Approbation Comics on Amazon
1) How did your publishing house come into existence? Well, at the moment, Approbation is mostly my own personal playground. The place where I can have my own creations published without any bureaucracy and where I can keep 100% creative control and rights.
As for history (or an origin story, if you will, haha!) when I first started doing comics in the copy-machine, hand-folded, mini comics variety, I knew I needed a company name to put in the corner of the comics. So with my trusty thesaurus at hand, I started looking for a word that would jump out at me and would just have that “cool” factor – yet would also have strong meaning behind it. It turned out that “Approbation” was that word. “Approbation” means "An expression of warm approval; praise" which is something all of us creative types are seeking for our work.
2) If you could compare your label with other works, what would they be and why? I’d say Approbation’s output is a mixture of Stephen King, Paul W.S. Anderson, and James Gunn - because there’s a lot of horror, action, pop culture, and dark humor mixed within our works.
I’d also compare us to Ralph’s Cinnamon Swirls cereal. Marvel and DC are more like your Kellog’s and General Mills - they have the money backing them for all the commercials. But we’re like that gem you find accidentally and find yourself craving!
3) What is your opinion on mainstream comic book wares? Mainstream comics are fun, but personally, as a fan of a diverse group of genres, I am disappointed and sad that superheroes still dominate over 3/4ths of the “mainstream” comic industry.
Now superheroes are great and all, but I compare it to food - think of something you love and let’s say it’s lasagna. It’s awesome and you probably could eat it for one meal every day. However, would you want to eat it for 2 meals and snacks every day of the week? Just lasagna for nearly EVERY meal, without any diversity? I know I’d become very bored and burned out on it pretty quick.
4) What is your one pet hate where the regular 'superhero community' is concerned? I’d say the thing that frustrates me the most is how insular the superhero community is. This has improved a lot over the years, but there is still a long way to go. In many cases it seems that if someone doesn’t “geek” like a majority group “geeks,” they’re shunned or ostracized. It goes back to the previous question and answer... it seems a lot of time in the mainstream or the mainstream fans just wants more of the same. They’re afraid to try something new for whatever reason. A lot of great things in entertainment are cancelled before they can reach their prime because they can’t find their audience fast enough.
5) In your own words, please describe your genre / brand of entertainment. We’re the 99%, ha-ha! Again, superheroes are only one genre in a world where there’s action, adventure, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, westerns, horror, etc. Sure, some superhero books touch on these other genres, but how about books that spotlight these themes without any of the superhero elements? One doesn’t always need a cape, spandex, and primary colors to tell or consume a good story. So Approbation is mostly “everything but superheroes”. Marvel and DC has that market covered really well. That will always be the case. Let’s have a bit more of everything else?
6) Stylistically, is there a particular type of comic book that takes your fancy more than others? For me personally, I’m usually drawn to more realistic, grounded type fiction. Things that I can relate to personally and that can tell me more about the human condition, or that can show me another outlook on seeing the usual.
At the moment I’m a fiend for Stephen King’s The Stand TPBs at Marvel and his son, Joe Hill’s Locke and Key at IDW. They’re very realistic, but have that supernatural edge that could possibly actually happen. Same thing with Robert Kirkman and The Walking Dead. I can also go in the other direction- Jimmie Robinson’s Bomb Queen is pretty crazy and over the top, but I love the dark humor. And yes, I read superhero stuff, too. I’m digging the new Superboy and Supergirl books. I’m curious to where Marvel will take the new Scarlet Spider title. Peter David has done great stuff with X-Factor. I loved Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man and I love him on the new Ultimate Spider-Man, too (shout out to him on his Icon book, Scarlet). I’m all over the place!
7) Do you have any new comic books on the horizon? Why yes, I do! One that was just released a few weeks ago is Blood Shells and Roses through Arcana Studios.
In about a month, Lethal Instinct Volume 1 should hit the shelves. Lethal Instinct is a series I scripted for creator Romulo Soares for Alias Enterprises some years back - but now it’s being collected in a beautiful TPB by Arcana Studios!
In a few months will be the Amour TPBs 1 and 2, also through Arcana Studios. Amour was my experiment on doing romance and dating related short stories. It was a 6 issue mini series, but in the 3rd and 6th issues there was a crossover with my horror anthology, The Evil Inside, making 6 of the stories romance/horror hybrids!
Later On there will be a lot more Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies to come. Act 1 is nearly complete as the first 20 issues of the regular series is done and published. Only 2 of the 5 Extra Credit issues have been released... the other three are being lettered and colored as we speak. There will be a small hiatus after those as I work on other projects, but Act 2 will begin soon enough!
I’m working on an 80-page graphic novel called The Burden with artist Marco Roblin which is actually a superhero property of sorts. A being called The Entity is targeting the most populated cities on the planet and killing all the people within them. Only one man can stop this being, but it comes at a major price.
Also in the works is a 104-page graphic novel called The Vessel with artist Juan Romera. It’s a drama/horror story about a ten year old boy possessed with the spirits of four murdered people and how he has to extract revenge on their behalves before he can finally lead a normal life.
Flesh for the Unborn is an action/horror three issue mini series about a town ravaged by pregnant women on a murderous rampage and a determined husband seeks to protect his pregnant wife from the mistrust of other survivors as they search for the source of infection.
Lots of other things down the pipeline, including the return of fan favorite series Vampires Unlimited and ChiSai. Some things coming through other publishers, too. Keep your eyes peeled!
8) What has been your most successful comic book to date? For better or worse, that would have to be Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies. It’s campy, it’s fun, it has hot girls fighting zombies... what else do you need? Like I said before, nearly 25 issues are already in print and that is only the first of three Acts before the story is complete. You can jump aboard the series three ways...