Jon Del Arroz is quickly making his name both in comics and science fiction. He already has three books out in his Advenutes of Baron Von Monocle series with the latest The Fight for Rislandia. He’s also the author behind The Stars Entwined. His comic experience might be relatively small, but he’s already making quite a bit of a splash. He successfully crowdfunded Flying Sparks Vol. 1 and has been diligently working on a comic book adaptation of Richard Fox’s The Ember War after a successful crowdfunding campaign. He recently launched a KickStarter for Flying Sparks Vol. 2 and we got the chance to talk with Jon about the upcoming book as well as his adventures in science fiction writing.
Bounding Into Comics (BIC): You just launched a Kickstarter for Flying Sparks Vol. 2 what can you tell us about this second edition?
Jon Del Arroz (Jon): Flying Sparks is like a Mr. and Mrs. Smith but superheroes. Meta-Girl is dating a criminal under her secret identity and doesn’t know it. Volume 2 really dials up the action, as well as the tension between the two main characters Johnny and Meta-Girl. Their lives get interrupted as a full mob war erupts in the city. There’s plenty of excitement, and with the theme of the book being “keeping secrets causes problems” I don’t want to spoil some of the secrets that get exposed. You’ll definitely want to check it out.
BIC: Will it be a requirement to have read the first volume in order to jump into this second one?
Jon: In theory someone could start here, but I think it’d be more enjoyable to get the character introductions and set ups from the first volume. Book 1 is available as an option on the Kickstarter, or on Amazon to make it easy for anyone to check out.
BIC: Did you do any research into Italian crime families for this second edition?
Jon: I definitely rewatched Godfather, The Goodfellas, and The Sopranos before really getting into the Johnny character and then going in that direction with this. I’ve read a few memoir books by old mafia members just out of general reading interest but not specific research for the project, so I’ve always been interested.
I think the idea came because I was listening to Michael Savage one day, and he can go off on some pretty odd tangents if you’re a listener of the show. This one in particular someone called in and claimed to be an old mafia hitman and started talking about his life growing up, his deep care for family, how impersonal the killings really were, betrayals and assassinations, it was fascinating. I don’t know if it was legit or not, but it got my mind working.
BIC: What do you want readers to take away from Flying Sparks Vol. 2?
Jon: I want them to have fun! My goal is to present the feeling you’d get from like an 80s or 90s Spider-Man or Batman comic. You get the personal relationships that actually develop and are tense, you get the cool intricate plots that are weaving around each other and building for the mega-arc, and yet each chapter has its own storyline.
BIC: Are there any specific Spider-Man or Batman comics from the 80s and 90s that you look to for inspiration?
Jon: I would say the biggest influences on me were Detective Comics #647-649 with Spoiler’s (Stephanie Brown) first appearance. The concept of having family as a villain has some similarities to the dating a villain that we have with Meta-Girl, and Stephanie Brown and Chloe Anderson share some similar traits as characters (mainly because Stephanie is one of my favorite characters). Chuck Dixon knocked it out of the park with that story, and really all of his stuff holds big influence on my comic work. On the Spider-Man side definitely the era of the Alien Costume Saga with the Kingpin and Rose battling for control of the underworld with Spider-Man and Black Cat caught in the middle. Tom DeFalco is also a huge influence in the way he does things.
BIC: You switched to Kickstarter from IndieGoGo for this campaign, is there any reason why?
Jon: My publisher’s currently in a lawsuit with IndieGoGo over their deplatforming of Chuck Dixon’s Alt-Hero Q book, and so it wouldn’t make sense to use the platform.
BIC: Do you have an update on The Ember War?
Jon: The Ember War has had 96 out of the 120 pages go out to backers digitally in the form of 4 issues (of 5). The fifth is done on the art end, just needs lettering. Physical books should go out within the next month. We worked SO hard on this over the last year so I’m very proud to finally get this out there.
BIC: Do you usually try and have a completed product before you launch a crowdfunding campaign?
Jon: This is my third campaign. Flying Sparks Volume 1 I had all but the lettering done, which made it easy to finish. The Ember War we were starting from scratch other than the preview pages, and it takes longer to deliver the product. Flying Sparks Volume 2 will be 100% complete before the campaign closes (outside bonus digital content stretch goals). Since we’re getting well funded now, I’d prefer to front the cost of the art to deliver to readers as fast as possible. I think it provides a better experience. If it keeps being viable this way, I”ll keep doing it.
BIC: I understand you are currently involved in a lawsuit against WorldCon 76, can you give us any details about the case?
Jon: Yes, the lawsuit is for defamation because they banned me from their convention libeling me a “racist bully” on their website. They filed what’s called a SLAPP Motion to try to say it’s frivolous, and the judge declined their motion as the last update. It’s good for our case and I believe as we proceed this will act as a deterrent against leftist institutions libeling conservative creators in fandom.
BIC: What’s next for your lawsuit against WorldCon 76?
Jon: On the lawsuit, we’re in a waiting mode. I can’t talk too much about it while in the middle of it but I’m still hoping to create a safe environment for conservative creators where we don’t get harassed out of fandom gatherings in public spaces.
BIC: What other projects are you currently working on?
Jon: A lot of people have started calling me “the hardest working creator in ComicsGate” and there’s a reason for it. I’ve taken the funds from my crowdfund and poured them back into my comic business. Beyond these, I have 7 graphic novels in development which I’ve written, and artists are working on. I’m hoping to get most of them done this year. There’s superhero, sci-fi and steampunk in the mix but it’s a bit early to talk about them at length.
I also am best known for my steampunk and sci-fi novels. I have a trilogy coming which is a Star Wars crossed with the Crusades style story, and also I’ll be continuing my Adventures of Baron von Monocle series this year. A lot in the pipeline!
BIC: You’ve been quite successful with crowdfunding your comics, do you see it as the future of comics?
Jon: Yes. Art costs a LOT, so making a book is tough. Raising that up front is almost a necessity, especially at the indie level. Plus most consumers shop online now.
BIC: Where do you see the comic book industry going in the future?
Jon: I see stores shrinking into a few mega-stores, much like we see with Barnes & Noble in the book end. More graphic novels, less floppies. There’ll be incentive ones online of course but the big companies don’t really write to single issue at all anymore. Even when I do buy floppies, I don’t usually bother reading until I get the whole arc so it’s a graphic novel experience anyway. The model doesn’t make sense, and the way the distribution is, it’s impossible for someone small time or indie to really make decent money. It’s sad, but inevitable.