Prisoner of the Mind Cover Isn't the mind a wondrous implement at times, prompting you do some really bold and amazing things? Like fly to the moon on a cube of stale cheese for instance. Or perhaps build a car made out of wooden matchsticks. Heck, what about dedicating your life to writing, drawing, and even marketing a graphic novel of 'mind f*cking' proportions? Yeah. Straight up. My creative pal, Allan, did just that. He told me as such just the other day, whilst selling a cube of stale cheese and a matchstick car to some wannabe astronauts living down the street.

Prisoner of the Mind Art 1) What are your own origins, Allan? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   I am originally from California, but my stepfather was in the military so I moved around a lot growing up. If I could map my path across America, it would look like a connect the dots puzzle. My passion has always been art, so I pursued illustration, graphic design, fine art, and anything related to the field. I ended up working for some great companies over the years, which taught me many things about creating art.

2) What inspired you to create your graphic novel, Prisoner of the Mind? And why did it take sixteen years to devise?   Growing up, I would always imagine what my step dad did for the military. Was he on a secret mission? Or involved with some undercover operation? Or did he lead a double life with a different family in some other country? The reality was that he was on a lot of military training and exercises in the Marines.

Several things, including old film noir movies like, 'Night and the City', and 'Criss Cross', inspired the actual story of 'Prisoner of the Mind'. I couldn't get enough of the gritty black and white scenes. I am also a huge Sci-Fi fan, and I love classic Science Fiction and everything about the genre, even most of the bad stuff.

'Blade Runner' inspired the look of my graphic novel; it just blew my mind when it came out in 82. I knew then, I had to make something dirty, gritty, and set in the future. I was also really digging Frank Miller’s art back then with his stark black and white panels. I decided to combine genre’s to make my graphic novel. I mixed in a little bit of film noir, some futuristic settings for the Sci-Fi element, and hard black and white for the illustrations. It was sort of a Sci-Fi, Film Noir, Action, Psychological Thriller.

Ha ha! It’s a lot easier to say Neo-Noir Thriller.

As for how long it took, all I can say is that life is full of distractions. If this graphic novel were a full time job, I would have finished it in a year. I only worked on it when I could, in-between other work. It was sort of the neglected child for a few years, but eventually you have to let the baby walk.

A Touch Of Evil Film Noir Poster
3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   It’s a mind fuck. I really wanted the story to have twists and turns just like the good old-fashioned Film Noir. By reading the first issue, you aren't going to have a good understanding of what is going on. The plot unfolds slowly, leaving breadcrumb clues along the way. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of action. But there is also forensics, and sub plots intertwined together. I included visual clues in the artwork, that as a reader you will have to go back and read it again to get that “Ahh-Ha moment”.

4) If ‘Prisoner’ was a piece of music or an object, what would it be and why?   There’s a song by 'Pop Will Eat Itself' called 'Ich Bin Ein Auslander'. It came out in 1994, one year before I started working on 'Prisoner of the Mind'. This song F’ing rocks. Loosely translated it means, “I am a foreigner”. At the time, I started drawing the main character for the graphic novel I was listening to this, and the character just seemed like a foreigner in his own life. Everything he thought he knew to be real and true was just a mirage.

Eliza Dushku
5) If you could cast a movie based on your creation, who would you cast, and again, why?   It’s funny that you ask this question, because when I originally wrote 'Prisoner of the Mind', I wrote it as a film. I have a full-length feature script that the graphic novel was adapted from and recently I've had a few studios sniffing around so will see if your question comes true.

In the story my lead character is called Cole Blackburne, and he has several flashbacks revealing a younger version of him up to adulthood -- present day -- so there would be several actors that would have to play him. My first choice for the main actor would be Stephen Amell, or Channing Tatum; and the younger version of Cole as Josh Feldman or Ethan Cutkosky. The main character has to be action oriented, muscular and a little rough around the edges.

My female character, Alicia Reese, could be played by Allison Mack with red hair, or Judy Greer. The character Alicia Reese is Cole’s partner / handler: she’s smart, sassy with a bit of an attitude.

The other female lead character is Jasmine Snow, and Eliza Dushku, or maybe Jessica Lowndes could play her. Jasmine is supposed to be Native American, she was military trained like Cole, and she needs to be a very physical character along with his former love interest.

Max Von Sydow, Michael Caine, or Anthony Hopkins, could play the enigmatic Dr. Zane. As you will see when the story unfolds, the character, Dr. Zane, is a psychiatrist with a secret. He’s cunning and he likes to play mind games.

Prisoner of the Mind TShirtProfessional wrestler / actor, Bill Goldberg, or Glenn Jacobs, “Kane”, could play the unbeaten Newcomer. Both of these guys have the build of the deadly assassin “The Newcomer”. The monster of a character doesn't speak much, but his expressions are priceless.

6) How did you come up with your 'Guerrilla Marketing Campaign'? And can you explain about some of the items you have for sale?   A tree grows from the roots up and that’s were I’m starting. Without big budgets you really have to get creative. It starts with the first issue being free online, and then a second. Once the book is printed, I will hold several types of contests to create a community around the idea. For example: I want to have a DJ, and a Video contest, to see who could mix the coolest track, and / or edit together the coolest 2 minutes for a motion comic video of the graphic novel -- then fans can vote on the winner. The talented winners get all the goods, a signed, hand made leather bound copy of the graphic novel, hand made limited edition sculptures…T-shirts, Skateboard, the works.

I also have built into the artwork tons of hidden imagery that I created years ago; this too can be a contest to find the meaning of certain things within the book. There is also a secret code written into the book that can be input into a website that unlocks certain Easter eggs that will allow you to win stickers, T-shirts, and other goods.

Detective Comics #435I have a 'buy section' on my site, which offers custom Skateboard Decks, T-Shirts, Baseball Caps, and Stickers, and over time, I will include more products available for purchase. The idea here is about spreading the word and offering up some cool stuff if you like the book.

7) What was the first comic book you ever read? And do you still read mainstream comic books?   It was Detective Comics #435, which came out in 1973. I was seven years old when I found it in the fireplace basket where my uncle would keep kindling and newspaper to get a fire started in his house. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, it featured the Spook, which scared the crap out of me. I remember I had to hide it from my parents, but I was instantly hooked and I have collected comics ever since.

I do still read mainstream comic books. I purchased all of DC’s new 52, and out of those, I still read 'Detective Comics' and 'Batman: the Dark Knight'. But I have always been drawn to more of the indie stuff as well.

Coté de Pablo
8) If your lead character was a singleton looking for a date, who would this date be, and why would he want to date this person?   My lead character, Cole, is a real tough guy and probably tougher to live with. I’m sure he’s not good with household chores, anniversaries, or birthdays, so whoever he goes out with would probably have to be as tough as he is otherwise it wouldn't last long. My first choice is Ziva David, played by Coté de Pablo in NCIS. She’s hot, and she kicks ass.

9) During your time as a writer / artist, what's the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Besides self-expression through art, it would have to be the amazing support system I have at home. Supersass and Captain Clawmuffin are the shit!

Wow! Thanks for that, Allan. Captain Clawmuffin is in indeed 'the shit', sir. So when you have the time dear reader, please don't forget to check out Allan's personal website, the Prisoner of the Mind website, plus his twitter, facebook, G+, and YouTube pages too. Go on. You know that you won't be sorry that you did.