In a field over-saturated with ultra slick packaging and recycled story tropes that often go nowhere, it is a breath of fresh air to come across a publisher that truly wants to expand the medium. With diverse storytelling, a willingness to take a chance on creators with a unique voice and an eye for quality art that propels the storytelling, New Paradigm Studios is making folks take notice. Brandon Perlow, studio founder, took time out to share a bit about the formation of the studio, their commitment to unique stories, and more.
MT: With a name like “New Paradigm Studios” something different is alluded to. What is New Paradigm Studios about, what sets it apart from other publishers, how is it different?
BP: New Paradigm Studios is about telling stories that would not normally be done in Mainstream comics. I’d like to see “High Concept” stories being told. Comics offer a medium for entertainment that might not be covered by TV or Movies for engaging stories. With tablets and phones there are more eyes to get to with stories they might want to read. We’re not doing just superheroes like Marvel or DC, and we’re not setting up a continuous universe like Valiant. I’d like to think we are doing the stuff that Image or Boom won’t try to do. They are fortunate to have “Name” creators who happen to do great work, but we want to be a showcase of great work of undiscovered or under-appreciated talent. I would have a great sense of pride if our books were in the same rack space and next to the work of those companies!
MT: With titles such as Watson and Holmes, World War Mob, the upcoming Rock Thrower series as well as Stray, the studio is quickly establishing its ability to tell stories that are not only diverse and engaging character wise, but also showcases diversity behind the scenes. Was this a tenant that was put in place on purpose or did it just happen to shake out that way? Are there any projects in the works that will see women creators joining the ranks of New Paradigm Studios?
BP: When we developed Watson and Holmes, it was from the get-go to have diverse creators developing the series. Karl Bollers happens to be african-american, but when we sent the outline and character notes to him, he knocked it out of the park and put his own identity in the project. His life experiences make him the perfect writer for the series. We have guest writers penning one-shots while Karl is writing the next large arc. Karl is pretty much helming the run and helping us make sure the other writers stay on point. We have Lyndsay Faye– a acclaimed novelist working on a one-shot and a multi-issue arc. Suffice to say we are open to all creators and genders, its just a matter now of getting more successful projects to expand to others. We just want our initial ones to get out there. There are many great women creators out there like Becky Cloonan, who we would love to have grace our projects, but unfortunately she’s booked! We are always trying to find the next great unknown artist or writer, for example check out the work of F.Lee for “Justice Is Nocturnal” on our website.
MT: What made you want to form New Paradigm Studios? How did you get into the business? As the founder for the company, what capacity are you involved with on the various titles being produced?
BP: I was in Visual Fx for 17 years(still do occasional freelance) and I found the business was taking a downturn due to outsourcing and subsidies in the industry. What used to be a great and creative business was becoming less so. I didnt want the regret of not developing my own ideas, but I didnt want to stay in L.A and go through the pitching process in town. Everybody there seems to be doing that, and not getting anything made. Heck some folks now who have been successful CANT get anything made(Look at Spike Lee has to Kickstart too!). So I decided to go back east, and spend time away from LA and the west coast. I oversee every title being developed. In terms of Watson and Holmes I see the BIG picture for the long term of the series. I also make sure the art is up to quality. I also have to do a lot of promotion, sales, and printing decisions for it, and New Paradigm Studios. For Rockthrower I am the creator, so I have final say over any part of the creative process. For Nimbus I am the creator and artist, so I’m trying to get all the other stuff taken care of so that I can focus purely on that. For World War Mob, I merely make sure the art/story has no problems. Justin Gabrie (Senior Editor) and Zack Rosenberg (Assistant Editor) catch most of the things for all the projects. It helps especially having their POV when I am working on Nimbus. Its hard to see all the problems when you are in a vacuum.
MT: Any advice for creators hoping to emulate the model that you have used to create the strong works of New Paradigm Studios? What part of the creative process do you enjoy the most?
BP: Wow. Id say get an editor. Someone with experience with at least one of big 3. A good editor has a rolodex of talent, and understands the production process from start to finish. I’d advise making sure whatever you are doing, that it can stand up to the higher quality work out there. You are trying to get someone to spend their 3-4 dollars on your book. Make sure its something unique. I’d also develop it for digital first. I might also be inclined to do a webcomic first, as you can easily build up an audience, and it will be easier to get them to financially support it later. If you have no star cache its an uphill battle.
I’d say I like the developing the ideas, and when the story clicks it feels great. Its definitely less hard than finishing the art.
MT: Creatively, any industry talent that has influenced you, inspired you, that you would like to work with? Any titles that you are currently following?
BP: I would say I love what Valiant does with their line. Image and Boom are doing great non-superhero books. Boom has Archaia now, so they got a diverse library of titles. I think its great the Saga is one of the biggest books in the market and its a science fiction book. Its also great too. It helps that Image has many Marvel/DC creators now on their own projects. Some are as good as the hype. I think Sean Murphy is insanely good, loved his Punk Rock Jesus, and love his collaboration on American Vampire and THE WAKE with Scott Snyder. I am also surprised to like Wonder Woman by Azzarello, as I don’t follow his other work. Its just so happens he’s made the most interesting version of the character in years. Superior Spiderman is a refreshing change from the woe-is-me Parker. I hope they stick with Octo-Spidey, but I think it will be undone by next year. I’ve been “evented” out from Marvel and DC that I don’t follow most of the titles. Its just too overwhelming at this point, and may eventually get the trades. I like to pretty much support the Image/IDW/DarkHorse/Boom/ONI titles out there. For example Letter 44 came out a few weeks ago. Another great Science Fiction book. I tend to prefer complete stories than continuing ones.
Dream list of creators, Sean Murphy, Becky Cloonan, and Juan Gimenez (Metabarons) would be a good start! Juan Gimenez and Moebius have been huge influences on my Nimbus development as well as very large list of non-comics creators. I was fortunate to work briefly with Moebius *about 7 or so years ago for an animation project. He was a genuine person as well as being a brilliant creator.
*(Check out the associated video for a fascinating documentary on the incredible work of Moebius and his influence on the comic industry)
MT: What’s new for New Paradigm Studios and how can fans get their hands on it?
BP: Well the Watson and Holmes trade will be out in Stores before Christmas(Dec 11th!) that will contain issues 1-5 and extras! So if you missed out you should get it then and be caught up for 6. We should also have information soon when the Watson and Holmes trade will be available for bookstores and libraries. World War Mob is in January, and is available for PRE-ORDER now(NOV131150)! Justice Is Nocturnal is on our website for free, and we may have some limited copies of the first 2 chapters in comics available soon. Stray is on Kickstarter and has made its primary goal, but we could use more backing to make the stretch goal and get the series funded! I’m hoping to get the Nimbus prologue online by early next year.
MT: With the buzz that is being generated by Watson and Holmes, I have to ask, who do you most readily identify with. Mr. Holmes or Mr. Watson?
BP: Watson. I’m not a gifted genius. Most of us have to sweat it out and go through normal processes to make decisions and actions. I think only a few folks can truly relate and fully understand Holmes and his mental processes. I think a few of us know some “Holmes” and half the time we have to look out for them cause they’re too busy thinking !
Fans looking for fresh new stories should head on over to New Paradigm Studios to check out what this industry mover is cooking up!