Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of your crowdfunding campaign! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this sci-fi and comedy comics collection, and what was the inspiration behind its creation?
Kraig Rasmussen: Thank you! And thanks for having me. My Zoop campaign has been really exciting so far, exceeding my wildest expectations, and there’s still more than two weeks left.
Odds & Ends started as a compilation of “lost & found tales,” when I did a very small run of a 100-page single volume in 2017. I’ve wanted to print a new edition of it ever since, and got a nice surprise when I started putting it together. The “found” part now has a double meaning: the literal, in reference to the 100 additional pages I found for this new 2 volume edition, and the figurative, regarding the creative process I’ve undertaken to update & rework all of the less polished pages.
Shaping older work into the most compelling possible version of the original concepts is a really fun process, and I think it will lead to an exciting final product.
Most of the stories come from unpublished projects done for film & TV pitches, art school assignments, shelved comic projects, or personal work. About 80% is sci-fi, a handful are sarcastic and/or whimsical humor shorts. A couple are set in ancient history.
The 2 volumes come to 200 pages, with 20 stories that range from single page gags, to scene adaptations from Alice in Wonderland & Siddhartha, from a mystical “swords & sandals” take on the rise of King David, to the first full 24-page chapter of my long gestating, psychedelic action time-travel story “the Adventures of Dr. Cotton Hickox” (by far the longest story) or a brand new horror short and everything in between!
The overall mix fits nicely with the rest of the sci-fi that I’m currently publishing. The stories are loaded with complementary themes, and give a surprisingly unified look into my imagination.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with so many talented creators to bring these stories to life?
KR: Honestly, all of the relationships taught me a lot about myself.
Two of them, with Scott Rickels and Jeff Chon, are continuing collaborations. Scott has 2 stories in Odds & Ends, and we are going back to complete one of them, "Kingdom of David," for a publisher next year. Scott’s dedication to his stories really pushed me to find a bigger visual and dramatic scope. Jeff was the first person to pay me for comics work almost 20 years ago. He has a dry, emo edge that I can really relate to. He wrote a very spooky and compelling horror short for me that’s the only new story made exclusively for Odds & Ends. Both writers seem to fit me well, in temperament and vision, so I’m excited to where we go together.
The third one, with Jason McNamara, was a collaboration that dissolved entirely based on my issues, and is not something I’m super proud of, although we are definitely still friends. He was understanding then, and gracious enough to allow me to use the story we completed in this anthology. He’s a great, serious writer who I was a bit intimidated by at the time, and it’s possible that I just choked. The lesson from that failure has really stuck with me— that I need to see my work more objectively and always deliver, even if I’m not happy with the results in the moment.
It took some time to realize that, in retrospect, I’m pretty happy with almost all of my work. And it also took a long time to recognize that if I’m not happy with a piece or a page, I can just rework it. No image is permanent until you leave it alone, and a little more effort to get one all the way there can make a massive difference in it’s impact.
In that sense, it’s okay to be a bit of a perfectionist, but only if you’re delivering in a timely fashion.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Odds & Ends will connect with and impact readers?
KR: Great question!
First off, the stories in Odds & Ends have very diverse perspectives. I’m actually quite proud of how none of them have the same type of lead character, and none are trapped in my own particular perspective, but rather explore many kinds.
No two worlds in the anthology are alike, unless you count that all the sci-fi is basically connected by my vision, and also technically set in the same universe.
There are meditations on friendship and/or family woven into a few of them, and clear thematic & emotional elements to all of them. In addition, I hope the visual approach will be successful in transporting the reader to an immersive experience, no matter which story they’re reading.
I guess that all boils down to “it has something for everyone.”
BD: The comic is currently available for pre-order through Zoop, a direct-to-consumer crowdfunding platform for comic book creators. What encouraged you to work with Zoop, and what do you feel makes it such a valuable crowdfunding tool for creators, especially those in the comic book medium?
KR: I was immediately attracted to Zoop because it’s for comics only, and has more flexibility in many ways, such as end date wiggle room and support for my particular approach to
this as a label launch.
What truly makes Zoop great, however, is the personal interest taken by founders Jordan Plosky and Eric Moss. They shepherded me through the process and encouraged me at every step of the way. My campaign is definitely better and stronger for it.
It doesn’t hurt that I’ve known Jordan for a decade from attending San Diego Comic-Con, but that only sweetens the deal, since I’ve had such overall positive interactions with the Zoop experience.
They also offer PR assistance, which has been a massive benefit that I highly recommend.
They ultimately just love comics and want to add to the community. It’s a bit like crowdfunding with friends, which was entirely unexpected.
BD: What are some of the backer rewards that are available to those who support the crowdfunding campaign?
KR: I’m looking at this campaign as a launchpad for my label Monkeygong, so I’m offering bundles of Odds & Ends plus my 3 current books: Sojourners, Technopolis, and Furthest Reaches... or all that plus prints, or as a la carte add-ons. There are sketch covers, commissions, original art, comics coaching & more coming if I hit my first stretch goal.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
KR: Yes! I’ve got graphic novel editions for both of my current comics, Sojourners and Technopolis, nearly complete. Paused only to focus on my Zoop, those should be here in time for the summer convention season.
I’m also doing work for the soon-to-launch Gold Key Comics revival, particularly on “the Boris Karloff Gold Key Mysteries.” Unfortunately, I don’t know when that’s coming out just yet, but I’m excited to share the news anyway.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Odds & Ends, Books I & II and your other work?
KR: For Odds & Ends, all the info is on Zoop, where you can actually get all my current books as bundles & add-ons.
I’m also constantly posting about it on most platforms under @kraigcomx.
My brand HQ is monkeygong.com. You can get all my books, original art, and merch there, plus hear all of my old podcasts, and read a couple of short comics. Eventually, there will be a membership component, but that’s still being developed.
Thanks again for talking with me and for all of the really great questions!