U.D.W.F.G. vol.1 PREVIEW and INTERVIEW April 05 2014

Hey souls,

here an Italian interview to me:


and a preview:


here a preview for the young "JUSTINDIECOMICS"
italian version:


english version:


here, in the top ten creative of the week!


here, a short news on THE COMICS REPORTER:


and finally I attach the english version of my interview for FUMETTOLOGICA

(translation by my friend Francesco De Meo)

- How did you come up with the fanzine idea?

I came up with it around a year ago, after reading again some great comics from Mat Brinkman. I was trying to identify Brinkman's genre but everything I came up with just felt wrong. In the end I came up with a really underground "dark weird fantasy" tag, "underdarkweirdfantasyground". From here I started thinking about the U.D.W.F.G fanzine and the authors that could be interested in working on the project.
Something else also made me come up with the idea. Right after discovering and reading the dark Zothique of Weird Tales from Clark Ashton Smith, I understood how a fanzine has to be done to be engaging and interesting, despite my personal dislike for this kind of publication format. I knew I could be able to make something as good as the stories created by Clark Ashton Smith by using certain themes, ideas and a good deal of originality. I wanted to include stories that manage to create a world that's both believable and coherent with itself, pretty much like Zothique, despite being presented in an episodic format. What I really wanted to achieve is to create stories that keep the readers hooked and always hungry for more, making them anxiously anticipate the next issue, something that no longer happens today due to the abuse of the Graphic Novel format and to modern fanzines being too similar to older ones. But this is another matter entirely.

Give us more details: authors, how many stories, price and total number of pages.

The authors will work on self-contained dark weird fantasy stories. Among the international authors are Mat Brinkman from the United States, who I consider the founder of the genre, Miguel Angel Martin from Spain and "psychedelic" Japanese author Tetsunori Tawaraya. The talented Rathiger and a really good emerging Italian author called Paolo Massagli will also be part of team, dubbed The Hollow Crew, that has been created just for this publication.
Each one of these authors is going to pen a single story per issue. I can't say precisely how many pages each story will be since this will change depending on each author's needs but I can confirm that it's going to be a high quality 96 A4 pages release, with high quality thick paper that will make each drawing truly shine. Some more surprises will also be in.
The price is going to be 18 Euros, which we feel is in line with the market for this kind of product and a quite fair price as well, considering we're only going to print 700 copies.
It will be released every 6 months and there won't be any delay, I guarantee it! I hate delays!
It's something I really care about and I won't make any compromises on this. I am a reader myself and during the years I have decided to stop reading quite a few series due to delays and general lack of professionalism from several publishers and authors.

How did you fund the project?

The way I funded the project is a quite risky way, something bold that required a lot of planning. I can assure you that every customer will be able to support all the authors by buying the fanzine, since all of them have been payed beforehand with me buying all the original drawings.
I'd also like to add that everyone involved in the project has total faith in it. I hope that all our readers will be able to understand how all authors gave their all in these stories, creating something that even goes beyond what they have created so far.
Having said this, we're going to actually sell the original drawings alongside the publication. I feel the market for these is getting bigger and bigger, with many people preferring to buy art instead of other high-priced items. To speak frankly, I think owning an original drawing created by an author we love is something truly priceless.
We'll try to keep prices low in the beginning. They will only be raised once production will no longer be able to meet the demand. This is actually more rewarding for authors too, as the more they will become popular, the more prices will rise and the more they will be payed. It's a method that will actually reward their own merits and even motivate them further.
We'll also try to release other related merchandising like t-shirts and limited edition figurines. One of the best European sculptors wil be creating them from us, the same one who created the figurines for the French comic Blacksad.

It's been over ten years since Mat Brinkman worked on a comic. How did you manage to convince him to work again?

I didn't convince him. It's impossible to do so because he's a really special guy and even money can't move him if he doesn't want to. I still remember when I tried buying some of his original drawings. It took me over 6 months and several mails and even then I wasn't sure he was going to sell them to me, fearing he could be changing his mind at any time. Brinkman is as far removed as possible from anything related to money and far from any external influence. He's a true artist, in every sense of the word.
Knowing how hard this could have been, I originally tried to get him onboard only to draw our covers. After a while I learned that he was in a really inspired period, something that didn't happen in over ten years. I just told him about the whole project and, after another really long mail, he just answered with a "count me in!"
In the end, only Mat can really answer this question. I feel, however, that he made his decision after understanding my passion and my desire to do things properly. Or maybe, just like Tetsunori said, "he noted your will".

How do you think the Italian and international markets will react to the fanzine?

I wasn't going to invest so much of my time and money ( it's not easy to manage five different authors) if I wasn't sure about it. I think this is going to be a great chance to let more people all over the world know and appreciate these authors and their unusual stories. For this reason, the fanzine is only going to be in English. I'm sure that even a basic understanding of English will be more than enough to understand the stories fully. We're not talking about Alan Moore here, after all: all the authors place greater care on the visual aspects rather than intricate dialogues.
Mat Brinkman is also very well known in the United States, so I'm sure many of his fans will buy our product even just to have a cover made by him.
Tetsunori has his own small following in Japan, and so does our Martin. The same can be said for Spain and Italy, from where I expect some good result.
Let's not forget that the whole project began in Italy and includes Italian authors so I expect word of mouth to be quite effective over there.
I'd also like to point out that both Brinkman and Tetsunori are quite successful in France, thanks to their collaborations with Demier Cri.

Where will we be able to buy the fanzine?

You will be able to buy it right from our website, which is currently in the works. No one will distribute it in Italy but I'll try to find someone for the rest of the world, so that we can make shipping costs less of a problem. Right now I'd like to distribute the fanzine in USA, Japan, France and the Nederlands. Those who are interested in our project would do well in keeping an eye on each of the author's Facebook pages. An official page for the project will be coming soon. Our official site, www.hollowpress.net, it's still under construction.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/udwfg

Can you tell us anything about the stories?

I can tell you that even the most critical reader will be able to enjoy the stories, even if they don't like the fantasy genre.
We're talking about a really dark, cruel fantasy with some really strong themes like obtaining power and all its implications, something that it's quite easy to relate to. It's not going to be helplessly dark, as the smallest of hope will allow the characters to keep going, despite the hardships. The most important thing is fighting but, in the end, who knows how it's going to end. That's pretty much the same as in life.
The most charming aspect of the dark weird fantasy genre is that its tales make the line between real and fantasy quite thin and almost merge them like in a nightmare.

How do you feel like being an editor?

It's something that comes with a lot of responsibilities, not counting all the time and money one has to invest. To be honest I don't really feel like an editor at all, I feel more like I am the authors' agent for this particular project. It's really satisfying because I feel like I've got more responsibility towards these friends rather than towards the customers. They may be authors, sure, but they're first and foremost friends.