Indie Interview – Mike Wilcox
This week we sit down and talk to Mike Wilcox responsible for The Fathom. If you like comics, and we’re sure you do, you’ll want to take a peek at what Mike is up to. After you’re done, be sure to check out his work here.
What was your reason for getting into comics? That is, how did you end up involved in comics?
Around the age of 21 my best friend, G. Cris Nicholson, and I frequently talked about different comic concepts along with potentially starting our own label so we could produce it all ourselves. Later in life (around the age of 29) I found that I would go through these random periods of depression. I soon came to realized that I didn’t have any kind of creative outlet and my friend suggested that maybe it’s time we start writing and drawing like we talked about in the past. We always had ideas and stories kicking around in our brains but never put them down on paper. From this point on we wrote down EVERYTHING and began our journey as amateur artists
Who would you say is your comic book inspiration as a writer?
Brendon Small all the way. If you look at this guy’s bio, you’ll see a man who never gave up when it came to his music. He failed miserably in his youth due to stage fright if I’m not mistaken. He then went into writing and comedy which led to the creation of awesome shows like Metalocalypse and Home Movies. Within these shows, he would play on the soundtrack and at times singing. Eventually, he went on stage live in the band, DETHKLOK. Afterwards, he released an album that was all his and it ROCKED! When his show was canceled, he produced his own metal opera. Legendary if you ask me.
Before comics, what did you do? If you’re still doing it, what are you doing?
For the past 10 years, I have been working with troubled youth and youth with special needs. I’ve worked in facilities for young offenders, elementary schools, high schools, foster homes and group homes. I currently work for a school board as behavior management consultant and classroom management consultant, and loooooove it!
What was your first work in comics like?
Delightful but there was a lot of trial and error. Luckily both G. Cris Nicholson and I had each other’s backs and really bounced our ideas and opinions off of each other. We pushed and motivated each other to go the extra mile. I’d say we spent the better part of a year developing our styles.
How many years have you been working in comics?
I’d say about three years now.
Tell me a little bit about your work. Where does it draw inspiration from? Where do you come up with your ideas?
I generally like to stick to reality as much as possible. It is important to me that my work is not only relatable but can potentially be applicable to real-life situations. For instance, if I’m going to be writing anything sci-fi based, I will stretch reality but only to the extent where I feel that it doesn’t go beyond the point of ridiculous. When it comes to my ideas, they kind of just leap at me randomly. I will get an idea and then start building off of it to the point where I come up with a story that is original. I do this with both fantasy and horror. If I’m able to come up with a story that can make people cringe, then I consider it a job well done. In general, I tend to get inspired more by older films, so anything between the thirties up to the 60s. Most of the time if I’m drawing I’ll have either on horror films or movies from the Golden Age. Original horror concepts and old-school acting really gets the creative juices flowing for me.
Who have you worked alongside in the industry?
At this point with our company, Squared-Idea, we have yet to work with any other professionals in the comic industry. We have however had the luxury of working with a couple of creative people such as radio personalities and other upcoming artists/writers.
Growing up, who is your favorite character or team? Who is it now?
I always enjoyed Ren and Stimpy because of the insanity of the plots and the awesome random drawings/backgrounds. Now I’d have to say the ATHF (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) because of the insane storylines as well. My top superhero, however, would have to be The Punisher due to the fact that he has no superpowers and his tragic backstory.
Do you have any advice for a new writer who is just getting into the business?
Yes, I absolutely do. Never stop creating. If you have an idea, write down. If you work well with someone, work with them. Also, back up your work if you can.
Where do you see your work taking you?
Festivals, conventions, and eventually sales. As for Squared-Idea, I see it leading us to meet new artists, collaboration with other organizations, and new projects.
What are you up to next?
Cris Nicholson and I are in the process of working on the skeleton for an adult cartoon. We are going to write out some scripts this coming summer and try to find a small company to make a pilot with us.
Where do you see the direction of the comic industry heading in 20 years?
I hope to see more independent artists in the mainstream. Since Kickstarter and Patreon are becoming more popular, more talent is coming forward that isn’t bought out by massive industries. My only hope is that consumers pick up on these fads and support new talent. In general, though, I see it going more towards digital products rather than physical products.
How can people get a hold of you?
(http://m.facebook.com/mike.wilcox.35110?ref=bookmarks or https://m.facebook.com/squaredidea/?ref=bookmarks) , Instagram (www.instagram.com/c0x_in_the_b0x/), Patreon (www.patreon.com/mikewilcox) and our website (www.squared-idea.com).
Where can we buy and/or see your work?
At the moment both G.Cris Nicholson and I are only available on Patreon (www.patreon.com/mikewilcox). Eventually when we produce physical copies of our comics that we will be selling on our website (www.squared-idea.com).
A little history…
My name is Mike Wilcox. I was born in the 80’s and raised in Montreal, Quebec. Ever since I was a child, I have always enjoyed drawing. I started with tracing paper on superhero comics, then moved to drawing environments and human anatomy. I enrolled in the arts program at Vanier College and developed an intense love and appreciation for the world of arts. I remained in the program for only a year because I had a hard time seeing a future in which I could acquire a stable income. I received my DEC in Special Care Counselling in 2008. I spent the next 6 years working in group homes, elementary schools, high schools, alternative schools, foster homes in northern Quebec and outreach programs. Although my current career has been very satisfying, I always found that something was missing in my life.
Although I was satisfying my passion for helping people, whenever I had free time, I spent it doodling and drawing comics, usually containing dark subject matter. Along with fellow writer/artist Cris Nicholson, we’d spend afternoons on my apartment’s rooftop smoking cigarettes and drinking beer like good Quebecois’ should. All the while talking about different concepts and ideas for comics, movies and graphic novels.
In 2014, Cris had brought up the idea of starting our own small company geared towards the creation and production of our stories into comics, graphic novels, and other mediums. This gave birth to Squared-Idea, a project that will also aid others who have the concepts but lack the resources. After researching the medium and its different formats, we started to work on our own projects.
For the past year, I have been working on a comic called “The Fathom”; a realistic take on a zombie epidemic. At the same time, I have been working on different projects such as Overseer, Controversy, and Paradox. One of my main objectives when it comes to the creation of my concepts is to play with subjects that blend fantastical factors and realistic scenarios. With this, the reader can feel the subject matter isn’t too far fetched.
My hope for the future is that I will continue to progress my craft, as well as work alongside many different creative minds. Everyone has at least one story to tell. I look forward in aiding the struggling artist community and helping them turn their stories into a reality. Throughout my life, I have been inspired by writers such as Robert Kirkman, Alan Moore, and Jhonen Vasquez. All who have been an absolute delight to read. Nothing could possibly be more satisfying than providing the same service for others that these artists provided for me.