This is a big year for Arcana Studios. For those that missed it during Free Comic Book Day, the company launched their first epic mega crossover event called Intrinsic. This mini-series is gathering every character in the Arcana Comics Universe into one big storyline. Erik Hendrix is one of the masterminds behind this event and he’s also the VP of Publishing at the company. I had a chance to grill Erik about all things Arcana, especially the upcoming Arcana sci-fi epic graphic novel, Flee. Yes it’s a book created and written by me, but I have no shame with my plugs.
What was the first comic you ever read and why did you fall in love with comics?
The first comic I read, I couldn’t tell you… From a young age I was “poking around” with comics. It wasn’t until Uncanny X-Men #203 in 1986 that I became hooked. Something about the random issue, which happened to be a Secret Wars 2 crossover, hooked me. Phoenix (Rachel) went to the X-Men one by one and “borrowed” their energy to fight the Beyonder. The interaction between the characters, the fact that the comic breathed on every page, and the artwork, of course, hooked me. It was the first superhero book I picked up that really went deeper than just guys in capes smacking each other around.
How did you get into the comic industry?
I started back in Small Press Idol in 2009… Had ideas batting around from late 2008, joined SPI in 2009, and by the end of the competition, I had a bunch of other ideas, won the competition, and was off to the races. By the end of 2009, I had contracts at Arcana and was working on self-publishing some books, too.
How do you juggle working behind the scenes at Arcana and writing the various side projects?
Micro-managing every single minute of every day. I make sure to dedicate time every day to both Arcana and my projects. If I can’t be super-productive in the writing department, I do what I can to make sure everything is up to date, email my creative teams, etc… When I know I’m going to have true quiet time, I take advantage of that and write. Basically, depending on the intensity of what’s going on, I do one thing or another. At any given moment, I may have a script open to write, another to letter, Illustrator, an FTP program, browsers to email, inDesign to pre-press a book, a couple of IM windows open, etc… Multi-task as much as I can when I can and shut everything down when I can to focus on writing.
How did the idea for Intrinsic come about? What has been the response so far? Is there a sequel Intrinsic mini-series on the horizon as well?
Intrinsic was Sean’s (the owner of Arcana) idea all the way. He had this idea to bring a bunch of characters together, so that’s what we did! He had some ideas, but that’s something for people to see when they read the book… The response has been pretty good! Our FCBD edition did better than any previous FCBD book we’ve done and we’ve only head positive things about it. We’re looking forward to issue 2, which comes out in July… 3 is August… 4 is September. We have some other things on the horizon, too, with Intrinsic, but that’s a story for another day.
You’ve had your hand in many projects over the years and I know it’s like asking you who your favorite child is, but what is the project you’ve been most proud of and why? It can be more than one.
My favorite child? Honestly, that’s not an easy question… I have one project out there… way out there… that I’ll get finished eventually. That’s a novel I started years ago and I need to go back and re-write it. I look at all of my books fondly, all of my projects. I find that I really live in the moment with books. Over the last several weeks, I’ve been living and breathing six different books, trying to get them all finished for SDCC, and a bunch of others a bit behind that. I have been really excited, though, because we sent out The Evil Tree for advance reviews some places and have been getting some amazing feedback.
Here, let’s look at it like this… I’m really proud of The Evil Tree because it’s the first graphic novel I wrote to completion (finished the script in early 2009), it’s finally finished, and it looks PERFECT. I’m humbled by Deadly Harvest, because I found an amazing art team to work with, helmed by Yannis Roumboulias, and, honestly, I geeked out looking at the pages as they came over. I’m excited about Champions of the Wild Weird West, because Michael David Nelsen and I had this wonky idea set in the Old West and paired it with an unlikely artist, George Kambadais, and it turned into something just plain cool. I’m thrilled to see The Book in print, because it’s the realization of something profoundly different Michael and I have been wanting to share. So… everything is a “favorite” for different reasons. Wouldn’t it suck if I said, “Oh, THIS is my favorite?” I think it would diminish every other project I’m involved with. 😉
What advice would you give for up and coming comic creators?
If you have the drive and passion to make it in comics, you have to be willing to do the work. The industry isn’t just one where you can “fire and forget”… Make a comic and send it to a publisher and just expect everything to just happen, rake in millions, etc… The market is fickle. People will completely ignore a masterpiece and buy a well marketed hunk of crap. That’s just the nature of the beast. Will they like the crap? Sometimes… If you want to make it (and I’m not saying I have yet), you have to not only have the talent, you have to take control and have the drive to make it happen. Also, attrition… I can respect people who have AN idea and work to get that single idea out there, published, etc, and then maybe work on the next. A lot, though, have the one idea and that’s it. Hey, some people have NO ideas, so they’re one up on them, but given the number of books that try and fail to get an audience, putting all of your hopes and dreams into ONE idea? It’s not reasonable to assume that just because you poured your heart, soul, blood, and tears into something that people will care. It’s unfortunate, but true… Work on as many ideas as you can! Get the creative juices flowing! Oh, and don’t be so rigid in your idea, that you miss opportunities simply because you’re inflexible… Pick your battles, stick to your guns on the big stuff and let the little stuff fly. Also, don’t pick at your idea for a decade before you release it. Get it done, get it done well, get it done quickly, promote the hell out of it, and get into something else and pick up the old idea to keep it alive, but don’t LIVE in it. I’m looking forward to filling a shelf in my office with projects I’m involved with… Ha ha…
What can we look forward to at Arcana in the coming months? *cough* Flee*cough*
I’m actually really excited that we’ve started doing weekly releases at Arcana, starting THIS WEEK! There are a lot of books I’m looking forward to coming out. Flee is one of them, ha ha…
What projects outside of Arcana are you working on?
I have about 40 projects in different stages right now. Of the ones artists are actively working on (a LOT of them), 100% are for Arcana Comics. I’m not opposed to the idea of working with another publisher, but I work for Arcana, I know how we run, I believe in the direction we’re going, and have no reason to go elsewhere.
If you’re going to the SDCC, check out Erik at the Arcana booth and if you missed out on the Intrinsic Free Issue, you can also get it online for free at www.arcana.com. Check out all of Erik’s previous works below, most of which you can purchase directly through our digital store.
SideShows – http://www.arcana.com/view_issue.php?id=302
The Evil Tree – http://www.arcana.com/view_issue.php?id=437
Deadly Harvest – http://www.arcana.com/view_issue.php?id=455
Champions of the Wild Weird West – http://www.arcana.com/view_issue.php?id=397
The Book – http://www.arcana.com/view_issue.php?id=457