I first met Richard Clark back in 2009 at New York Comic Con, before I even began writing for Geeks of Doom. He had a table in Artist Alley, and I was introduced to him by a close friend. I remember the incredibly detailed, beautiful artwork Clark had on display, and equally as important, I remember his personable, engaging, and fun demeanor. At the time, it didn’t seem like he had any comic book series’ of his own for purchase, but rather a plethora of commission work and writing done for major comic publishing companies, HBO, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other various institutional clients. Quite the resume! If this man had an ongoing comic at the time, I would have snatched up a copy immediately!
Well, here we are in 2016, 7 years later, and Clark is now on Kickstarter launching what looks to be a very entertaining and thought-provoking 72-page trade paperback called Star, with some awesome rewards! With only 9 days left in the campaign and a little over $1k to go toward his $10k goal, I thought it would be a great idea to have a chat with Clark about the project’s past, present, and future.
Check out the interview and video below.
Geeks of Doom: Richard, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about your intriguing new Kickstarter venture.
Richard Clark: It’s my pleasure, Max — totally stoked to talk to you good Geeks of Doom folks. This place is cool as hell!
GoD: Thanks! We’re happy to have you. You’ve described your current Kickstarter for Star as the culmination of a question you began mulling over about 8 years ago: “what would our media personalities look like in the not-too-distant future given current trends in tech and media?” Who or what were the motivating, real-life factors that had you ruminating on this idea?
RC: Goodness, a shorter list might be what didn’t motivate the question & spark the story idea”¦. In mid-2007, the media landscape was in the middle of undergoing what’s been one of the great transformations we’ve had. Original online content was really gaining steam — remember Lonelygirl15? — and the lengths people would go to in order to get attention were still ratcheting up.
With content moving online and the iPhone still in its infancy as it debuted that year, big changes in human interaction were upfront and obvious. Much of the fiction and non-fiction I’ve always consumed dealt with “what does the future hold?” and here it was unfolding in real time.
Add having a then-5 year-old daughter to the mix and the question turns to “What kind of world will she grow up in?” The weight of all that reached critical mass & I started writing, drawing and painting.
GoD: Wow, it really seems like you put a lot of thought into this. Can you give us a bit of a hint as to the journey of the titular character?
RC: Certainly, but only a hint”¦. :-) Star engages her audience and fellow media personalities while adventuring across the US in a futurist setting. What seems on the surface to be a mostly solitary endeavor actually fills up with supporting cast members rather quickly.
In her effort to stay atop the ratings and remain the world’s most-watched person, she almost unwittingly strikes down the legends that came before her. All the while, of course, building her own legend in doing so.
And the journey isn’t solely hers. As I state on the Kickstarter campaign’s main page, a performer without an audience is a solitary voice quacking into a void. A great deal of the story focuses on the audience’s relationship with Star and its reaction to her exploits.
GoD: That sounds really unique! Has your story — characters or otherwise — changed at all since its initial concept and throughout its creation?
RC: Quite a lot, actually. My very first thumbnail sketch of Star bears only passing resemblance to the final character. I show this process in the middle section of the book “The Making of Star.” The attitude and general approach changed quite a lot, too, once I landed on her final look. I’m a firm believer in visual voice matching the written word both in tone and overall feel. Once she established her visual attitude, the rest of the telling followed suit.
GoD: What makes Kickstarter the perfect venue for the launch of Star?
RC: There are so many positive components to Kickstarter that it seemed an absolute lock to launch there. It has become its own kind of social medium, where groups of like-minded people congregate to find what’s new and cool, particularly in the comics category. I’ve heard dozens of times from people that they come back to the comics section regularly to see the current listings to find unique content.
Additionally, sticking with the “form equals function” idea above about visual voice needing to match the type of story one tells, the indie spirit of Kickstarter ties in nicely with Star. There’s almost a punk rock vibe of making a book & launching it directly to an audience and that’s a good match for the outlaw tone in Star’s adventures. I mean, man, where else would a solo adventurer like Star turn to meet the public for the first time?
GoD: All good points! Do you have plans for, or have you begun working on, more installments of Star?
RC: Yes and yes. As I state in the early going of the Kickstarter video, this is the first book in what I plan to be an ongoing series. If everything breaks exactly perfectly, I would like to do this book for the next 10 years at least. I have the first 100 pages that follow roughly outlined and I’d love nothing more than to plug myself in and roll through those over the next year. (After completing fulfillment on the Kickstarter campaign, naturally.)
The market and audience will determine if I get my druthers. I can promise this — if given my druthers, this will be one crazy, wild ride. Getcha popcorn and buckle your seat belts.
Thank you again, Max, for tapping me for this interview — I had a great time. Peace”¦.
GoD: Thank you, Richard!
If interested, be sure to view Richard Clark’s Kickstarter campaign and help him bring this project to fruition! You can also find out more about him at his website or on Twitter.