Indie Interviews – Cris Nicholson
This week we sit down and talk to the one and only Cris Nicholson. If you like comics, and we’re sure you do, you’ll want to take a peek at what Cris Nicholson 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?
Mike Wilcox and I have been friends for over 15 years now and every single time we would get together, we would talk about stories we wanted to tell, characters we wanted to create and adventures we wanted to explore. We didn’t really know it at the time, but deep down, we have always wanted to be story-tellers. Eventually, we started drawing some of those characters, and detailing those stories into full-fledged narratives. One day, I called him up and said, “Let’s do it, Let’s get our work out there.” A few months later, Squared-Idea was born. This studio would help us not only publish our own comics but help amateur writers and artists release their work. We never doubted that the medium we would use would be comics since we both loved to draw. We did our research on the industry. We studied comics, writers, talked to some people already established in the field and came up with a timeline for our work. And here we are, two years later with our first two comics out.
Who would you say is your comic book inspiration as a writer?
My biggest inspiration has to be the great James O’Barr. The Crow was one of the first comics I ever picked up and I immediately fell in love with the story. The themes of lost-love and revenge, mixed in with the gothic-noir art, really appealed to me and made me fall in love with the medium of comics. I later found out that The Crow is based off a personal tragedy that happened to O’Barr and it created this deeper level of appreciation and awe for the story. He put a lot of himself in his writing and artwork, something that I carry with me always as I create my stories. Others include Frank Miller and the legendary Alan Moore.
Before comics, what did you do? If you’re still doing it, what are you doing?
By day, I do something completely unrelated to comics: I work at a bank. I also freelance, creating commissions and designs for local businesses here in Montreal. Recently, I did some work for a brand new web series and am currently designing some posters for an online podcast called #GeektastiqChypa.
What was your first work in comics like?
It was quite an informative experience. We had to do a lot of work and spend many hours perfecting every single detail in both the writing and the artwork. Luckily, I had the pleasure of working with a good friend, Dave Koziol. We work very well together and it really made that first experience a very organized and enjoyable one. It set the groundwork for future comics and how to go from an idea to a finished product.
How many years have you been working in comics?
Mike Wilcox and I started Squared-Idea about 2 years ago.
Tell me a little bit about your work. Where does it draw inspiration from? Where do you come up with your ideas?
My first comic is a collaboration with fellow Montreal writer Dave Koziol. TRINITY is the story of a secret organization protecting mankind in the battle between heaven and hell. Creatures of myth and legends such as Werewolves, Vampires, and Zombies are demons that make up the army of Lucifer on Earth. In order to combat this evil, TRINITY has enlisted the best warriors from all walks of life: Gunslingers, Vikings, and Shaolin Monks just to name a few. They work in secret, using unlimited resources to stop this evil and bring about the end of the war.
The way that I came up with this idea has a pretty simple explanation: I wanted to read a comic with this premise. I searched and searched and came across a few but nothing with this exact story. This is how I come up with a lot of my ideas, they’re stories that I myself would love to read. I incorporate themes and genres I grew up with and create my own twisted version. I love monster-hunting teams and the idea of having warriors like Vikings and gunslingers working together was something that I thought would be interesting to see in a comic. But how do I mash up everything together? What would connect the monsters and warriors and drive the story forward? Coming from a religious family, I grew up reading stories from the Bible, the everlasting battle between heaven and hell, good and evil. It just clicked and made sense to incorporate that into the story. It’s always important to include a little of yourself in the stories you write.
Who have you worked alongside in the industry?
Through Squared-Idea, we’ve had the chance to connect with many talented Canadian writers who are working on titles that will be released under our studio name. I’m currently working with Dave Koziol, a fellow Montreal writer on TRINITY. Mike Wilcox and I are also in pre-production of a comic which we hope will be released in 2019.
Growing up, who is your favorite character or team? Who is it now?
I have a few. As I mentioned earlier, one of my favourite characters is Eric Draven, better known as The Crow. I think O’Barr created such a great character because it connects so well with the reader. He grabbed the best and worst of human emotions and balanced it perfectly in Eric Draven. A few my other favourite characters include Batman, The Question, Zorro, and The Punisher. My favourite these days is Daredevil. I love Frank Miller’s take on the character.
Do you have any advice for a new writer who is just getting into the business?
Create a story that makes you excited to write. From the premise to the characters, make sure that you love your creations. That love will show through your words and pages and will connect with your readers. It’ll also motivate you to continue and expand your universe. If you are unsure about a certain character or where the story should go, take some time to sit down and think about how you can make it better.
Where do you see your work taking you?
I’m hoping my work will open up more opportunities to collaborate with other creators, both amateurs, and professionals.
What are you up to next?
I am currently working on Issue #1 of my next comic, FEARED, which will be released in 2018. At the same time, I’m commencing work on Issue two of TRINITY. Squared-Idea will also be attending conventions around the country promoting the studio and its comics.
Where do you see the direction of the comic industry heading in 20 years?
While comics will always be available in print form, throughout the years it has slowly incorporated itself into the digital world. I feel now that VR and AR technology are gaining ground, they will create a new way to experience comics. Imagine using that technology to be inside your favourite comic, to read it as you’re experiencing it. As a creator, I’m very excited for the possibilities this technology has to offer.
How can people get ahold of you?
Where can we buy and/or see your work?
Our comics are available right now through Patreon. Our Patrons have first access to the comics, as well as concept art and rough drafts of the scripts. Once the first issue is finished on the website, we will be printing the comics and selling them through many outlets, both in-store and online. Check our website and social media accounts for future updates. We will also have copies for sale at conventions with one of a kind prints.
Any last words for the industry?
Stay Classy 😉
I was born in the deepest, darkest parts of the Peruvian jungle. At least, that’s what I like to tell people when I tell them I was born in Peru. I was actually born in the capital, Lima. I didn’t stay there too long since my father’s job required him to move every few years. I lived in places such as Prague and London, which showed me a whole other world from the one I grew up in. My name is G. Cristopher Nicholson and I know what you’re thinking: that is the most Peruvian name you’ve ever heard.
I come from a long line of diplomats and generals but I mostly took from my grandmother; an award-winning artist who has exhibited her paintings around the world. I remember spending hours next to her painting the back garden and asking how I can make my paintings more like hers. This is where my interest in art began. I took a few classes here and there, but never really decided to pursue it. I guess I was afraid I would lose the ‘fun’ in it. One evening, my father came back from work with a small ten-page booklet, about a man who fought crime dressed as a bat. This is where my love of comics began. My father would tell me stories of heroes and villains, good and evil fighting to see who would prevail. I was utterly inspired! I combined my two passions and have been fascinated by them ever since. In 2013, I graduated from Inter-Dec College with a degree in video game design which introduced me to the digital arts. I was able to incorporate what I learned into small projects for individuals and local businesses, ranging from advertisements to commissioned prints.
Currently, I am living in the great white north. Montreal to be exact, where my best friend, Mike Wilcox and I, have started our own studio which we have big plans for. Ever since I can remember, we’ve been sketching out ideas. Ideas that have turned into stories, intriguing characters, engrossing histories and explosive conclusions. We started Squared-Idea in 2015; a new project that will see life come to our stories and at the same time, give other people the chance to bring life to theirs. While we might not have any formal training in creating comics; we have spent hours researching the medium and even incorporated points from other art forms we’ve studied in. Currently, I am involved in three projects: Feared and I Have No Name which are original concepts of mine and Trinity, a collaboration with fellow Montrealer David Koziol. We hope that through Squared-Idea, we’ll be able to bring writers and artists together and help guide them through the process of creating their own comic.