Bleeding Cool: Ok so what is this Dare2Draw deal?
Simon Fraser: The Dare2Draw is the sort of thing that can only exist in a place like New York City. It's a mentoring and networking organisation, we do events where the great and the good of the New York Comics scene ( and further afield ) can interact with aspiring artists , their peers, illustrators and visual artists of all kinds, united by the desire to draw comics better. We've been running game shows, drawing classes and professional talks, often all in the same event for some 5 years now. It's been one of the best things I've done in my professional life. I'm very proud of what we've acheived, the people we've met, the opportunities that have arisen for people and most importantly how much fun it is. The Dare2Draw is one of those things that makes me very proud of the comics community, how inclusive it is and how mutually supportive.
BC: What's this Kickstarter? What's Nexus got to do with it?
SF: Ok so it's one thing to help people learn to draw comics, help people get their start, but I think we felt that we were missing a final step. 'The Dare2Draw Mentoring Anthology Featuring Nexus' to give it it's full title, is all about getting young artist into print for the first time. Not only that but giving them the professional mentoring support that the Dare2Draw is known for. In addition, and this is a big one, actually paying these kids a decent wage for their work! That shouldn't be a radical idea but it really is. Often people starting out in comics have to put up with very low or nonexistent page rates just for an opportunity to get ther work out there. Working for exposure is very common and often amounts to little more than exploitation. We wanted to help raise this issue publicly and also help to improve the situation by example. If someone is worth publishing then they are worth paying.
The Nexus connection came about through our relationship with Steve Rude, who has been a repeat mentoring guest on the Dare2Draw. With the Anthology we wanted to produce great work , but also have some fun with a character and a universe that's so well known and loved. In doing that I think we're also showing our enormous respect for what Rude and Mike Baron achieved in creator-owned independent comics. They set a great example for us all frankly.
BC: How's the Kubert School involved?
SF: We've had connections with the Kubert school for a while now. When we were looking for young talent to draw this project they were obviously the first place we thought of. Not only are these kids very talented , but they have a really exceptional understanding of the comics business and the professionalism required to excel in it.
BC: You've got an impressive roster of mentoring talent supporting this book.
SF: Oh yes! We've got some real names on board. We have a great lineup of industry experience to draw on like Adam and Andy Kubert, Mike Chen, Steve Rude and Mike Baron of course. Also our tremendous Editor Brendan Wright. Then we've recruited a great bunch of professional writers: Alex DeCampi, Amy Chu, Ron Marz, Corinna Bechko, Eric M. Esquivel, Teel James Glenn, Jason Sterr. There's a huge amount of experience there. On top of that we've got some of the most famous colourists in the business like Tom Ziuko, Paul Mounts and Marissa Louise Czerniejewski. Then we've got Dezi Sienty on lettering, who's been a Dare2Draw supporter for as long as I have. People have been incredibly generous with their time and talent. Not least we have the enourmous motivating force that is Charles David Chenet, founder of the Dare2Draw and the guy who moves everything forward.
BC: So what's the timescale on this?
SF: Well right now we're looking at getting this book out for New York Comic Con in October. We'll have a table at Artists Alley where we can showcase the artists who've worked on the book and provide a platform for them to move their careers forward. Also we'll have the usual lineup of Industry Pros signing, drawing and giving advice and portfolio reviews for their fans. That's our thing.
BC: What are the rewards we can expect?
SF: Most of the rewards include the printed anthology, but there's also a digital version. The Tom Ziuko Color Guides have all been spoken for, and we've still got some cover art and sketches, from yours truly and mentoring rewards that are offered by both Brendan, our terrific editor, and myself, for artists that want professional eyes on their work, feedback and suggestions for pitches and art. Steve Rude has been incredibly supportive and loves what we're doing, so much so that he's helping us with rewards with tons of great Nexus work. Dark Horse Comics, who have also been at the forefront of supporting creator-owned comics, have generously offered to provide Nexus rewards, too. The Kubert School has some amazing correspondence course books that are also available and very grateful to be able to include since they're truly useful and inspiring, full of great information and insights, straight from the Kuberts.
So we need your help! This is vital now that we're into our last week. Please go pitch in at our Kickstarter
It won't take much from you , but it could really help some remarkable new talent get recognised. It's also just a great book and I'm very excited to be associated with it.