Sorab Del Rio
What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?
The highlight of 2012 for me was the release of my first graphic novel - Zombie Cities! This was a personal and artistic victory. For it was work that challenged and I hope re-defines the zombie genre with its wit, humour and style. But above and beyond that, it’s one question to simply release a new work, as anyone can do that, but it’s another challenge to create a work that draws in the fans. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see Zombie Cities received so well across the 4 conventions where Silver Fox Comics had a presence in 2012.
What makes this sweeter is that this is the 3rd comic based venture I’ve created. So perhaps the old adage 3rd time lucky is actually real! The first was Skunge NYPD, and then of course our works for Zorro. Both of which are comics I loved, but failed to capture the fans. In 2011, I went to Sydney Supanova and sold 35 copies of Zorro at $5 each – I didn’t even cover the cost of the table. Now I know this is a common tale for creators but to me, if I can’t find an audience there is no point whatsoever, and I will leave a project if this can’t be achieved. My work has to find an audience or why bother. I’m not working a year in semi solitude to make a project no one is interested in. I left 2011 Supanova dis-heartened and beaten sorely, and thinking why do creators put themselves through this and that I need to make a project that connects with the fans.
So moving to 2012, we premiered Zombie Cities at Sydney Supanova not knowing what to expect. Was I going to sit through another 2 days and not sell a thing? No, not at all, we actually got it right selling 130 copies of the Zombie Cities graphic novel at $25 each over 2 days and 40 or so prints. We backed this up again at the Penrith Heroes and Villains convention, Melbourne Armageddon and Brisbane Supanova, and the support of comic stores, we’ve closed the year with 530 copies sold of Zombie Cities and over 250 prints. It was a project as some know came from a personal mission with the Sydney Zombies print and one where I also listened to fans in the making of this book. After the failure of previous years and projects, this was an even sweeter victory in creating a work the fans wanted and enjoy. I loved the conventions getting to talk about my work and making people laugh with what we produced. That’s what it’s all about for me – make a comic people enjoy and get immediately. At a con, you got 5 to 10 seconds to sell. When I was writing I wondered, this is really different to the regular zombie stuff – are they going to get it? Sure they did, so I’m personally pleased I went against the standard formulas to make Zombie Cities. Let me also take this time to say a thank you to everyone who bought anything from our Zombie Cities project, the artists from pencilers, inkers and colourists. Special thanks to Don Ticchio who has helped me across each of my comic book ventures. I do feel this is only the start with this project.
Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?
Wow, so many to name, in fact too many to name. I have met many of the Australian comic creators through the conventions and now also discovering through your blog many more I am yet to discover.
We have a very talented independent scene in Australia that doesn’t get the limelight it deserves so thank you Matt for profiling us all here with your blog.
I think my biggest influence is Jason Brubaker with his online comic Remind and his associated blog and podcast Making Comics. I’m very passionate about marketing comics and he is achieving the independent self-publishing success I aspire to. He is one guy who has put as much time into marketing his comic as he has creating and it’s paid off with a $100,000 project on Kickstarter.
What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?
Non comics – what on earth do you mean?? Kidding!
Music: As some of you know, I love my old school rnb and salsa. I’d have to mention the Prince concerts which were amazing – I saw Prince in concert twice in Sydney, and also Janele Monae live – love her!
Movies: I went through a phase where I decided not to watch any English films as I’ve just gotten tired of the same regurgitated crap. During this time I watched 20 foreign films in a row. My favourite was The Skin I Live in by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar – this is macabre thriller of which I had no idea where this was leading to. The City of Men Movies which are set in the favellas of Rio, and Amores Perros – are more foreign films I discovered this year.
Books: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Saffon. In regards to English releases – Breaking Bad is phenomenal!
Home: Seeing my dogs – my gals - Rio and Ria talk for the first time was incredible. I’d never believed this was possible. I also enjoyed meeting an Italian girl at salsa last week, lets see where this leads ;)
Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?
Right now I’m working on Zombie Cities Violence Vs Compassion. This time I’m writing with the strait jacket off and my muzzle is unleashed. There’s a real wild abandon happening with this project – a real crazy spirit happening with this project. I don’t know how it’s happening but I almost feel that these new stories are happening unconsciously and just flowing. It’s not something I implemented, it is just happening naturally.
What are you looking forward to in 2013?
The release of Zombie Cities Violence Vs Compassion! This will be a tour de force! I hope get to more conventions across Australia in 2013. I may need to do a crowd sourcing campaign to assist with financing. And figuring out how to release this internationally – whether its digitally, a free online comic to build a worldwide audience, a Kickstarter or similar campaign, but I am now starting to think internationally is where projects need to be. There are 3 other projects in my head knocking on my forehead every day asking to be let out so this will also happen – projects totally unrelated to anything I’ve done before.