Written by Neil Greenaway
At Denver Comic Con 2016 I had the chance to sit down and talk with Carl Buchanan of Silent Hero Studio about his take on publishing indie comics. This interview originally ran on Bleeding Cool on 6/25/2016, and you can read their version of it here.
Neil Greenaway: Today, I am here at Denver Comic Con 2016 with Carl Buchanan talking about his new series American Oni. Now, can you start by giving us just a brief synopsis of what the book is about?
Carl Buchanan: So basically American Oni is about when Japan was westernized by the Americans. The ancient demons there, they saw the Americans and they were like, man these guys are boastful, they are proud, they’re greedy, they’re dishonest. They know how to make money and they are awesome, let’s go hang out with these guys instead. So the Oni went over to America at that point and worked their way into politics and operations and kind of took control subvertly. But our comic book takes place in 2010, and now they are a little less secretive about it. They are not telling everybody, but when you find out they are like, “yeah we’re in control and we don’t really care”. So they are trying to get people to join their legions by basically keeping them in poverty, making sure they don’t have good healthcare or food or anything, because they are really just trying to keep these people in anguish. That’s how you create more demons, by people giving into more hate and more hate and then their legion grows. So we follow Matteus (our main character) who kind of gets mixed up in all this because he is attempting to assassinate a guy. This guy is a weapon manufacturer who his father worked for, which you find out later on in the comic. But he quickly finds out that assassinating a demon isn’t as easy as pulling the trigger. And then into the world of American Oni we go.
NG: All right. How many issues do you have so far?
CB: This is our first one. I’ve been writing for a super long time and I have been working with comic books here and there as a creative consultant but I finally just decided to do my own thing. I worked as a quality assurance engineer and saved up a ton of money and got onto deviant art and said “I want someone, and I want to pay you exactly what you think you’re worth, and I want to make sure you are completely paid for the first issue. None of this exposure nonsense.” And people all just jumped at the bit, yes, yes, let me do it. So I got a great team put together and then we put together a Kickstarter and were successful last year. We took our time on the first one, since we didn’t have a deadline and did the best we could with issue number one and it just released last week.
NG: How far forward in the future have you planned the story?
CB: So far to issue 15. We want to do a trade for the first story arc and issue 15 is where the story arc ends. So we have that planned out. But in terms of the story itself, not specifically written down verbatim in stone, we’ve got all the way to the end of it. But kind of the idea we had was to – after every trade release we want to ask the audience ok, which character would you like to follow now? And then do like a Street Fighter style select a character. And then the one that gets the most votes, we will do the next story arc from that person’s perspective.
NG: Nice. I know that you recently did the back cover art for Eyesis: the Untouchable #4. That is a pretty wicked illustration, how did you get in on that project?
CB: So I met these guys when I was down in Denver through a friend who I played in a band with (just a bunch of mutual friends), and had no idea they did comic books at all. I have no idea how it never came up, because we are both in the same vein. Then one day someone mentioned it, and I was like, oh cool. So I told them, “Yeah, I do comic books too” and they asked if I would want to do a cover for them. I said “Yes, what would you want to do?” They were looking for ultra-violence, super gore, "I want someone’s head getting chopped in half with a chainsaw." And I was like, I am totally, totally in on that one.
NG: Awesome. Are there any other projects you are currently working on?
CB: There are many that we have in the works. My first project is called the Forgotten Forest, and it was my senior project. I did a 95 page thesis script. So it’s a feature length animation film. We have a bunch of things done for it. Already have the storyboard for the trailer. I hired an artist out of California named Luigi Lucarelli and he does like amazing Pixar/Disney-ish style art, I mean I’m surprised he’s working for me because he should probably be working for a huge studio. But because feature length animated films are so expensive, my ambitions were a little too big for my britches, if you will, so that’s why I reigned it in and started working on American Oni. Now this is our flagship, basically, but there are a couple more in the works that you can all see at my studio website which is www.silentherostudio.com.
NG: I think that about wraps it up for us, but aside from your website, is there anywhere else online people could go to see more of your work?
CB: Yes, www.americanoni.com. That is full of all American Oni and that’s basically the hub for American Oni itself and then on Facebook that’s where I release a lot of my personal work too. And I’m doing a series of Rick and Morty (not selling them, just for fun!) basically getting caught in all these anime worlds. Our first one was One Piece and the next one is going to be Attack on Titan with Mr. Meseeks as the giant. So that’s going to be a lot of fun. That is probably the best place to catch up and there’s also where I connect to my own personal stuff to so if anyone wants to see that, like my covers and stuff like that , they can see it there.