than to build a career on this property.
SU: When will your project be released?
ND: The plan is to get the book out sometime in November.
SU: What is your method of writing/creating how do you come up with your content?
ND: Writing MONSTER ELEMENTARY was like indulging my insanity. I didn’t feel constrained by the laws of reality or scientific fact! I could do anything I wanted.
SU: Anything else you would like to add?
ND: This has been a dream come true. Getting this book published has been an uphill battle for me, despite some incredible interest from “Big Time” publishers I can’t wait to share it with the world, but more than that, I can’t wait to get my own copy!