Brad Huffman-Parent, who is the writer of “Steel Rising,” a contestant in the Small Press Idol competition at dimestoreproductions.com, answered some questions for The Oklahoman about his project.
Matt Price: Tell me about the competition.
Brad Huffman-Parent: Small Press Idol is a huge opportunity for independent creators to get noticed. This is its 6th year and the biggest one ever. 42 projects entered into Round 1 and 27 of those have moved on to Round 2.
The requirements for Round 1 were a basic premise/pitch write-up and a rough cover image.
Round 2 is all about the characters– bios, front, 3/4, and side view of each character, plus 3 action poses for each. And also the official logo that will appear on the cover. From here 20 projects will advance to Round 3.
Round 3 is where the real challenge starts. All projects that advance will have to submit 3 completed pages of sequential art, penciled, inked, and lettered (and grayscale if you want). These can be any 3 pages from your planned #0 issue or origin story, but they have to be in order.
And from there a number to be determined will advance to Round 4 which is the full 12 page 0 issue story, with completed cover and logo. The #0′s will be available for sale, and the grand prize winner will be the book that sells the most copies.
This year, the Grand Prize will be a 4-issue commitment from the Dimestore Imprint to sponsor the launching of a series based on the winning concept, with an option to continue with it if successful. The Winner will also get half of the entry fee monies taken in as a bonus payout, as well as money paid into the prize pool by sponsors, which is $700.
MP: What inspired your entry?
BH-P: I have a love/hate relationship with fantasy. I love to read it, but hate that so much of it is unoriginal and makes me feel like I’m just reading the same story with slightly different characters. I’m always looking for the new twist to my old favorites and one day I just started thinking about how the standard fantasy characters would act and interact in the modern world. But I didn’t want to just stick them in the modern world for them to have an old style adventure. This is a world very, very close to ours, but with elves, dwarves, and orcs a reality things have evolved just a bit differently. I thought hard about how these characters would integrate realistically into the modern world.
I can’t really say much about the story due to the contest restrictions, but there are a lot of political and social issues that I plan to explore. But I won’t beat people over the head with those as the main goal is to tell a fun action-packed story.
MP: Tell me about the artists you’re working with.
BH-P: What can I say about the art team? I may be the guy with the ideas, but none of this would exist without them. I found them by posting on internet forums, we’re spread across the country and have never met, but we all mold together perfectly.
First we have Brad Thingvold on pencils. He’s the first one I met and really should be credited as co-creator. I had some basic idea of what I wanted the characters to look like, but he’s the one that designed them and brought them to life as they exist now.
Surpisingly he’s only had his work published once before in a 9 page short for an anthology. Besides that he’s been honing his craft and putting together samples. I was lucky to grab him before someone else did because he has some serious skills. I’m really impressed with what he’s put together so far.
Next is our tracer, I mean inker, Joe Armour. He’s the “royalty” of the team, being the nephew of legendary inker George “Inky” Roussos. It’s some cool little history, but he doesn’t need to do any name dropping as he’s amazingly talented all on his own.
In addition to inking Joe is a special makeup effects artist, 3D modeler/ animator, and film writer/director/producer. He’s designing the logo for the book alongside his inking duties.
Finally we have Michael Summers doing colors. I don’t have much to say about him as he doesn’t say a whole lot, but he gets stuff done and gets it done well. He loves Photo Shop and he knows how to use it.