Madius Comics have just launched a Kickstarter for the second issue of Griff Gristle and with an ever-growing & constantly impressive list of titles to their name it seemed like the right time to catch-up with two of the regular contributors – Rob Jones & Mike Sambrook.
What can we expect from the latest issue of Griff Gristle?
Rob: The action/adventure dial being turned up to 11. We’re plugging this as the Aliens to our Alien, the T2 to our Terminator. Here Be Monsters was a very atmospheric book, a lot slower paced than Siren’s Song, however with this one we wanted to show Griff and Justine getting down to the nitty gritty of monster vanquishing. So a massive tentacled monster on a cruise ship seemed like a plan… There’ll be a broadening of the world of Griff, you’ll get some answers to who or what the Children of Waves are, who were featured in our epilogue in HBM, and you’ll meet some new characters. All with Griff’s acerbic wit and charms. Bonza.
Mike: Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The first issue we wanted to be incredibly tense and claustrophobic, whereas we wanted this second issue to have much more of a supernatural adventure feel to it. We wanted to go a little bigger and more bombastic this time around, really let Rory show off his skills. We can’t wait for people to see the art in this issue, there are numerous pages that will make jaws hit floors.
You had a great response to the first issue – what was that like for you?
Mike: It totally blew us away. We knew we were onto something when we started putting this book together and as soon as we started chatting about Griff and his world we instantly fell in love with him and the possibilities for him as a character. When you are having that much fun plotting and planning it tends to come across in the finished product and we’re so glad that readers have connected with Griff and his cast in the same way we have. We have so much planned for him and so much stuff coming up that we think will totally catch people off guard so to have people as invested as they already are is incredibly reassuring for us. I guess it means we must be doing something right.
Rob: Surreal. Overwhelming. A little crazy. Really bolstering. Lots of things really, but all in all, it gave us a lot more confidence in how we tell Griff’s story and where we take him as a character.
What (if anything) has changed for Griff and the cast since that opening issue?
Mike: This is a tough one to answer really in so much as nothing has necessarily changed for anyone, it’s more that the readers are slowly having the bigger picture revealed to them. There’s an awful lot not being said right now by our main characters. We’re trying to keep our cards close to our chest on this one. I will say this much though, the longer we spend with Griff the more we’ll realise that things might not be as simple as they might appear to be. He’s a bit of an iceberg and at the moment we’re only seeing a very small part of who and what he is. We can’t wait to drag you under the water with us to see what he’s hiding. Similarly with Justine, there’s a lot more to her than meets the eyes.
Rob: We pick up pretty much where we left Griff and Justine, on a heavy metal cruise… Yup. Things will change quite drastically for the pair as they career through this story, so we wanted to give return readers a sense of stability to start with before we start going all out boogaloo with the pair of them.
What’s it been like working with Mike & Rory again?
Mike: *twiddles thumbs and whistles*
Rob: Well, me and Sambrook as eternally chained to one another, so it was nice to see him change his shirt and attend to his body odour.
Mike (whispering) : He thinks it’s body odour, truth is I always carry a pocketful of camembert and I don’t want to share any with him. This cheese is mine and mine alone. *dips bread into pocket*
Rob: And it’s always awesome working with Rory, he coloured his story, Cast Adrift for Paperbacks and Inkstains, and we’ve all been chatting concept, story and characters for a while anyway, so it’s been nothing short of business as normal with the three of us. We’re tight knit, and it helps.
Mike: Yep, against all odds we actually don’t hate each other!
The book is already completed – does that take some of the pressure off with the Kickstarter?
Rob: It does. We really felt the pressure with Paperbacks due to having to complete a lot of stuff after the campaign ended, and with me breaking my finger badly, that really slowed me down. So having the book fully finished and ready to go means we will be a well oiled machine…
Mike: Yep, that’s exactly it. We try and stay ahead as much as we possibly can. We don’t like to keep people waiting and we want to try and mitigate risk as much as possible. We want to make sure we don’t promise something we can’t deliver on and us having the book completely done ahead of time pretty much takes all the risk out of it from a consumer’s perspective. The book is ready to go, we just need your money to print it!
You’ve opted for a shorter campaign but what’s been the main draw to Kickstarter?
Mike: Kickstarter is great as it allows us to gauge the demand for a project ahead of time and make sure we are printing a sensible number of books.
Rob: Yeah, We use the kickstarter almost like a pre-order system, which enables us to have certain things we wouldn’t be able to provide without it; the badges, the tees and such. We like to challenge ourselves! Kickstarter is great as it allows you to engage with a much larger audience of people who otherwise would not have heard of the book. It’s really useful that way, simple to use from a creator’s viewpoint and has stood us in good stead for the last two campaigns we’ve run.
Mike: And in terms of the shorter campaign, there’s a few reasons for that. Firstly, we really wanted to have PAPERBACKS finished from our perspective and signed off on before we hit Kickstarter again. It didn’t seem right for us to be crowdsourcing money for a new book when we hadn’t finished work on our previous one. So, that held us up slightly, but that book is now 100% finished and being printed as I type this. That at least should reassure our customers that we take our commitments very seriously.
Secondly, we wanted to try and keep the overlap between GRIFF and CORSAIR as minimal as possible. We didn’t want the two projects to be fighting for attention at the same time and we wanted Nick to have the stage for as long as possible. Then finally, we really wanted to have this book ready to go and on the table at Thoughtbubble and we’re running out of time haha! Generally these campaigns start and end strong and have a large lull in the middle so we’re hoping that condensing the campaign down shouldn’t have too much of a negative effect on the total that we raise.
Does Griff fit into the wider Madius Universe and could we see crossovers?
Rob: We’re a little apprehensive about creating a big, madius crossover universe. We make little injokes throughout Paperbacks and Inkstains about the same company, Corton-Xeno, and have dropped hints in some of the stories that they’ve known about events of others, but other than that, don’t expect to see the cultists from Profits of Doom bumbling around with Griff! (although eagle eyed Madius readers can see them plop into Nick Gonzo’s world of 50 Signal…)
Mike: Generally we think of each of our projects as its own discrete sandbox so it’s not something we’ve really talked a huge amount about. I think there’s more chance of PAPERCUTS stories overlapping than GRIFF showing up in a HORRERE story, for example. But we’re absolutely not ruling anything out. I mean, a CORSAIR / GRIFF crossover could be something really fun to do. Who knows, we’ll have to wait and see. But, for right now, we’ve already got tons of stuff lined up for GRIFF in his own world before we start worrying about where he goes next.
Will we see more Griff Gristle beyond this release?
Mike: LOTS MORE, you ain’t seen nothing yet! We’re hoping to expand this world out in ways that will really surprise people.
Rob: Oh yes. Expect it to be taken up several notches over the coming stories. We’ve got a 4 page short in the True Believers anthology, which will see Griff and Justine facing off against a Japanese legendary sea creature and we’ve got a good map for where we see Griff moving forward and expanding. We’ve also tentatively talked about a collection of shorter Griff stories, which would feature different artists and writers, but that is a long way off as yet.
What else are you working on just now?
Rob: Griff 3, Horrere Stuff… (ohhhHHHhhhHHhHH), Paperbacks 7 and 8, pitches for several stories, Comichaus stuff, lettering for all and sundry and at trying to be a well adjusted adult [failing X]
Mike: Yeah, loads and loads! There will be more BUN from me and Rosie, we’re working on a couple of full length graphic novels too that we’re keeping quiet at the moment. We’ve got loads up our wizard’s sleeves!
You can check out the campaign at the link below: