July 10, 2013

Culture: Man of ‘Man of God’

Jon Swinney dives into the comic-book world

Jon Swinney always had dreams of working in the comic-book industry, and it seems he is rapidly making that dream come true. Swinney, along with creative team Craig Partin, Yvel Guichet, Warren Martineck and Anthony Koch, have brought “Man of God” to the masses (note: there is nothing religious about this story). This graphically violent, teen/adult-oriented comic book is perhaps the most fascinating story sitting on store shelves across the country right now (check it out at facebook.com/manofgodcomic). The title also spearheaded a Kickstarter campaign. With issue No. 4 just released, Louisvillian Swinney took time to chat with LEO over a couple of beers.

LEO: Has the comic-book community in Louisville rallied around the book?
Jon Swinney: Yeah, we had lots of support at (Derby City Comic Con) — we sold a lot of sets. It seemed like everybody who came up to the table bought something, either one book or the set where we’re up to now (issues No. 1-4 of six).

LEO: What’s the next step?
JS: We’re really focused on the small, independent Cons right now; we get the best response at those. The big ones have so much stuff between major imprints and celebrities and stuff that a little independent, start-up comic like ours gets lost in the shuffle. After we get established and through this first (six-issue) arc, we’ll probably start doing some of the bigger conventions, but right now we’re focusing our time and money on the smaller shows.

LEO: Do you all know what will happen in the next story arc?
JS: Yeah … oh, yeah. Craig (Partin, writer/creator of “Man of God”) has it outlined through issue 98.

LEO: In the “Man of God” universe, how comic-booky does it get? Do characters die and come back over and over again, and that sort of thing?
JS: For the most part, dead is dead. In our universe, physics matters, and for the most part, dead is dead.

LEO: Tell me about using Kickstarter.
JS: With Kickstarter, we set the bar pretty low and got the money we asked for in a week. After that, it was just trying to see how high it was going to go, and we ended up doubling our goal. But I think with Kickstarter, you don’t wanna keep doing the same thing over and over again. I’ve seen too many people get their first issue funded, spend all the money, and then go back and their second issue doesn’t get funded. Some people see it as free money; I don’t — people get something for their money. And I don’t wanna undercut independent retailers by going around them, so Kickstarter can be a double-edged sword as far as that goes.

LEO: After seeing your work on “Man of God,” you’ve been asked to work on a new book called “Wilder” (release planned Oct. 31, 2013). What’s that about?
JS: It’s a werewolf comic set in WWII Germany, so you have Nazis and G.I.’s who get turned into werewolves. But by doing that kind of stuff, we’re getting the word out and getting our names around, which will hopefully bring people back to “Man of God.”

LEO: If you have Nazis, G.I.’s and werewolves, what more can one ask?
JS: Yeah … that’s definitely true.