Tilt ShiftNow I have to confess, being a somewhat dense character by nature,  there are not many things that make want to well up inside with pride. A great comic book perhaps. Or possibly an outstanding movie. But never in my life have I wanted to salute a person as I've wanted to salute my mate Jose Torres. Here, check out this conversion I had with this Army vet only the other day, whilst humming the theme tune to the 'Star-Spangled Banner' in Flemish.

1) What are your own origins Jose? And when did you first realize that you wanted ‘to create’?   I was born in Panama -- the country -- and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. At age 15 we moved to Atlanta, GA. I lived there until I was 23. Then I moved to NYC, where I lived until I enlisted, Jan 2009.

Growing up, writing and comic books were the only real constants in my life. In second grade, our school got a laminating machine and they would laminate and bind any picture books you made. Needless to say, all other schoolwork was completed with one goal in mind: clear time to make books. It was "Game Over" from then on in.

Tilt-Shift2) What are your own artistic and personal aspirations? Plus what inspired you to create the comic ‘Tilt-Shift’?    As far as artistic aspirations go, I just want to be the most capable storyteller possible. I want to be a strong collaborator and I want to convey big ideas in a way that's entertaining and easy to digest. It runs parallel with my goal to become a high school English and/or History teacher. I feel there's a lot of great media out there that our mile-a-minute, hot-or-not consumption of entertainment really keeps us from internalizing and learning from.

'Tilt-Shift' is inspired by my desire to tell the stories of people who really put themselves out there and risk their lives for their fellow man. The word 'hero' gets thrown around to the point where it barely means anything anymore -- and that's wrong in my opinion. My heroes (from Socrates to Hemingway to Hendrix) almost all share the experience of having served their respective countries. Whatever their opinions on war (or their specific war) ended up being, they were informed, educated and built on their first-hand experiences. I went out and sought that first-hand knowledge. Like the doubting Thomas that I am, I had to put my fingers in that wound and feel that truth for myself. It was a heavy experience and I am better for it. Now, I just want to share it.

3) In your own words how would you describe this comic book? Plus what formats does it come in.   'Tilt-Shift' is the fictionalized account of a Special Operations deployment as told through the eyes of a young combat photographer. While the TTPs, names of the units and identities of the soldiers have been changed for OPSEC reasons, I have taken great care to keep the spirit of battle and nature of the modern battlefield intact.

Jamie BellIt will be available in regular comic book form and tablet-ready PDF. We also hope to collect the planned 12 issues into two trade paperbacks.

4) If you could cast a ‘TS’ movie, who would be in the main roles?   That's a tough one! I guess I would have to put Jamie Bell or Michael Angarano in the lead as SPC Frederick Blythe. Mark Strong as SFC Philip Pollard. Ryan Gosling as CPT John Shapiro. Taylor Kitsch as SGT Jonah Schatte.

5) What song would you say best represents your comic and why?   'Hooker With A Penis' by Tool because it perfectly embodies how it feels to be out there with those guys, especially with the way people generally view soldiers. Special Operation soldiers are some of the fittest, smartest, and bravest people in America (the world, even) and they get paid nothing. They work in the shadows. They really get no love and people sometimes have the audacity to think they're there because they have no other options. These guys could be anything and they are soldiers -- more than that they are the best soldiers the military has to offer. They live their lives around deployment cycles and they love it.

6) If you could assign a smell to ‘TS’, what odour would it be and again why?   Hahahaha! Oh, the smells! It would be a mix of fields of tea leaves, Haji B.O. and gun powder. Those are just the smells I associate with my deployment.

Tilt Shift7) Have you had any media recognition from your wares?   My previously published works were featured on the comic sites like Newsarama, and CBR. My combat photos were for the most part, classified, so there was no real coverage where they were concerned. I have seen a few of my released shots on different military-oriented Facebook pages -- but nothing major.

'Tilt-Shift' has gotten a solid amount of media love. ComicBooked.com has really pushed us on their site. Comic Book Resources has given us some solid coverage. I was also on the Between the Bubbled podcast. Even Military.com gave us a write-up. It's been very nice, so far.

8) How to do you feel about mainstream comic books? And do follow any of the current wares?

I feel that there's some solid work being done in mainstream comics. They definitely have their place and I feel the companies charged with that corner of our culture are trying hard to keep things fresh and tell new and interesting stories with their established properties.

People complain about the over-saturation of certain characters, but you really can't fault the industry for filling the demand. I think if we want more diversity in the work that's out there, we need to dedicate ourselves as creators to making those books and using the ample social media marketing resources available to get our work in people's hands. I don't know how many times I heard a publisher say, "Well, we really wouldn't know how to sell a book like this". It's funny to me because out of nowhere with none of their built-in market or money we've managed to raise money and build a nice following. I think effort and imagination is all it takes. There's no incentive for a big company to put in that kind of work, but if we can succeed where they haven't they'll follow suit in pursuit of those dollars.

9) During your time in this creative field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   The support of my good friends in the industry has been invaluable to me. The thing with crowdsourcing and social media marketing is that you really do have to rely on bonds formed with people in the same boat as you and the grace and kindness of your more established friends. "Sharing" and "ReTweeting" of information, as well as tips and general moral support are key. There are also a select few who have on occasion had to talk me off of various ledges. It took a village to raise this idiot.

Ha! Jose, you really are an inspiration. So when you have the time dear reader, please check out the 'Tilt-Shift' Kickstarter campaign, and don't forget the facebook page and twitter steam also. Trust me, you won't be sorry that you did.