Q and A with Killtopia Creator Dave CookFebruary 23, 2018
Barebones Ent sat down with Killtopia creator Dave Cook regarding the comic and its time on Kickstarter. This book has taken off on Kickstarter and has easily surpassed his initial goal while still rolling towards the Mar. 4 end date! Take a look at what all Dave had to say and then go back his Kickstarter (Link at bottom)!
BS: What is Killtopia?
DC: Killtopia is a comic book series set in future Japan. The main setting is a giant mega city that has become infected with killer robots called ‘Mechs.’ They appeared ten years ago, in the city’s Sector K district and quickly terraformed it into a hostile jungle environment – now known today as Killtopia.
Governments, Yakuza gangs and mega corporations pay soldiers of fortune called Wreckers to enter Killtopia, destroy Mechs and being back their valuable high tech scrap in exchange for money, fame and power.
Our hero is a rookie Wrecker called Shinji, who enters Killtopia illegally without a permit or sponsors, to hunt salvage to sell for his dying sister’s medical care. She’s got a fatal disease called The Rot, caused by the Mechs terraforming.
One day Shinji encounters the world’s first sentient Mech in Killtopia. His name is Crash, and he has the power to cure The Rot. The pair form an alliance to help Shinji’s sister, but once word gets out about Crash, the entire city and every Wrecker in Japan wants to claim the bounty out on his head.
So the race is on to cure The Rot and avoid every heavily armed Wrecker in town (and deal with an even bigger, secret threat too!)
BS: How did you come up with the story?
DC: It was primarily influenced by my all time favourite comic series Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. I loved how that book depicted a strange, weird future filled with crazy fads, weird fandom and a punky sense of anarchy.
I’m also a big fan of Japanese videogame creators Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil 4, Vanquish), Hideki Kamiya (Bayonetta,
Nier: Automata) and Goichi Suda (No More Heroes, Killer7). I wanted to make something futuristic and anarchistic that captured the brash tones and violet action of their games.
I knew I wanted to do something that married both influences, and tried to think of a twist where the lead character is really struggling – in this case, Shinji needing to do something to keep his sister alive. But also something that captured the fandom of modern day life – like how people are obsessed with celebrity.
In Killtopia people worship Wreckers like celebrity gods, distracted from the terrible disease crippling their city. In many ways I wanted it to mirror what’s going on in America with health inequality, and that’s a theme that does come up too. So it’s a mix of influences that led me to make that very first draft a few years back.
BS: Why do you think people should check out the book?
DC: All of my books are double length, so you can expect a big 40+ page book when it’s out in October, and his is the sixth book we’ve developed so we’ve come a long way since we launched in 2015 – which is reflected in the books writing and art.
But I’d you’re a fan of any of the game developers I mentioned earlier, or you’re into old school anime films like Akira, Guyver or Ghost in the Shell, then there’s something in here that you’ll enjoy.
I also see some crossover with other comics, such as Tokyo Ghost and Limbo, as well as films like Blade Runner and Battle Royale.
BS: What made you decide to launch on Kickstarter?
DC: We’ve successfully crowdfunded all six of our books so far, so we know how to run a successful campaign. It made sense for us to return for Killtopia.
BS: How has your campaign been?
DC: Before we launched we were discussing what to do if we didn’t make our £4,000 target, but now at the time of writing this we’re at £12,300 – so it’s been an overwhelming experience. It’s absolutely stunning and brilliant how people have taken a shine to our series, so we’re going to give them the best book we can.
BS: Is there anything you wish you would have done differently before launching?
DC: Not worry so much about if we’re going to make our target (I’ve done that for all six of our campaigns!)
BS: What advice do you have for new writers and artists wanting to start their first book?
DC: The best advice for writers is to just write your script. I happily give advice to people who ask me questions online or at our comic con table, and the biggest worry I hear from them is “I have an idea but don’t know how to write it.”
Getting over that fear of starting the script is one of the hardest parts of writing, but you have to push through it and actually write to make your idea happen, and to grow as a writer. Also: read as many comics as you can.
Once you’ve got a first script down, it’ll be far from ready to make into a book, so just keep redrafting it, improving it over time and get the feedback of friends or an editor who won’t pull punches. Over time you’ll eventually get your final draft. At that point, find an artist and make it happen!
BS: What is one thing you would advise someone to make sure they have done before launching a Kickstarter?
DC: One thing? Oof, that’s hard. But I would say come up with a solid marketing strategy as early as possible. Have you got press contacts to reach out to? Where are you going to post about the comic outside of your circle of friends on Facebook? What updates will you post about your book and when?
I see too many creators sharing their Kickstarter on just Facebook and only to their friends. That’s not the best way to approach it – you need to find new people to back your book. Find out where they are online and make sure they see it.
BS: If anyone misses your book while its on Kickstarter will there be another way they can get it?
DC: They will be able to pick it up on launch day at the Thought Bubble comic con in Leeds this September, and through our site. We’re also going to go for ComiXology and other places too. Watch this space.
BS: What’s next for you?
DC: Next, I’m returning to my second series Vessels, which is a dark fantasy comic where the fabric of reality has broken, meaning our modern day world has collided with a medieval fantasy realm – with cataclysmic and weird results.
We’re going to put issue #3 on Kickstarter in August, and meanwhile I’m almost done with the final draft of Killtopia #2 as well. We’ll also be touring the UK con circuit again throughout the year.
BS: Anything else you would like to add?
DC: Just that you can get us on the Killtopia Facebook page for more new pages and announcements throughout the year, and thanks to all our backers for making the project come alive 🙂