Interview: We Take A Ride With Travis Gibb As He Discusses His Crime Noir ‘Broke Down & 4 Dead Bodies’ And Other Works
Travis Gibb is a indie comic book writer and creator who specializes in crime noir stories. He has had four successful Kickstarters so far, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. His latest project, Broke Down & 4 Dead Bodies #2 funded very quickly on Kickstarter, and is now up for a Spacie Award (A award recognizing ton talented creators on the Florida Space Coast).
Travis agreed to an interview with NerdBastards to share his experiences as a self published indie comics creator, his advice for Kickstarting a project, and his current and future projects.
NerdBastards (NB): Thank you for taking the time to talk with us Travis. You’ve had a very busy year so far; Successful Kickstarters, new projects, cons, and a new addition to the family? How do you juggle all that?
Travis Gibb (TG): The simple answer is I DON’T. I haven’t found the right balance since the birth of my son. However, I have a great support group with friends and more importantly my wife. I just chip away at everything and try to hit deadlines.The Worst part is it cuts into new projects and ideas more than everything else.
NB: Broke Down & 4 Dead Bodies #2 was just successfully Kickstarted. Can you give us a brief summary about this gritty crime noir?
TG: After years of being on the bottom, Randy and Denver are finally on their way to being “Made Men”. Someone had other plans and now a simple drop has them broke down on the side of the road with four dead bodies. GUNS, VIOLENCE AND F-WORD’S a plenty!
NB: Randy and Denver’s dialogue, or to be more accurate, arguments, are so natural in this series. It gives your characters a very rich and believable quality. Are Randy and Denver based on people you know in real life? If not, where did you get the inspiration for them?
TG: I feel as a writer that my dialogue is my strength. I have a natural love of people and I listen to them talk and how people deal with life. Randy however is based of my friend Stephen from college. He could turn on and off his anger at the drop of a hat and you could never tell if it was true anger or him just messing around. Denver is my own creation and his voice for me is a cross between The Community’s Donald Glover and (rapper) Ice Cube.
NB: That makes a lot of sense for Denver. Can you share any plans for the next installment in the Broke Down series? A little sneak peek maybe?
TG: Well we just funded issue 2. I am SUPER EXCITED about that getting into peoples hands. This is the issue that we start building the BROKE DOWN universe. I show you some of the gangs and factions that will be in play for years to come. After that I start production on issue three. We are in early development but it wont take us long to put the whole thing together. Issue three is going to be amazing! There is some cool visuals and some of my best dialog is in that issue.
Below is a link to a free preview for the second issue of Broke Down & 4 Dead Bodies
NB: Let’s talk a little bit about another project your working on. What can you tell us about Dog Days, the “Zootopia Crime Noir Story” you’re writing for Evoluzione? This one looks really interesting.
TG: Here is the basic overview of Dog Days: A pair of canine detectives find themselves embroiled in a cults’ attempts to murder and skin citizens. Follow this pair as they unravel the secrets and mystery behind Mother and her twisted followers. Can they save the animals in time or will THEIR skins be next?
Dog Days has been so much fun!! This will be my first graphic novel. I have been falling in love with the characters and it does hit a few of the same beats of Broke Down in terms of Dialog and character interaction but there is a little bit more a message in this story. There is also a MAJOR TWIST that I hope fans will enjoy when they get to that point.
NB: How did you get involved with Evoluzione? Did they come to you?
TG: Ya, Marcell Dupree came to me after reading Broke Down. He asked me If I would be willing to finish Dog Days since it was crime based. I originally said no because Anamorphic Animals isn’t really my thing but once I started coming up with a story and the twist, I feel in love with the Dog Days world. Another writer had given up on the project after writing 12 pages or so. (He wanted to focus on other projects with single issues instead of waiting for the graphic novel to be complete) I took those 12 pages and his notes and really only kept what I felt was VITAL. I wanted to write a very different story than the original writer. I kept the skinning of animals from his story and some of the basic personalities of a couple of characters and then wrote my own very different story.
NB: Would it be fair to say that you specialize in crime comics?
TG: Yes, crime is my genre. If I could ever give writers advise it would be stick to a genre when you first come out. Yes, I know you can write anything but be good at one first before you start spreading your wings. I want to be known as a crime writer. I also feel passionately that there needs to be crime in comics. We go to HORROR, SCI-FI or SUPER HEROES in the indie scene. However, the original comic books had tons of CRIME, it was a cornerstone for comic books. I want to bring that back and have my own little corner of that market
NB: What is it about the crime genre of comics that draws you to that form of storytelling?
TG: I come from a broken home that saw a lot of drug use and low-level crime. As a child I had to reconcile that my family was doing bad things but they weren’t bad people. So, writing crime is me trying to redeem the people and things I saw growing up in my mind. I also LOVE to read and watch crime stories. So, I create what I want to see more in the world. Stray Bullets, 100 Bullets, Pulp Fiction, Criminal, Reservoir Dogs, Snatch are just some of my favorites in film and comics.
NB: Those influences definitely shine through in your work. So, you’ve had four successful Kickstarters so far, can you tell our readers what they were?
TG: Ya, Broke Down 1 & 2, Dog Days and The Advocator. All of them, I had a hand in writing.
NB: In your opinion, what are some of the benefits to doing a Kickstarter as opposed to say, having a comic company publish your book?
TG: There is a fan base on Kickstarter that I felt was something that I needed to tap into before I hit up a comic company. I am trying to find that fan base to help show my value to a future comic publishing company. I am building a following of people who want to see my work and see it be successful. I want to sell comics and I feel that Kickstarter not only allowed me to build a fanbase but gave me access to that fanbase. Lets say I was working for (Image Comics). Well, Image sells that comic and the fans have to find me. With Kickstarter I send them the comic. I reply to there email. I am interacting with my fans and building that relationship.
NB: Are there any resources you’d suggest for those who want to attempt a Kickstarter comic? Maybe some does and don’ts?
TG: That is a HUGE QUESTION to answer. My advise is a few things: 1) Follow Tyler James with ComixLaunch/Comixtribe he gives both FREE and PAID services to help guide your Kickstarter to success. 2) Back projects that are similar to what you want to launch and watch what they do. Study and learn. 3) Keep a goal that you know you can achieve, don’t try and have someone pay for EVERY ASPECT of your comic. You need to have skin in the game if you want people to support you.
NB: Recently, the Gibb house has grown by one, CONGRADULATIONS by the way. How has raising a newborn impacted you as a creator? What adjustments have you made to your creative process?
TG: Like I said above. I haven’t found that balance. In fact, the last time I had a child and was working on comics, I QUIT. I don’t regret that because I love my daughter, but I quit comics to raise her. However, I didn’t have the amazing support that I do now in my wife. She is my partner in this company and wants to succeed just as much as I do. She even has a few ideas of her own to write comics for kids in crisis. She is an amazing women and I couldn’t do anything without her.
The biggest thing is finding a time to write. Mostly, my writing time since the birth of my son has been on marketing for my comics but I know my wife will make sure that I am always developing my ideas and giving me time to write new things.
NB: It’s important to have a partner that wants to see you succeed and grow. We’d love to see what your wife has planned, it sounds like an interesting concept.
NB: Besides fatherhood, what are some of the hardest challenges you’ve faced as a comic book writer?
TG: Having to have a full-time job when all you want to do is develop your comic ideas. That’s truly the hardest part. I know, I could make it as a writer but it takes time and I have to provide for my family in the meantime.
NB: Do you have any advice for an aspiring comic writer? Any nuggets of wisdom?
TG: Find comic anthology’s to write for first. Get your feet wet. Write in like four or five and make sure you own the work. When its done put it together as a short anthology comic and print some before you start your first project work. This will truly show you the comic process. It will teach you the value of an editor and it will start getting you a small fan base before the bigger project.
NB: What’s next on the horizon for Travis Gibb? Any appearances coming up? Secret projects?
TG: Finishing Dog Days and issue three of Broke Down & 4 Dead Bodies!! Those are what’s next and both are in development as we speak. I cant wait to get these out to my fans!! Other then that, I am working on three other projects but I don’t really have release dates or even art teams attached to most of them. I do have a Grim Reaper story one shot (single issue) that I have been slowly developing and I have even been thinking of sending it off to a publishing company, but Dog Days and Broke Down come first.
I do have appearances coming up but they are all very far away. I am trying to really spend 2019 with the new born and then hit 2020 hard with Broke Down and Dog Days being complete.
NB: Sounds like a lot to look forward to. Where can our readers follow you on social media to keep up with all your projects?
TG: Ya, people can find me at a few places, http://brokedownandfourdeadbodies.com, @Jesterlou on Twitter and Instagram, and as Travis Gibb on Facebook.
NB: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us Travis, we learned a LOT!
TG: Thank You, for having me!! It was a blast!! Thanks for writing these great questions.
We hope that you have enjoyed the second installment of our series of interviews with Indie comic book creators. Please follow us on social media to keep up with this series and all our other articles and content.