Interview: A Look Into The TWISTED Mind Of Indie Comic Writer, Anthony Cleveland, And His DARK Circus Saga, Show’s End
Anthony Cleveland is a freelance comic book writer who specializes in horror comics. His latest comic is called Show’s End, being released in June from Mad Cave studios. NerdBastards reached out to Anthony for an interview about his upcoming project, past works, and future endeavors and the creepily talented writer was more than happy to shed some light on his dark imagination and creations.
NerdBastards (NB): First of all Anthony, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. We know that you have a comic book coming out this August from Mad Cave Studios called Show’s End, can you give us a quick synopsis of what the book is about?
Anthony Cleveland (AC): Sure! Show’s End takes place in the 1920s and is set around a traveling carnival freak show. The comic follows a runaway 12 year old girl (Loralye) who joins up with the carnival. At first the performers shun her for being too “regular,” but we learn she’s possibly the most “freakish” person there, and she’s hiding a secret that will change their carnival forever.
NB: You got the opportunity to write this book because you won a contest for Mad Cave, correct? Can you tell us a little about that?
AC: I probably heard about the contest through Twitter. I’ve been in the habit of submitting to every anthology or contest that’s come my way, so I gave this one a chance too. I wrote a six page short based off MCS’s Midnight Task Force that was really a tragic and downer story. But luckily everyone there liked me bumming them out and I made the cut!
NB: We all enjoy being bummed out now and again. What has been your experience working with Mad Cave? Did you make all your deadlines? Any issues with editorial? That kind of thing?
AC: Giovanna Orozco was my editor on Show’s End, and working with her was probably one of my favorite collaborations yet. All of her feedback and additions elevated this comic to a whole new level. She has a great eye for story and I don’t know what the comic would look like without her.
NB: Show’s End is not the first comic that you’ve worked on; can you tell us a little about some of your other projects?
AC: My first comic was a werewolf story that was an issue 0. That was all self published and funded on my own. After that, I started a horror anthology and one of the stories was featured in Alterna’s IF Anthology. The anthology is complete I’m just waiting to begin the dreaded publisher quest.
NB: In your opinion, what are some of the obstacles that you, as a comic book writer, have had to overcome?
AC: Money. That’s got to be it. Everything costs more if you’re a comic creator that’s just the writer. Production, printing, and talent costs to the side — there’s also the price to table at cons & travel costs to sell your own book.
NB: Money makes the world go round… Where does your passion for storytelling come from?
AC: It’s really always been there. I’ve been making stories in some way for as far as I can remember. When I was a kid it was either with drawing my own picture books or acting out a movie with action figures.
NB: After reading some of your horror comics, I can say that you have a talent for the genre. What drew you to horror over say, superhero comics?
AC: I think I’m just hardwired to the genre. I’m not sure where that started either; it’s just always been there. I had superhero comics as a kid, but I gravitated to the characters that could fit into the horror genre, like Venom, Carnage, Spawn, ect.
NB: If you could write a comic book for any existing character, who would it be and why?
AC: I’d pick whichever character my 3 year old would be the most excited for. Then have her suggest ideas while I try to put them in it.
NB: That’s adorable!
NB: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for an aspiring comic book writer?
AC: 1st, Start small. Don’t jump into writing an ongoing series. Write a few shorts first. 2nd, Lurk and learn. Go on threads and join social media groups. Read all the comments and questions. 3rd, Make rejection turn into something else. I get angry every time I get rejected and I make that motivate me to do more. TWO projects of mine that were rejected both materialized into other projects. Don’t let it discourage you and learn to channel it.
NB: We want to thank you for taking the time to speak with us Anthony, and for sharing your comic writing experiences. Before we go, are there any other projects that you are currently working on that we should keep an eye out for? Any little sneak peeks you can share with us?
AC: Yes! Rebecca McConnell and I are beginning a webcomic about what advertisements and our dreams will look like in the future. We made a great page turner that I think folks are going to love. The first issue releases in July! Follow myself @Ant_Cleveland or Rebecca @Purple_Draws on Instagram and Twitter for updates and teases!
NB: We will! And so should our readers.
NB: Show’s End will be out in June of this year, from Mad Cave Studios. Make sure to ask your local comic shop to order it! Thank you for your time Anthony. We look forward to getting our hands on this dark and twisted circus saga.
This interview was the first in a series of interviews NerdBastards will be doing with indie comic creators. Keep an eye out for the next interview, and support indie comics.