Written by Neil Greenaway
At Denver Comic Con 2016 I had the chance to sit down and talk with Kevin Gentilcore, Patrick Hoover, and Robert Elrod from the book Saga of Metal about their take on publishing indie comics. This interview originally ran on Bleeding Cool on 6/19/2016, and you can read their version of it here.
Saga Of Metal is a new anthology style comic book from CreepHouse Comics that revels in all things Heavy Metal: the fantasy, the swords, and definitely the music. I had a chance to sit down at Denver Comic Con 2016 and talk with 3 of the 4 metal-heads that helped to create this new book.
Neil Greenaway: Let’s start out basic. What is the premise of the new book?
Kevin Gentilcore: The premise is basically just an illustrated version of my own love for heavy metal.
NG: Is it anthology style or is it just one continuous story?
KG: They’re anthology. They are both self-contained stories. I have talked about doing a second volume but that would be another story, not related.
NG: OK. Who all do you have working with you on this one?
KG: This one was me and Patrick, we both did a story each. Originally it was conceived with the idea that Robert would do a story, but his commitments didn’t allow him to finish in time. So it’s me and Patrick. We roped in our buddy Matt Smith to do the cover. He does an awesome comic called Barbarian Lord, he’s got something coming out soon with Image. He’s a big heavy metal fan. That is how we struck up an online relationship, so he was more than happy to do the cover for us. Robert Elrod ended up doing to back cover for us which is super awesome and that’s the four of us who were involved.
NG: So, Patrick and Robert, how did you get involved in this project?
Patrick Hoover: So Kevin and I have been friends for a number of years now, back from one of the first Denver Comic-fests where we shared tables next to each other. We became friends and we’re also both big metal fans. So it was just sort of a natural thing. One day we were just talking like, what if we did a comic? Let’s do a group comic, we’ll get together and make stories about heavy metal. So joining things we like, putting them together. We had a conversation one day and it seemed like an excellent merging of two things we like very much.
Robert Elrod: Well I saw them posting about it on Facebook and pretty much inserted myself into the project by telling them that I wanted to be involved too. And originally I was also going to a story that would go into the book, but I got tied up with other obligations and when we decided on the deadline – to get the book out by Denver Comic Con – it turned out that I was not going to be able to a full story done so I ended up offering to do the back cover.
NG: You guys have mentioned that there may be a volume 2, are you looking at perhaps contributing a story sometime in the future?
PH: Definitely possibly. This first one was a lot of fun to do. It was a separation from the comics that I normally do, you know, my normal stuff. But it was nice to step away from that, do something completely different- a small individual story- I think that next one we were talking about would be in the same sort of breadth, another little mini story. And the nice thing too is it’s a mix. If you look at the book Kevin and my styles are very different.
RE: I am, in fact I’m the one who said to them, hey I still would like to do this story, maybe we do a volume 2 and it gets into there.
NG: All right. Just to touch on it, Kevin, I know that your love of heavy metal actually reaches into its own blog just for the music, what can you tell us about that?
KG: That’s true, I do a daily blog. Well, I try to do it daily. I do little mini reviews of older, obscure and under-appreciated metal albums. It’s mostly scary black metal or super satanic stuff or power metal which is what my half of the comic is based on. Power metal. It has super high fantasy, cheeseball kind of fantasy element stuff. I do that and then I do a weekly post wrapping up all the stuff I’ve been listening to in the week, mostly just to share and get out there, I don’t really have an agenda besides everyone should be listening to heavy metal because it’s awesome.
NG: For Robert and Patrick, Kevin had said his story was based on power metal. What were yours based on?
PH: Mine is a little less genre specific. It’s more based on a lot of the same things that power metal embraces, the fantasy genre- your knights and wizards and battles and so forth; but more of the epic tale. Because one of the things I love about metal is the story telling. So my bands would be a little more- not just say like a Manowar (which is very power metal) but Aman Amarth which is Viking. A band called Visigoth, like there is just a ton of different varieties of metal that I feed into that. So you could almost lay a soundtrack of any of those songs to my story. I took more of the fantasy approach to the epic tale. That was my inspiration from metal.
RE: I’m going to say mine would probably be more in the power metal and less in the Viking. Definitely more in the power metal.
NG: Aside from the Saga Of Metal book, what other books have you guys got coming out?
KG: Well for this show we have the 3rd issue of The Haunter that came out earlier this year, we had it at DINK, that as actually its first appearance. Then we have the collection of the first two Krush McNulty comics that my partner William Tooker wrote. Currently we have the third issue of Krush done, which I didn’t get done in time for Denver Comic Con but it’s sitting at home waiting to be printed. And we are working on a new long form graphic novel that we are hoping to have out next year maybe. I’m spitting around ideas for Bearcano which might happen sooner than later. And we’re still working on Krush. The new Krush issue is the first of a 3 part story that will segue into another arch. So we are pretty busy.
PH: I have The Outdoorsman. The real brief synopsis is that it’s about a hunter that hunts monsters. So my dad was a big outdoorsman and growing up he taught me stuff, I hunt myself and fish and all of that. One day I was just like I want to draw a comic about monsters. I’m also a big fantasy guy, I love horror and monsters. What do I do? Well I had an idea to do a normal hunter like my dad was, but he hunts monsters instead of like deer or elk. That’s basically the story. It lets me play with the things that I love. It lets me do some actions, but play around in mythology and horror and all that kind of stuff and the hunter angle because he’s not the guy you’d expect to be hunting a monster. He’s also not a typical hero, he’s real lean, and he’s an older guy. Not like a young muscular monster killer, he uses his wits more than his muscle. So that is kind of the large thing, a story about vampires, chupacabras, werewolves and it’s just sort of growing. Right now there are four issues. I am working on the fifth one now; it’s about the Loch Ness Monster. There is also a book I did for 24 hour comic day a few years back called Son of Ymir, sort of tie-in to Saga of Metal; it’s a Viking tale, Norse mythology heavy. I did a 24 hour comic and printed that up; it was for 2013 Denver Comic Con. My intent is that when I get some time to flesh that out into a larger story into a graphic novel. But I still have at least a 22 page 24 hour comic tale that is pretty fun and that people seem to enjoy.
RE: I have a new hardcover art book, it’s called Former Dwellings, it’s an 83 page book. It has 45 color pieces and 38 black and whites. I have printed 500, all signed and numbered, it’s a limited edition. I’ve got a book collecting just my kaiju art. I’ve got a book collecting just Zombies and Other Creeps, that’s the title of it, so werewolves and other assortment of monsters in it. I still have a few copies of my last sketchbook I did in 2013. Those were also a limited edition book. I have a book called Nightmare which I did in 2013 as well. Same deal I only did 100 so those all signed numbered, I still have some of those. I have a book called the Kaiju Companion which features some of the commission drawings I did on the backs of the Kaiju book for some people and there’s a 6 page Kaiju comic in the back of it as well. I do have another project with Ragnarok Publications, the Kickstarter was successful. So this is a follow up to the Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters book that we did in 2014. And I am doing 6 illustrations this time where I did 17 last time. But again they had a couple of artists on board already and I just kind of said hey I’d love to get involved again and so they had some stuff for me. So that’s my next publishing project. After that it will be this creator owned project I will be starting.
NG: If I could jump back to Kevin for a second, can you tell us what is the basic premise of Bearcano? That sounds epic.
KG: Well it spawned out of me and my girlfriend watching some shitty sci-fi movies and there was one called Arachnoquake, this predated Sharknado. I think Arachnoquake paved the way for Sharknado. I was like this is a good premise, but they should expand on it. You could have all sorts of wild animal related weather phenomenon, how about bears coming out of volcanoes? So I was talking to some friends about it one night over drinks and they had a bunch of ideas for like narwhal-tsunami and the Aurora Bor-eel-alis which is like electric eels flying at you and stuff. But I stuck with Bearcano because I like the idea. What it’s evolved into now is a way for me to violently kill people that I don’t care for. Not specific people, but like types of people I don’t care for. Like douche bag bros, which is really more what it is now, it’s my satire which is how I approach it. But there has been some discussion about what a Bearcano actually is. My girlfriend thought it was a volcano that spit out bears, just regular bears. My interpretation is like mutant lava bears that vomit molten hot rocks at people. So that’s what I’m saying, they can be a multitude of things.
NG: Have you heard of the Lavalanchula?
KG: I have. I am on top of the weather related animal movies, which is a genre unto itself now, which is amazing. I came up with – or it might have been someone else too, I forget – Avalanchula, which I think is a good mix of fire and ice. Like that Game of Thrones fire and ice thing but ours is better.
NG: Naturally. Just a final question. If people wanted to see more of you guys, where would they look online?
KG: www.creephousecomics.com, @creephousecomic on twitter, Kevin Gentilcore on Tumblr is where I do my blog stuff and I am ranting and raving as Kevin Gentilcore on Facebook and as the Creephouse Facebook page. Just look for Creephouse Comics, if you Google it, you will find something.
PH: So the easiest place would be www.blazeorangestudio.com. If you just want The Outdoorsman, he’s on www.odmcomic.com. Of course also on Facebook as Patrick Hoover and my Blaze Orange Studios are out there as well. Those are the biggest places. I think if you pretty much Google the Outdoorsman comic you will find me. There are not too many of those.