INTERVIEW: Zenpop Comics!
So…who is Zenpop Comics?
The description on their website outlines this group as “Irish based independent publisher and comic collaborative creating original comics”. With 10 members already in the group, it is sure to make up a varied and interesting collection of collaborations and stand alone titles and styles. They are all based in various parts of the country, using the website to connect, create and showcase their skills and comic endeavours. Some of the members are already heavily involved with some Comic cons with a distinctive manga flavour and have produced Zenpop magazines focused on comics, interviews and tutorials.
H:Hi Ellen, thanks for taking the time to chat with ICN! Firstly, lets just outlines who is involved with Zenpop Comics and use the great bio pics outlined on the website:
H: So now we know who is in it, how did the idea for a collective Manga group come about?
E: I have always had a passion for drawing and reading comic books despite my parents disapproval. My passion was kicked into overdrive when I met Sonia Leong and Emma Vecelli from Sweatdrop Studios. They basically introduced me into the world of self publication and the art of creating comic books.
After some encouragement from a close friend, I decided to take the nose-dive and bought the domain and web space. DeviantArt is a great resource for finding talent. I can’t exactly remember how I came across Ruth Redmond but from then on we just keep on growing.
At first, I had decided that we were going to be solely Manga style art based as back then, it was what I was into. Eventually, I came to enjoy “cartoon” art as much as I as I did with Manga.
The webcomic link on the ZENPOP site shows the brilliant ‘Space Officer Triggs’ by Hayley Mulcahy (see image at top of page) and the moving ‘Desolate Ceremony’ by Anthea West (see image at bottom of page). Are there more webcomics planned via this link for release online soon by the current members?
E:Oh yes, definitely. There are many more webcomics and hard copy books to come such as:
The Living 13 (released) – The Living Thirteen” is a 60-page webcomic pilot written and drawn by Liam Naughton and is currently running on the Zenpop Website. During the development of a new type of weapon 13 scientists are exposed to a strange and dangerous form of energy. Though they all walk away from the accident unharmed, their bodies nor their minds are left unchanged…
Princess – (Released) – A Webcomic (written and Drawn by Agata Romanska) about a 15 year old girl named Shin ”Nii Nii” Kano,who is possessed by a demon which was passed down in her family for generations. A sacred group ”Sealers” live only to make sure that the demon will never escape from Shin’s body, but she starts to doubt her role and who the ”Sealers” are.
Showa (Unreleased) – “This world can be cruel, But in the life of the comic artist– it can be crueller!” (Written and drawn by Liam Naughton) and due to go on sale later this year “Showa” is a passionate comedy about the lives and obsessions of the artist and writer!
Golfa – (Unreleased) – Golfa is (written and drawn by Hayley Mulcahy) a comic strip about a quirky chav who DJs for his older brother’s pirate radio station. Often accompanied by his pet cat, Mr. Honey – Golfa, needless to say, doesn’t do a good job and messes things up. A lot.
The Dove – (Unreleased) – The Dove (written an drawn by Brian Naughton) is a suspense thriller about two vigilantes, The Dove and the Raven. The difference between them is the Raven is willing to kill for justice while the Dove has sworn to hunt him/her down. This hunt to discover the Ravens identity sets us down the road to destruction as we untangle the mysteries surrounding a city under the thumb of the Boemen and the whole sad story behind it all.
Camogie Calamity – (Unreleased) – This is an ongoing series of short adventures for the zenpop magazines (like the Dove kinda but each “episode” is a one shot adventure).
Undead – (Unreleased) – A webcomic written and drawn by Dan Janos.
Lanette’s Knightmare – The King of Dreams (Unreleased) – A webcomic written and drawn by Ellen Woods.
H:So a very high level of productivity in the line up above! There appears to be many artistic influences listed in the bios of the artists involved. If pushed on it, could you all agree on a top 5 list of Manga books for newbies to get their teeth into?
E: In our opinion as a group, we think that most, “How To Draw Manga” books can be awful in terms of teaching you the basics of anatomy, posing, clothing and many other things (again that is just our opinion). However we did compile a list of helpful websites (and alternative Manga books or two to try out instead of the above).
- Manga stuff
- Cartoon Stuff
- Things you need to learn first
Andrew Loomis. Understanding comics.
Drawing the Head and Hands.
Figure Drawing for All it’s Worth
As a group, we also recommend drawing from real life and photos. Learn how to draw how the body works.
H: For those wishing to get involved with the site, are you looking for complete comics to print and upload only?
E: We are always looking for fresh talent. ALWAYS. If you are enthusiastic, disciplined and dedicated we would love to have you. You don’t necessarily need to have a complete comic or even have to have started one.
To put is simply: If you have good art skills but not so much of a good story telling skill, join us, we can help you. Visa-Versa, if your art lacks that certain something and you have a great story telling skill, also join us. We can help there too. Zenpop is also about the learning!
The willingness to participate in group activities is a must.
H: So do you plan an anthology at some point to facilitate smaller contributions?
E: Well occasionally we do bring out a small magazine (previous issues will be up for download soon) which gives readers a taster to what we can do and they have sold pretty well at conventions.
In the future we do intend on bringing out larger anthologies but we can’t tell you what they are, it’s a secret.
H: A year from now, how would you guys like to see this site influencing the comic scene here in Ireland?
E:We hope to inspire more artists all over the island and help build the flourishing comic scene nationwide.
The idea of picking up a comic book to read, for your average 35 year old woman seems a bit daft in most peoples eye but we would (as grand as it seems) love be be able to cater towards all demographics without them feeling childish.
We want to encourage the use of comic books to tell stories for we are a nation of storytellers.
Thanks to Ellen and all the team at Zenpop Comics for taking time to complete the interview! 🙂 Make sure to visit them at http://zenpop.org/