This week on the All-Comic Spotlight, Mister Jesse Young, 33 from South Florida steps up to the plate. Jesse has been building an online portfolio of webcomics with a little bit of everything. Lighthearted all ages comics that cover slice of life, fantasy and even a caped crusader or two. Read on to get to know Jesse and his work a little better.
All-Comic: Jesse, How were you first exposed to comics?
Jesse Young: I got into Image when they first came out as a kid because a cousin of mine read comics, so for like ten minutes, so did I. But then it wasn’t really until I was about 28/29 that I picked up Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and everything changed. From that moment on I was hooked.
AC: When did you decide you wanted to make comics?
JY: The same time I read Pride. I’ve always loved creating things. For 15 years I’ve been a singer/songwriter. I’ve toured all over and opened for a lot of big names so music has always been a big passion but another big passion was telling stories. I took screenwriting classes in college and wrote a novel and a friend of mine wanted to do a graphic novel so I told him I’d help. I picked up Pride because I wanted to learn more about comics before I started writing them and once I saw the potential of storytelling comics was capable of, I was all in.
AC: What inspired you to make the half-dozen comics you have available for free?
JY: I had started my own publisher called Saint James back in 09 with the above mentioned friend and this was our way to launch our own books. We had a few different titles and finished issues, got reviews places, went to cons, etc, but were never able to sustain the books long term. Once that ended and I decided to continue making comics, I knew I needed another approach. Artists put together portfolios to show around online and at conventions so I decided I wanted to do the same thing. Shorts are easier to manage, lighter on my pocket book which allows me to pay really talented people and I think from an artists prospective, easier for them to commit to doing a 5-7 page project rather than signing on with an unknown for a 5-6 issue series. I am trying to build enough content for my site that it serves as an online portfolio of me as a writer and then I hope to collect them all and print them in some form to pass around to people when I am at conventions.
AC: Have you co create any of these comics or do you reach out to an artist after having the complete story?
JY: Collaborating is by far my favorite part of working in comics, but the shorts I’ve done so far I have created and then I’m finding an artist to draw the scripts. And not for any reason other than that’s how it’s worked out. Even still in these shorts, I encourage my partners to give input and make changes as they see fit. One of the pitches I’ve posted called “The Amulet of Isanove”, was a true collaboration with the artist. I asked her what she wanted to draw, she mentioned she liked dragons, so I worked on developing a story. Once I had something I bounced ideas off her and we keep trading ideas until the story was developed. A lot of story elements that went into that pitch were then artists idea.
AC: How do you go about finding an artist?
AC: You’ve made a variety of comics in different genres, even a short Spider-man story, how do you pick your next project?
JY: Sometimes it’s just the concept that’s rolling around in my head at the time or sometimes it’s a suggestion or writing for an artists strengths. With “Amulet“, the artist was really good at fantasy and wanted to draw dragons, so I built a story around that. A friend asked me to write a short for him and wanted to do a Western, so I’ve got a 5 page western. (still looking for an artist) “Here We Go” was inspired by a pic of a mom and son that another friend of mine drew and it just evolved into this action/adventure. The Spider-Man short is funny because I actually have no real desire to write for the Big 2, but one morning while I was getting ready for work, this running gag popped into my head and it made me laugh. I ended up writing the script as an exercise and then I was trying to get George to draw the Western but he said he really wanted to do Superheroes, so I said, I have this really dumb Spider-Man idea and he loved it so we did it. It wasn’t really one I was planning on actually finishing but I am glad I did, because it turned out a lot better than I imagined.
AC: Which of your current stories is your favorite? I liked Here We Go, but Amulet of Isanove is the most fantastic and I hope to see more.
JY: “Here We Go” is the one I most proud of and the one I think is my best work. “Amulet” I also really love a lot as well, but mostly because Hannah’s art kicks so much butt, I really think she deserves to be published. We pitched that around a bit and haven’t had any takers as of yet, but that is one I really do wish we could finish one day.
AC: Would you ever consider kickstarter or some type of crowd funding to publish these books?
JY: I’ve done kickstarter for my music. Back when KS first launched I used in in 2010 to record a 4 song EP. It was a challenge raising the money for that and I know a lot more people who’d buy my music than my comics, so I am not opposed to it, but I’d like to try and build awareness of myself a little more first.
AC: Did you set up your own website or pay some one to design it for you?
JY: I actually did the website myself. I use SquareSpace and they make it really easy to put together a great looking site.
AC: Follow up: How do you maintain your website?
JY: Just updating the blog as much as I can. I am trying to have as much content on there as possible.
AC: Have you been published before?
AC: If you have time, what comics, manga or web comics are you reading?
JY: I read a ton actually but have fallen behind a little. This isn’t the whole list and I know I am leaving a ton out, but I am really digging Five Ghosts, Doc Unknown, Fatale, Hawkeye, Knuckleheads, Masks & Mobsters, The Activity, October Girl, Revival, Saga, Sheltered, Virga, The Wake, Theremin, Mind the Gap, The Killer, Peter Panzerfaust, After Houdini, Deadhorse.
AC: Do you have an all time favorite creator? Be it music, comics or movies.
JY: COMICS: Brian K. Vaughan
MUSIC: Phil Collins
MOVIES: Steven Speilberg
TV: Aaron Sorkin
AC: What is next for you?
JY: Right now, trying to get the word out about “Here We Go“. I am also developing a pitch for a larger story set in the universe of “Here We Go“. It is being co-written with Tim Daniel (Enourmous) and drawn by Nick Johnson (Wolf Hands). We’re working on the pitch right now. I am also working on finishing a two other shorts. One is called “The Daring Adventures of Android Jones” and is a sci-fi action/adventure and the other is called “Ex Occultus: The Sword of Pelus“. This is being drawn by Joanna Estep (Fraggle Rock, The Thrilling Adventure Hour). The elevator pitch for Ex Occultus is: Indian Jones meets the Ex Files in the 19th century.
AC: How can readers best support you and your work?
JY: Follow me on twitter @writejessewrite and honestly the best way is if you dig a story I wrote, pass it on to someone else you think would enjoy it as well. I just wanted these in front of as many people as possible.
AC: Thanks for your time Jesse, I hope to see more of your work online and hopefully, on day, in print.
Jesse is working away building his comic empire. If you would like to help spread the word his comics can be found here. Jesse is easy to get a hold of on twitter and I hope every one of you shares his page. I would love to see more of “The Amulet of Isanove”.