I pray all is well. In addition to posting the remaining pages of Mel Todd’s The United, I want to resume the creator interviews this summer. To kick things off we have Jon Del Arroz, someone I have been trying to track down for a minute, lol.
Jon Del Arroz is a science fiction and fantasy writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is primarily famous for the critically acclaimed web comic, Flying Sparks, hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He is currently working on his debut novel. His work can be found on his personal page as well as Flying Sparks.
When did you first get into comics as a reader/fan? As a writer/artist/creator?
My aunt bought me a subscription to Amazing Spider-Man when I was a kid. The first issue to arrive at my house was Amazing Spider-Man #375 – with the gold cover of Spider-Man and Venom battling it out. I was hooked from that image alone.
Writing wise, I’d started attending some panels at conventions and thought I’d give it a shot myself. There was a “national script writing contest” similar to NaNoWriMo, and I went for it by writing a (pretty bad!) horror comic in 2009. Never bothered getting that one drawn!
I used to letter a lot of people’s comics too, which I started shortly after writing. Got to meet some wonderful people that way, and I still letter my own work which I use as an editing process for my word balloons.
Why comics? What do you like most about this medium?
It’s so easy to tell action packed / fast paced stories. I’m an “ideas guy” so it’s easier to get those ideas on a page in comic form as well, since they come faster than novel writing. I suppose movie/tv scripting would be similar. But it’s so difficult to get those made money and time wise that comics really fills the best spot storytelling from that angle.
Say a little about the project(s) you have worked on in the past (if any), and what they were about?
I’ve worked on all sorts of stuff both as a letterer and a writer. Been very happy to work on Brady Sullivan’s stuff as an editor; he’s so talented and prolific. Done a few other projects out there as well on the lettering end.
I’ve also had a few short comics published out there in a Back Row Presents anthology and the If-X series that was going on for awhile. They were themed in various genres, as I was experimenting with different work. I also have a short prose piece out in the Zharmae Press anthology: Irony of Survival.
What format(s) do you prefer for telling your stories (e.g., on-going series, mini-series, one-shot, graphic novel, etc.) and why?
Depends on the story. I like having Flying Sparks semi-ongoing, though once the story’s done it will end.
It’s nice to let my characters develop at their own pace, but a lot of times constraint is good. I’m not averse to doing anything, be it 6 pages or 600! As long as the story demands it.
What sources of information and inspiration have helped you along the way?
That’s a tough question to answer! I do research depending on what’s needed for the project – whether it’s science behind anti-gravity or historical research into the way people lived in ancient Israel. Beyond that I rely a lot on friends to tell me where the story has issues before I revise.
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?
In most of the work I’ve started out with it’s not referenced; though I’m very vocal about my faith within the sci-fi/fantasy community, and have become somewhat of an activist in that regard. I’ve found a lot is tolerated and accepted but Christian faith seems to be one of the things that’s scorned at. So I try to be vocal about my faith and be an example (though obviously I’m not perfect!). It’s the best we can do. I am working on a novel-length work that is very heavy in Christian philosophy and theology though I’m not sure when I’ll complete that. And Bluejaye, as a comic, is Christian-themed, and overtly so.
Keep working at it! It’s frustrating being in any field with an artistic vision and rejections come all the time. It’s not an indication of you or the quality of your work but if you persevere, good things will come!
Are there any future projects you are working on, or would like to work on?
Too many to list! I do have a few other comics on the backburner if any artists are out there reading who want to contact me!
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 comics as a whole are in trouble. Less and less people are buying them and it’s partially because of the way the models were set up through distribution and second just the amount of content the internet has out there. Unlike pop music, books and the like there really hasn’t been a segment of Christian Comics that’s caught on as a big niche market either. I think that’s due to the limited size of the comics market due to the above factor, and I am not sure what can be done about it. Just keep putting your work out there, is the best I can say.
What is the best way for people to contact you, and to read/purchase your work?
Flying Sparks can be read for free. I do have print copies of it and my contact info is on the site if someone’s interested. My short story in Irony of Survival is up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m also fairly active on Twitter and Facebook.
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed the interview, and make sure to check out Flying Sparks!
Only three more left until interview #100!