King Maul: Comics for the Future with Aubrey Sitterson, Zak Kinsella & Michael Mostcock

Aubrey Sitterson, writer of Worth and host of the World's Smartest Rasslin' Show, Straight Shoot, and Zak Kinsella, artist of Midspace and freelance illustrator, recently launched their balls-to-the-wall swords-sandals-and-space webcomic, King Maul. They're almost done with the first chapter, and they recently sat down with our very own Bastard, Nick Philpott, to talk about what the webcomic experience is like, what makes comics comics, and all the different ways that Michael Moorcock's Elric series is the best series in the world. Let's dive in!

NICK PHILPOTT: Aubrey, do you wanna go ahead and start, tell us a little bit about where you come from as a creator?

AUBREY SITTERSON: My first experience with comics was back in 2004, 2005, something like that; my first professional experience with comics was, I started interning at Marvel, and that led to a full-time job as an assistant editor working in Tom Brevoort’s Marvel Heroes office [...], so it was all y’know New Avengers, and House of M, and Civil War. I was there for three years, and then I ended up leaving because I wanted to write comics, and I just knew that if I stayed as an editor, I wouldn’t have an opportunity to write, and so I, like a wandering ronin, I took up my sword and I went up to Stamford, Connecticut (so like a wandering ronin), and I worked for WWE for a couple years. And since then, I’ve done a lot of freelance stuff, I worked in video games doing marketing and things like that, but all the while I’ve been, y’know... writing comics is a thing that I have done and I do have published work to my name; I had a graphic novel come out earlier this year, and it’s something I love doing, and I want to do more of.

NICK: Zak, what about you?

ZAK KINSELLA: Well, I’ve been more so in the illustration game for most of my twenties, working a lot with like New York Times, Popular Science and stuff like that, but... everything always came back to comic books, so finally I was at a point where I was like, “I’m making OK money doing illustration, but it’s kind of driving me a little batty because it’s just not fun at all, so starting in 2007, 2008 I started doing more comic-focused stuff. I had a little flirtation kind of thing with Oni Press, my style’s more lighthearted, cartoony stuff, and I wasn’t really quite sure of what I wanted to do at that point. I’d been submitting stuff to some of the big companies since then, and I was just... yeah, I didn’t really feel like I wanted to draw Iron Man at that point, or stuff like that. So I was trying to find my own grounding, and my buddies here that I worked with, we decided we just weren’t finding anything out there that we wanted to read, that was something that we loved, so we went in together and started doing our own independent comic which is called Midspace. It’s like a total tongue-in-cheek space opera, it’s just as much crazy shit as we can think to throw in and go. So I’ve been doing that for the past couple years, and I’ve also been talking with Scholastic about doing a longform graphic novel as well, but that’s been totally put on the backburner, and that’s when I got into talking to Aubrey about doing some comic book work with him and just, y’know... putting more crazy stuff out there.

KINGMAUL001002NICK: So Scholastic is obviously publishing King Maul eventually, right?

AUBREY: [Laughs] We’re creating something especially for their audience.

ZAK: Thirteen year old girls are gonna love it.

AUBREY: We’re just gonna search and replace all the “buttfuckin’” references with “rassafrassin’”, and we’ll be off to the races, we’ll be good to go.

NICK: There you go. So tell us a little bit about King Maul.

AUBREY: King Maul kind of has its origins in when I was at 2K, a games publisher, I was working on the WWE games there, and they publish Bioshock Borderlands, NBA 2K, a lot of great games, they’re one of the best video game publishers out there. When I was there, I had an itch that I wanted to do more comics stuff, and it was because at the time, I was waiting for my graphic novel, Worth with Chris Moreno to come out, and I just wanted stuff out there and I wanted a creative outlet that I didn’t have to wait for anybody else, it was just a thing that I could come home and do whatever the balls I wanted to do, and it’s just kind of freeform. I have a rough idea in my head of this thing I wanted to do, and so I started doing it as a kind of creative outlet for myself while I was still working a full time job, because, and this is sort of the frustrating thing for comics writers, and I hear it all the time from people who maybe haven’t spent as much time in the industry as I have, and they say: “Aubrey, do you have any advice for somebody who wants to write comics?” and I say “I don’t know, man! [Laughs] I don’t fuckin’ know! I have no idea what to tell you!” Because it’s fuckin’ hard for a million reasons, right? The actual act of it is really difficult and it’s difficult in that, if you want to write movies, you sit down and you write a screenplay and you start sending it around to people. If you want to write comics, you have to get the comics made. And if you’re only the writer, and you can’t draw, like I couldn’t, it’s difficult, because you have to find somebody who’s willing to join in with you in this journey, right? And so I was looking for a way to just kind of have the freedom to just sit down and do a thing, and just make something, and I am a terrible artist, but, that was kind of the fun part of it to me too, is I said, “Y’know, fuck it, I’m doing a page a week, come hell or high water, it’s happening,” and I muscled through it, and it was terrible, but I did it, and I put up a page every week for a while. Then, when I eventually left 2K and went freelance again, I couldn’t justify the amount of time it was taking me to do what were amounting to really terrible pages. So King Maul kind of went on hiatus for a while, and it was always a kind of fantasy-based, foul-mouthed, violent, angry comic and that was the intent of it, because it’s kind of a catharsis thing too, right? It’s a way for me to get all the poison out. When I first started talking to Zak, it was through our mutual friend Zach Howard; there’s a long-lost one-shot at DC that I wrote and Zach Howard drew, that, it was set to come out and then New 52 happened, and I don’t want to give anything away about it because it still might come out, eventually. I have no idea. I mean, probably not.

ZAK: Yeah, I’ve seen pages, they’re beautiful.

AUBREY: It’s amazing! It’s amazing! It’s the most amazing thing, and, oh my God, it hurts my heart whenever I think about it, because it’s so amazing [...] Zach Howard drew the shit out of it, and New 52 happened, and changes they made to the universe and certain characters made it so it’s completely unpublishable. There would have to be something like, five patches on every single page, and a dialogue rewrite for it to ever see the light of day. So it’s just lost. So I had known Zach Howard through that, and I’ve got the wrestling background, and had been doing my Straight Shoot wrestling show, and Zach Howard was like, “Oh! You know who you should talk to? My pal, Zak Kinsella,” which led us to talking together.

ZAK: That’s basically how it came about, we started chit chatting over Twitter, I think, and then I was coming up on finishing the third issue of our comic, Midspace, and after that, I was like, “Well, I can either work on this graphic novel stuff” and that got pushed to the backburner, so I reached out to Aubrey, and I was like “hey, man, we talked about doing some stuff before, what do you got going on?”

AUBREY: And initially, we started off talking about doing something slightly different, I think, and as we kept discussing the stuff that, y’know whenever you start working with somebody, [...] I was talking with Zak about the things we both kind of liked, and trying to figure out the Venn diagram of what our interests are, aside from just wrestling, because Zak’s a big wrestling fan as well. And the more and more we started talking, I eventually just said “hey, man, I’ve got this idea for just this foul-mouthed, awful, mean-spirited, barbarian guy just wandering around, getting into nasty shit.” And Zak said, “Yeah! That sounds great! Yeah! Let’s do it!” [laughs]

ZAK: Yeah, it was crazy, because I had thought a couple years ago about doing a space book, but not with a barbarian, but with a viking. So I was like “oh, shit, this is right up my alley.” It was just one of those weirdo confluences of weird batshit craziness, I dunno.

KINGMAUL001005AUBREY: I know that a lot of people say that there are these really hard, discrete differences between fantasy and sci-fi, but I don’t think there are, I think it’s just kind of tropes. [...] But for me, as a fantasy guy, I just thought—fantasy’s my default, right? And whenever I read sci-fi, I just view it as, “Oh, yeah, it’s fantasy, but with spaceships.” And that’s what Star Wars is and that’s what fucking Dune is—I just listed the two most fantasy-influenced sci-fi things, but you know what I’m saying! Zak, he’s a little more sci-fi, so we wanted to have more of the sci-fi stuff in it, so we said “Fuck it! It starts with him strapped to a meteor. It’s in space! Deal with it! America!”

ZAK: Yeah, we’d also been getting into those, god, he had me start reading these Elric novels—

AUBREY: [quietly] aww, yeah...

NICK: Like Michael Moorcock Elric?

AUBREY: Michael MOSTcock is what I call it because it’s the fucking best! It’s the best thing! Make sure that’s in the interview. Make sure that makes it to the text.

NICK: That’s the headline.

AUBREY: [laughs] “Michael Mostcock, with Aubrey and Zak.”

ZAK: Don’t worry about it, it’s a thing, it’s beautiful. I just started reading through them and it was totally out of any kind of order, ‘cause they’re hard as hell to find! And Denver has this amazing amount of dusty-ass used bookstores and I mean, there’s piles upon piles of old shitty books everywhere in this city, but I found three Elric books. And I started reading the first one, and I was expecting something like Legacy of Kain or Soul Reaver, but it’s crazy like... something to do with a portal, and this almost-dead guy in space, and I was like “This is pretty fucking amazing, man, holy shit.”

AUBREY: It’s bonkers. [...] Elric is batshit insane. It’s great, it’s so 70s and trippy, he’s the last emperor of this line of emperors, they’re called Melnibonians, they’re this evil, vicious, amoral race that subjugated the entire fantasy world, and now they’re corrupted and they’ve fallen apart. [...] He’s an albino and his blood is deficient, so he has to take drugs just to keep his energy up, but he also gets this sword, which is kind of sentient and attached to the Duke of Chaos, and it feeds on the souls of people that he kills, and when he does that, he also gets energy. So he can either take drugs, or he can just murder people and get energy that way. And he travels the world trying to learn how to make Melnibone a better place, and learn how to rule it. So he’s constantly at war with these baser Melnibonian instincts... It’s amazing. It’s the best. It’s one of those things where, if I’d read it at sixteen, I feel like my entire life would have been different, and probably better. I probably would have been better off, if I’d read it way, way earlier.

NICK: There’s like... forty of them, right?

AUBREY: Not that many. [...] Elric ones are only like six or seven. They’re a little complicated to read because of exactly what Zak said, it’s out of print for I have no idea. But you can find used ones, for two bucks or something, so it’s fine. I’m a crazy person, so I was trying to find all the ones with the similar trade dress, so when I put them on my shelf, they’d all line up.

ZAK: We’re all weird, it’s okay.

AUBREY: I know, I hate myself for it though. But they were published in a different order than the chronological order, and so then when they republished them they put them in different orders, and there are some short stories that get inserted somewhere... it’s bonkers. But to Zak’s point, it doesn’t really matter where you start reading it, because it’s all just batshit insane, it’s great.

ZAK: In a very good way. Not like reading Spawn. You know what I mean? There is a cohesive—

AUBREY: It’s a little bit like reading Spawn, because it’s fuckin’ rad! It’s the tits! It’s the fucking best! In that regard, it’s like reading Spawn. Elric is a big touchstone in what we’re doing with King Maul, at least for me from the writing perspective. Something that Elric does is something I think Kirby does really well, which is operating in a space where it’s just raw ideas and concepts being shouted at people, right? If you read those Fourth World comics, it’s nothing but all those Kirby characters just yelling a concept at each other. And it sounds like I’m being dismissive of it, but I’m not, because it’s one of my favorite comics ever, but y’know, it’s Orion just layin’ it out for you, and telling you “here’s what the struggle is and here’s the fight and here’s what it means and here’s what it represents.” But it doesn’t even represent anything, it’s not even metaphor, it’s just so on-the-nose all the time, but he does it with such commitment that it’s amazing.


NICK: It’s sincere enough to be actually good, and not just polemics being shouted around.

AUBREY: Exactly, and Elric is very much the same way, I think, because you don’t even have to scratch the surface to really understand what it is about these different civilizations that Elric visits. It’s like “Oh, well, these motherfuckers are greedy and will cut their nose off to spite their face, and that’s what’s wrong with them.” And that’s what the story’s about! I’m oversimplifying, but that’s very much a touchstone for what I’m trying to do with King Maul. It’s got all the fantasy trappings, and it’s over-the-top, it’s crazy, and it’s foul-mouthed and crass, but it’s also just raw, raw ideas being shouted at each other, which is something that I think comics formally lends itself to better than reams of Mamet-esque dialogue or really intricate plotting and things like that, because it’s just not one of comics’ strengths, I don’t think, which is kind of funny, because that’s the way that a lot of people tend to write their comics these days.

ZAK: Tons of overexposition like, “Man, I just wanna get to it, y’know what I mean?”

KINGMAUL001015AUBREY: Just the good parts, right? Just the good parts. Cut out everything else. That’s a Scott McCloud thing, talking about how all the magic happens in between the panels, because in between panels is where all the movement occurs, and we fill in the blanks and decide what happens. So if that’s what happens, we know that people are going to be filling shit in in between the panels and doing the heavy lifting themselves, why don’t we just only show stuff that’s fucking rad? Right? Why don’t we only show a barbarian strapped to an asteroid, and then him punching a troll in the balls, and smoking a big ol’ joint. Let’s only show the stuff that’s visually interesting to look at, which is a really freeing way to look at comics, because for so many years, it’s been dominated by, and I don’t even know where this impulse comes from, but people point to manga as having done it and Warren Ellis’s stuff on the Authority, of this... they do it like storyboards for a movie. [Voiceover impression] “We open on the Earth, and we zoom in and then we see a city, and then we see a hill, and then we see a man on the hill, and—“ WHY?! Why? Who wants to see that? It’s fucking boring! And I get it as a reaction, as an artistic outgrowth of what trends are and things like that, but honestly, who wants to read that? Conversely, who wants to open up a comic and see twenty word balloons? Nothing gets me to put a comic down faster than seeing more white from word balloons on the page than anything else.

ZAK: It’s one of those things that as an artist too, you’re like, “Well, where am I gonna fit the drawing? And the whole composition? How am I supposed to lead your eye around this page if it’s Chris Claremont times a thousand on this page?”

AUBREY: Chris Claremont gets a—listen, I’m gonna go into my “Defend Chris Claremont” mode right now. [...] Chris Claremont gets a bad rap for that shit, but Claremont, classic Chris Claremont, the best Chris Claremont stuff you want to find, whatever it is, Dark Phoenix. That stuff isn’t a third as wordy as some of the shit you see coming out from Marvel and DC right now. Right now. It’s just, it’s the style.

ZAK: It’s the decompression.

AUBREY: I think it’s people focusing on the wrong things and it’s not playing to comics’ strengths, because comics isn’t good at dialogue. And the reason comics isn’t good at dialogue is because nobody’s reading it! There’s no actors.

ZAK: If you want dialogue, buy a book.

AUBREY: Or watch a movie! Watch a movie, go see a play, watch TV, if that’s what you want. [...] I’ll tell you what comics is good at, instead. Comics is good at showing you only the good shit, and cutting right to the point and just picking the moments that matter. That’s what a comic book page is, it’s five or six (or seven if you’re really hateful towards your artist) individual moments that you think it’s important to show. You have to distill it down to five or six moments. So you only want to choose the best ones, and what’s great about is, and it sounds very limiting, and it is, what’s great about it is you get to dwell on only the good shit, and the audience is accustomed to filling in the blanks.

NICK: Let’s bring it back to King Maul specifically. What has it been like working with the webcomic medium as opposed to a print medium, where you’re a little more free with your deadlines? Zak, I don’t know if you’ve been shifting more towards digital of if you’re still a print guy, how you guys tend to interact... what is that like?

AUBREY: First of all, we’re not more free with our deadlines. We have a page coming out every Monday and every Thursday. That is brutal! That is a brutal schedule.

ZAK: Two pages a week, it doesn’t seem like insurmountable odds for a lot of cartoonists, but I’ve gotta have all my layouts, make sure my angles are working well... the biggest thing is I’m not a digital guy at all, like those little Cintiqs, just like “aw, I don’t wanna do this.” I like making a mess. Even though I have a pretty clean style, I just love to get dirty with ink and pencil. I just color on Photoshop, and even then I feel like sometimes, there’s no way I’m gonna be a Bettie Breitweiser, ever in my life as a colorist. I love those big, hammy, Bruce Timm Justice League-style colors, and Futurama-style colors. They’re expressive, and that works so well with our book. I feel like we’re doing a science fiction book and we’re also doing fantasy at the same time, so we really need to push that to catch people’s eyes. If you’re trying to follow a story online, it has to be exciting on every page. Those colors have to pop on every page to keep people coming back, and that’s what they’re used to. So if I decided like halfway through the run to switch to this like Ed Brubaker-on-Daredevil color palette, that shit would not fly, especially on the web. Unless you’re in for something you’re gonna read that’s noirish and depressing, which our book is not. It’s balls-to-the-wall, and that’s how the colors should be, too. And I’ve been trying to expand my horizons a little bit with some classic science fiction, like those old pulp Isaac Asimov covers, that the dudes used to paint. I’ve been trying to find a lot of those artists and who they are, but there’s just no credits for them. And I was like, “You know who I should really be looking at is Moebius.” The king of space and fantasy.

AUBREY: You should get old Wally Wood EC Comics stuff, too.

ZAK: I had a few of those, that’s good stuff, too. And more modern stuff, I think Paul Pope has been one of my best guys.

AUBREY: It’s an interesting thing, man, this is something Zak and I have actually talked about a lot in terms of formatting this thing in such a way that, I think early on one of the first things I told you I thought, before I even started writing the thing, I wanted to know what our schedule was, how often these pages are gonna be coming out, and how many pages we’re launching with. I thought that shit was super important because, we launched with I think five pages, and that’s the number I wanted to know, because that means I’ve got five pages to get you, right? I mean, really, I’ve got less because if people hate the first page, they’re not gonna be on board. But I’ve got five pages to really pull you in, and after that, it’s only one page every three or four days. And that impacts how I write this thing, and that’s why the very first page of this thing is a guy strapped to a meteor, screaming, right? That’s why it starts that way, because we’ve gotta get into it, right now. We don’t have time to fuck around. There’s a new page every three or four days, and it’s definitely impacted the way I write, and I tend to micromanage myself in terms of make an outline, then make page breakdowns, then write down everything that happens on every page, so by the time it comes to writing the script, there’s not a whole lot of room to wiggle around. That’s generally how I work. And that’s a work method that I think lends itself well to print media, because the fact of the matter is, for instance, the Worth graphic novel I did that came out in April that I did, that’s a 120 pages, I think it’s retail price of 25, but once you pay 24.95 and take this thing home... You’re gonna read it. Unless it’s really bad, you’re gonna read it. So it doesn’t need to grab you in the first few pages, we can take our time, we can have a real leisurely pace before we get into the meat of what we’re doing, and that’s not the case with King Maul. And we talked about trying to structure it like Terry and the Pirates or something, where it’s a complete story on every page, but then that lends itself to a larger story, but then we decided not to do that, mostly because it sounded kind of hard... like honestly it sounded really fucking hard [laughs], and also at the end of the day, we do want something we can collect in print versions, because we know that not everybody likes reading shit online. Some people would much rather sit down with 22 pages and then go through that at once, or would like to sit down with 122 pages and go through that at once, so we’re trying to format it in such a way that it works every single week, or every three or four days, but also contributes to this whole and will hold together. And, man, it’s tough! [laughs] And I’ve learned a lot, I’ve done a lot of drafts on the second chapter already, because, I letter it myself and then post the stuff, and put it online, and try to pull panels and put it on Facebook and Twitter and things like that, it’s taught me that not only does it have to have something neat and grabbing intellectually every single panel, that really speaks to people and tries to get them to keep reading, so it’s a lot of stuff where—here’s one of my tricks—eighty percent of the pages end with a voice coming from off panel. [laughs] I’m over-exaggerating, but that’s intentional because it’s supposed to be like, “Oh, shit, this guy’s gonna come!” or “Who is that?” or “What’s this thing we’re gonna see when we come back three or four days from now?” So using all those tricks is great, but the other thing that I’ve learned as we’ve moved through the first chapter is every page needs to have one crazy fucking panel that people would see out of context and say “That. That’s something I need to go look and read more about.” So that’s something I’ve tried to do with the next chapter, and I’ve tried to do better than the first chapter, is making sure that every single page has one amazing image that I can pull out, out of context, post on Twitter, post on Facebook, post on Tumblr, and people will see it and say “that’s a thing that I need to go check out.”KINGMAUL001010

ZAK: I’ve been trying to draw that, and I’ve been tweaking my layouts a little bit to have more exciting camera angles, and just exacerbate that situation even more than we’ve already planned. I know my style’s pretty high energetic, but the challenge is always to push yourself to be better at that.

AUBREY: Another thing we’ve been doing that I think probably if anything it’s frustrating for Zak-- we don’t have any splash pages. There are no splash pages. And the reason there are no splash pages is because that’s too little, right? That’s not enough! If you’re only getting one page every three or four days, one of them can’t be a dude standing there flexing at you. That’s not enough to justify coming back every three or four days. Here’s the thing: I love a big ol’ double page spread. I love a four page gatefold spread, right? That you have to turn on its side to see the whole thing. I love all of that. But increasingly, the percentages of people reading print comics vs. digital comics are only gonna go down from here on out. And let me tell you something about looking at a spread on an iPad: it stinks! It sucks, it’s awful.

ZAK: If you had four iPads to put together...

AUBREY: It’s impossible! And the whole thing, ‘cause I hate Guided View, ‘cause it’s not comics, that’s just individual things. I wanna see the page design and the page layout. You can’t do that unless you have incredible hawk eyes that can read lettering just so big. And so, you won’t ever find any spreads in King Maul, either, because it’s just not formatted for that. It’s comics for the future, man. That’s what we’re doin’. Comics for the future. Y’know what, replace “Michael Mostcock” with “Comics for the Future.”

NICK: I’m writing “Michael Mostcock” down so I can cross it out and write “Comics for the Future.”

AUBREY: It’s fine, it’s synonymous, really.

ZAK: It’s not frustrating at all, I actually hadn’t thought about it until you said something about it, but there are no splash pages. But I feel like if we did do a splash page, yeah, that’d be a shitty day of comics. [...] “Did these guys just decide to phone it in?” Splash pages, especially going into comic book reviews, “that’s lazy.” In portfolio reviews, splash pages are kind of lazy shit, y’know?

AUBREY: I think there’s nothing better than a splash page. I love a splash page. But it only works in the context of a sizeable chunk. If the splash page is the only thing you’re getting, that’s not even comics, it’s just a pin-up.

ZAK: Yeah. When we did Midspace, we did that first issue where I had that complex double page spread, and when people opened it up, they were like “YEAH, this is awesome!” yeah... if we tried to do that on a PDF... it’s a whole page-turning idea. We’ve done some pretty big panels, so that kind of scratches the itch, so to speak, on a couple of those, when I can really flex a little more and make something bigger, but still have some story.

AUBREY: Any time you’re reading King Maul and you see a three-panel page, that’s really just because we wanted to do a splash, but we didn’t think that was fair to the audience. I mean, I think that’s accurate, right? There’s a couple of those in the first issue, and I know there are a couple in the second issue, because I was just fucking around with the script the other day. Me thinking “oh, this should be a splash!” and then realizing, “Oh, that’s gonna be a real shitty update, that’s gonna be a real shitty Monday for people, so we need to put something else in here.”

NICK: You’re already working on a second chapter, I don’t know how long the first chapter is gonna be.

AUBREY: First chapter’s 22 pages. The intent is the chapters are gonna mirror issues. So if and when we decide to do print versions, it’s an easy transition.

NICK: Are you guys looking to Kickstart a print version at some point, or are you just gonna do it digital till the wheels fall off? Have you guys thought that far ahead?

AUBREY: Yeah, we’ve talked about possibilities and I do wanna do a print version at some point, but, honestly, Kickstarter’s a motherfucker, huh? [laughs]

ZAK: That’s a lot of fuckin’ work, man.

AUBREY: It’s a lot of work! Kickstarter makes a lot of sense if you need $300,000 and you’ve got an idea that’s just gonna electrify the entire nation, but if you’re just looking to do a print run of something, and especially after we’ve already had the work done? I dunno, I’m probably not gonna do a Kickstarter. Who knows. Probably not? Because the fact of the matter is: most Kickstarters fail. Most comics Kickstarters, even ones that I see a lot of people talking about, they fail, because people ask for a ton of money, and here’s the thing, I’ve done the math on it before, and a lot of times, you need to have t-shirts for rewards, and bumper stickers, and then the print version, and this and that, and by the time you factor in shipping costs and what Kickstarter takes as their cut, 60-70% of the money you’re raising isn’t actually going to fund the thing you wanted to do in the first place, because you’re having to pay for shipping of the random bullshit tchotchkes you’re having to send out to people. I think what’s more likely is us doing a preorder for limited edition print versions. I know Zak does a lot of conventions so he can have something to bring to these conventions and sell to people, I have a Big Cartel site, we can sell it through there... That seems like a more logical step to me than Kickstarter. [...] Unless you’re an established creator with a huge following, or you’ve got something that’s somehow gonna get coverage on i09 or Jezebel or some other Gawker Media related thing that’s gonna get you a huge pick up... Your Kickstarter just ain’t gonna go so well, man. Doing Kickstarters for King Maul and other projects is something I’ve thought about in the past, but I’ve done the math not just in terms of how much money I’d have to raise, because I need x amount of dollars, but I need to raise 3x dollars to do all the fulfillment and stuff... Also, that would be my full-time fucking job! Just sending out magnets! Sending out King Maul Magnets to people who donated at the five-dollar level. That would be my job for like six months! Fuck that! I’m not doing that.

ZAK: I’ve got some buddies, they’re finishing up their Kickstarter whatever-tier level contributions that they were sending out t-shirts—they pulled up a fuckin’ postal truck, man! Friends were gonna help them out and box stuff up, and it wasn’t even the actual real deal, it was just incentive crap.

AUBREY: I feel like once you make your friends box up t-shirts for you, those people probably aren’t going to be your friends anymore. I feel like that’s the last move of a really great friend.

ZAK: I feel bad having people help me move! My comic books and whatnot.

AUBREY: Yeah, probably no Kickstarter for us in the future. But who knows?! Who knows, Nick?

NICK: Now that you’ve said all these lovely things about Kickstarter and their business practices.

AUBREY: No, Kickstarter is great! Kickstarter is great, I just don’t think it lends itself to comics very well. Because the fact of the matter is, comics, and this is another great thing about comics is, it’s really low barrier to entry. You need one guy. I mean, not this guy [points at himself] because I’m terrible at half of it, but you need one guy to sit down and write a thing, and draw it and then put it out somewhere. It’s super easy. It’s not like filming a movie. It’s not like making a video game. It’s super easy. You don’t need a whole lot of materials. The time—it’s very time intensive. It takes a lot of time. But it’s easy enough for just one person to do, so the costs involved aren’t that high, raw costs, right? So yeah, I think that Kickstarter has to work on a much larger scale. If you wanna raise $2,000,000 for a Veronica Mars movie, well, OK, that makes sense. But to raise whatever limited amount of money—and it wouldn’t be that much money for us to print up some fuckin’ Maul Chapter 1 comics, you know what I’m sayin’?—I would much rather do a preorder thing and then get people’s money and then print up extras that we sold at cons.

NICK: Where can people find you online?

AUBREY:, obviously, and that has links to all our individual stuff.

ZAK: Usually I hang out on twitter @zakkinsella, but I have a portfolio site and all that other stuff, and, that’s where I post a lot of my process stuff from Instagram. I put up short stories and that kind of stuff every once in awhile. I’m trying to get more work so I can start up a Patreon account for my own personal crap. Those are my main digs.

AUBREY: All my stuff is at That’s all the King Maul stuff, as well as my rasslin' stuff, which we didn’t get much into.

NICK: The World’s Smartest Rasslin' Show?

AUBREY: That’s what they call it. Listen, I’m not gonna, y’know, that’s what people say about it. Who am I to argue with the people, Nick?

NICK: You gotta give the crowd what they want, Aubrey. That’s the whole thing.

AUBREY: Like any good gladiator. Give the audience what they want. That’s what I believe.

What else is there to say, gang? Don't be a mark-- go check out King Maul today!