By Dustin Cabeal
Being a big fan of Ken Garing's Planetoid, I was happy about the announcement of a second volume. I had the chance to shoot Ken some questions about his upcoming Image Comic follow up Planetoid: Praxis which is out February 1st.
1) What made you want to revisit Planetoid now? What unfinished business do you have with the world?
After Planetoid, I jumped into a series of projects with different publishers, some of which came to fruition and some that didn't. In short, I found myself without a project and having to start from scratch and the most viable option was this story, which had been brewing in my mind for some time by that point.
I built up a pretty big world in Planetoid and I had a lot of secondary characters that I wanted to return to and develop. Praxis gives me a chance to explore all of that in greater detail.
Also, the story in Planetoid followed the "hero's journey" narrative, which was what I wanted but in Praxis things are a lot more nuanced an unpredictable, which I find more compelling. Ultimately, I think Praxis is more even more personal and more in-line with the type of stories I want to tell.
2) How are you making sure that Praxis stands on its own and is inviting to new readers the way the first volume of Planetoid was?
Praxis takes place years after the events in Planetoid and the story is self-contained so it wasn't much of a problem. Praxis isn't really a sequel, but just a new story that takes place in the same world as Planetoid. Also, the storytelling style is pretty linear and straight forward, which I think helps. I think anyone can pick up this comic and get into it pretty easily.
3) What was the experience like on the first volume? Going from self-published digital to being picked up by Image must have been quite the experience?
It was my aim all along to get published by Image, so that was great when it happened. The first volume was a crazy experience because I had to learn everything about the industry while still writing, drawing, coloring and lettering my comic. So on top of that, I now had to think about marketing, promotion, production, printing costs, etc. You know, most comics are made by a group of people. So working alone was and still is, really hard. But worth it, of course!
4) During Planetoid's original run the sci-fi genre wasn't as dense at Image as it is now, what about Praxis is going to make it stand out from other titles from the Publisher?
Planetoid came out around the same time as Prophet and Saga, and since then there's been this explosion of sci-fi. Not just at Image. The market in general is pretty saturated with sci-fi right now. I've seen a few comics that look like carbon copies of Planetoid, you know, with guys crash landing on dystopian landscapes, etc.... which is funny because one of the reasons I chose to do Planetoid was because there wasn't much science-fiction on the shelves at the time.
In terms of standing out, it's hard to say because I'm not familiar with a lot of these titles, but don't think many of them are done by a single creator. I'm not sure that matters to most people, but personally I'm always drawn to comics done by a single creator, because it allows for a more unique and controlled vision.
Also, simply put, I don't think anything else looks like Praxis. Do you?
Dustin's note: Nothing else does!
5) What's next for you after Praxis? Anything that you can tease or that we can look out for?
I have cyberpunk'ish drama that I started prior to committing to Praxis that I want to finish. I also want to do a psychedelic biographical comic about Bobby Fischer. If I can put out one mini-series a year with Image that would be an ideal scenario.