Dino Beasts - coverJohn and James Coats are two brothers from Des Moines, Iowa, who both appear to have an awful lot in common. Well, not only do they love reading comic books, but in addition to this, they also love creating comic books too. Want to know more? Then please check out the following conversation I had with one half of this double-act, John Coats. Please enjoy.

1) What are your own origins, John?   James and I are twin brothers, and though we were both born in Ohio, America, we spent most of our formative years just outside of San Diego. While we were there, we were both exposed to a great selection of cartoons, toys, and of course, comic books, which first came from a convenience store spinner rack. But if truth be told, we only started to get hooked on comics when we suddenly received a big pile of them during one of our birthdays. Since then, James went to art school to learn how to draw and we eventually decided to make several comics of our own. 

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2) What inspired you to create, ‘Dino Beasts’?   
Well, we wanted to create a serious barbarian story that actually had some real “teeth” to it, as opposed to all of those parodies and comedies Hollywood has made throughout the years. In our eyes, our story had to hark back to the true pulp roots of sword-and-sorcery (the way Robert E. Howard originally envisioned it), without toning down any of the fantasy elements (which often makes them seem boring and bland).

To some extent, our desire to see more serious fantasy adventures mirrored a similar desire we had to tell serious stories that featured dinosaurs. After all, we grew up seeing 'dinosaur-people' in cartoons and comic books, but they were never treated with enough respect and normally played for laughs. 

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Now don't get me wrong, we don't have anything against comedy or people trying to have some fun. But for us, personally, we prefer seeing our characters treated as genuine individuals living in a genuine world. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to emotionally connect with their struggles or empathize with their happiness, sadness, or pain. This is what inspires us in our work. 

3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   'Dino Beasts' tells the story of Kumoto (the last survivor of a hadrosaur-like dinosaur clan), who struggles to rescue a mystical salamander princess from the forces of evil. During his travels, he makes some new friends, he's stalked by a variety of enemies, and he eventually confronts his fears about life and death.

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   To answer this question I would like to select the Basil Poledouris song, 'Anvil of Crom', because it's bold, direct, and instantly transports your mind to some other place and time. Similar, in fact, to 'Dino Beasts', as we are introducing readers to a totally unique world full of adventure, danger, and big bold characters

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?   We would like to choose Don Bluth because he's a great animator/director who's inspired us with his amazing range of movies, such as 'The Secret of Nimh', for instance, and 'The Land Before Time'. While we were growing up, we watched his films and they made us realize that 'serious events' can be depicted in a 'cartoonish fashion' and still make a point in an entertaining way. Don also struck out on his own and left Disney in order to tell stories the way he wanted to tell them, and that in itself is very inspiring. 

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6) What have you learned about yourself through this endeavor?   
We have learned that we really love making comics, telling stories, and learning new creative techniques. We've also learned that our love of dinosaurs runs deep and hasn’t diminished at all from our childhood days. In fact, it's only gotten stronger.

7) If ‘DB’ had a motto, what would it be?   Never give up”.

And on that note, I'd like to thank John for telling us about his comic book, 'Dino Beasts', before encouraging you to check out his official Website, Instagram, and Facebook pages.


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