MonkeyBrain Comics has been on a roll lately with all the announcements of new series from up and coming and also established comic creators. One of the latest comics to be announced was Art Monster from writer Jeremy Holt and artist Francesca Ciregia. With Art Monster hitting Comixology on Dec. 18th, Jeremy was kind enough to chat about the book, how both Joe Eisma and Riley Rossmo were originally attached, and much more.
Leo Johnson: Tell us a bit about yourself, if you would.
Jeremy Holt: I’m a Vermont-based comic book writer whose most notable work includes Southern Dog (Action Lab Entertainment), After Houdini (readchallenger.com), and Pulp (self-published), which IGN has called, “…one of the best one shot comics of the year .”
LJ: Your new book, Art Monster, with artist Francesca Ciregia is coming to MonkeyBrain. What’s that story about?
JH: At its core, Art Monster is a modern re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s classic tale Frankenstein, or the title I prefer, The Modern Prometheus. More specifically, my story poses the question, “What if Dr. Frankenstein went to Art School instead?”
Having graduated from an art school myself, I felt placing the iconic character of Victor Frankenstein in this completely unique environment would spawn intriguing new developments.
What begins as one man’s desperate struggle to finally graduate from college unexpectedly becomes a complex journey of self-discovery about life, love, and the pursuit of artistic innovation.
LJ: Anyone who’s followed your blog or tweets knows that Joe Eisma was previously attached to Art Monster as the artist. What eventually brought Francesca into the project as artist?
JH: That’s correct, Joe Eisma was originally attached to the project. What most don’t know is that this project was originally conceived by Riley Rossmo. Riley and I have been friends for several years now, and he approached me with the basic concept a few years back.
We spent a few months developing it but then he was unexpectedly tapped by Nick Spencer to work on Bedlam for Image Comics. With Riley’s blessing, I continued developing the project without him because I was absolutely hooked on the idea.
Riley being the super nice guy that he is, put me in contact with Joe, which is how we started collaborating on it. Unfortunately, Joe’s availability took a dramatic shift after the birth of his second son this year. Quite graciously, he gave me his blessing to move on without him as MonkeyBrain was still very much interested in publishing the series as they too loved the concept.
Enter Francesca Ciregia. Francesca and I have actually been developing another pitch that I’ve been co-writing with Tim Daniel. With that pitch still in need of a colorist and loving her work, I thought the timing was right to approach her with Art Monster. It was serendipitous that she loved the concept and was also available to work on it right away.
LJ: How did Art Monster come to make its home at MonkeyBrain?
JH: How the project found a home was a mixture of good timing and general support from a friend that currently is doing a book with them. Said friend loved the pitch I sent him, and was nice enough to recommend it to the folks at MonkeyBrain.
LJ: Art Monster will be digital first, as with all MonkeyBrain titles, and published via Comixology. Did this influence how you wrote the book in any way?
Great question! Absolutely. Back in March, I had pitched MonkeyBrain as a potentially publisher to Joe while we were hanging out at Emerald City Comicon. Having already scripted the four issue miniseries, I decided to break up each 22 page issue into a 10/12 page split to adhere to MonkeyBrain’s preferred shorter format. This simply required a stronger hook on page ten of each issue.
LJ: Backmatter seems to be all the rage these days, and you decided to include your “Strange Love” articles from Multiversity. What made these pieces the right sort of thing to include as the back matter?
JH: The truth is that it was a last minute scramble on my part to provide some content to fill out the rather short issues. I’m quite proud of my column and have always planned to republish them, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.
LJ: Where can those interested keep up with your and your projects?
JH: I’m quite active on Twitter @Jeremy_Holt, but also have a blog that I update periodically with project updates. You can find it at www.clumpoftrees.wordpress.com.
LJ: Finally, is there anything else you want to add?
JH: I’d like to thank you for your time with this interview! Pre-orders for Art Monster are available starting Dec. 4th, and available for download on Dec. 18th.