If you have not heard of Michael S. Bracco, you are certainly in for a treat! Previously having published such titles as Novo and Adam Wreck through Alterna Comics, I only discovered Bracco’s work about two years ago while reviewing the first chapter of his web series, The Creators. I was amazed at the quality of storytelling and illustrations that this comics creator was offering – for free – online, and surprised that no publisher had yet snatched his series up.
Check out the synopsis and interview with Bracco below.
The Creators is a story about a small portion of the world’s young population who suddenly develop the power to bring their imaginations to life through their drawings. This power, fueled by adolescent emotion, is simultaneously awesome and extraordinarily dangerous as Creators are only limited by their imaginations.
The story of The Creators is told through the eyes of a young girl named Maya. After suffering a traumatic loss, Maya brings forth a very special creation named Kardunn, who serves as her protector and friend as they run from the Bureau of Creative Enforcement, a government agency developed to hunt down and deal with all young creators.
Two years later, the first volume (chapters one through six) is now complete, volume two is currently being released bi-weekly on his website, and Bracco has just launched a Kickstarter to support the printing of the book. The campaign began just a few days ago and The Creators has already managed to reach nearly 50 percent of its $5,000 goal! I’m telling you, this is not a story you’re going to want to miss.
I have been lucky enough to form a friendship with Michael over the past two years, and was able to have a chat with him about his book and the Kickstarter. So check out the interview here below, and then head on over to his Kickstarter page to support this fantastic creator-owned project!
Geeks of Doom: Michael, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about your Kickstarter, The Creators, Volume One: Imagination is Power! You know that I’m a huge fan of this comic series and I’m excited to learn more about its conception and the Kickstarter process.
Michael S. Bracco: Thank you, Max! I’m honored by all of the support you have given the series over the years! LET’S DO THIS!
GoD: First off, can you tell the Geeks of Doom readers a bit about yourself?
MSB: Sure! I’m a comic illustrator and writer out of Baltimore, MD. Right now I am working on self publishing this book, The Creators through Kickstarter but previously have published the NOVO series and ADAM WRECK through ALTERNA Comics. I’ve also worked on a few other indie projects and anthologies including FUBAR and First Law of Mad Science. Outside of comics, I own and operate a small apparel company called Spaghetti Kiss which features my weird sci-fi and fantasy illustrations, adorning all sorts of apparel for men and women. I’ve been traveling around doing all sorts of shows – from conventions to craft fairs to street festivals for the past ten years.
GoD: Wow, I had no idea you worked on FUBAR and First Law of Mad Science as well – awesome! I have to say, your illustration style is truly unique – in a very satisfying way! Are there specific artists who have influenced you?
MSB: Wow… thanks! There are a ton of places that I draw inspiration from and to be honest, most of it isn’t comics. That said, early Frank Miller (think Ronin and Dark Knight Returns) is a biggie for me. I know he’s kind of a cliche answer but the way he moved through a story, seamlessly going between exposition and action is breathtaking. The other comic influence I’d like to point out is Bill Watterson. His practicality of line said so much with so little, and the way he wrote kids always resonated with me.
Outside of comics, my biggest inspirations are movies and TV. I draw a lot from the character and world building of Joss Whedon. I also am really influenced by film makers like Ridley Scott, Luc Besson and Terry Gilliam. I could literally build a 10-page list of movies that I have loved and drawn from but I’ll stop there.
GoD: All great influences! So tell me, how and when did you first come up with the idea for The Creators?
MSB: I had just finished up my first major series, NOVO though Alterna Comics, which was a big sci-fi/fantasy epic with no humans and I really wanted to do something grounded in the real world, something that took one fantastic concept and showed how it would shift our current reality. I had recently found out that I was going to be a dad and my wife and I were going baby crazy. One of the fun things was to go through all the amazing children’s books that we would want to share with our future child. While going through all of my childhood stuff I found my old copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon (if you’re not familiar, it’s about a boy who starts drawing and then walks into the world he created). As a kid I always loved stories about bringing one’s imagination to life, and dreamed of doing that constantly… which is probably why I got into making comics. I started asking myself what would happen if this fantasy became reality, and kids actually started bringing their drawings to life. The rabbit hole I went down from there (pun intended) was a doozie.
GoD: I love hearing stories like this! It helps to give the comic that much more of a real world connection. Has the story changed at all since your initial creation (see what I did there?)?
MSB: One thing that I wasn’t totally prepared for was all the research you have to do to make a science fiction story set in the ‘real’ world plausible. During the day, I’m a middle school teacher and the job really affected where the story went. I got really into exploring how kids deal with difficult and traumatic situations, how kids who deal with emotional and mental health problems are treated, and all the ways this would parallel kids who suddenly discover that they have this awesome and volatile power. It took the story down a very different path than what I started with, which was at first to be nothing more than a pulpy and dark kaiju book.
GoD: Imagination is Power is the first completed volume that you’re releasing (previously released as a web comic), and you’re currently offering weekly updates of volume two at your website, Creatorscomic.com. Any plans for a volume three? How long could this series run for?
MSB: This volume will be the first of 3. The whole story is plotted right up to the very end, with clues to the rest of the series planted all through the first volume, as well as the updates that are going up on the site now. When I started figuring out where this story would go, I knew I needed a very detailed plan otherwise the pieces would never fit together in the end.
I also wanted to make sure that the series did have an end. I love complete series and want to make something that gives a complete idea. I also make these books all on my own and they can take a seriously long time. I’m not sure if I want to ever do something truly ongoing, that would just take up the rest of my comic-making life.
GoD: You’re not new to the Kickstarter world, having already run two successful campaigns. How has this journey been different? What kind of research and preparation have you had to do for the launch of Imagination is Power?
MSB: Well, the two previous Kickstarters may have been successful but in different ways. The first one was for the pilot to The Creators and I was only asking for like $300. So when it went crazy and hit $5000, I thought of it as a crazy success. The second one was for a clothing line and I inched across the $2000 goal. This one is very different. It’s a big full color book with a larger budget so I don’t know what to expect. That said, I’ve been plotting and planning for it for some time now so I really hope it all pays off.
GoD: Is there anything else you’d like to share that I haven’t asked you?
MSB: If you like science fiction that features giant monsters mixed with social commentary, and teen drama set in the real world then check out The Creators. The next time you are at a convention, look up Spaghetti Kiss or Super Art Fight and stop in to my booth and say hi!
There’s just under a month left to go on this Kickstarter campaign, so make sure you get in on it while you can.