Sleepless Assailant Comics There comes a time in every persons life, when they finally stop pissing about and say to themselves "Nay! Nay! And Thrice Nay! I Will Halt My Nonsecular Behavior From Here On In. And Forever More Be A Champion For The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Plus The Rest Of The Sergio Leone Films". Or alternately, they can do what my mate Chris did with his really great comic book related website instead. Here, check a conversation we both had just the other day, whilst we were beating up Jim Lee and Dan Didio at a convention.

New logo with all kinds of size

Binary Gray
1) In your own words Chris, how would you describe your website, Assailant Comics?   AssailantComics.com is like a stubborn little baby that I raised and fed and it gave me a hell of a lot of problems. But I stuck with it and eventually it turned out to be its own person.

I built the site myself and I had a lot of help from friends. I’m not a web designer by any means, but in a lot of ways it’s an extension of myself and the “Assailant” brand. Kinda dark and brooding. The idea is that these are comics for readers who like a good story with a darker edge to it. Not necessarily horror all the time, but it’s not sunshine and sock puppets either.

2) Same question again, but about your comic books, ‘Binary Gray’ and 'Sleepless'.   'Binary Gray' is like a stubborn little baby that… Oh wait! Binary Gray starts with a young boy, Alex Gray, whose father is killed as a bystander in a super hero battle in downtown Sky City. Now 30 years old, his life has basically become a pretty sad state. He’s not really happy with his life or his job as an IT Technician. But an accidental electrocution at his job leaves him with the ability to communicate with any electronic device by touching it. The idea being that Alex walks a very gray line and it’s hard to tell which path he’ll choose – Hero or Villain.

The book starts off innocently enough, but the action ramps up fairly quickly, and Alex is soon in over his head. There’s an amazing supporting cast of good guys and bad guys and I love how their back stories tie everything together as things progress. Lots of cool tie-ins with government conspiracies and actual historical events despite it being set in a fictional city. The book has a dark tone, but a really sharp sense of humor as well.

'Sleepless' is sort of my nod to Twilight Zone or the old Stephen King short story books like Skeleton Crew and Night Shift. I loved those growing up. The book is a set of short stories spanning a range of genres – all with twist endings. 

It’s a smaller scope than an on-going title like 'Binary Gray'. Each story has a different artist and I’ve loved the experience of working with so many talented people. I’m doing all of the writing for now, but once Assailant is up on its feet, I’d like it to be a staple book for us to get more writers and artists collaborating. The title “Sleepless” comes from my own insomnia and scribbling down these short story ideas that pop into my head when I should be sleeping.

Assailant Comics
3) What are your own origins Chris, and what path did you take to get where you are today?   I won my first and last writing award in the 2nd grade. Haha. I’ve just always loved telling stories. I wrote stories all through school and in my teen years sort of transferred that to songs. I was a singer in a band called “The Host” for many years and we had some moderate success, playing shows on Warped Tour and working with Dave Jerden who recorded 'Alice In Chains' and 'Jane’s Addiction'. Even though I was writing lyrics, they were still very focused and story driven. But I've always loved comics. I have a huge collection. I wrote my first comic script about 11 years ago, so when the band thing ended, I picked it right back up.

I wrote Binary Gray last year and took a really embarrassing ashcan I slapped together to NYCC to show to publishers. I had no idea what I was doing, but took the chance to see what would happen. I was feeling pretty down about the whole thing, honestly. Nobody really cared because no one had ever heard of me, but it was still a great learning experience. I met a guy named Jaydee with Unstoppable Comics. He took the time to listen to me, gave me some great advice and told me if he saw me feeling down again he was going to kick me in the balls. He’s a great motivator. But really… I decided to take a chance self publishing versus sitting on a stack of scripts hoping someone would give me a chance. It’s been an enormous mountain of work, but I couldn’t be happier with the route I chose. I actually started documenting the whole process in detail last Fall with my blog “How To Die Trying” at MyComicBlog.com. There are tons of lessons learned there for anyone who may be interested or would like to learn from some of my stupid mistakes.

Stanley Kubrick
4) Who are your inspirations? Both artistic and story wise.   I take inspiration from everything. My life especially. You really have to get out and experience things for yourself. It’s not just about the story, it’s about all of the little details that make the story funny or scary or sad. I love to travel and experience new things. I’ve always been a huge movie buff too. I’m a big Kubrick fan. I’ve been told that I’m a very visual writer and I think there’s a relationship there.

5) If your comic books have a message behind them, what would they message be, and why would you want to convey them?   Sleepless is easy – I love to surprise people. I love to hear someone say “I didn’t see that coming.” They’re short stories, so there’s not much time to get the nitty-gritty details of the characters. Just a small window to establish who, where, why and then spike the reader with something they didn’t expect. I think the message or theme for 'Binary Gray' is that it’s ok to make mistakes and that everyone does. You can’t blame yourself or hold grudges. Do your best and try to learn from it. Alex’s character makes mistakes just like a normal person. He has to live with the consequences, and it’s not always pretty.

6) What piece of music, movie, or object, would you say your comic books are like?   This question is too hard! I demand a recount! I’m going to cop out and say that the first four issues of Binary Gray are like the song “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd, since that’s what those issues are titled after. I’m a big lover of music and movies, so it was too tempting to resist tethering that to the story in some way. Little nods here and there to the things I love. “Karma Police” is probably one of my favorite issues from the first story arc. If you listen to these songs after you read the book, I feel like it just makes things that much clearer. I would write to the music in specific scenes and it really helped the tone I was looking for come through.

7) What formats do your wares come in?   Print and PDF through AssailantComics.com and Online Reader at Graphicly.com. I’m currently working a digital distribution deal to get the books available for tablets and handheld devices very soon!

8) If your main character was a ‘singleton’ looking for a ‘date’, who would that date be and why?   Probably someone that was into the same nerdy things he’s into like video games, music and movies. Although I’m sure he’d say something stupid and ruin the moment, if he even had the guts to ask a girl out in the first place.

9) Do you have any projects upon the horizon Chris?   I’ll be at quite a few conventions this year, considering it’s my first time out supporting Assailant. Mostly in the Mid West where I’m based, but also out to DoDeca in Missourri, MotorCityCon in Detroit and Heroes Con in Charlotte. 'Binary Gray #3' and 'Sleepless #2' are both currently in the works along with a handful of other comic related projects for Assailant. For myself, personally, I just finished a video game script which will hopefully be in production later this year or 2013 and my first screenplay with a local film company which starts shooting this Summer.

10) Have you had any media recognition?   I have to shield my face so the paparazzi doesn't catch me picking up the paper in my boxers. But seriously, Assailant is still so young we haven’t had a chance to prove ourselves yet! So far the response from readers has been very positive and hopefully things continue in that direction!

THWAK! Thanks for that mate. That was bloody smashing. So there you have it folks, Assailant Comics by the man main himself, Chris (the thumper) Charlton. When you have the chance, go on, give it a click, plus don't forget to so the usual facebook / twitter thing.

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