The GeeksverseBrandon Barrows and Reasonably Priced Comics

Brandon Barrows and Reasonably Priced Comics
Published on Monday, February 14, 2011 by

KittysPryde has reviewed the past several books from Reasonably Priced Comics, two and a quarter of which were penned by the same scribe: Brandon Barrows. The Pryde was able to catch up Barrows in the wonderful wide world of the internet to ask a few questions about being a writer, a fan, and the company he has started.

First, and foremost, what attracted you to the collaborative medium of comic book writing?

Brandon Barrows:I’ve been reading comic books literally as long as I can remember, and I’ve wanted to make them almost as long. After a few years of trying my hand at art, I came to the conclusion that I’d never be where I wanted to be as a visual artist so I turned my focus to writing, which I’ve also been interested in since childhood.

You are publishing with RP Comics, which seems to be a press that you are running. Why start your own small press when so many others are already out in the market place struggling for their share?

Barrows: If you take a look at many of those other small presses, you’ll find they’re generally also sole proprietorships or run by a very small group of people. Initially, a friend of mine and I had the idea of doing an anthology for our comic short stories while pitching other work to larger publishers. That book turned into the RPC anthology, but my friend decided not to continue (before the first issue was finished) and I was left on my own so I just ran with it as I was doing a lot of the legwork already and I wasn’t prepared to just toss aside the investment of time. I’m also not actually the only person who runs it, though that was true for a time last year. The nice thing about getting your work out there is there’re people who want to be a part of it.

What would you say defines RP comics as a company?

Barrows: An absolute commitment to putting out high quality comics for the lowest possible price. Many publishers slap price tags on books that I feel are just too high. Collecting comics is an expensive hobby, I know I’ve felt the pinch the last few years, so I really want to give people an option that they can both afford and not feel like they’re giving up quality.

As a comic book writer, what do you feel are your strengths in comic book story telling?

Barrows:Well, I think I kind of have a knack for making people want to turn the page.

That is an excellent strength.

Barrows:Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at the cliffhanger. I’ve gotten a number of emails, and people coming up to me, saying “Man, I can’t believe you ended that there! When does the next one come out? I HAVE to find out what happens.” I’ve even gotten emails through DrunkDuck, where there’s a Jack Hammer preview posted, asking where the comics can be purchased because the preview hooked the reader.

That is an excellent strength to have in this genre. Being able to leave the reader wanting more is important in the serial publication. It is encouraging that people are seeking you out to find out what happens next. It is reflected in your reviews as well.

Why print? Online comics have made leaps and bounds in the past several years. Dr.McNinja has made a living from online comics and the secondary printing. DC, Marvel, Image, and most of the larger companies have online delivery methods for their books. So why is it important for you to create comics that are in print in 2010 and 2011.

Barrows: Because the vast majority of readers are still buying comics in their local comic shops. Digital media has made tremendous progress over the last few years, but it’s still not the primary delivery method. Even the big publishers don’t use it as their primary means, nor will they in the near future I think. If you look at the digital distribution systems Marvel and DC have in place, for example, you’ll find that you can’t even get the latest issues of many of their books. It’s a complaint I hear from friends and other comic fans a lot. The simple fact is that while digital comics have matured a great deal in the last 5 years, they still aren’t all the way there yet.

As a fan and a writer, what other writers in the industry do you enjoy? What about their work attracts you?

Barrows:Well, I’m a big fan of Chuck Dixon, Tim Seeley, Mike Baron, John Ostrander, Roy Thomas and Mike Gilbert. I guess those would be my top comic writers. Come to think of it, I guess what they all have in common is a working appreciation of the classic fiction genres that’s clearly evident in their work. I think that’s something I share in, too.

What comic characters do you enjoy reading?

Barrows: Currently published characters include Judge Dredd, Cassie Hack, the Walking Dead cast (particularly Rick and Carl, of course), Conan and Airboy. My all-time favorite comic book characters are Grimjack, Mr. Monster, The Badger, Nexus and Judge Dredd.

What was your favorite read in 2010?

Barrows:That’s a pretty tough one. “Jon Sable: Ashes of Eden” was amazingly good. For encapsulated stories, as opposed to ongoing series, I think I’ll go with that.

As a fan, what do you prefer Masters of the Universe or Thundercats?

Barrows: Thundercats. I was a big fan of both as a kid, but I think Thundercats has held up better over the decades.

You have worked with talented artists at RP Comics. As you move forward with your writing and RP comics, do you have a wish list of artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Barrows:Yes, but wishes don’t come true if you say them out loud.

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