Shawn French Talks Escape from Jesus Island Comic Launch and Future Plans
The title first caught our eye at the end of 2012. A bunch of comic creators were trying to put together a book called Escape from Jesus Island. Never fly, right? But the title was so good we had to do a story. Then, amazingly, the project took off...
From their grassroots start-up, the fellas behind Escape from Jesus Island and Wisdumb Productions - writer Shawn French, illustrator Mortimer Glum, letterer Peeter Parkker and editor Shawn Greenleaf - launched a successful Kickstarter campaign. The group quickly met their initial $8,000 goal and then continuously met stretch goals until the final campaign funding was over $15,000.
The Kickstarter campaign provided the necessary funding to get the ball rolling, and Escape from Jesus Island had its Phantom variant launch on December 20. As would be expected, the controversial title caused a stir, resulting in some comic stores dropping the Phantom line. But nothing pushes sales like a little controversy, and Escape from Jesus Island should see the positive result of that when the title has its wide launch (including digital) on January 20.
Escape from Jesus Island will be a 40-issue series, broken up into five standalone acts of eight issues each. Writer Shawn French recently talked with Dread Central about the project's growing success.
When we commented on how impressive the first issue of Escape from Jesus Island looked, French beamed with a fatherly pride. "Yeah, I gotta say I'm blown away by how it all came together, and the print job turned out amazing. Holy shit, they are beautiful books. I'm just so geeked out about this whole thing. A total dream come true, and we're just getting started!"
French spoke about the plans the team at Wisdumb Productions have had for Escape from Jesus Island since the beginning. "Our goal from the start was to aim way above anything we thought was possible and treat it like a franchise from day one," French said. "We've never looked at it as an independent comic. Issue 1 took forever to put out because we kept changing the art style over and over and over. Every time we locked into a look we liked, Mortimer would come up with something even better. I'm so glad we took that time to really let Mortimer develop this new process."
And as impressive as the artwork looks, French's writing is just as solid. "I can't wait to finally be able to dig more deeply into the story in the coming issues," French said. "I treated episode one as a cold-open scene in a film. Like the James Bond flicks that open with a 10-minute action scene. Then slow it down a little, play the credits and dig into the main story. I've always loved starting a story like that. I did the same with my horror flick, The Wrong House."
French drew from his experiences in creating the film The Wrong House to hone his approach to making this comic. "Sadly, one of the biggest things I learned from making a horror movie was that, with the budget I have available, I'll never be able to make something I'm truly happy with," French said. "Comic books don't have that limitation. If you have the story, the art, the lettering and a good print job, an independent title can be every bit as good as anything put out by the majors. It's a medium where you can compete with the big boys on a level playing field."
Let's see if Escape from Jesus Island can make a run at the big boys.
For more information, check out the official Escape from Jesus Island website, 'like' Escape from Jesus Island on Facebook and follow Escape from Jesus Island on Twitter (@Jesus_Island).
The ReGen Corporation eventually succeeds in its quest to clone Jesus, but only after creating scores of hideously deformed near-Jesus freaks and a monstrous twin brother, Damien. When the Vatican hears of Christ's return and sends an elite Black Ops extraction team to ReGen's remote island testing facility, all Hell breaks loose. Escape from Jesus Island is a twisted retelling of the prophecies from the Book of Revelation with Christ, Antichrist, a legion of cannibalistic mutants, and as the series progresses, global carnage complete with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
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