Psycho List is probably, if not, my favorite indie book out right now so I had to ask Dimitrios Zaharakis if he can share more with us about Blackbox Comics. Off to the jump! -->
COMIC LOUNGE: Thanks so much for gracing us with your time, Dimitrios. I have to ask, can you tell us about yourself and your biggest inspiration in launching Blackbox Comics:
DIMITRIOS ZAHARAKIS: Like many others, I have loved comics since I was a child. My biggest inspiration in starting Blackbox Comics was getting to create interesting and creative content that would entertain people that love comics, as well as interesting those who aren’t avid followers.
COMIC LOUNGE: What’s your all-time favorite comics, writers, and artists that got you into the medium or has changed the way you look at them:
DIMITRIOS: Some of my favorite comics growing up as a child were Daredevil and Batman. Artists like John Romita Sr. and Frank Brunner were among my favorite artists. As far as writers go, I always liked Frank Miller (Ronin, Daredevil, etc.) and Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Batman, Swamp Thing, etc.). Since starting Blackbox, I have more of an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into the creative process in general; from writing, editing, choosing the right artists, all the way to creating characters and to scheduling the printing.
COMIC LOUNGE: What are the comic book industry’s strengths and weaknesses right now? What about the independent comic book industry?
DIMITRIOS: I think that the comic book industry in general, although they have a substantial following, seems to not be able to expand its comic book market further by reaching new readers. Growing up I would see comic books being sold in most stores but that has dwindled. Independents are the future of the industry because they are bringing new ideas and aren’t afraid to think outside the box. I feel that it is our duty as independent publishers to draw more followers to the industry.
COMIC LOUNGE: What can we expect from Blackbox when it comes to original, creator-owned stories?
DIMITRIOS: Blackbox was created to entice the avid comic follower as well as open a new path by interesting those who aren’t your typical comic book fans. The name “Blackbox” was inspired by the Black Box that contain contents that are mysterious to the user. Basically untold stories in our case. In that regard, you can most certainly expect to see more in the future.
COMIC LOUNGE: What kind of stories would you like to see more in the comic book industry?
DIMITRIOS: You will have to stay tuned to Blackbox to find out!
COMIC LOUNGE: Can you tell us what your day consists of when working with writers and artists:
DIMITRIOS: Depending on the place we are at on a book, my day will vary. If it’s still in the writing phase, I may work with the writer to make sure the storylines are strong. Some stories I feel more connected with, others I will let the writer play around with. Once we are ready to start on artwork, there is back and forth with character designs and basic elements of the book. I will re-read storylines and try to get a feel for what works best for the story. Likewise, when it’s time to get the book ready for production there are always last minute things that need tweaking. I don’t let a day go by without touching base with my creative team, be it thru email or just a phone call.
COMIC LOUNGE: How about your upcoming releases along with Bigs &Tiny:
DIMITRIOS: Currently, we have Militia, written by the legend Chuck Dixon. My vision for this was to show the challenges and strength of women in the military. He really nailed this character who we truly feel for and get to see grow stronger and more confident as the issues progress.
The second title currently out is Psycho List, written by Kevin Grevioux (co-creator of Underworld and I, Frankenstein). This has been a personal favorite of mine, as I had the idea for some time before developing it. I really wanted an anti-hero who you could see had a sense of compassion but maybe lost his north star along the way. He’s got a troubled past and an itch he can’t seem to scratch, which is why he spends his free time getting involved in his patient’s lives. His raison d’etre is being the hero he knows they need, even if it means doing something wrong to tip the scales. This title really caught fire and hasn’t stopped. The first printing of Issue #1 completely sold out before its in-store date. I had a few very low print run variants made for this as well. Issue #2 has also sold out.
A few of the new releases you can look out for in the near future are Project Icarus, and Bigs & Tiny. I am very excited about both of these titles. Project Icarus, written by Andy Owens (DC comics, Darkhorse, Marvel) and art by Patrick Blaine (Top Cow) is about a cop turned correction officer on the hunt for super-powered criminals. It’s an action packed thriller.
Bigs & Tiny was a vision of mine as I wanted to create a trouble making comedic duo that didn’t fit your typical hero mold. I imagined how responsible would two friends really be?! I co-wrote that with Ramel Hill. There are plenty of laughs and excitement in it. Some of the issues will have some fun nostalgic easter eggs. Good luck finding them!
There are several more titles in the works which I am not able to discuss yet.
COMIC LOUNGE: Lastly, what’s one thing you value in life, personally, or something that you would just like to share with the community?
DIMITRIOS: My family is the most important thing, I could not do what I do without their support. As far as the comic community goes, I will continue to put out quality content. My motto has always been quality over quantity. I don’t like to take shortcuts on anything which I think is apparent, right down to the physical quality of the books. A tremendous amount of planning and thought goes into each title. I try to put myself in the reader’s perspective. I greatly value our fans, comic shops and comic book reviewers who have continued to support us, allowing us to grow.