An Interview With Keith Foster of Kodoja (Phoenix Comic Con 2017)

Written by Neil Greenaway

At Phoenix Comic Con 2017 I had the chance to sit down and talk with Keith Foster of Kodoja about his take on publishing indie comics. This interview originally ran on Bleeding Cool on 6/05/2017, and you can read their version of it here.

 Keith Foster at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

Keith Foster at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

Kaiju have been around for a long time, and they have amassed a huge following over the years. There are thousands of movies, games, novels and comics dedicated to the stories of these monsters’ destructive powers. At Phoenix Comic Con 2017 I met a man named Keith Foster who felt he had something new to add to the world of giant monsters. When he said that Cthulhu and the Elder Gods were involved, he really had my attention.

Neil Greenaway: Can you start by giving us just a little bit of backstory, what is going on in this series?

Keith Foster: Sure. So the series Kodoja is really two stories that kind of join. On one hand you have this giant-monster-on-the-loose side of the story, which is Kodoja itself, a 200 ft. tall super weapon gone wrong. The story starts with you finding out that there are some people remaining from a certain military division, they are the people who are left to deal with Kodoja. As luck would have it they are also the estranged creators, designers, and architects of the monster. Now they have to figure out how to shut down this thing that has been designed to be unstoppable. That is one part of it; the other part is that you have this Elder God’s factor – these creepy monsters that have possibly been here for a very long time all of a sudden rising up from the earth to do something presumably pretty bad. As that happens, Kodoja then starts tracking one of the giant monsters that comes up out of the ground and that leads to a big confrontation at the end of the first arc. And that is the narrative arc of it; you have a monster on the loose side that seemingly continues to outwit its creators and develops new techniques and tactics that shouldn’t have happened, it’s kind of thinking for itself. Then you also have this growing concern of other worldly evil that is going on as well.

NG: And that is where we come into Volume 2?

KF: Yes.

Kodoja vol.2 #1 from 215 Ink.

Kodoja vol.2 #1 from 215 Ink.

Kodoja vol.2 #1 from 215 Ink.

NG: You have the first 3 issues of the 2nd series, what is the length of that arc?

KF: Each arc is going to be 5 issues. The 2nd volume has 3 of the 5 issues out.

NG: Was the 1st series released as individual issues or was that just a graphic novel?

KF: Yes, it was issues. The very short version of Kodoja is that we self published it for a while. Then after about a year and a half, when the five issues had been done, we were approached by 215 Ink (the publisher) and ended up kind of taking our stuff down and re-launching it with issue 1 through 215 Ink. So it’s been single issues actually twice, a self published run and a 215 Ink run.

NG: When did you start this project?

KF: June 2012 was when the first issue came out, so maybe a year before that we actually started working on it. All 3 of us (the creative team) – myself who writes it, Rory Smith who does the interiors and Lance Pilgrim who does the graphic design and editing – we all have day jobs, so we put it out as often as we can. But life can get in the way and stuff happens. We are basically about to celebrate 5 years, and we did have that 1+ year of a holding pattern with the first 5 issues kind of re-launching.

Kodoja vol.1 TPB from 215 Ink.

 Kodoja banner at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

Kodoja banner at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

NG: What can you tell me about the rest of the creative team working on it?

KF: Rory Smith (our artist) has – over the time that we have done Kodoja – switched jobs. He now has a day job in animation, so he now works for an animation studio. I love his style. Lance Pilgrim (our graphic design/editor), he does graphic design for his day job and he also does all the great treatments and creates the look of Kodoja. We keep the colors down and it kind of has the look of a propaganda poster feel, but updated as well, so like some bright colors that really pop.

It started with Lance and I. The whole thing started with a music project originally intended to be this lost Godzilla soundtrack that we were going to release. Then we had this music in our hands and we thought, what if we created our own story that kind of goes with this music? And so we did that and that was where Kodoja was born. What really drew Lance and I to Rory was that in his original art he used perspective incredibly well. He could just move the camera around in so many creative ways. He had never really done a lot of giant monster stuff before, but he was just a natural for it in his ability to just create these huge things.

NG: Speaking of the music, I see that you have several CD’s here. Is this meant to be accompanying music to the story?

KF: Yes it is. There are 3 CD’s. The first one is called Terror Mountain Showdown and it is the companion music for the first story-arc, also called Terror Mountain Showdown. Valley of the Giants, we just had that come out with the release of the 3rd issue, so that is the accompaniment to the 2nd arc. Then Sentient is a story all in itself with its own soundtrack, so it’s an audio drama. We harken back to the old school radio serials. It’s like 20-27 minutes, something like that, just a quick story that brings you to the doorstep of the first issue of Kodoja.

 A kaiju poster at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

A kaiju poster at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

An unused Kodoja cover.

 Kodoja CDs at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

Kodoja CDs at Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

NG: Is it you guys playing the music in that, or do you have another band that you use?

KF: I write the comic and I am the guitarist in the band Big Pimp Jones. We do the music to this. So that is the connection. There are couple guys in Big Pimp Jones and a couple guys that do the Kodoja stuff and I am the link between them.

NG: Nice. It must be great to have that bridge between your two loves. You had said earlier that this story was planned as a series of mini-series, how far forward does your plan go?

KF: We have concrete ideas for basically the first 5 mini-series. Which would be the first 25 issues. That 5th story will be the narrative arc that all the other narrative arcs kind of build to. Then we will take it from there. It could end or we could do something else with it. We will see what happens.

NG: It has to be asked: Are you building to any Island Of the Monsters type grand showdown of the beasts?

KF: I will answer your question like this – We definitely have a design on each arc to up-the-ante on monsters. So the further it goes along, the more monsters we are going to throw out there.

An interior page from Kodoja vol.2 #2.

An interior page from Kodoja vol.2 #2.

NG: Before we leave you today, is there anything else you think people should definitely know about the series?

KF: Giant monsters are awesome. Go out there and get some. Whether it is Kodoja or something else, I think that Kaiju have an untapped element of story telling.

NG: If people wanted to find out more about you guys or about Kodoja, where would we go to see that online?

KF: You could go to our website which is kodoja.com.

NG: Do you have any social media presence?

KF: I personally keep bigpimpjones on social media. Then we also have a Facebook page for Kodoja, the Kodoja website, @kodoja on Twitter and there might have been some social media thing that got invented in the last 4 hours and we are probably Kodoja on that as well.

 Kaiju posters at the Kodoja table in Phoenix Comic Con 2017.

Kaiju posters at the Kodoja table in Phoenix Comic Con 2017.