Today I am pleased to introduce to you Raymond Ayala, Creative Director and lead writer at Planet Random Creative. Planet Random is a new entertainment company he and his wife founded in 2011 and is based out of New York. He’s having the time of his life producing four creator-owned projects for 2012, and feels blessed to be working with some really talented people. And now for the interview…
When did you first get into comics as a reader/fan? As a writer/artist/creator?
I grew up on a block with mostly older kids and many of them were into comics. So as a fan, comics were just a natural development for me. My mom encouraged it through the years to keep me reading and drawing. It was my older cousin John who introduced me to independent press with titles like TMNT from Mirage and Comico’s Robotech, Mage and Elementals.
As a creator, it’s a bit more complicated. I’ve spent over 20 years working in corporate, not the one percent, more like a teller/technologist/project manager, etc. Initially I was just working my way through, only dreaming of taking a leap into indie comics. Year after year I found ways to avoid pursuing my dream, then in 2009 I started saving money and writing hard. I started really working to complete ideas that I had been playing with for years. With a modest start-up fund in January 2011 I set out to create as many of my ideas as I could afford. Learning on the job and growing along the way.
Why comics? What do you like most about this medium?
I’ve always been inspired by the synergies and creativity of comics. It’s a unique platform were art meets prose. It’s both ancient and cutting edge at the same time. What’s not to like?
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I have four projects in various stages of development. There is a fantasy horror book titled Living Blight, a contemporary super hero title called Urban Myth, a urban crime drama called Pugnacious and a family-friendly adventure series called H.O.P.E.: Tales of the Nuclear Family. H.O.P.E is actually an open kickstarter project. We hope it allows us to print a special one-shot and continue the story as a limited series. All of my projects feature multicultural casts and that’s important to me.
What format(s) do you prefer for telling your stories (e.g., on-going series, mini-series, one-shot, graphic novel, etc.) and why?
To some degree I prefer the limited series format because there is flexibility in length. I like the wiggle room provided by the format. But the truth is different ideas come in different sizes and some ideas keep developing. I always create with a beginning, middle and end in mind but some concepts expand naturally for me. I think I could write H.O.P.E. and Living Blight for the rest of my life because there are so many possibilities.
What sources of information and inspiration have helped you along the way?
This is a loaded question for me, and thus not an easy answer. Creatively I’m inspired by God’s creation…the science and artistry of it, the simplicity and the complexity of it all. My characters are inspired by the good in people…everyday heroes. My stories are inspired by a multitude of great writers across mediums. My peers also inspire me. When I see artists really embrace my scripts, it makes me push the envelope and really strive to improve all the time.
What advice would you give to other Christians who are considering making comics?
Something I have to remind myself of almost daily: Seek out God’s business before show business, and everything else will fall into place.
Are there any future projects you are working on, or would like to work on?
H.O.P.E. will be my first completed project. Next up is Pugnacious followed by Living Blight and lastly Urban Myth. I hope to release all four projects on a comic convention tour in 2012.
As far as what’s after the release tour, I’m open. I’d like to put together an creator-owned anthology book with other creators…a large book, sort of a “previews” book for indie creators. I’ve kicked this idea around with a few people already. I’d also like to write for another creator, to play in someone else’s sandbox for a while. I also expect to letter a long graphic novel for a new friend early next year.
I’m also working on a faith-based project that I’ll talk about more soon…
What is the best way for people to contact you, and to read/purchase your work?
I’m available on the major social networks including:
Any last thoughts?
Well the Kickstarter project needs some support. It’s a family book that features a multicultural cast, particularly strong Hispanic and Black lead characters. Every pledge from a $1 up will get a supporter a cool story to read. So drop a buck if you can and tell a friend. I appreciate your pledge Justin.
And there you have it. Until next time, happy holidays and keep creating!
© Justin Martin and www.rsquaredcomicz.com, 2011. All rights reserved.