Hello all! As you probably know, New York Comic Con/Anime Festival happened the weekend of October 14th. I had a great time and met some amazing people while there. During the con, I contacted Graig Weich, an artist, writer, and director, as well as the founder of BeyondComics.TV. I interviewed Weich and decided to share what I learned with y’all this week! So read on and find out about this rising Indy comic star!
Silverwolf: What got you interested in writing comics and the comic industry in general?
Graig Weich: Great question. Well, I was always drawing since I was about 2 years old and began teaching art classes in comic book and other types of art when I was a teenager. I had been designing characters and writing stories once I got into my teens as well. I felt like I wasted the chance to contribute to the arsenal of superheroes and create a new hero with a classic feel that would embody the heroes we all loved reading, updating them for today’s audience, and attempting to tackle things that no other heroes have in this genre before. The last superhero to come out with this classic mask and cape type feel was Spawn almost 20 years ago.
S: Where do you draw your inspiration from? Who is your biggest inspiration?
GW: I get excited by seeing art from some of my favorite artists; it gets me in the mood. It’s like my foreplay before I begin to start drawing if you will…lol…
Artists like Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Todd Mcfarlane, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Dave Finch, Joe Quesada, Alex Ross, and a handful of others, just to name a few… Seeing their art revs me up along with watching amazing movies like the 1st Matrix, Empire Strikes back, the 1st Superman and Robocop just to name a few. You have to immerse yourself into it to get revved up to roll out and drive into it. Watching the camera angles and the lighting in Tim Burton’s Batman made me start to think of all that when I was a kid watching it. There couldn’t be the Dark Knight of today that we all love without Tim Burton’s Batman back in the day to kick start it!
S: What is your favorite project you have ever worked on and why?
GW: Getting my start as the featured poster artist for Spawn issues #30 from Image Comics, and working for Todd Mcfarlane was the best! Here is a link to the Spawn Art I drew back then. And it’s funny because I was the first to turn the flat skulls on Spawn into the three dimensional money-skulls, and I just saw that a few months ago DC came out with a statue of Batgirl Vs. Catwoman based on the exact same pose from the Spawn poster I did of Angela. That kind of stuff happens all the time, no one’s fault, it’s ok, wish they gave credit but what can ya do? Take a look here.
S: Who is your favorite character that you have ever designed and why?
GW: Designing both Code Name: Justice and Ravedactyl was the most fun and the live-action short for it when on to win the NY International Film Festival! I can’t tell you how awesome is was for me to see the celebrities play my super villains–Dave Prowse from StarWars who was Darth Vader in the original films played my character Sunder, Coolio the Grammy winning rapper played Maduzor and Donald Faison from NBC’s SCRUBS and Clueless played Gunner! When we won the film festival, I found out that it was the first time in history that any super hero related film ever won any film festival, so I was so honored. When I shot the short film for Ravedactyl and Justice, I didn’t yet have the full story, but I finally took a few years to sit down and write the film which tied everything together. CGI allows me to get the exact shots I envision in my head. I recently completed the entire 100 minute Animatic motion-storyboard with voice-overs and music of the film, and I am currently looking for completion funds to finish it. (Preview below.)
S: What are your upcoming projects? What do you look forward to producing in the near future?
GW: For both my heroes, I look forward to making the comics, toys, animated and live actions versions of the movies/TV series and videogames etc…
Here is a little bit on them:
Code Name: Justice picks up where the first Justice book left off, but this time around, he starts to grow and becomes aware of the mass corruption in the U.S. and abroad and can’t stand the injustice going on and wants to give a voice to the unheard cries of the people. He thus creates a new costume with a global flag of the earth on it and that is laced in black ballistic-proof leather with ninja-like weapons. He acts as a symbol to fight for peace all over the world, in the hopes to uncover the truth behind all the conspiracy theories. With so many out there, they can’t all be lies.
I think there is no other super hero dealing with these types of real life villains and issues, and someone needs to talk about them and introduce people who are aware of these issues to the subject matter in the hopes that they will be able to come to their own conclusion about these issues. Maybe one day someone will do something great to stop the injustice in the world for real, and that is what inspired me to make this newer Justice!
Ravedactyl on the other hand is the story of one human who will unlock the missing link to a mythological power-unit he has no control over in the hopes to stop the apocalypse, thereby answering the questions “did we exist before we were born?” and “where does our consciousness and awareness of self continue after death?” This bridges the gap between the past, present and future, and he fights some twisted creatures along the way too.
I think we all struggle with finding our purpose with these real life philosophical worries about existence and unproven sciences, and I hope this will give comfort to those who are looking for realistic answers about these topics while enjoying the adventures of our hero at the same time!
S: What is your involvement with the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises?
GW: I also enjoy acting and the same people who cast me in the 1st and 3rd Spider-Man films now cast me in the new 3rd Batman Dark Knight Rises as one of the lead thugs. We just finished the wardrobe fitting, which was fun. I’m so excited and honored to be a part of this, and I hope that one day if I have grandkids, they will look and say, “Wow, Grandpa got his booty kicked by Batman!” Lol.
S: What did you think of New York Comic Con?
GW: It was AMAZING! Seeing everyone dressed up in costumes, like it’s Halloween, makes me want to play too! I heard there were over 200,000+ people and counting. Wow! I launched my new Comic Con exclusive preview comic book, Gekido Vs. Code Name: Justice #0, and we actually sold out, which is so thrilling! Props to Brandon Wilson, an amazing writer and the guy who came up with Gekdio! If you couldn’t make it to Comic Con, you can still get the signed book at www.Gekidolives.com & www.BeyondComics.TV and see a preview of the new CGI 3D trailer there too! We’ll be uploading the new video from this current Comic Con in a few weeks on YouTube, so search my name on YouTube to see it. I was amazed at how many people recognized me from my appearance on Fox’s Buried Treasure TV Show, and I hope that helps with exposure for our independent super heroes.
S: What were the Con’s positives and what were some of its shortcomings?
GW: The only shortcomings to me was that they separated the Artist’s Alley away from the main floor of the Comic Con, so it was very hard for the general public to find us artists. I wish they would put us back in the same exhibitor’s hall with Marvel and DC to help draw more attention to let people know us independent artists are here too.
Otherwise, the positives are that everyone was so incredibly supportive! I can’t tell you how lonely and isolating it is sitting inside my closet which I call my studio, working 17 hours a day without rest sometimes, and then to go to Comic Con and have fans actually lined up, waiting to get my new comic book. It is the BEST feeling in the world, especially when they begin asking me questions about my super heroes, storylines, what’s to come and who would win in a battle. I love it!!! It also reminds me to keep going and to not give up trying to get my heroes out there.
It is so hard being an independent comic book artist and writer, and us little guys can often times get lost among the bigger comic companies, so my fans are like my fuel. They keep me going and remind me that there is room for us small fries too. I love them!
S: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me!
As you can tell, Weich is a highly creative individual with links to not only comics, but comic book films as well. Be sure to keep a look out for him in the upcoming film The Dark Knight Rises!
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comics enthusiast. Unsurprisingly, he got enough trade paperbacks for his birthday to keep him busy for a few weeks.
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