Tango Unlimited
Screw 'medication'. Push to one side 'homeopathy'. And give a good slapping to 'faith healing' too. Cause did you know there's a new form of 'alternative therapy' in town? One that's goes by the name of, 'creating comic books'? What's that? No! No you didn't! Then please, by all means, check out this conversation I had with my great mate Richard, whilst teaching a Colon hydrotherapist some manners. HI-YAH!!

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1) What are your own origins, Richard? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   As a child seeking escape from what I’d call 'the harsh reality of the Chicago Suburbs', I turned to comics, cartoons, and science fiction novels, essentially anything which took me far away from this world. I always liked to write and often wrote short stories. While in elementary school I took 2nd place in the Young Authors contest for a 'Buck Rogers' story, which paved the way for me to then get selected to be a journalist for the school newspaper.

Buck RogersThose two experiences opened my eyes to the opportunity in creative writing.

Years passed, and while in high school I met a young artist by the name of Rage Ledbetter. Our mutual adoration for comics and movies would eventually get us to collaborate and create a satirical series of comic books which eventually developed a bit of a cult following throughout our high school days.

After college, I distanced myself from comic books and became a technology consultant getting my Doctorates in Computer Science, thinking that someday I would follow the path of academia and pursued writing journal articles and getting published in the area of information security and privacy in social media. After going through that positive experience, I then decided to pursue getting published in areas that I felt were more fun and diverse.

I resorted back to my 2nd childhood and my love of writing stories took over, and decided to surface two stories in particular that have been dancing around in my head forever. I presented those stories to the artists of our current running titles, who, to my surprise, took interest in wanting to pursue this venture.

2) How did ‘Tango Comics’ come about? Plus what inspired you to christen it with that name?   The comic and the horror industries have had a resurgence of late, and the opportunity seemed right to present these stories that I've been obsessing over for decades now.

Francis Penavic was the mastermind behind the Tango Comics logo and naming scheme. Based on a painted work that he had developed years ago which we long admired. The set of teeth and the rose provided a unique spin that we wanted to present as part of our goal of not just providing a run of the mill indie comic, but rather, to provide an eloquent artistic dance if you will.

Tango UnlimitedA visually stimulating and repeatable experience that summarizes what one will find when picking up our titles.

 3) In roll-call fashion, can you briefly please tell us about some of your wares?   The two stories that have been in my back-pocket for the last two decades dealt with a futuristic zombie story-arc where the dead were hunted as opposed the typical, running, hiding, and getting eaten by them. The goal was to provide a conclusive ending which I never felt was ever sought after in the zombie genre, hence 'Descent of the Dead' was created.

Similarly, the goal behind the development of 'The Infinium' was to take the estranged super-hero comic-book fans (like myself), who are weary of the overly edgy dark characters proliferating the comic scene, and then provide an action-packed story based on very human characters with a progressive level of nobility and a high degree of self-awareness, and turn them into heroic demi-gods.

4) What song would you say best represents your publishing house and why?   'Magic Carpet Ride' by Steppenwolf: The lyrics just captures it perfectly.

Elvis As Captain Marvel
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your comic books, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I’d have to say the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Why Elvis? First off, Elvis was a huge fan of 'Fawcett Comics', and in fact modeled much of his classic wardrobe -- that consisted of a short cape and curled hair style -- after the Captain Marvel characters.

Underneath all that glitz, Elvis was a genuine comic book nerd! I’d love to have had the opportunity to provide him our comics, perhaps hear him strum his guitar as well as provide us a karate-kick endorsement.

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   There is a wealth of compromise that one has to accept when converting a story to a graphics medium like comics. It’s painful at times, and can often second guess one’s self to oblivion and get nothing accomplished. Creating comics is a deeply involved and collaborative process which can take months to develop a mere 15 minutes of reading materials. Your motivation and conviction to complete work must be there, otherwise the cost and the time to develop these materials can intimidate one to a state of frustration and paralysis. 

In hindsight, I've learned to take more risks and to accept that the work is not digestible for everyone and consequently mass -- although nice -- is not our objective. Most importantly, I've realized that you have to express yourself sincerely and pour your very soul into your work. If you always say or scribe with conviction and heart, the world will eventually follow.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   What has kept me and our entire team in good stead is that we’re having fun! We’re enjoying what we’re doing, and the work is a pleasant departure from our normal routines.

Doctor Midnite and DaredevilTake the artist on 'The Infinium' -- Ronald Ong -- for instance. Since starting this project, the actions of producing artwork have served as a sort of tonic for him. Resulting in the lowering of his blood pressure! Who could have imagined?!

As a publisher, going out and peddling our work has provided us an avenue to meet new people, go to locations we’d never normally have the opportunity to visit, and share ideas and develop long lasting relationships along the way. It’s heart-warming beyond words to see someone pick up one of our comics and be part of an experience that they can’t wait to see more of. Having been able to have had experience from both sides of the spectrum, it now puts it all in a great new perspective.

8) If ‘Tango’ had a motto, what would it be?   It's all about the fans and retaining their readership. We want to provide our readers the highest yield of entertainment. We want you to ride our roller coaster (or magic carpet) of stories and not feel cheated or left out. There is a quality aspect that the entire team is laser-focused on. We really want to provide within our finite budget and tools the highest caliber of story and art, and we’re constantly refining and honing our craft. We’re not about gimmicks where we’re trying to sell you variant covers and umpteen reprints littered with ads. First and foremost, we are childhood fans of this industry -- and as such -- we want to bring some of that sincerity and value back to this industry.

Wow! That's some pretty powerful stuff, isn't it, dear readers? So when you have the time please feel free check out Tango Comics, OK? Plus don't forget to follow them on twitter and facebook too. 

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