Antonio Brice and Caanan White are making waves in the comic book industry as their IndieGoGo for their supernatural graphic novel Brand has already brought in over $41,000. I got a chance to talk to them about their project and their big plans for the future. We also talked about their experience with Comicsgate and what they love about comics.
Bounding Into Comics (BIC): What can you tell me about Brand?
Antonio Brice (Antonio): Brand is basically a love story. It’s about two people that fall in love facing impossible odds. Our main characters David and Dawn Craven should not be together. The hunter society that David belongs to has strict rules against procreating with humans but love always finds a way.
Caanan White (Caanan): Hey John. Hope all is well. First off, just want to say thank you for having this interview with myself and Antonio. I def don’t take that lightly!
BIC: You are drawing inspiration from the Bible, is that important to your story?
Antonio: The mark of Cain is the actual brand in our story. Through the brand a hunter draws strength and protection against the supernatural. I sometimes like to think religion itself is a character in our world.
Caanan: Aspects yes, being that a lot of Brand is centered around a cursed mark given to Cain and his family line. Some loose interpretation and embellishments to add to fit within the world of Brand. 🙂
BIC: You describe Brand as a supernatural story, what kind of supernatural objects and creatures can we expect to see?
Antonio: You will see werewolves, demons, angels, vampires and ghosts as well as humans who are magic users. David Craven works for the Hovah corporation. They front as investigators and are called in on big cases usually involving people trying to skirt the natural law. You’ll see David collect a cursed object very early in our story. I was a big fan of the TV series Friday the 13th where they chased down cursed objects so in Brand we have a character Antonio Vargas who is in charge of keeping and cataloging all the cursed objects the hunters collect.
Caanan: Angels, Fallen Angels, Demons, ghost and ghouls. It has it all
BIC: Caanan, when you are drawing these supernatural creatures and characters, where do you draw inspiration from?
Caanan: Elements will be from the Bible, but a lot of it will simply be the imagination – and anything Antonio suggests. There’s a lot of room to play with the look of these beings. There’s no one set way.
BIC: You all describe your two main characters as polar opposites especially on the political spectrum with David being a conservative and Dawn being a liberal. Will Brand be touching on the current political atmosphere in the United States?
Antonio: I patterned David Craven after myself. He actually bears my face, though I wish I had his body. I’m conservative so David’s views tend to be my own. I’ve dated several liberal women so I’m basing Dawn’s views on some of the experiences I’ve had in those relationships. There’s also a big age gap. David is in his 40s and Dawn is 20 when they meet.
Caanan: I think maybe subtle, but I know for me, and I think Antonio as well, the focus is to tell a compelling story, free of agendas and strong doctrine. You can make a story entertaining, without the reader feeling he/she has to be a certain thing, or believe a certain way just to read it. Now some WILL be able to relate to the situation David and Dawn find themselves in, and that’s fine too. It’s a book for all.
BIC: In your IndieGoGo, you explain you are looking for a home for distribution. Have you a found a publisher to work with?
Caanan: I actually don’t know. That’s a good question. Antonio? hehehehe. Don’t want to sound stupid. Staying in my lane. As far as I know, nothing has been settle on yet.
Antonio: Not at this time. I will say that with Ethan Van Sciver forming ALL CAPS Comics that he had mentioned the possibility of helping out a few projects that he believes in. Ethan just announced his new project FEARSOME with Caanan attached as the artist. I definitely like and respect EVS and the kindness he’s shown to Caanan and I. And I look forward to growing our relationship.
BIC: Would you consider Brand part of ComicsGate?
Antonio: Absolutely! I’m a very proud member of Comicsgate and have been for a year now.
Caanan: I would in regard to what CG wants to focus on. Titles for all, free of pushed agendas or ideas forced onto the reader. If they vibe with it, coo. But they won’t feel like they “HAVE TO” be conservative or liberal. Simply put – if yer a fan of comics, this book is for you.
BIC: There’s a lot of people out there who don’t take kindly to black people being associated with Comicsgate, we’ve even seen some creators intimate that if you are a minority and support Comicsgate you are an Uncle Tom. What has it been like to be black men and be part of Comicsgate?
Antonio: I would never compromise myself or my beliefs to be part of any movement. My father served this country in the Army for 23 years. My mother worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and did sit ins and protests in Alabama. She was a Reagan Democrat. I liken myself a John McCain moderate willing to listen to opposing views. However, the people that attack me do not feel the same way. I’ve been told I was a coon and a sellout for being in Comicsgate and they constantly lie about Ethan Van Sciver who has become a good friend and tell me he is a white nationalist. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have dialogue with Diversity and Comics Richard C. Meyer as well and he’s been nothing but kind and supportive of myself and Brand.
Caanan: Honestly John, I choose NOT to pay attention to all of that. Purposely. A lot of what people are saying about Comicsgate, is based on being on the outside, looking in. People have said “you need to do yer research…” on who said what and when. Don’t need to. I personally can say I have not experienced anything like what is being said. I’ve only been met with professionalism and respect. Is it perfect, do all agree with each other, no. We actually have right and left and LGBTQ within Comicsgate. But very few actually want to investigate that. But rather stay with what everyone else is saying, instead of asking me, Antonio, and the other people of color in Comicsgate. In a nutshell John, I don’t have time to get into the “us and them.” Life is too short to be bogged down with fighting and calling names. I’m focused on making art, great stories, and inspire that next generation that was like me – I’m a fan of comics who so-happens to draw, hehe.
BIC: What kind of plans do you have for Brand for the future? Could we see a potential sequel?
Antonio: There is an entire universe of stories left to tell. This is part 1 of a 2 part story that lays the foundation. Part 2 is set in Las Vegas. Next we tell a more centered story called 8 Krazy Knights which will feature our villain Dark Santana. After that we have The Judas Crown which leads into our finale Revelations. In between that Caanan and I discussed a story called The God War which will be set in the past but will explain how some of our key players came to power.
Caanan: Well, there’s a lot of story to tell, as I’m sure Antonio has shared. So a sequel, yeeeeah I’m almost 100% positive there will be one. Right now, however, the focus for me at least, is to put out one of the best books to come out of the Comicsgate community and in Indie comics as a whole. One milestone at a time.
BIC: Outside of Brand, do you all have any other projects you are currently pursuing?
Antonio: For me I do have a few other things I might like to write but I have to finish Brand and get this world established first.
Caanan: Well, I’m also doing art duties on a book being funded through Kickstarter called Essessa – published through Stranger Comics. If you like Vampires, this book is def for you – Essessa, being a War Lord Queen.
BIC: What do you guys love about comics and keeps your passion going for projects like Brand?
Antonio: I just loved the medium since I was a child. I still have my copy of Amazing Spider-Man #243 that my father bought when I was 7. It’s well loved, but brings back fond memories. That book led me to John Byrne, Steve Englehart, Chris Claremont, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. I actually named David Craven’s master Gaiman after Neil. His work on Sandman is groundbreaking.
Caanan: The ability to tell unique stories that may be similar, but slipping it to make it something unique – particular in relation to Indie books. Despite what many may think, all the stories haven’t been told. Imagination is like the cosmos – we’ve not even scratched the surface of what has been conceived! 🙂
BIC: Will you be at any conventions in the near future?
Antonio: That’s the plan for next year. We have so far sold over 2000 copies of Brand. I would love to get out and actually meet the people who helped make this all happen.
Caanan: Hopefully, hehe. I’m a hermit, so someone would have to invite me hahaha. Nah , but I’d like to get back to NYCC, maybe C2E2, Indiana ComiCon, or even Phoenix CC. We’ll see 😉
BIC: Where can people find you to stay up to date with Brand?
Antonio: I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all under Ikaripress my publishing imprint. We have merch on Amazon.com under Ikari Press as well.
Caanan: Our Indiegogo currently. But once the campaign is done, we’ll more than likely have everything Brand related (updates etc.) displayed on the Ikaripress Site/Instagram/Facebook.
There you have it! Hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did. Brand looks like a really fun project that delves into the supernatural, something I’m a sucker for!
You can still back Antonio and Caanan’s Brand on IndieGoGo. The campaign has 9 hours to at the time of publication!