THE BIG CHRISTMAS INTERVIEW: James O'Callaghan Talks Grayhaven's Phase 2 Projects

In  a special Christmas Day interview we are joined once more by James O’Callaghan, an Irish editor with Grayhaven Comics in the US who talks with us about the company’s Phase 2 projects they are undertaking over the next number of months. So read on…
David O’Leary: Hi James, thanks for talking with us today.
James O’Callaghan: No problem David. Thanks for having me back.
DO’L: We’re here to talk about Grayhaven’s Phase 2. For the uninitiated, can you outline what Phase 2 entails and how it followed on from before.
JO’C: Phase 2 is basically the next logical step for Grayhaven Comics. We started small for Phase 1 with a single anthology that was intended to be annual at best, but which grew to become a monthly anthology alongside several specials.
Phase 2 is where new creators could get the full experience of working on a creator owned book as mini-series. Guidelines are tighter, editing notes are a lot stricter to keep quality high. Fellow editor Erica Heflin was already working on several books, which I was editing and discussed bringing them out through Grayhaven, the first of which was Mother and Son. Then Andrew decided to get back into writing full time and started his book and through that it trickled down to the other editors, then to opening things up to a few of our long standing contributors and pros interested in working with us and finally, soon we hope, we’ll be open to pitches from anyone interested in bringing out their work through us.
Also, just to clarify for people, Phase 2 is just the title we use to describe these books. It’s not going to be a linewide banner or anything. It’s just an easy way for us to differentiate between our anthologies and non-anthology books.
DO’L: What projects can we expect from Phase 2?
JO’C: Right now on the schedule we have quite a bit actually. First off we have our collection of mini-series/ ongoing books.
MOTHER AND SON – A story about a woman and the alien she’s been impregnated with trying to halt an alien invasion by Erica Heflin and Elias Martins (ongoing)
OF WOLF AND WOMAN  – A new twist on werewolf stories by Erica Heflin and Dale McKee (mini)
CHRONOGRAPHER – A time travel mystery by Erica Heflin, Fabio Pio, Edson Alves and Carlos Paul (mini)
11:59 – a post-apocalyptic horror series by Andrew Goletz and Nick Francis (ongoing)
RUN LIKE HELL – The comic adaptation of the hit YA Thriller by Elena Andrews (also the books author) and George Amaru (mini)
TOMORROW – A sci-fi superheroic epic mini-series by Jason Hissong, John Coker and Devin Taylor (mini)
TITANIUM STAR – A Sci Fi/Western series of mini series by Victor (X-Men, Deadpool, Shadow) Gischler and Sam Tung (ongoing)
Then we also have several one-shots coming. Some of these were announced before we officially decided on Phase 2, but they’re still part of the line-up.
MY GEEK FAMILY – A fun personal story by Doug Hahner about him and his equally geeky family, drawn by Donal Delay
DOBER-MAN – A love letter to the Silver Age of comics by Travis Holyfield and Ed Whatley
SPARKS – A hard boiled detective drama by Glenn Matchett and Cassandra James
As well as those we’ve got a few more books currently in the works, both mini’s and one-shots, that we’ll be announcing as soon as they’re a bit further along production-wise. However as a special treat, we want to announce the new book written by Glenn Matchett, my fellow Irishman, and artist Alan Anguiano. The book is called LIVING WITH DEATH and is another detective story. This book will be amongst the second wave of the Phase 2 books. As with 11:59 and Mother and Son, this will be a mini series with an option to continue as an ongoing if sales are strong. In fact Mother & Son’s sales have reached that point, so more will be coming from that after the first mini wraps up.
DO’L: Phase 2 is an aggressive move on Grayhaven’s part to expand your publishing line. What factors made it the right time to do this?
JO’C: The main thing was that we were just itching to spread out and give it a try. Making anthologies is all well and good but it’s not something that typically gives creators a chance to flex the creative muscles or even sells well. Mention the word “anthology” to a distributor rep at a convention, chances are they’re going to look at you with a “Ah, god love ‘em…” stare and slowly back away. So while we still want to do the anthologies, we wanted to start getting some books out that were done by a single creative team and show the people who have been loyal and talented contributors that we believe in their work and want to do what we can to get it out there.
It didn’t hurt either that most of the editors at Grayhaven were already slowly working on solo projects during their time as contributors and then later as editors. I don’t think it was hard for Andrew or any of the others to decide to use these books to kick off our wave of creator owned books.
DO’L: How will Phase 2 work with your new partnership with Barnes & Noble in terms of digital availability?
JO’C: As I understand things every Phase 2 book will come out not long after the print issue, same as The Gathering and other books we do. Everything with a Grayhaven logo on it will be released this way from now on.
DO’L: Are there any titles upcoming that you will have a hand in?
JO’C: I will indeed. I’m editing all of Erica Heflin’s books and will be co-editing 11:59 for Andrew with her as well. I’ll also be editing a couple of one-shots that we’ll be announcing as soon as some more work is completed on them.
I’m also going to be co-writing a story with Sean Leonard for Phase 2. Something that will likely be the first of many collaborations.
DO’L: How were the Phase 2 projects chosen and is there any opportunity to add to the schedule?
JO’C: The first wave of them were books that the editors wanted to do and were planning to do at some point anyway, so bringing them under the Grayhaven umbrella and using them to kick off Phase 2 just made sense. After that Andrew had a few people float ideas passed him and some caught his interest, some didn’t.
Since we’re so small, and almost all of the production is done by a couple of people, the majority right now by Erica, we can only do so much. As a few of us get more adept at the production stuff we’ll start to increase but for now the Phase 2 stuff won’t expand much further than what’s already planned but we will definitely be offering people the chance to bring their stories to us once we’re physically able to expand or a completed story finishes and frees up space on the schedule.
DO’L: Phase 2 is obviously a big undertaking on your part at Grayhaven, is this something you will be looking to repeat with a ‘Phase 3’?
JO’C: Phase 3 will actually be something entirely different, and a pretty big deal for us. I’m not going to be as involved in it initially, though that could change, but from what I’ve heard so far from Andrew it promises to be very impressive and something that I hope, not just as an editor but as a comic fan in general, gets a lot of attention.
DO’L: Many thanks for joining us James, take care.
JO’C: Thanks for having me here David. Before I go, I just want to let everyone reading know that our open submissions will be launching towards the end of January, so anyone interested in pitching keep checking the website, www.grayhavencomics.com,  for the official launch of that. At the same time we’ll be launching our next kickstarter to fund the whole thing, which will have some great incentives and rewards to check out.
We’ve also just announced a new book the entire editorial staff will be working on, that will be distributed for free both in print and digitally. The title of the book is “You Are Not Alone” and is our attempt at spreading the word and doing good for those that need it. We’ll be including a donation button for this particular issue, and any funds raised will be going to the charities set up for the families of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary in the US. All details so far about this particular issue is in the link http://www.grayhavencomics.com/2012/12/24/you-are-not-alone/
Thanks again for having me David, and a Merry Christmas to you and your readers.