Time Samplers I've always been a big fan of the conspiracy theory myself. Like the Jack the Ripper murders for instance. JFK's death. Lord Lucan's disappearance. And Dolly Partons breasts. Well, all of these scenarios have prompted me to delve into the unknown, one way or another. And do you know what? My creative mate, T, thinks the same as I do. Here, check out a conversation we had only the other day, whilst looking into porn with some dubious intent.

New logo with all kinds of size

1) What are your own origins T? And when were you first interested in ‘the other’?   My origin story, eh? Still working on that. Roots in music production, writing, software engineering, and believe it or not, ex-military. Alternate history has always been a fascination for me -- which goes hand-in-hand with asking lots of questions (not exactly a high-value trait in the military, by the way). Sometimes all it takes is a curious and open mind, and all of 'the other' stuff just comes to you.

Time Samplers2) What are your own artistic and personal aspirations? Plus what inspired you to create the comic ‘Time Samplers’?   Time Samplers was inspired by a strong interest in conspiracy theories, alternative science, unsolved mysteries, and history in general. Not many people can sit through 7-hour lectures and 900+ page books on holographic theory, occult symbolism in corporate logos, and the history of fiat banking. Time Samplers is an effort to bring years of complicated research into an accessible, entertaining, and perhaps even a subtly educational format.

This project is a way to combine music, comics, games, writing, and research into a single creative outlet. Just as important, it offers the chance to work alongside other talented writers, musicians and artists (Nicolas Colacitti, Chris Hanchey, Humberto Cunha, Liezl Buenaventura, Gavin Smith, Mike Fasano, the list goes on...) This is what I’d love to do for the rest of my life in various ways.

There's a quote from Queen Victoria (of all people) which represents the feeling I get from working on projects like this. "Beware of artists - they mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous."

Indeed, and art is my favorite kind of danger.

3) In your own words how would you describe this comic book? Plus what formats does it come in.   In a sentence, Time Samplers is a story about two musicians who use psychedelic time travel to research conspiracies, secret societies, and corruption. In the first issue, Lex and Cal visit Jekyll Island in 1913 -- home of the most prestigious club on earth, with members such as Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie, and a general "who's who" list of the early 20th century. Other topics we're exploring are things like Skull & Bones, Bohemian Grove, chemtrails, and Project Monarch -- an infamous and undocumented rumor about a top-secret CIA operation which branched off of MKULTRA after it was exposed in the 1970s.

Time Samplers
Interactive graphic novels, games, and traditional eBook versions of Time Samplers will be available via the iTunes Store, Google Play, and Amazon App Store for iOS and Android devices. Also in the plans are releases for Barnes & Noble Nook, Amazon Kindle, and any other eReader formats we can output to. There will also be a limited run of printed physical copies for the first issue.

One other aspect of this project that's been fun to work on, is the interactive portion. Most comics released digitally right now are basically glorified image viewers. You can move, zoom, bookmark, but not much more. Along with the first issue, there will be a top-down shooter game for iOS and Android called "Escape from Jekyll Island," where you must defeat Alexander Graham Bell and fight through hordes of his “sheeple.”

4) Who would you cast in a ‘Time Samplers’ movie if one was devised?   Time Samplers actually started as an idea for an animated series. However, the graphic novel and game format offers a lot more flexibility. If Time Samplers was to be a movie, I would still love to see it in animated form. Some of the topics brought up are a bit dark and serious -- so putting the story into an animated format helps address sensitive issues with some humor and fantasy. Not to skirt the question, I could certainly see Luis Guzman playing the role of Carmot, and Ving Rhames as Pharaoh. Casting the historical characters would be fun too.

Luis Guzman
5) What song would you say best represents your comic and why?   There's a long list of music that has inspired Time Samplers - they’re musicians after all. However, if I had to pick a single song that represents this comic best, it would be a song created with a friend (True One) called “True World Order” (click here for the free download).

6) If you could assign a smell to ‘Time Samplers’, what odor would it be and why?   This one is easy. The studio where the Time Samplers hang out most of the time is filled with old records, antiques, and smoke. Time Samplers would smell like a combination of old books and vintage records, mixed with the burning of... er, incense (with a damp towel under the door).

7) I’m a bit of a Jack the Ripper buff myself, so I know how a single story can have many sides to it. From your perspective what is the most obvious conspiracy theory you've ever heard? And why do you think that it has any merit to it?   Ah yes, Jack the Ripper is a great example of a conspiracy theory with multiple angles. In fact, Alan Moore (one of the best comic writers alive) explored a particularly conspiratorial angle in “From Hell,” which was later turned into a movie with Johnny Depp. In the graphic novel, a royal physician to Queen Victoria (hey, hasn't she come up already in this interview? Odd!), Sir William Gull, murders a group of prostitutes as part of a Masonic ritual -- and as a warning to the Illuminati. Who knows, with a time machine, there’s nothing to stop the Time Samplers from checking it out for themselves. But I digress...

The most obvious conspiracy theory depends on the generation you are speaking with. For older generations, examples include the JFK assassination and moon landing. JFK having the most merit, moon landings having the least (however there is still a very compelling theory regarding Apollo 11 photos and videos). Younger generations are more familiar with the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks, and even aware of things like the illuminati, due to references in pop-culture.

My personal favorite -- and perhaps one of the most heavily (and officially) documented conspiracies in modern (American) history, is Project MKULTRA -- a huge umbrella project which included all sorts of tests on unwitting citizens by the military, without any consent or disclosure whatsoever in many cases.

Uncle Lamb Needs You8) How to do you feel about mainstream comic books? And do follow any of the current wares?   I feel that some great titles seem to sneak into the mainstream from time to time. I grew up on Marvel, DC (Vertigo), Darkhorse, and Image. Over two decades later, and they are still the biggest kids on the block. Some of the more recent mainstream comics that really resonate with me include Scalped, Chew, Irredeemable, DMZ, the Boys, Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker, and a long list of others. Mostly anti-hero stories, although I'm not against super powers by any means. I also really like following the indie scene, and read lots of webcomics - some favorites are False Positive by Mike Walton, and Shiver Bureau by Walter Ostlie.

9) During your time as an writer, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Staying flexible with my ideas, collaborating with other talented individuals -- and most importantly -- the support and motivation I get from talking with other comic creators, publishers, authors, researchers, musicians, artists, and fans. I’ve relied a lot on a few people I consider mentors -- Brandon Perlow of New Paradigm Studios, William Wilson and Percy Carey of Arch Enemy, and Kris Millegan of Trine Day Publishing. Their advice and patience has been instrumental for me. Jesse Grillo of Bleeding Ink Comics has also been a big influence.

It's easy to get lost in your own fabricated reality - feedback from fans is the main fuel which keeps this project going. And with that said, for anyone that wants to keep adding fuel to the fire - please check out Time Samplers, and send your thoughts!

Well put, T! Well put indeed. So what are you waiting for dear reader? You heard the man. Check out his website, timesamplers.com, plus don't forget to do the tweet-tweet / face-face thing too. Oh! And before I forget. The Time Samplers comic and game will be available by December 2012, just in time for the end of the world! BOOOOOOM!!!!!

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