Welcome to the new year! Today’s interview is with Ryan Ferrier hailing from Calgary, Canada. Ryan has lettered quite a few comics and has tried his hand at writing as well. Together with Valentin Ramon they have created D4VE. An amoral retired warbot with a cushy office job. D4VE wallows in self pity and tries (successfully) to drink most of his life away. D4VE is one of many excellent titles to come out of Monkeybrain, Inc publishing. Originally featuring out of print books for print on demand Monkeybrain switched to digital comics and then, through a deal with IDW, we have creators with the opportunity to take their digital books to print. Will D4VE be one of these books? How did Ryan get involved with Valentin and Monkeybrain, Inc? Read on for these answers in more in today’s Webcomic Spotlight!
All-Comic: Ryan thanks for taking the time to chat comics with us. aside from all the comics work you do are you still ties down to a day job?
Ryan Ferrier: Currently, yes. One of my goals is to make the leap to comics full-time. I’m quite fortunate in that my current situation has allowed me to self-publish for the better part of two years, and provide a good fire beneath me.
AC: Excellent! Good luck in your venture! How were you first exposed to comics?
RF: I was first exposed to British comics at a very young age. From there, credit goes to my mother, who bought me my first grab bag full of fun superhero books and I’ve been hooked since.
AC: When did you decide you wanted to make comics?
RF: Though I fancied myself a writer, it wasn’t until 2008 when I began actually working on one. I give full credit to my friend and artist Trevor “Rove” Jameus for collaborating with me on our comic Terminals. Before then I hadn’t thought of making comics a possibility. As soon as that first page of artwork came in, I knew this is what I had to do with my life.
AC: What is the first comic you remember making?
RF: I remember making silly little strips when I was a wee boy, but nothing is locked into memory. Terminals started running online in 2010, so that would be the first actual-real comic I worked on. Though I learned a lot about making comics with that project, there’s nothing embarrassing at all, we are still very proud of it.
AC: In D4VE there is just a deep, deep sense of uselessness and depression. That humanity is long gone and these emotions are felt by a robot is a testament to your ability as a writer. You’ve managed to make your characters relatable and human, a key factor to an excellent comic and something that is missing from too many titles on the shelves.
Can you give use the quick elevator pitch for D4VE?
RF: D4VE takes place on an Earth that the robots have inhabited after defeating the humans and every other life form in the galaxy. It tells the story of D4VE, the former leader of the robot defense army, who is now enduring a soul-crushing mid-life crisis while he wastes away at a mindless day job.
AC: What inspired you to make D4VE?
RF: I see D4VE as being equal parts personal confession and monster-fighting fantasy. There are a lot of my fears and experiences mixed in with many of my interests. A previous day job really took the steam out of me for a while, and that was certainly the catalyst for the whole thing.
AC: Did you co-create D4VE with Valentin or did you reach out for an artist after having the complete story?
RF: While the original seedling of the concept was mine, D4VE would not be what it is without Valentin. He’s responsible for so much of the world-building we’re going for. His work has most certainly shaped my scripts, and vice versa. It’s without a doubt our book.
AC: In this and other projects, how do you go about finding an artist?
RF: It’s a mixed bag really, which more times than not boils down to social media and networking. In the past I’ve posted ads or put call-outs online, but for longer projects, a dialogue needs to happen and there has to be a connection. An ideal situation is having two creative minds come together and think “ok, what do we want to do and what do we want to say?” and have it evolve from there.
AC: What has been the most surprising aspect of creating comics?
RF: The most surprising thing to me about making comics is the support of readers and peers. It’s so awesome to see people rally around things that they like, especially when making comics means putting so much of yourself in them. It’s very easy to be terrified and assume failure. It really is a wonderful community, and the support that goes back and forth is really inspiring.
AC: D4VE has joined the ranks of the many great comics published by Monkey Brain Comics, how did this come about?
RF: I’ve been lettering a few books for Monkeybrain (Theremin, Skybreaker, Prime-8’s) and reached out to Chris Roberson. Valentin and I had pitched D4VE at a few places prior, and we felt that we really, really had to tell this story. Chris (Roberson) and Allison Baker, who run Monkeybrain, are so totally awesome, and gave us the chance to tell the story. Chris and Allison are amazing and incredibly supportive, and we’re super lucky to be among the titles of Monkeybrain.
AC: If you have time, what comics, manga or web comics are you reading?
RF: I’m so behind on my monthly reading, it’s not even funny, but, that being said, I’m still very much enjoying Hawkeye and Saga. Sex Criminals is also fantastic. I’m a huge, huge fan of Matt Fraction, and Chip Zdarsky is just so good. I’m slowly making my way through Tatsuo Yoshida’s Speed Racer collection, also very fun. My apartment currently looks like an episode of Hoarders with the piles of comics I still have to read though, so I’m sure I’m missing out big time right now.
AC: Do you have an all time favorite creator? Be it music, comics or movies.
RF: That’s a tough one. I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve always gravitated towards Grant Morrison, and currently Matt Fraction is speaking pretty loudly to me. Stanley Kubrick as well. I can’t just pick one, there are too many.
AC: What’s next for you?
RF: D4VE continues for five issues at Monkeybrain before that wraps up in a nice little package. Vic Malhotra, Matt McCray and I are working on Tiger Lawyer #4 right now. The Brothers James #4, from Brian Level and me, is also underway. Both will be released first quarter of 2014 through Challenger Comics. I’ve got a few stories that are in the building stage right now, so hopefully those will be things that exist. And as always, I’m lettering a bunch of cool comics. I believe my lettering for 2014 includes stuff for Boom, Image, Monkeybrain, and Dark Horse. I might put out a couple of free-to-read shorts through Challenger, as I did the last year and a half.
AC: How can reader’s best support you and your work?
RF: I think it’s a beautiful thing that anyone would take the time to simply check out the stuff I’ve worked on. That in and of itself is awesome. Nothing supports more than word of mouth, and I love hearing from people when they dig what we’re doing. All of my self-published work, and work from many incredibly talented creators, can be found at ReadChallenger.com.
AC: We’re happy to help spread the word. Once again, thank you for your time!
D4VE Issue #2 is out this Wednesday 1/8/14 and is available through Comixology and Monkey Brain, Inc. This comic shows a lot of promise and I wish Mr. Ferrier and Mr. Ramon luck in their comic venture. If you wish to thank Ryan or correct him on his knowledge of robots he can be reached on Twitter.