The Vault Comics Ask Us Anything Interview – Part One “The Head Honchos”

The wrap-around covers are all lovely, will they be shared for all the titles?

Tim: Yes! The wrap cover has really made an impression on readers and retailers. Credit to designer Jon Adams for composing the format with input from Damian and Adrian. The ribbons which house the company logo, credits, and issue information are clean and highly identifiable. A lot of feedback from readers and retailers has focused on the issue synopses that are found on the back cover. The Vault cover dress handles comics in the same manner novels are presented to readers. Easy to identify and quick to digest. Top that off with a wide canvas for artists to really showcase their talents while exploiting a rarely-used cover format and it seems to have really struck a nerve!  Alternate covers and variants have so far generally followed the standard single cover dress which has allowed retailers the opportunity place their store logo or ad prominently on the back cover.

Colossi – Wrap around cover

Back in May we announced that we’d been able to secure an interview with the whole creative team over at indie publisher The Vault Comics. This was no ordinary interview. More of a Reddit style AMA, but with questions sent in from the comic community, aka you reading this.

Within days of the announcement we’d received numerous questions. Vault then tweeted details of the interview and we were then inundated with further questions. After mentioning the sheer response to Adrian, Nathan, Damian and Tim over at Vault, we agreed to split the interview into three parts.

Part One: Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, Art Director and Production Manager
Part Two: Writers, Artists, Letterers and Colourists
Part Three: Creator Specific

Before we get into part one. On behalf of everyone at ComicBlackBook.com I would just like to send a huge thanks to Adrian, Damian, Nathan and Tim for giving us and you this opportunity. This has shown me as well as all contributors at ComicBlackBook that the comic book community is one of the best communities out there. For a publisher to give a start up community comic website this much of an insight into their workings, was something I did not think would happen. Thanks guys.

Also, this would of not been possible if it wasn’t for YOU. You the community of comic book readers who sent us your questions to ask the team. Thank you all and I hope we get the answers you were looking for.

And now part one of our interview with The Vault Comics creative team.

THE HEAD HONCHOS

Adrian Wassel (Editor-in-Chief)
Damian Wassel (Publisher)
Tim Daniel (Production Manager

Fissure – Wrap around cover

Why the conscience decision to tell science fiction and fantasy story-driven comics?

Damian: Science fiction and fantasy are genres which reach diverse audiences with stories told by diverse creators. As genres, they grant the disenfranchised voices. They spawn landscapes in which the establishment has fallen. They place minorities, real or imaginde, at the helm of their narratives. They pull apart conceptions of race, gender, and social position. They ask tough questions, and—as genres—they’re often gutsy enough to offer answers too.

They are also genres that we feel are underserved in several key ways by the current market landscape. In prose publishing, there are publishing houses like TOR and DAW that the reader can trust to deliver them the very best science fiction and fantasy content. Readers deserve a similar brand in comics.

Above all else, though, I love these genres. They’ve carried me through the best and worst times of my life. The classic texts of the science fiction and fantasy canon are my sacred texts, and I’m excited to help further these genres in the comics medium.

When pitching a new series, is it better to have a rough outline and concept art? An issue finished? The series finished, as just looking for help with distribution?

Adrian: We’ve published series from a variety of submission styles. Ideally, I’d like to see pages or concept art. But always be aware, editors can’t un-see things either. So value your work. For example, if you know you can’t letter well, and you don’t have a pro letterer onboard yet, just send art and scripts.

Is there a couple of names in particular you’d like to publish one day?

Adrian: I think it’s safe to say there are hundreds of people we’d love to publish. Not a day goes by I don’t see a new talent deserving of shelf space. But, I’ll also give the fun answer. I’d love to work with Gail Simone. She is spectacular and indelible. Not only did she change comics for the better, she’s still in the trenches now, creating and leading creators. Also, of course, Rick Remender, Scott Snyder, Nicola Scott, Tula Lotay and many more.

Powerless Wrap around cover

Would you hire or publish authors that don’t live in North America?

Tim: In this day and age a publisher would be insane not to engage talent from anywhere—and more importantly of all races, religions, color, and gender. The origin of the industry owes itself to immigrant talent, and comics has always had a rich tradition of diverse ethnicity. Now we’re in the midst of a growing gender renaissance. Thank goodness too because diverse voices are the lifeblood of creativity and that’s always going to be the future of any vibrant industry. To narrow the creator base would bring stagnation and ultimately the demise of comics.  And there are very few excuses left not to engage international talent as technology has smashed just about every barrier.

Also, how do you work along with the creative team? Do you check the script before one is sent to the artist or is it more of an organic work between the writer, artist, colorist and letterer and than to the editor?

Adrian: Well, the first. But I don’t think an editor’s involvement should ever break apart the creative workflow.

How do you put your creative teams together. Do they already approach you as a package with an idea? Or is it ever like, “we really need to get those two in a room sometime so they can meet?”

Adrian: Both. More often than not, the creative teams come pre-packaged. But when there’s a missing link, it’s exciting to find the right co-creator to boost the project even higher. Every single collaborator is as vital as the next. A different colorist means an entirely different book. I love helping to build kickass teams.

Karma Police Wrap around cover

If a team of a writer and an artist want to publish with Vault, do they have to get a colorist and a letterer before? Or will the editor choose the colorist that best fits the project?

Adrian: We can certainly help round-out a creative team if a colorist or letterer is missing.

Do you encourage the creators to be active and promote their works with WIPs and telling about the process?

Tim: Without question. Process overviews, WIPs, behind-the- scenes, sneak peaks, teases, alternate takes, etc., act as an invaluable outreach to readers and retailers and can also inspire and instruct other creators. I’m of the personal opinion that it’s never too early to start the trickle. Early interest in a book often translates to early adopters and those folks can become incredible evangelists for a book or company. Vault has benefited greatly from such enthusiasm. The pace of sharing and putting care into the presentation are key. Be judicial. Be professional. Make sure the material is doing your book and the company a service by placing the book title, creative team credits, and even the company brand on the material. If creators are challenged in that regard, Vault provides exactly that service through the creation of web ads, printed collateral, con exclusives, and more.

Are the creators still in control of their IP like with Image?

Damian: At its core, Vault is a creator-owned brand. Creators retain ownership and copyright of all their underlying IP. However, Vault has a strong film and television team, that works on behalf of Vault and the creators who have entrusted us with their IP to secure development deals for film and television productions.

Heathen – Wrap around cover

Do you pay advances to unpublished authors?

Damian: Yes

When a project is greenlit, how close to finished does it have to be before it starts getting published?

Adrian: We like to have multiple issues finished in advance of releasing issue #1. With extremely experienced creative teams, we’re willing to be a little more flexible. But it’s always smart to have finished art through at least the mid-point of the first arc.

Are you receiving submissions for comic book projects? If yes, are there any guidelines? Amount of pages?

Adrian: Our submissions are closed at the moment. But keep an eye out. We’ll announce when they reopen.

Is there a dream team you’d like to see over at Vault?

Damian: There are two ways I can parse this question. On the one hand, if you’re talking about a creative dream team, then I have to say it’s hard to imagine a better experience than we have had with the creators whose work we’ve already had the great privilege to publish. The creators on our roster have brought to our collaborative efforts a level of dedication, talent, trust, and respect I doubt will be exceeded any time soon, if ever. Of course it would be amazing to do a book with someone like Gail Simone, Noelle Stevenson, or Brian K. Vaughan, and with luck and hard work, those deals will come. In the meantime, though, the dream is to continue championing the work of the creators who took a chance and trusted us when we were just a hopeful idea.

On the other hand, if you’re talking about an operational Dream Team, then, ‘Yes.’ We have our eye on some industry veterans and up-and- comers we’d love to hire when the time is right. With that said, it would be bad form to name them here.

Alien Bounty Hunter wrap around cover
VAULT COMICS – SEPTEMBER SOLICITATIONS

That concludes part one of our ask Vault anything style interview. Once again thanks to all at The Vault Comics. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for part two, which will feature the writers, artists, colorists and letterers at Vault.

You can check out Vault’s website HERE

And follow the team on Twitter @thevaultcomics