Creator interview #45: Ribu John (DeoMortals Entertainment)


Hello everyone,

For the 45th interview, we have Ribu John. He is a publisher and lead writer for DeoMortals Entertainment. The purpose of the company is to create and publish superhero comics based on the DeoMortals universe.

 

 

And now for the interview…

When did you first get into comics as a reader/fan? As a writer/artist/creator?

I used to read Archie and Disney duck comics as a kid, then got into the Marvel X books and Spider-Man.  Interest in DC characters came later.  Now I am a semi-serious collector of silver and bronze age books, mainly Batman, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Amazing Spider-Man.  Recently, I’ve gotten into Superman because of the Smallville TV series.  I began my comics aspirations as both a writer and an artist as a teen, but my self-assessments reinforced that I probably wouldn’t be a good artist, so I concentrated on developing as a writer.

Why comics? What do you like most about this medium?

Stories can be told with both style and substance in comics, and because it is a serial story format, you don’t have to limit your story due to time constraints.  Comics allow for sequential art and storytelling to shine together unfettered.

Say a little about the project(s) you have worked on in the past (if any), and what they were about?
I have spent the past decade and a half working on developing the DeoMortals universe, doing various takes and reconstructions of the project until I was certain DeoMortals was where I wanted it.  While I have written a thing or two here and there in the meantime, this is my first significant foray into writing for an audience.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

DeoMortals will start as a publisher with the comic series Reconciler and Spiked Halo.  This series is about the Reconciler, a hero dealing with regrets about his role in the military-industrial complex that has absorbed superheroes as a part of the machine.  He is thrust into a high profile assignment and paired with Spiked Halo, a reformed die-hard ex-hero who quit to be a religious recluse and now returns for one last assignment.

What we have are two heroes from different sides of the culture wars. They have to work together to solve the mystery of the kidnapping of a senator’s daughter during the senator’s campaign to be president of the United States.  Through this storyline, readers will get to meet the various heroes and outlaws of the DeoMortals universe, and the race is on to discover which of the major villains is responsible for the kidnapping, and why.

The DeoMortals website will also feature some short comic stories of some of the other characters within the DeoMortals universe.  These will all be available at deomortals.com for free viewing.  All of these should be ready and available by late 2012.

Say a little about how you’ve been able to communicate your faith through your project(s)? What has that process been like? How has it evolved over the years?

It has been very important to me to introduce DeoMortals as a mainstream publisher with far reaching appeal in general society.  However, I am painfully aware as a comics fan that many people in the comics industry have a lot of negativity toward Christians.  There seems to be a good sized community within comics that display hatred and advocacy against Christianity.  To counter that, I wanted to create a mainstream universe where Christian heroes would also be represented well.

Most of the DeoMortals characters are secularists or have varying other belief systems that guide their lives, but I wanted at least some of the heroes to be evangelical Christians, and if not some major ones then at least some less-spotlighted heroes.  I think if the characters are allowed to speak freely and there is no radical agenda among writers or editors to portray Christians as hypocrites, buffoons and scum, then the Christian faith will be represented very well on its own through the characters being allowed to live and tell their stories.

What advice would you give to other Christians who are considering making comics?

Comics is an industry where ideas are freely exchanged and scrutinized, and it’s not for the weak. There are people who are going to come at you really hard and you have to be committed to defending your cause.

The other recommendation I would make is to wait until your product is exactly where you want it, instead of rushing to just produce something.  I say this because I feel DeoMortals has benefited from the delays of making sure it was just right before I launched it.  If I had launched DeoMortals five years ago, it wouldn’t be as well put together as it is now.  Putting out an inferior product just to rush it to market would have been a mistake, so I’m glad circumstances caused me to wait and refine the ideas and characters.

What is your take on the current state of Christian or Christian-themed comics? What, if anything, would you like to see more of in the future? What, if anything, would you like to see done differently?

I think at this point Christian-themed comics are still an underground movement. There’s not the type of understanding or support for it among the general Christian population that Christian contemporary music has enjoyed, and it doesn’t enjoy the enthusiastic buzz that Christian movies have. There should be more of a push for the idea that comics are the stepping stone to doing great, impactful movies. Without support for comics, Christian movies will always be trapped in the low-budget family story genre. Christian comics can be the “farm system” for innovative Christian storytelling in other formats. 

Christian comics has the opportunity to show the Christian community a way to deal with contentious topics without throwing each other under the bus. Christians are pressured to turn against each other nowadays to please society, so let’s remember we serve the same Christ and there are alternatives to painting ourselves as the “loving ones” who would “never say anything like that” at the expense of Christians who dared to speak out. On the other side of the coin, there are also ways to stand firm for the Bible without accusing other Christians of being weak or sellouts.  We don’t want to fall victim to a divide and conquer scenario. Any Christian movement could succumb to that kind of mentality, so it’s important to safeguard against that and have more camaraderie.

What is the best way for people to contact you, and to read/purchase your work?

You can reach me at deomortals@gmail.com.  I am also on Facebook and Twitter.

Any last thoughts?

I would like to see the “anything goes” nature of the comics industry put to good use so Christians can speak out on the more provocative topics of the faith.  If you can’t say certain things on TV or movies or pro sports, you can say them in comics, and that’s a nice opportunity to explore more pivotal themes.

Thanks for the interview!

And there you have it! Another great and insightful interview in the bag! Until next time, take care and keep creating.


About R-Squared Comicz

I'm a Christian, husband, student, & comic writer. I like comics, hip-hop, basketball, & learning, and at the end of the day, I pray that my life meant something.