Written by Neil Greenaway
At Denver Comic Con 2015 I had the chance to sit down and talk with Kevin Gentilcore of CreepHouse Comics about his take on publishing indie comics. This interview originally ran on Bleeding Cool on 05/26/2015, and you can read their version of it here.
Neil Greenaway: So, what is the name of your company?
Kevin Gentilcore: Well, I am Kevin Gentilcore, one half of CreepHouse Comics. The other half, William Tooker, is not here this year. He lives in Ohio.
NG: How did you get into creating indie comics?
KG: I went to college here, at the Art Institute Of Animation. I thought that was a worthwhile pursuit. I just wanted to do art, and I didn’t know what that meant really, so animation seemed like the way to go at the time. It was kind of during the transition to 3D that was really big at the time. But I didn’t like 3D. So I kind of focused on 2D, and then kind of got back into my love of comics while at collage. I grew up drawing comics, with my friends at school and stuff. But we went to high school and kind of forgot because, you know, girls & punk rock. Stuff like that. As I started getting back into it in collage, I sort of decided I should start making my own comics. But I didn’t know what that meant really. Then after graduation, I ran into Will. We were “working” with some local people. We shared similar ideas. We liked old ’70s Hammer Horror Films and Gross Monster Movies. He had already written a bunch of short stories and novels. And we had the idea that we should translate these into comics. They’re really visual, and really interesting. There was a neat, poetic rhyme to some of his stories. So we just came up with that together.
And he’s like “We probably need a name. How about CreepHouse?”
And I said “All right, done.”
That was six years ago, and that’s how we’ve been doing it since.
NG: Do you have any inspirations in indie comics? Or are there other creators that you draw from?
KG: I really like everyone who has kind of struck out on their own, and kind of looked away from being a part of the Big Two (or Three, I guess, although I really like Image – I consider them a third of the Big Three). My original inspiration to get into web comics – which is where we started – was the Penny Arcade guys. They were really influential. I know that we’re separate, almost opposite ends of the spectrum. But I really enjoyed what they were doing. They’re kind of touch-and-go now, but the idea that they would take something that they love so much and turn it into this franchise, this huge empire was really inspiring to me.
Another big influence is Mike Mignola, I consider him indie. Even though he makes Hellboy. But that was an indie comic. I think all indie comic creators kind of want to be Mike Mignola. You know? Complete control over your own stuff and not having to compromise.
NG: Do you feel that as a comic creator, you have gained (or lost) any advantage by being located in Denver?
KG: I have no idea. I wouldn’t know. I’m from Denver.
NG: Do you have a network of other creators that you work with in Denver? Do you find like minds?
KG: I am finding like minds here. It seems that I’m meeting new artists every year at DCC. These guys (points at the table to the right) have been here before, but I had never met them. And this guy (points to the left) is not a comic creator, but is local to Denver and makes great horror stuff. And I do collaborate. Me and Robert Elrod have been collaborating with our friend Patrick Hoover on a metal-themed comic, so we are all of a similar mind frame there. Horror stuff is mostly me and Robert, Dan Crosier, Stan Yan. But I think there’s a lot of people here who are trying to do their own thing as well.2-1
NG: Do you think that attending Denver Comic Con boosts your exposure for CreepHouse Comics?
KG: I think it does. Whether or not people retain it is another thing. I have repeat customers now, so that’s good. I think that probably is a good thing.
NG: What benefits do you see in indie publishing Vs. work for the bigger companies?
KG: I guess that the big one, on top of the others, is that you own it. You’re not going to cheat you out of it. I know that there is something going around with DC right now about their contracts with creators. So, ownership, complete control, you work at your own pace. The downside is obviously promotion and advertising, I mean, look around. There’s like 400 artists here.
NG: Would you like to talk about your current project a little bit?
KG: Currently, the new book is The Haunter #2. I had the first issue premiere last year at DCC’14. It took me a little while, but the second issue is premiering this weekend. It’s a super-hero horror themed comic. It takes place in this town called Darkport which is full of monsters and zombies and ghosts who live like average folks. And he is their super-hero. We are also doing Krush McNulty, which is me & Will’s homage to cheesy ’50s-’60s pulp sci-fi. Right now it’s only coming out digitally, through Comixology. But we are thinking about collecting it once the next issue is done. And we just started talking about a new, long-form graphic novel that is kind of in the works right now, so that should be something fun to work on. Anyone who is interested can find us at www.CreepHouseComics.com, or through our Comixology store.