Bilateral Comics From this moment onward's please reserve some of your Tuesday and Thursday for one hell of a great comic book read. It was produced by my new pal, Dave Heath, and this is what he had to say to me only the other day, whilst we were both reserving a very inexpensive table at a very expensive restaurant. Bon Appetit! Now go and get to it.

David Heath On Amazon

1) What are your own origins, Dave? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   My name is Dave Heath, and I'm an Army combat veteran from Florida. I joined the military at 18, and ended up doing tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, before settling down in Italy. I was stationed in Vicenza, and ended up marrying an Italian girl, and that's where I operate out of today!

2) How did ‘Bilateral Comics’ come about? It’s ‘secret origin’ so to speak.   While I was taking online courses for college, I enrolled in a creative writing class. I've always thought of myself as a pretty creative guy, so it seemed like a good fit. I ended up really enjoying writing stories (most of which were already developed inside my head), and everything kind of spun off from there.

I had a few short stories accepted by anthologies, and thought things were going well. Then, when I saw an opportunity to submit a comic script for 'Evil Jester Press', I jumped on it. The story was ultimately rejected, but I really liked what I had done so I just said "screw it" and started producing the book on my own. Jump ahead five months, and here I am, ready to launch with that story, plus two others in the works.

3) Why did you give this project this name? And in your own words how would you describe some of the stories you write about?   'Bilateral Comics' is all about international cooperation. Due to my experience abroad, I've gotten to meet a lot of interesting foreign people and ideas, so I wanted to incorporate that into the name of the company and our method of making comics. I'm an American writer living in Italy; our first issue is drawn by an artist from Venice; issue 2 is being drawn by Wayne Lowden, an artist from the UK; so, everything we try to do will have influences from around the world.

Valley 01 on Bilateral Comics
There will be two different types of stories being published by Bilateral Comics; the first is a continuing series, called 'Valley-01', about a conflict between two planets. It's a western / sci-fi / fantasy mix, and will continue to run for the foreseeable future.

In between each issue of Valley-01 will be a standalone story, with a definitive beginning and end. These books will encompass a lot of different genres, whether it be horror, sci-fi, experimental; whatever. I want these stories to kind of push the artistic envelope and try to do something new in the comics world. There probably won't be any superheroes; just unique tales coming from a very personal place.

4) What song would you say best represents this weekly series and why?   I'd have to go with 'Silent Flight Parliament' by my favorite group, 'Between the Buried and Me'. This entire album (The Parallax II: Future Sequence) and the one before it are a project that tells one longer story through several different songs, and this song is the culmination of it all. It's about finding your place in a new world and exploring things that aren't familiar to you, and that's how it's felt for me throughout this entire process.

Stampede - Bilateral Comics
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Jerry Holkins and / or Mike Krahulik, the creators of the online comic strip, 'Penny Arcade'. I'm not sure if they'd qualify as "celebrities", but they've been really influential in how I set up the business model for Bilateral Comics. Their comic is available free through their website every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and they don't jam their other products down your throat trying to make a buck; it's just there if you want to buy and help out.

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   I don't know if I learned a lot about myself, as I figured out most of that during tough times in Afghanistan, but there were definitely some obstacles. The first artist that I had working with me (as a partnership, rather than a paid employee) quit about halfway through production of the first issue, so I had to start from scratch. Instead of letting this de-rail the entire operation, I went online and hired a professional through freelanced.com. This caused a few problems too. Although his art was great, there were a lot of delays due to health problems which pushed my preferred launch date back into March. Luckily though, things seems to be flowing smoothly now that this has gotten worked out, and production of issue 3 is already well underway! 

The hardest part of going the indie route is probably in promotion. Social media is great, but having 50,000 likes on Facebook doesn't mean a thing unless those people are engaged and interested in your content. Promotion costs money and time, and trying to do everything myself (while working a full time office job) has been really demanding. But, I'm trying everything I can to get the word out there!

Touch Me - Bilateral Comics
[ David Heath On Amazon ]
7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   It's hard to believe in yourself when you start doing something independently, especially at the beginning. I think that a lot of businesses fail in that first year because they expect huge returns and gains from the start. I'm keeping my spirits up by trying to stay positive and look at the long game. 'The Penny Arcade' empire wasn't built in a day; they didn't have one strip go "viral" and get them 10,000 fans over night. It took years of consistent production, quality strips and interaction with their community and fans to get to where they are, and that's the route that I'm taking. Hard work and dedication to any fans that I can muster, above all else.

8) If ‘Bilateral’ had a motto, what would it be?   "Support indie comics; start right here!" -- I guess that's not a very good motto, but it highlights what I believe at least. Through social media and trying to advertise, I've been meeting a lot of great artists, writers, producers, and talent in the comic world, few of which have a proper outlet for getting their creativity to the masses. It's a shame.

Of course I love Marvel, DC and the other powerhouse publishers, but there's so much that people could see and enjoy that doesn't involve Spider-Man or Thor. I want to promote my own stuff, but I also want to put a spotlight on other up and comers who just want a little visibility on their art and material!

Now you heard the man, folks. Stick your finger out and support independent comic book publications. You can start off by checking out Bilateral Comics every Tuesday and Thursday, or alternatively, visit them on their facebook or twitter pages. God bless.  

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