Posted - 01/04/2010 : 1:02:05 PM
Creator/Writer/Artist for Timeless
Published by: Satyr Play Productions
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur
Rich: Who is Pyrrha Stavros and why do we want to know?
Mike: Well, she's the main character in my web-comic, Timeless. She's a cartoonist who lives a normal quiet life (as normal as it gets for us cartoonists). All this is turned on its ear, however, when she starts having weird experiences -- apparently jumping back into her past lives, and coming face-to-face with characters who she, until now, thought were only the products of her fertile imagination.
Rich: Why are Kindred Spirits, Green Gorgon and God of Wine important to this story?
Mike: They are the three comics that Pyrrha publishes. I don't want to give too much away -- but, let's just say they turn out to be more than just comic books. I will say that the story of Timeless involves reincarnation, time travel, and lots of mythical beings and costumed heroes. I pretty much designed it so I could tell stories in various genres -- but still have a central character to tie them together.
Rich: Does the idea of yourself writing about a comic book writer/artist appeal to you since you are one?
Mike: It was important to the story that Pyrrha be some kind of writer. I decided to make her a cartoonist since it's more visual. And, yes, it also will allow me to draw on my own experiences -- insert a little autobiographical material -- as well as self-parody, and parody of the world of comics in general. It seems like most characters in comics have these glamorous lifestyles. I thought it would be cool to create a character that both I, and hopefully my readers, could more easily relate to.
Rich: Will the reader be surprised by any events in the comic?
Mike: Every good story will throw you some curves, but my central goal isn't to have a bunch of shocking revelations -- once people catch on to what's happening, anyway. Instead, I hope to present things in a way that people aren't used to seeing them -- and to surprise and challenge the reader in that way. I'm more interested in creating a whole mythology of my own -- as far as how certain elements work in my world -- elements like immortality, gods, monsters, heroes. I also want to address philosophical and metaphysical elements such as time, space, and the divine -- and address them in a unique and interesting way. I don't want to dumb anything down.
Rich: What is Bacchus like?
Mike: Well, first let me say that God of Wine, one of the books that Pyrrha is supposed to publish, is actually much like a book that I myself have published. My book was entitled Satyr. Satyr was about a group of mythical beings such as satyrs, nymphs, and centaurs who were followers of the Greek god, Dionysus (or Bacchus). Bacchus was a god worshipped by the ancient Greeks and Romans. He was a god of wine, joy, and revelry -- but also of fertility and vegetation. In most movies and comics, gods are portrayed simply as powerful humanoid beings. I try to take a more mystical approach. To me, human religions try to understand the divine by worshiping it in ways unique to their specific cultures -- by telling stories that reflect their own cultural interests. The reality, I think, goes far beyond that -- and that is what I hope to explain further in upcoming stories.
Rich: What is Satyr Play Productions?
Mike: Satyr Play Productions is the company name under which I publish comic books, graphic novels, and even Tarot cards -- as well as the web-comic, Timeless, which is my most recent project. I've been publishing under that name since the mid 90's.
Rich: Why are you fascinated by Greek Mythology?
Mike: My interest in Greek mythology goes back to my childhood. Asking me why I'm interested in it is kind of like asking me why I have a right arm. It's simply been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. That's why everything I do is infused with a healthy dose of all things ancient Greek. At first, I think, I was awed by all the cool monsters. Now, I see it as something that has great significance to our culture. It explores issues of the human psyche with such depth, that I can see why it's continued to be read so many centuries after it's creation -- and why it has inspired generations of artists, writers, philosophers, and psychologists. And, yes, it still has cool monsters.
Rich: What was your comic "Hercules: Choose Your Destiny" about?
Mike: Hercules: Choose Your Destiny was a choose-your-path type comic book based on the mythical 12 labors of Hercules. I took a humorous approach with it, and many people have told me that it's the funniest thing I've ever done. The idea is that you read a page, and are then presented with a choice. Based on your decision, you are directed to another page -- where you will be presented with another choice, or a scene of Hercules succeeding in the current labor, or else failing utterly.
Rich: "Chimera" was your first comic title published. How is it doing now?
Mike: I published 5 mini-comics and 5 full-sized issues of Chimera. After that, I stopped publishing it to do my Satyr book. Some years later, I met an artist by the name of Paul Schultz. He had an interest in the character, and agreed to illustrate some new issues. He's now working on the 3rd issue of Chimera Strikes, and it's been doing pretty well. I have also published a collection of the original stories. Anyone who likes the old pulp magazine style masked crime-fighters should give it a look!
Rich: Any advice for new comics creators?
Mike: Yes, I do: If you're serious about it, then go for it! Jane Irwin's website (www.vogelein.com) has lots of useful information.
Rich: Did attending the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art help you?
Mike: Immeasurably. I highly recommend it.
Rich: What other comics would you recommend besides your own?
Mike: Well, my biggest recommendation would be Serial Squad! written and drawn by Paul Schultz, and published by Bad Place Productions.
Rich: How can someone contact you?
Mike: My website is www.satyrplayproductions.com, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Rich: Any last words of wisdom?
Mike: Words of wisdom? Hey, I'm just a funny book artist. I used up all my wise words writing Timeless, so go check it out! Thanks, everyone!