Happy Friday! This week I got to talk to the incredibly talented Nicholas Garcia of the comic book series Project Magus. I think this comic has a great concept and its very interesting. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Nicholas Garcia: Of course, it’s my pleasure. I’m born and raised in Southern California. I have been working in game development as my main source of income for about 7 years. And I’m a bit of a fantasy/sci-fi/history/comic nerd. Haha.
Aaron Iara: It is nice to meet you! I had a great time reading your book. Could you please give the readers a quick synopsis of Project Magus?
Nicholas Garcia: I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it!
“Ancient sorcerers are re-emerging and trying to destroy modern civilization as we know it. Our current technology isn’t enough to stop them, so Central Intelligence initiates an operation called Project Magus, which is the integration of Magic into modern combat. The story centers around Corporal Victoria Lopez, a United Nations Marine with a haunting past. Victoria discovers an extraordinary ability that aids her and her allies against these overwhelmingly powerful Spell Casters.”
Aaron Iara: I love this concept. A lot of series keep magic and military technology separate. A drone would have really helped Frodo move the ring faster, haha. It is awesome to see these two topics explored together.
The artwork in Project Magus is fantastic. How was this style developed?
Nicholas Garcia: Well, the style took quite a while to develop. We went through a lot of revisions, which is why it took nearly a year to develop. I knew I wanted to have black and white to capture grit and realism.
Plus without the use of color, you have to use a lot more atmospheric lighting to convey mood and tone, similar to old Noir and Horror films. What inspired me the most was Speilberg’s opening credits to “The Pacific”.
Aaron Iara: Nothing beats the gritty noir style. Most of my favorite comics have this aesthetic. Dark dramas are some of my favorite movies and television shows as well. I thought you did and excellent job with capturing a noir essence.
Making comics and takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Do you have any strategies/routines for maintaining productivity?
Nicholas Garcia: Well, I’ve actually created an outline for the next 30 issues, if I”m being honest. I know how I want this story to go, which helps tremendously. I have issue #2 drafted out and the script in progress for issue #3. I try to get ahead of the ball by a couple of issues, that way, I can read them back to back and ensure that it’s matching with the outline.
Aaron Iara: That sounds like an excellent strategy. Getting work done ahead of time is something I need to be better about. I feel like every time I get a bit ahead something happens to set me back.
Comics have a lot of skills and parts that need to come together (artwork, writing, publishing, etc.) How do you and the team pull everything together?
Nicholas Garcia: Well, as stated in the previous issue, what helps is that I have the majority of this story planned out. The production pipeline usually goes with pre-production, which involves concepts of new characters, developing settings, and the general flow of the story. I’ll then go into production by writing the story in a screenplay format, break the script down panel by panel, and provide visual representations that help convey my message better.
I’ll hand that off to the artist, who will do a draft of the entire issue. I’ll review it, see what works and what doesn’t work. Make revisions until I’m happy with the flow, and then go into Final Renders. Once I get the final renders, I’ll put the text/word bubbles in myself. Make final script adjustments to better fit the panel and characters, batch it together and ship it out.
It takes a LOT. Haha, but I love the process. With two people, we can get an issue done in about 3 months.
Aaron Iara: We recently discussed creative anxiety on the website. It can be emotionally difficult to have setbacks, deadlines, and artistic vulnerability. Have you ever had these feelings before? If so, how do you deal with i
Nicholas Garcia: Oh yes, I have them all the time. Setback and deadlines aren’t as big of a deal to me because I always try to plan so far in advance, it doesn’t become an issue. Artistic vulnerability, however, is something I struggle with all the time. I always get in my head thinking “it’s not good enough”, or that “everyone is going to hate it”.
I think that’s every creative person out there. What’s helped me a lot is that I’m not writing this for the general masses. I’m writing this because I enjoy it and because it’s something I’ve always wanted to see come to life on paper. If others like it as well, then awesome! Lets all nerd out together! Haha. Having that distinction and reminding myself that this is my concept and can be written how I wish helps with a lot of the anxiety.
Aaron Iara: I think that this is an excellent way to view a not so fun topic. I can definitely relate to your feelings. A lot of my own anxiety comes from feeling like an amateur. It took me a long time to realize that I will always be working to improve myself. It wasn’t until that realization that I became comfortable to show my work to others and begin working on bigger projects.
Who are some of your favorite indie creators, comics or otherwise?
Nicholas Garcia: Back in my younger years, I used to read a LOT of MegaTokyo by Fred Gallagher before it got picked up by Tokyopop. Today, I’d say I enjoy Revival by Mike Norton.
Aaron Iara: I love Revival. That book, along with Chew and Saga, pulled me back into comics after years of not reading.
Do you have any advice for those who want to start making their own comics?
Nicholas Garcia: The best practice for writing a story is to start small. If you can tell a compelling story in 4 pages, then you can graduate to 8. If you can do it in 8, move up to 16. So on and so fourth. Also, start slow and build up your base. Making a comic book is a long game if you want to be successful.
Aaron Iara: Do you have any upcoming events/projects/releases you would like to talk about?
Nicholas Garcia: I’ll be having an AMA on Reddit Next week on /r/Comics. I have a few other things cooking in the oven, but it’s not set in stone.
Aaron Iara: Thank you again for talking to me! Tell the readers where they can find you and your work.
Nicholas Garcia: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. They can find the campaign on Kickstarter.
Check Out Project Magus
Let’s give a huge thank you to Nicholas for taking the time to speak with me this week. Project Magus is a great comic. Make sure to check out the Kickstarter campaign and keep an eye out for future releases.
Check out Project Magus on Kickstarter.