The Sequential SamuraiNow I know on the surface that comic books, religion, the military, and heavy metal music don't seem like they have an awful lot in common. But they do, you know. They do have a lot in common. Just ask my mate David Cooper, the head honcho over at The Sequential Samurai, and he'll tell you exactly what the common denominator is between these four subjects. Him.

1) What are your own origins, David? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I was born in Santa Ana, California, in June of 1972. My father was a Marine so we moved from place to place. When I was still just a toddler, we found ourselves in Beaufort, South Carolina, where my father left the military to become a pastor.

The Dead Of KnightI was raised a preacher's kid, moving throughout South Carolina as he relocated from church to church about every 2 to 6 years. I never really felt like I had a place to call home or made any lasting relationships. The only things I had that were always a constant was my art and my imagination.

As early as I can remember, I wanted to draw comics. I loved them! They fascinated me. My favorite hero was Superman. I had toys, costumes, PJ's, the works! I wanted to create my own hero and have him become as famous as the Man of Steel.

Eventually, we ended up in Beaufort again, where I graduated High School. I joined the Army National Guard and began attending school at The Savannah College of Art and Design. I majored in illustration because sequential art was not an option at the time. I finished one year of school at SCAD, but the first Gulf War pulled me away from my studies.

When the war was over, I wanted to remain in active duty service, but due to my specific job, I would have to transfer to stay on active duty. I was granted an opportunity to become full-time in the Navy, where I remained for three years until finally diagnosed with PTSD and released on a medical discharge.

I struggled for a long time after that. I wanted to pursue a career in art, but I was afraid to try. All the worry and anxiety that came along with PTSD held me back. I let it hold me back. Instead, I did what was familiar. I went back to school and began studying and working as a pastor.

Stealing AngelI married shortly after my discharge and my wife and I worked together in ministry for 21 years. During that time, I continuously pursued my love of comics and continued to dream of a day when I could see my own work in print. The job field for comic artists seemed impossible to break into. On top of that, I wasn't really interested in telling someone else's story, I had my own stories that needed telling. Soon after, the rise of creator owned comics began to flood the market and I knew I had a chance.

I began researching the industry. It wasn't enough to simply create and print a book. I needed to know how all the cogs and gears worked and turned. My dream had changed. I not only wanted to publish my own books, but I wanted to create a path for others like me who wanted to publish but didn't know how or couldn't afford to.

Eventually, I made the leap. I worked up the nerve to do or die. I left my career in ministry to pursue my dream. Now, I am focused on creating and publishing my own works as well as creating opportunities for others to do the same at a mere fraction of what other creator owned publishers charge. 

2) What inspired you to create your own comic book publishing house, ‘Sequential Samurai’?   I believe that everyone with real talent deserves a shot and finances should not be an issue. The Sequential Samurai offers creator-owned publishing where the creator receives 75% of the earned (net) profit. That puts money in the pockets of the creators and gives them the ability to quite possibly make a living doing what they love (or at least cover the costs of production). The Samurai will make a few dollars off every publication, but I hope to grow in quantity rather than make my mark by exploiting one or two good titles.

Hot Woman
3) Can you briefly tell us about some of your titles?   I have a ton of titles that I have worked on over the years that I hope to eventually publish under The Sequential Samurai label. For now, however, I have three main titles that are being released over the next year. My flagship title is “The Dead of Knight”. Its a zombie themed series that views the apocalypse from a slightly different perspective. Mine (or yours, or that guy reading this article). 

Essentially, its about a geeky guy who works at a Medieval Style restaurant. He's been planning for the zombie apocalypse for his entire life and knows exactly what to do when it finally arrives. Equipped with a suite of armor and a massive battle ax, he takes to the streets to carve out his destiny. There's a little more to it than that, but that's the basics. I have a free preview comic available for download on my website for anyone interested in taking a peek before issue #1 comes out in September.

The other books are called “Deadly Crimson” and “Erebos: Shadow of Death”.  I am the artist on “Deadly Crimson”, but not the creator. It is a creator-owned title from Creative Global Entertainment and was written and created by Melissa LeEllen. “Erebos” is all mine. It's a one shot book that will have a few sequels, but it is not intended to be an on-going series. They are prequels to a series I created in 2008 and have been working on for several years. The new series will feature the main character from “Erebos” in an ongoing title.

4) What song would you say best represents you and why?   Currently, I'd have to say Drowning Pool's, “Bodies”. Lol. I play it a lot when I'm working on TDoK. It's very motivational. I'm a huge fan of hard rock and metal, so there are many that I love and listen too while I work.

Nathan Fillion
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?   Nathan Fillion. I just love the guy. His performance in Firefly sold me. I have tried to watch all his works since then. My wife and I are huge fans of “Castle.” 

6) What have you learned about yourself through this endeavor? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   I've learned that despite my slow start, I'm not a quitter. I have held a dream in my heart my entire life and always believed I would one day see it come to life. I also learned that failure isn't final or fatal. Finances has always been my greatest nemesis. I'm the guy who barely makes ends meet. I never thought I could afford to pursue the dream. This is actually my third attempt at starting an indie publishing company, but I finally have the financial backing and the knowledge needed to see success.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Hope. Its the one thing I have always believed in. If anyone can do this, why not me? If any dream can be achieved, why not this one? Yeah, I'm doing this for myself, but also for others. My dream isn't a selfish one. It can be beneficial to many great artists, writers, and creators. Surely, theirs some good karma there.

8) If ‘SS’ had a motto, what would it be?   I'm a true geek, so I have to borrow a line from my favorite starship captain, “Make it so!”.  Dreams don't come true by chance, they take work. Whatever you want to do in life, it's up to you to make it happen. If you want to be a published artist, writer, or creator then “Make it so”.

Ha! And so on that very instructional note, dear reader, I'd like to thank my mate David for telling us about his publishing house, The Sequential Samurai, before directing you towards his website and facebook page.