It’s a MULTIVERSE Q&A with TYLER CARPENTER.
It’s not every day that Tyler Carpenter gets to chime in on DEMONS and all things indie comics, so let’s do this, with relish.
Q: Which classic covert ops and/or police procedural tales would you say had the biggest influence on you, as a writer? And is there any one classic tale in particular that fueled your ideas for DEMONS?
TC: It has to be 24. I freaking love 24. Jack Bauer is probably one of the greatest TV characters ever created. He was very human, and the ethics in that show were so powerful. I also like CRIMINAL MINDS as a straight crime show.
As for DEMONS, there really wasn’t any real big influence that spawned the creation of the story. It was more of a culmination of ideas. I was in South Africa on an LDS (Mormon) mission and I had all these stories going through my head about this detective named Ace Carter (and he was gonna have an Ace of Spades on his jacket.) Because I was taking every day about religion, I began to start thinking of terrorism in the form of demonic attacks. Keep in mind I had never ever heard about any of that stuff before. When I finally came home from South Africa, and finished writing DEMONS (as well as getting it published,) I found out about the SUPERNATURAL show and was like “Crap…”
But yeah I guess most of the ideas for DEMONS came from my mission for my church in South Africa. Mainly because in South Africa, things like sorcery and witchcraft are very prevalent in some areas.
Q: Which actor would you cast to play Ace Carter in a live-action feature-length blockbuster film of the same name?
TC: That’s a tough one. Ace is only like…late 20’s…so I really don’t know. Now you have me thinking. Maybe Jensen Ackles, with longer hair. He could be good. It’s hard because you have to have someone that can pull off the hair. Jensen has the serious voice, but also the sarcasm of Ace…even though Ace isn’t very sarcastic most of the time.
Q: What can you tell our Multiverse readers about DEMONS, without giving too much away?
TC: DEMONS is a story about a detective named Ace Carter and how he stumbles upon a demonic figure early in the first issue. He’s chasing him through this park, shoots him, and the man turns into this demonic monster. He then goes to a priest, and you find out that the priest is his father. You also discover that his family has experienced these things before. Soon, Ace is spiraling into this unknown supernatural world of satanic cults and demons, which his family is unfortunately connected to. The first arc (the first 4 issues) is about Ace and his relationship with his father, as well as the events that lead them to both hate and love each other. The mystery behind their family.
Q: That’s very interesting. What is the rest of the Carter family like? Are they embroiled in all of this too?
TC: That’s the thing you have to find out, which we plug in through flashbacks each issue. In the first issue we learn that Ace’s father experienced a cult in his younger years. They attempted to sacrifice him and two others, in order to open a portal to hell. This leads him to become a priest. Luckily, he was saved by a government agency called F-666; an agency that hunts down supernatural cults. We also learn in the first issue that Ace’s mother is dead. Ace has no memory of how or why, just that that is the story his father has told him all these years. You just have to keep reading and find out what is going on!
Q: F-666 sounds wild. What more can you tell us about this government agency?
TC: We don’t really go deep into the history of F-666 in the story. Their purpose however is to stop supernatural attacks from occurring and also preventing global attacks that threaten humanity. In addition to being military-trained, they also have unique understandings of different supernatural beings such as ghosts, poltergeists, witches, and demons.
Q: It feels like we’ve still only just scratched-the-surface of what you and Insane Comics can accomplish together. What’s next for DEMONS? And what comes after DEMONS?
TC: DEMONS was originally supposed to be a 4-part series. I always had the ending in my mind set. But the ending always allowed for more stories. Trevis Martinez, who by the way is an incredible artist and friend (I love his work so much,) just finished the pencils and inks for DEMONS #5 and I’ll soon be sending him the script for #6 while I color #5. I have a lot of projects that I am doing for people and myself. I am currently working with Todd Goodman on a comic called “Smells Like Pulp Comics”, John Holland on “Boxie”, Max Ham on “The Untitled History of the Human Condition”, Bobby Aultman on “The Fifth Pentacle” and then next year I have other projects that I will be announcing. Those projects I just mentioned by the way have me as the artist. Besides writing comics I do like drawing as well.
Q: Smells Like Pulp Comics? What goes on there? Do tell?
TC: “Smells Like Pulp Comics”, written by Todd Goodman and art by yours truly, is about two comedic struggling comic book creators. I know right? It’s super fun. I’m the artist for issue 2 onwards (working on issue 3 currently) but basically it’s about these two creators, Darren and Cecil, and them trying to get their comic book noticed. They also get a guy to dress up as their superhero that they’ve created and honestly it’s just about them and all of their shenanigans. It’s a really fun book to be part of.
Q: Darren and Cecil sound like the kinds of character who deserve a following of readers. Where can we find this book? Who is the indie publishing house?
TC: You can find the book at Old World Comics. It’s in an indie publishing house that writer Todd Goodman uses to publish his book. Yeah check it out! Darren and Cecil are super fun. The 3rd issue is still in production but after reading the script it will be probably the craziest issue!
Q: What are three (3) qualities that all memorable tales ought to have?
TC: Oooh. That’s a hard one. Okay I’ll try.
(1) Ethical and Moral dilemmas.
For me, Ethical and Moral dilemmas are the big ones. I love it when a character has to choose between evil and evil because it makes you think…which one would I do? What is the lesser of two evils? Do the ends justify the means? I love that. And then Twists. You have to have a twist where you just shock readers and blow their minds.
Q: Nicely done. As a writer, how do you prefer to build suspense in a story?
TC: When you create suspense you need to first understand the story you are trying to tell. In DEMONS, for example, the suspense besides the main story of DEMONS (and the attacks and whatnot,) is the mystery of Ace and his family. What is going on and what is influencing all these events with them?
So how do you do it? Referring once again to DEMONS, we plug in flashback scenes each issue that drive the story and also connect the dots giving readers more questions while answering previous questions. I love the show THE BLACKLIST because there is so much suspense within the story itself and so many questions that as a viewer I want answered. As a writer you need to have your A-Story and your B-Story. Your B-Story is what readers will see at surface level, and the A-Story is what will drive your readers to continue.
Q: What hasn’t happened yet, in indie comics, that you would absolutely love to see happen?
TC: You know I wish that indie comics were in more stores and I wish that Diamond Distribution would be kinder to indie comics and creators. Insane Comics is one of the best if not THE BEST indie publisher currently and the fact that Diamond Distribution is such a pain-in-the-butt to them is honestly sad as a creator. Everyone who is in this business is looking for that breakout moment with the bigger companies, and, to be honest, most will never get to that level. So the best thing that could happen is to create a platform which allows better distribution of indie comics, so everyone can experience them.
Q: What’s your bold prediction for the next big trend in indie comics?
TC: Haha “bold prediction.” The next big trend in indie comics is a bigger leap in exposure and distribution to the global market, or another company like IMAGE comics being created (and they fuse already-established indie publishers into one very big company.)
Q: What do you suppose might be an interesting name for such a company (the “very big company” that you mentioned towards the end there) ?
TC: It needs to be quick and catchy. Maybe Insane Comics will be that company that takes over and it’ll just be Insane Comics. “Time to get INSANE!”
Q: That would be awesome. We love what James Munch is doing at INSANE COMICS, and it feels like that that party has only just begun. It’s bound to get even better. What is it about INSANE COMICS that really endears it to you, as a reader?
TC: Reliability and professionalism. Insane Comics has a professional website and store. When you order the books, you get them in good condition, and I really appreciate that. They also offer a wide genre of stories. You can find whatever kind of story you want there. Also, if you have a story that you are dying to get known, you can also submit it to them. Granted, submissions are closed unless you have an 80-page story ready, but still. It’s all about professionalism with Insane and that is what is most important to me.
Q: How would you describe the craft of creative writing to an attentive class of eager sixth graders?
TC: Writing a comic is like writing a sentence, handing it to an artist, closing your eyes, and praying that when you open your eyes it is how you imagined it or better.
Q: Which indie comics have you most enjoyed reading during these past few years?
TC: I know this sounds bias but I love Trevis Martinez’s series “Crossers Gate” on Tapastic. I feel bad that I am taking him away from his own creator title but honestly DEMONS wouldn’t be what it is without Trevis. I like Kelly Bender’s books that he has at Insane Comics. Don Hughes has a series called “The Untold Tales” where he reimagines classic fairytale characters into the modern day world. Rachel Everett’s first issue of her story “13-Light Years Away” is really good and I can’t wait until she finishes it. There’s a bunch of indie comics being shipped to me right now and I know that they will be super awesome.
Q: What is it about Kelly Bender’s style that grabs you by the throat and leaves you wanting more?
TC: I’m actually the colorist on a book with Kelly Bender right now and it awesome to see his script and see how he does things. Being a writer as well, it is inspiring. Kelly was the one who convinced me to submit my graphic literature to Insane Comics. Kelly does a lot of narrative work, and he does his research. He makes you feel for the characters and gives you a sense of immersion in the world. I think that is what captivates me. When I feel like I’m learning something in a book, I feel like that is what gets me as a reader.
Q: Do you, or have you ever, enjoyed any tabletop RPGs?
TC: I love tabletop RPGs. I wish I could play them more but whenever I do get the chance I think it is awesome! I love DnD. The only problem is no one will play it with me. I also like Munchkin (not really an RPG) but it’s the closest to DnD kind of game people will play with me.
Q: No one will play DnD with you? Awww man! We heart Dnd! Is there anything we can do to help you?
TC: It’s fine. Honestly I’m not a hardcore player. I played once with the book and actual rules and that was fun. The best times I’ve ever played were when it was like 10 guys and we were all just making stuff up as we went and doing whatever we wanted and as long as the DM approved of it and we rolled according to his parameters then it would happen. I know hardcore players would be like “how dare you!” but honestly that was so much fun. It’s all about who you’re with when you play that game honestly.
Q: [Role play] You’re on a ship at sea. It is a dark and stormy night. The captain is nowhere to be found. What do you do?
TC: Hmm. I have my gun (I’m assuming this is modern day) and I begin checking the ship and looking for him. I begin asking the other individuals on the ship. I find out that Jonathan McGuiness was the last one to be with the captain and that they were arguing. I sprint to the outside of the ship where Jonathon is about to throw the captain overboard. I roll the dice. 20. Critical. Bullet to the head. Jonathon is dead. That rhymed.
Q: [Role play continues] Nice rhyme. The captain sees you, and he thanks you. He gives you a hearty handshake, and he motions for you to help him secure a yardarm to starboard (and to secure the mizzenmast) before the storm sweeps it (and sweeps all of you) away into the angry churning sea. A lightning flash illuminates the foredeck for a moment, and you see the ghost of Jonathan McGuiness beckoning for you to join him in the waves below. You are the only one who sees this apparition. The captain sees the startled look on your face, and he motions for you to snap out of it. What do you do?
TC: Aw crap. What is my perception level? Haha. Well I am pretty intrigued by this ghost and so I think I will tell the captain what I am thinking. He most likely doesn’t believe me but I don’t care. I don’t know. I don’t think I can go into the depths of the sea with this ghost because I’ll die. I need to find a way to kill this ghost! I run away and back inside the ship and begin looking for salt, a bible, and a cross.
Q: [Role play continues] The captain listens to what you tell him. He cranes his neck towards where the ghost appeared. He sees nothing more than the hard rainfall, and the crashing of the waves against the ship’s hull. He looks back at you, with a puzzled expression on his face. He begins trying to secure a yardarm to starboard alone, while you go back inside the ship to search for stuff. There’s no salt at all, and no bible, but there is a cross hanging on a cabin wall. The crashing waves of the sea have knocked the cross askew, into an eerie upside-down position. The captain cries for help outside. What do you do?
TC: Aw man. It’s game over. This is probably the least most heroic thing ever but I let the captain and die and grab a lifeboat and I pray I survive the storm. Haha. At some point you have to realize that you can’t save the day and honestly, you don’t mess with crazy ghosts haha.
Q: [Role play continues] You somehow survive the storm, and your lifeboat washes you ashore into a tranquil lagoon. Two-thirds of a mile, you can see what appears to be an old ziggurat, and the remains of an ancient civilization. To your left, you see an old shipwreck. A gaping hole in the port-side hull reveals that the ship’s cargo was barrels of…something. To your right, you see an ancient sundial. What do you do?
TC: Hmmm…the barrels sound interesting…I roll for a perception check haha. Nah. I think that I would have to explore the remains of the ancient civilization. My friend games are games like Oblivion and Skyrim and so exploring is something I find really interesting. So I definitely will go and explore the ancient civilization. I still want to know what was in those barrels though.