Regine L. Sawyer is the writer and publisher for Lockett Down Productions, a small press company that specializes in cutting edge sci-fi and horror comics. Sawyer is also the coordinator and founder of the Women in Comics Collective International, an organization that focuses on highlighting the merit and craft work of women and non-binary people working in the comic book industry. They host events around the country including their own Women in Comics Con in NYC.
Niya Garrett is the president and CEO of Xmoor Studios, a comic book company with an extensive line of works. In addition to being a writer herself, she is a College of New Rochelle graduate and is currently studying to become a Registered Nurse.
Today I was able to get them for a quick interview on continuing the legacy of Robert Garrett, a comic creator well known in the Black indie comic community, and a recent Kickstarter campaign to help fund a collection of his work, Galtow.
GREG ANDERSON ELYSÉE: First I want to give my condolences again to you both concerning Robert Garrett. How are you guys holding up?
REGINE SAWYER: Thank you so much! Taking one day at a time as always, each day is different with a different set of emotions. That's just how grief works, at least with me.
NIYA GARRETT: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. I'm just trying my best to get used to not having my best friend any longer. It is difficult but I have to keep pushing and achieving, how he would expect me to.
ANDERSON ELYSÉE: With Robert's passing, who's idea was it to keep the legacy of his books going with this re-release? I have to say as a fan of his, I've been wanting to get into this series for a long time. Who's idea and what prompt this decision?
SAWYER: I think it was an unspoken thing with Niya and I initially. We both knew that Robert would want us to continue his legacy, which is also Niya's and his grandchildren's. It was just never an option not to continue the work. We both just needed time to get ourselves together mentally and emotionally in order to do it.
GARRETT: Keeping up my father's legacy and business was something he and I used to have conversations about. He would always say, " I want to be the man behind the scenes and you run the business." I just did not know it would be without him here. Regine being so close to him, she and I already knew this was something that needed to happen. We just needed time to accept the new norm.
ANDERSON ELYSÉE: What exactly is Galtow about for the ones just coming into this concept?
SAWYER: Galtow is about 4 Clan Houses: The Samurai, Yakuza, Ninja, and Rhino-Sumo in post apocalyptic New York City and their fight for Clan House dominance in physical battles called Galtow.
[The book] centers on the heirs to the head of each clan. Lord Keylon Jakes of the Samurai, who is the most recognized character of the series and possibly the most dutiful; his best friend, the ladies man Lord Wu Ramos from the Ninja Clan; the genetically spliced and cybernetically enhanced Lady Cafa of the Yakuza; and the silent renegade who holds no loyalty to any of the clans, Lady Jiya.
SAWYER: Galtow was Robert's first comic book series that he ever published. Niya can probably speak more about this, but I think he had been working on it since he was in his late teenage years.GARRETT: It was one of the first books I remember from very young, so I would say over 15 years. This is my father's baby, being one of the first books out of his many comics that he published.SAWYER: He first published the collection back in 2013.
ANDERSON ELYSÉE: Will there be a story or art that's never been published before and if so, what?SAWYER: There will be artwork from several artists that has never been published before from Jason Scott Jones, N. Steven Harris, Alitha E. Martinez, Chuck Collins, Julie Anderson, and more. There also will be a snippet of the script to the new story arc that Robert was working on just before he passed away.
SAWYER: Backers have the opportunity to select the variant cover of their choosing; there are 5 in total, including the original cover. We also have limited edition custom made sculptures of Lord Keylon Jakes that were originally hand sculpted by Robert's long time business partner Eric Nocella Diaz. We have a choice of 6 variations, including 2 one of kind, hand painted variants by two prominent designer toy makers.ANDERSON ELYSÉE: Regine, I noticed you're publishing this also with your own comic company, Lockett Down Productions (LDP). Any hopes of releasing other works by Robert?
SAWYER: Yes, Xmoor Studios is now a label under the Lockett Down Productions brand with Niya as the president & CEO. LDP is just the publisher. Our plan over the next year is to reprint all of Robert's books so we can get them back in the hands of the public and back on to the shelves. Next year we will work on publishing new work.
ANDERSON ELYSÉE: Niya, you mentioned earlier of discussing with Robert about continuing. Any chance of new content from you or others with his concepts or characters?
GARRETT: This is something I am definitely open to in the near future. With the wide range of storylines as well as characters to choose from, I believe this would be something he would want to see happen for Xmoor Studios.
Help support and fund Robert Garrett's Galtow on Kickstarter today on the link HERE. And be sure to share as many places as you can to help spread the word!