Avalon Please Note: That when you get around to reading the following interview I did with Jon, you have to promise me that you will never, ever, ever, tell Jon's school that he used his academic scholarship so he could fund the artwork produced for his comic book, Avalon. Agreed? Good. Jon, it's now over to you, pal.

Walking Dead

1) What are your own origins, Jon?   I was born in New York, but moved to California when my father became the Director of Marketing for a video game company called Sierra Online, the company that put the first game ever on a CD, King’s Quest.

In California, my comic book origins have a slightly more unusual beginning. At a young age, I struggled mightily with the written language and it was eventually determined I was dyslexic. So, between playing video games and school, I spent a lot of time in a comic book shop where I would buy packs of Marvel Masterpieces, praying for that Silver Surfer vs Thanos insert, and getting copies of Cable and X-Men instead. These comic collectibles were gold in my mind, so I would immediately put them in their appropriate plastic armor and lock them away. Correctly, these treasures are still locked away in my parents house, and every few months I will get a call from my mom saying, “I’m gonna clean out the garage”, and I always have to blurt out, “Don’t throw away my comics”!

After high school, I was lucky enough to get into the University of California, Los Angeles, where I attended college. There, I studied economics, but my real academic passion was in the Earth and Space Science classes I was able to get into: Geology, Space Weather, Oceanography, etc. I’ve always love-love-loved science, specifically space science. I was also fortunate enough to play baseball collegiately, something I pursued professionally, but by the age of twenty-six I had been on the operating table nearly a dozen times and my body told me that was enough.

As the athletic chapter of my life closed, I slid into a corporate job, but quickly learned that I needed to do something else, or in forty years I’d look back on my life and be disappointed. During this time, I had also conquered the fear of reading and writing that was present in my life from a very young age, and began screenwriting as a hobby. As this creative pastime grew from a match to a bonfire I explored going to graduate school and got lucky enough to get into a top film program where I earned a Master's Degree in Feature Film Writing. Although I had been dreaming and creating my comic universe years before I went to grad school, it was during that time I started to produce Avalon, using an academic scholarship I earned to fund the artwork.

2) What inspired you to create your online graphic novel, ‘Avalon’?   I’ve had this universe in my mind for longer than I can remember, but I think I originally started thinking about it when I underwent my first of five shoulder surgeries. Thing is, I’m terrified of needles, and I remember the first time I had to get a fluid injection MRI, where they inject this neon dye into you. I was lying on a table, breathing heavily and trying not to pass out, as this massive needle bored into my shoulder, and wished that there were tiny machines going into me that would fix my injury. After that operation, as I continued to play sports and continued to get hurt, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with my DNA and if there was a way to fix it. This was the birth of Nanodites and Gatics.

AvalonI’ve also never been a big believer that humanity will be able to move large amounts of people to distant stars anytime in the foreseeable future, and believe that the solution is right here in our solar system. So, I tried to think of a way that might actually be possible to do that and that is what you now see in my universe.

The final and FAR most important part that brought all these independent thoughts into a cohesive world was Earic himself. Once I had this character and this story idea -- A father trying to save his only son -- everything exploded from there on in. After that, I took my scholarship money and rolled the dice. Please, don’t tell my school I used the money for the first two chapters of a graphic novel, Ha!

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   Avalon itself is a MASSIVE universe with endless depth and multiple stories, but I think the key to any good story is being able to boil it down to one sentence, which is: 'In a universe without illness, a father must do everything in his power to save his son, the first sick child born in centuries, amidst a war between Gatics and Nanodites'.

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   Great question. If I had to pick a song that is mainstream, I would say David Guatta’s, Titanium. However, because I’ve already scored the feature film script I’ve written for this graphic novel (In my mind anyway) go to YouTube and search Relax Daily N003 to see the piano piece I’d have playing over the climax of this novel. Sorry, no spoilers as to what is happening in the story, but this piece is perfect.

Carl Sagan
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?   In grad school, I was lucky enough to intern at Jeremy Renner’s small production company, so even though he’s Hawkeye, I think he’d be an awesome Earic. But, I guess that didn’t really answer the question of promotion. So, if I could pick anyone alive or dead to promote Avalon, it would have to be Carl Sagan: I truly wish he was still around.

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour?   Patience. I learned how to write so that an artist can translate what’s in my mind brilliantly onto the page, without stifling that artist’s creativity and talent. Unless you’re an artist yourself, a graphic novel will have to be a bit of a collaboration, even if you’ve created every element of the story on your own.

Also, and probably more importantly, I think I’ve grown as a storyteller. The truth is, I think once something is down on the page, you have to look at it objectively and then allow yourself to grow or you’ve done yourself a disservice.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   There is something really magical about getting that first pencil sketch for each new page. Even when they're incredibly rough, your words as a writer are starting to come to life. It’s a really awesome feeling, and I hope that anyone out there that is nervously thinking about developing a comic or graphic novel idea will go for it, full steam ahead.

8) If ‘Avalon’ had a motto, what would it be?   I’ve always loved Theodore Roosevelt’s, The Man in the Arena, but, if I’m boiling it down to something shorter, it might be: 'Never fear the unknown, courage is shown when you march without angst into darkness'.

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And on that note, I'd like to thank Jon for telling us about his comic book, Avalon, before directing you towards the official comic book site in question, www.comicavalon.com

AVALON - WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO SAVE YOUR CHILD? AVALON - WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO SAVE YOUR CHILD? Reviewed by David Andrews on November 04, 2016 Rating: 5

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