Writer/artist Rafer Roberts is raising funds for the newest collection of “Plastic Farm” comics via Kickstarter.
Here’s how he describes his project:
Written and (mostly) drawn by Rafer Roberts, Plastic Farm follows the life of a man named Chester and his slow descent into complete insanity and chronicles how that madness reshapes the world around him. Chester has had a rough childhood, has a magic cowboy that rides a dinosaur living inside of his head, and is now, late in life, sitting in a nameless airport bar during a blizzard telling his life story to a group of people who really couldn’t care less.
There has already been one 350-page collection of PLASTIC FARM titled SOWING SEEDS ON FERTILE SOIL which contained issues #1-12, and a (currently out-of-print) 120-page original graphic novel PLASTIC FARM: FERTILIZER. This new book, SEASONS OF GROWTH IN THE FIELDS OF DESPAIR, is 224 pages and collects issues #13-21 and a bunch of bonus material. (Yeah, that’s over 600 pages of comics.)
I’m looking forward to seeing more comics from Roberts, and wish him well on his project, that so far has raised $1,546 of his $2,000 goal.
I talked to Roberts way back in 2005 about “Plastic Farm.” That interview is reprinted below.
- Matt Price
Unusual characters abound in ‘Plastic Farm’
By Matthew Price
Friday, March 4, 2005
There’s a harvest of unusual characters and a bounty of bizarre twists in Rafer Roberts’ “Plastic Farm.”
“Plastic Farm” is a challenging, self-published comic with eight issues released to date.
“Plastic Farm” is the story of a man named Chester, his slow descent into insanity and how that insanity is infecting the world around him.
Roberts says that doesn’t explain the complexity of “Plastic Farm,” however.
“Reading ‘Plastic Farm’ is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that you lost the box to while sitting in the middle of a rave, but once you’re done, you get a cake,” Roberts said in an e-mail interview.
One of Roberts’ most compelling characters is the Kamikaze Kid, a magic cowboy who rides a dinosaur and lives inside Chester’s head.
“I started drawing comics in elementary school, and during that time, I created a character called the Kamikaze Kid. The Kid of those days bears very little resemblance to the Kid of today, but the basic concept of that character stuck with me, and eventually a version of the character made it into ‘Plastic Farm,’” Roberts said.
“Plastic Farm” has a host of unusual characters such as Raoul, the smooth baggage handler, and Eliza the assassin. Then there are the weird ones.
“Meanwhile there are all these other things going on, like this farming couple that resorts to cannibalism to fight their own starvation, or this guy who gets his 15 minutes of fame because he can inflate his own belly button,” Roberts said. These characters revolve around Chester in ways that aren’t entirely clear yet.
“There’s also this little demon monkey thing that follows Chester around like an evil Jiminy Cricket, yelling at him to quit being such a screw-up.”
While many comic creators want to work on a particular superhero character, Roberts said that’s never appealed to him.
“I’ve never really wanted to work for a comic company or do anybody’s comics but my own. I started reading Dave Sim’s ‘Cerebus’ when I was probably too young to start reading it, and so the idea of self-publishing and having complete control over a comic was impressed upon me early on. I never wrote or drew the standard ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘Wolverine’ comics that a lot of kids started with, favoring creating my own characters.”
Roberts has written and drawn the majority of “Plastic Farm” issues thus far, though artist Jake Warrenfeltz drew issue Nos. 3, 5 and part of 7. The next three issues will feature artwork by some acclaimed minicomic and small-press creators.
Wendi Strang-Frost of “Johnny Public” draws most of issue No. 9. Dennis Culver (“Funwrecker”) draws issue No. 10, and issue No. 11 features art from Danielle Corsetto. Corsetto writes and draws “Girls with Slingshots” online at www.daniellecorsetto.com and recently signed a contract with 360ep, run by former Marvel President Bill Jemas.
“I like to draw, but there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when an artist turns in a set of awesome pages,” Roberts said.
Roberts has some advice for those interested in publishing their own comics.
“Study the successes and failures of those who have gone before. Try to replicate the successes and avoid the pitfalls that others have fallen into. Read Scott McCloud’s ‘Understanding Comics,’ Larry Young’s ‘True Facts,’ Dave Sim’s ‘Guide to Self Publishing,’ Brian Hibbs’ ‘Tilting at Windmills’ and any other book that deals with the business side of making comics.
“Remember that you are not the first person to ever put out their own comic, and that there is a wealth of resources available to you,” Roberts said.