Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
We here at CC2K have been fans (and friends) of the team at Fanboy Comics for almost a decade. (Wow! When you say it like that.) They’ve been reporting tirelessly on the worlds of comic books and pop-culture for all the time, but in recent years, the team at Fanboy Comics has started to branch out into other endeavors, including publishing and the production of the occasional award-winning audio drama. Now, they’re rebooting the whole company. Come May 2, Fanboy Comics will become Fanbase Press. We got Fanboy Comics’ co-founder Bryant Dillon on the line to talk about the big change.
CC2K: Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed, everyone!
Bryant Dillon: Of course! Thank you for your interest!
CC2K: First let’s talk about your rebranding. What motivated it?
BD: Well, the idea of rebranding has been something the co-founders of the company have been discussing for some time, but this year we will officially be rebranding Fanboy Comics with a new company name and logo! In May, we will become Fanbase Press, and we hope that the change will reflect the inclusiveness and creator empowerment that have been so integral to the company’s foundation and mission.
While our core values and original mission of providing an outlet for up-and-coming artists and writers with a desire to create new works and media will remain unchanged, we did feel that we had, in many ways, outgrown the Fanboy Comics brand in significant ways over the past six years.
Fanboy Comics has always had a strong female presence among our own fans, as well as our staff and contributors. For a time, we felt that Fanboy could potentially operate as a gender-neutral term similar to “geek” or “nerd,” but as there began to be significant and troubling push back against the flow of “new blood” into fandom (such as #GamerGate, for example), we felt that it was important to make sure we, as an organization, weren’t sending any unintentional messages that could be interpreted as limiting or non-inclusive. Fanboy Comics as never been only for individuals of the male gender, and we wanted that to be absolutely clear. This isn’t to say that we view “fanboy” as a bad word or look down on the other awesome outlets and organizations that still use the term in their name. We’ll never deny our Fanboy Comics roots, but, at this time, we felt it was holding us back and that the change to Fanbase Press was the right choice for our company and staff.
Additionally, the “comics” part of Fanboy Comics has also become somewhat limiting for the company. In addition to publishing comic books and graphic novels for the last six years, we also offer reviews of various content, produce a number of podcasts, post interviews with creators from a variety of mediums, and cover the convention scene. Fanboy Comics has also moved beyond publishing comics and graphic novels. In 2014 we published a book of horror poetry titled Fearworms: Selected Poems, written and illustrated by Heavy Metal 2000’s Robert Payne Cabeen and nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award. We’re also currently adapting the sci-fi novel The Odds, by Robert J. Peterson, into a fully produced audio drama, so we’ve got a foot in a number of different worlds right now. We’ve really becoming more a multimedia company with a strong online community. Fanbase Press and the idea of “a base for all fans” seemed like the best way to represent that change.
CC2K: Who came up with the name Fanbase Press?
BD: Fanboy Comics co-founder Barbra Dillon and I came up with the name. It was conceived over delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine, as is typical of our one-of-a-kind creative process.
CC2K: What significance does the word “Fanbase” carry with it?
BD: One idea that was very much part of Fanboy Comics was the idea of celebrating and encouraging fandom in all capacities, and this is a concept carried over to Fanbase Press. “Fanbase,” for us, represents a home or headquarters for anyone who considers themselves a fan, geek, or just an extremely passionate admirer of anything or everything in the geek genre. Given the various graphic novels, podcasts, online content, and more available on our website, there really is something for everyone, and we encourage all geeks to “enter the Fanbase” and join in on the fun!
Also, given the whole “base” thing, we’ve limited access to the exhaust ports at Fanbase Press. There are a lot of farm boys in X-Wings out there looking to make names for themselves. You can’t be too careful.
CC2K: I love the new logo. Who designed it, and what was the development process like?
BD: We absolutely love the new logo, and all of the credit goes to graphic designer Oceano Ransford. He is incredibly talented and has worked with Fanboy Comics before on projects like The Arcs and Penguins vs. Possums, so we were eager to reenlist him to help with the logo for Fanbase Press.
As for developing the logo, Barbra and I knew we wanted some sort of sci-fi “moon base”-type image that was sleek and futuristic. The classic, retro feel that Oceano brought to the logo when reinventing our initial crude concept sketches was perfect for the hopeful and optimistic attitude we attempt to project here at Fanbase Press.
CC2K: What’s been your proudest achievement as a company so far?
BD: There have been a number of huge, memorable, and meaningful moments over the last six years, including publishing our first graphic novel, Something Animal, and the 100th and 200th episodes of our weekly podcast, The Fanboy Scoop: Week in Review. Still, I think the achievement we’re most proud of is receiving a Bram Stoker Award nomination on our recent horror poetry book, Fearworms: Selected Poems.
CC2K: What are your upcoming projects in the comic-book publishing world?
BD: This Fall will see the the eighth and final issue of the extremely popular series, Penguins vs. Possums. Featuring the work of Sebastian Kadlecik (writer/artist), John Bring (writer/artist), and Lindsay Calhoon Bring (writer), Penguins vs. Possums tells the tale of the secret war going on between the two species since the beginning of time. This final issue will wrap up the epic and off-the-wall series, bringing us to the final battle and armageddon, where every human being on the planet will be forced to choose a side! In the year of Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War, Penguins vs. Possums #8 is the cherry on top of the “epic confrontation” sundae currently being served to geekdom. It’s not to be missed!
In addition to the rebrand, we also just announced another exciting graphic novel that has been added to our publishing schedule. In The Margins, artist Charley Keo’s new gig begins as a fun challenge to breathe new life into the forgotten pulp world of Elad–this time as a comic book. But as tendrils of this lost realm creep into her sleepy Portland neighborhood, Charley realizes that Elad is much more than the lines on a day-dreamt map, more than the sum of an old hack’s prose. Elad has its hooks in Charley, and what was once fantasy has become deadly reality for both the artist and the woman she loves. The Margins is written by David Accampo (Sparrow & Crowe, Lost Angels) and Paul Montgomery (Wormwood: A Serialized Mystery, Panels.net) and illustrated by newcomer Amanda Donahue, and the work they’ve been doing is amazing. The Margins is part slice-of-life, part classic fantasy/adventure, and feels like it will speak to fans of beloved fantasy pieces like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
We’ve got a few other projects in the works that I can’t really say anything about right now, but I promise that they are some of the most exciting, creative, and unique books I’ve ever seen. We here at Fanbase Press can’t wait to share them with our readers!
CC2K: I know you’re also producing an audio drama based on the novel The Odds. Tell me about that project. It sounds awesome! (And I know I’m biased!)
BD: Starting in 2015, Fanboy Comics began developing an audio drama adaptation of The Odds, a post-apocalyptic action-comedy novel written by Robert J. Peterson and published by California Coldblood Books (an imprint of Rare Bird Books). Set in a barren future after a mysterious worldwide cataclysm, The Odds tells the tale of a good-hearted rogue with only one way to ensure the safety of his family: entering a deadly battle tournament where chess is a full-contact sport. The story is filled to the brim with non-stop action, quick-witted humor, kooky technology, and bizarre creatures and feels like an irresistible mishmash of Big Trouble in Little China, Total Recall (1990), and Firefly.
We’re luck enough to be working with the author (He’s pretty swell!) to adapt the story to the new medium and my Fanboy Comic co-founders, Sam Rhodes and Barbra Dillon, round out the rest of the core creative team currently working on the project. We also recently announced the addition of composer Sam Cushion (The Music of Panem, Breaking Amish, Doomsday Castle) who previously worked with us on the independent fan project known as The Katniss Chronicles (an award-winning, fan-created audio drama adaptation of The Hunger Games book series). The final product will probably be between 10 to 15 episodes and is guaranteed to rock your socks!
CC2K: Do you ever see yourselves moving into producing other media, like movies or TV?
BD: Yes, of course! We don’t design our comics and other products specifically to court the possibility of translation into other mediums, but we absolutely believe that some of our properties will eventually be realized as films, TV series, and more. As much as we love comics, we’ve always had an interest in other mediums, and Fanbase Press will very much operate as a multimedia company with a strong focus on comics. I guess the short answer is that we’d never limit what the next project could be here at The Fanbase and, in reality, the sky is the limit.
CC2K: Not to sound like a job interview, but where do you see yourselves five years from now?
BD: After the transition to Fanbase Press on May 2nd, the next five years will be spent reinforcing the positive and inclusive ideals the company is founded upon while continuing to establish a reputation as a haven for fans looking for quality, geeky content from a friendly and trustworthy source. Of course, we’ll continue to tell the best stories we can with talented creators in multiple formats, but given the golden age of geek we currently live in, we look forward to helping this new age thrive and introduce the joy of comics and other geeky interests to new fans of all ages and backgrounds everywhere!
Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.