Ryan Ferrier was kind enough to answer my questions about his comic Tiger Lawyer and his new self publishing imprint Challenger Comics. After you read the interview, I'd recommend you check out Tiger Lawyer or some of the free comics available over at Challenger Comics.
What was the genesis of the Tiger Lawyer concept?
I'm not exactly sure what planted the seed for Tiger Lawyer, but it started as a tweet last December. I tweeted something silly, as I do, about my next comic being 'Tiger Lawyer' with no intentions on actually doing it. After some boisterous encouragement from several friends, I actually put pen to paper and wrote the first segment from issue #1, Attorney at Rawr, over one weekend. I then put the script online, and long story short, artist Matt McCray and I crossed paths and decided to give it the ol' try. From there it turned into actually putting this book together, and getting artist Vic Malhotra involved was a wonderful thing.
Something I find interesting about Tiger Lawyer is that the first issue has stories of wildly different styles...one is cartoony and fun, and the other is distinctly noir. Both types of stories worked for Tiger Lawyer...how do you feel about this elasticity that the character has?
Honestly, I feel like that's the only thing that can keep the comic going. There's only so much you can do with the character himself, as endearing as he may be. I think for me as a creator, it's less the character that appeals to me, and more the different sandboxes he lets me play in, or want to play in. The plan is to go in some seriously crazy directions; at some point I even plan on doing a Tiger Lawyer manga.
Do you have long term plans for Tiger Lawyer's story arc? Have you plotted out far into the character's future, or do you prefer to write the series more organically and let the narrative develop without elaborately constructed plot?
With the more comedic stories, Matt's stories, they're all self-contained shorts, so I can start from scratch every issue. With Vic's stories, the noir ones, there has been a story arc. Vic's stories in issues #1, 2, and 3 are three parts to a whole. With future issues, I can see that continuing; I like the thought of having both self-contained stories, and bigger narratives to work with. I should mention that Vic's story in Tiger #3, which is the conclusion to the current noir arc, is one of the most fun things I've ever written, and probably Vic's best work, which is frightening, as he's always been awesome. Matt too, he's an incredible visual storyteller.
You launched your Challenger Comics self publishing imprint, coincidentally, the same day that I published my review of Tiger Lawyer #1. The imprint seems like an exciting move...what inspired you to create it?
Thanks! It is exciting. I also don't want to play it up as if it's this big publishing endeavour. I'm a fairly hungry young creator, and I've been working on pitches for the last couple of years. They're all kind of going out there now and I feel like taking a tiny step back and focusing on short-form work, one-shots, comics I can actually produce and show, and not just send to editors and have it live or die there. I want to write and create and get better, and I want to have work to show for the time I'm putting into it. So basically I've set up Challenger as a self-publishing imprint, one centralized place for me to put out that kind of work, be it online for free, or selling books through the store. And I've been fortunate enough to get to know lots of inspiring, talented creators who are doing the same, and have extended that to them. So Challenger is a home for that, for people to create and display in one single spot. Hopefully we can all build off each other and benefit each other and just have a positive resource for creators that want to produce passion projects.
Challenger Comics has a few free, short comics available. How do you feel about releasing free comics as a way to get people excited about buying your comics?
And there's many more on their way! I think it's pretty important not only as a creator, to help you get better, but for exposure. At this point in my comic life, I just want to produce work and get better, and have people read it, be it other creators, editors, or fans. I want as many people to see my work as possible. I've got mini-series and pitches that I'm working on, and I'm going to need to make money and turn this into an actual career, but that's a ways away, and right now I'm focused on becoming a better writer, and I believe this is one way to do it. And I'm just having a lot of fun, and enjoying getting the chance to collaborate and work with other great creators.
Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to talk about?
I'm mostly focused on a few shorts for Challenger that will be coming out over the next few months, and Tiger Lawyer #3 is going to be awesome, and out around Christmas. My mini-series The Brothers James (215Ink) is gearing up to return in a big way, with Brian Level on art, and Michael Walsh handling covers and some interiors. Issue #2 will be out early next year, with a total of #5 in the series. I've got a couple other projects in the works, that I can't really talk about right now. And as always, I've got the odd pitch I'm working on.