Written by Neil Greenaway
At Phoenix Comic Con 2017 I had the chance to sit down and talk with Reset Survivor (Will Hines) of Ecos De Xochitl 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.
You can not look very far into the indie comics scene in Phoenix without hearing about Reset Survivor. I have had his books recommended to me by people like Denny “Dennmann” Riccelli, Eric Mengel, and Adam Yeater – all of whom have been creating their own original-character driven comics in the area for years. Still, even with all the recommendations I had received for his computer-based art style, I had never managed to meet Mr. Hines – the Reset Survivor. I made up for that at this year’s Phoenix Comic Con, and I’m glad I did.
Neil Greenaway: Today I am speaking with Will Hines, otherwise known as Reset Survivor. First off, for people who might not be familiar with your work, what kind of comics do you make?
Reset Survivor: I do a book called Ecos De Xochitl, which is kind of a webcomic. I started it and then I gave up on it for about a year. I gave up on it when times got hard. I said “I ain’t got time for this shit”. So I set it aside I recently picked it back up. There were other books that I wanted to do and this was just in the way. So it had to go, I had other stuff to do that was better. Not that my webcomic is bad, just that there were other things I really wanted to do
NG: What is the story in the Ecos De Xochitl?
RS: I was watching this Superman movie a while back, and he passed out like every 5 minutes. I don’t know if that’s how it happened but that’s how it seemed to me. But it gave me this idea. What if there was this person that passed out and woke up in another body? And what if it kept alternating? When the new person passed out they woke up in the other person’s body again? And you wouldn’t know which was real and which was the dream. I was really into that idea. And the webcomic just kind of ran with that.
NG: Do you intend on returning to that?
RS: Oh yeah! I’m finishing it right now. I am about halfway through the story right now. I have it all written out. That was the weird thing. I had it all planned out before I quit, but then I just stopped.
I draw this all on the computer, it uses a weird art style. It’s called ANSI art. It is a lot like ASTI art, but more like a cousin to that. A lot of people think it’s 8-bit or pixel art and I’m totally fine with that. I always just say “Yeah, that’s what it is”.
NG: Is that the same art style you used on the Cockroaches you have here on the table?
RS: It is.
NG: You have several cockroach stickers available here. What inspired those?
RS: Just living with bugs I suppose. When I was living in Mesa, I lived on the bottom floor of a building. And every summer, man, they would come out. You walk into the kitchen and they scurry, and you think “Well, that’s disgusting”. You can tell the apartment complex, but nobody cares. I tried bug bombs, but they didn’t work. If those things want inside they get there. For a while I sort of developed a relationship with them. They just don’t want to be on fire, and that’s the same reason I’m in there. I understand.
NG: That is very compassionate of you. I see that you have a Kaiju book here on your table. What can you tell me about that?
RS: The Kaiju book came about because I am friends with Brad Dwyer and Damon Begay and we are all into tokusatsu, stuff like Power Rangers and Kamen Rider. We are really into that stuff! So we decided to create our own characters and put them in this pseudo-world, that would be our own version of that stuff. Brad does a character called Zodiac Man, where he uses the different zodiac signs as power moves. Damon has a character called Phoenix Night, who is a girl with the soul of a reincarnated hero. My strip is about a Japanese girl group, a singing group, that transforms into a giant robot, Ultraman-type character. I really just wanted to do a story about a Japanese girl group that turned into robots.
NG: You also have your sketchbook here, Beer and Ramen. What can you tell me about that? I am drawn to the name right off the bat.
RS: Well it was my life for at least a couple of months. Every night it was just beer and ramen until my guts gave up. My insides were saying “you cannot have anymore or you will die”. Anyway, its just a sketchbook basically filled with alcohol-fueled doodles. This was me just drinking and drawing. The good thing to come out of this book is that I recently decided to buy plane ticket and visit Japan. And now I am saving money to really enjoy that trip.
NG: Your table includes several original Mini Comics, some cockroach stickers, and some original art, all of it your original creations. Do you find that you do well at conventions selling only your own IP?
RS: It is a hard sell because I’m not selling Deadpool prints…
NG: And bless you for that, sir!
RS: I am trying to do my own original stuff and it is a harder sell, but honestly when people walk by they almost always snap their neck looking at it. They’ve never seen anything like this before.
NG: If I could go back just a little bit to Ecos De Xochitl, is that still coming out as a webcomic or is it only in print?
RS: I only just finished the third print issue in the last month or so, but I haven’t posted them to the webcomic. I do plan on overhauling the webcomic website after this event. I have been planning for Phoenix Comic Con for a while and after this I can take a deep breath and get back to work.
NG: And then the webcomic comes back?
RS: Yeah, I really do plan on overhauling the whole site though. I just don’t like the way it is. I want it to be way more simple, it’s far too complex. When I say that people will go look, and there are maybe four buttons on the site (laughs). But it could be simplified even further.
NG: I think that about wraps up my questions for you today. If people wanted to see more of you or your webcomic where could they look online?