In this creator conversation, I speak with JEO Creations about his comic books, Hiro Doggie, an all-ages comic about a corgi; and the futuristic hard sci-fi series, The Enigma Machine.
Tell us about what you do and how you got started making comics.
I’m an artist, writer, designer, and all-around art creator for comics! I write and draw a hard sci-fi book called “Enigma Machine” and an all-ages comic called “Hiro Doggie: Space Corgi.” I got started because the kind of comics and books that I wanted to read weren’t being made, so I started coming up with stories and images that I hadn’t seen before. The narratives started weaving together and the process of creating the imagery brought to life worlds that I wanted people to see and appreciate.
The two comics you have available now, Hiro Doggie and The Enigma Machine, tell us a bit about each of them and your intended readers.
The Enigma Machine is the story of an ex-soldier in the year 2032 that receives a mysterious message from his long-lost father saying, “Meet me in Afghanistan.” He doesn’t find his father when he gets there, instead, he finds a creepy little blonde girl that says, “I’m your sister.” It isn’t long before he discovers that she is actually a cyborg that could upset the balance of world power if she fell into the wrong hands. What follows is an action-oriented tale of failed wars, mad scientists, a beautiful Russian mercenary, and a damaged soldier trying to learn what it means to be a good man. It’s PG-13 style action sci-fi.
Hiro Doggie is the story of the time my pet corgi mistook a flying saucer for a giant frisbee. He ends up going on a space adventure with two goofy aliens. It’s pretty great and it’s all ages.
What have been some challenges and lessons learned in making these comics?
If you ask anyone who draws comics, they’ll probably say the biggest challenge is the time it takes to draw a page. My first issue took me over 350 hours before I even got to present it to an editor. The other challenge is making people care. I have to be a relentless advocate for my art, which could be a full-time job for somebody should they so choose.
Any behind-the-scenes stories you wish to share?
Making comics is like any other artistic medium in the sense that you have to make yourself vulnerable and take risks with the work and hope it pays off. The stuff that people tend to connect to is lightning in a bottle. Bravery and diligence are a requirement. Also, Professional comic people are some of the nicest people. They tend to understand they are at the whim of their audience and we are grateful for whoever cares to check out our stuff.
What do you hope people will take away after reading your comics?
I hope it inspires introspection, thoughtfulness as guns are going off and robots and pretty girls are battling. Seriously, I write stuff that is plot-heavy and uses metaphor, but if you wanna see crazy cyborgs and explosions, it is cool to look at. Plus my other book has a corgi in a space helmet piloting a flying saucer. It’s meant to be fun.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m knee-deep in production of Enigma Machine issue four of six, plus I may be getting contracted to do some art direction and illustration for a speculative fiction book coming out later this year. I can’t say much, but it’s very cool and comes from some of the best creators in the state.
Where can people get copies and see more of your artwork?
Anything else you want to say or let people know?
I’m really proud of the work that’s out there, but as hard as I’ve worked on it, it’s never really a solo job. I have a ton of writing help, editors, sample group testing and re-issues I don’t think I could do it completely alone and I really grateful to my friends and family. If anyone wants to do it but gets overwhelmed, I would encourage them to just start small.
Plus, I host a drawing group on Sundays 4-6 at Paseo Plunge if anyone wants to come out. Charles Martin and I are usually there and we have a lot of fun. Plus, some of the state’s most talented artists hang out there, seriously.