Kickstart From The Heart: Billy The Pyro


Bleeding Cool’s Kickstarter Correspondent, Shawn Demumbrum has lead three Kickstarter campaigns to launch comic books, two successfully funded and one that wasn’t.  Each week he will point out some of the unique Kickstarter projects that wouldn’t normally be published by the big comic book companies, but deserve your attention.  Shawn is the Manager of Comic Book Programming for the Phoenix Comicon.  He is currently working on the Nothing Can Stop Me Now: Stories Inspired by the Songs of Nine Inch Nails.

This week we talk to Brad Burdick and Fabian Cobos about their new project Billy the Pyro running a Kickstarter campaign right now.  Full Disclosure: Fabian drew a story for Break the Walls: Stories Inspired by the Songs of the Pixies and provided a pinup for the upcoming Nine Inch Nails book I am working on.

Tell me about Billy the Pyro.

Brad:  Billy the Pyro focuses on Billy, an adolescent teenager who has never quite felt normal and just tries to get by in his abusive life anyway he can. Not realizing that everything that has happened to him has been caused from a government research institution involved in genetic altering experiments. Soon realizing the powers that he possesses, Billy not only has to deal with his new found abilities, but struggle’s to put his past behind him as he finds out who he truly is and his purpose in life.

How does Billy differ from other characters we have seen in the past?

Brad:  I created Billy to not only be an interesting character and story, but to hopefully have people be able to relate to him and his issues. There’s a lot of personal influences while I was growing up that I wrote into character and story. I wanted to hopefully let other people who may have gone through similar issues, be able to relate to the character and find the underline message within it all. I’m just hoping that people will not only read and enjoy the comic, but put people into the shoes of Billy.

Why Kickstarter? 

Brad:  Ever since Kickstarter and the whole crowd-funding scene came around, it has always fascinated me. Not only does it allow artist and creators to help achieve there dreams that normally wouldn’t be possible due to funding issues, But it also allows fans to be apart of the project too. Which in my eyes is the most important part. People want to feel that they helped and were apart of something that they enjoy. To be able to say later down the road that you were apart of the Kickstarter that helped launch whatever project. As a fan that’s just the coolest thing to be able to say.

The Kickstarter campaign states that this is the first issue.  How do you plan to proceed from here?  Will BTP be an ongoing?  Mini-series?

Brad:  I’ve written and planned to have Billy the Pyro as on-going series; with even spin-off stories too. Before I get a head of myself though, I need to just focus on BTP right now and get it established first. After the first issue gets printed, i’m going to be submitting it to bigger publishing companies like, Image, Dark Horse, Boom, etc. to hopefully get picked up. Whoever does pick it would have a great new ip, cause I have a lot of content for them haha


What are your artistic influences?

Fabian:  I believe in versatility, so I have a bunch of influences from realistic artist and more cartoony.  In this particular case, BTP is more cartoony, so I was influenced by the work of Sean Gordon Murphy, Pierre Alary, Carlos Meglia, Bruce Tim, and my compatriot Humberto Ramos.  I try to take all they do and combine it with my own vision, and this is how my style comes out.

How did you approach this project?  Did you use a different style for the story?

Fabian:  I did a cartoony style, because I think it is the best solution for the story.  I like it how it end up.  Talking about the process, I did some pencils on paper and inking traditionally, but then I started doing the inking on Manga Studio 5 (I find this program terrific to do comics).  I end up doing pages complete in Manga Studio (pencils and inking) for the versatility of the program and the time you can save on the work.

You’ve budgeted for the first issue, how will you ensure that future issues will be funded?

Fabian:  Hopefully with the continued success of Kickstarter and a growing fan base, we can continue to make more issues over time. This has always been a dream and a goal of mine to have a legitimate comic book that you could find in a comic shop. I have already put a lot of my own savings into this and will do what I need to to help Billy the Pyro get to that next stage. Even if it doesn’t get picked up by a bigger publisher, luckily there are a lot of different avenues now a days that will help out. I’ve done web comics for a long time now, which could always be a possibility for BTP, as well as digital releases through places like ComicXology. I will do everything in my power to continue to bring more issues of BTP and advance the story. Especially how issue one ends, I’m sure people are going to want to know what happens next.

You’ve already reached you goal.  What stretch goals do you have to keep up the campaign momentum?

Brad:  We have a lot of extra goodies planned for the stretch goals. From extra buttons, and stickers, to behind the scenes/making of PDF’s and exclusive prints. I want to try to just give as much as I possible can to everyone who partakes in the Kickstarter.

You still have about two weeks left in the campaign.  The project is fully funded.  What would you say to someone still on the fence about contributing to your Kickstarter campaign?

Brad:  Do It! Haha You’ll be able to rub it in your friends faces that you were a part of Billy the Pyro when it was on Kickstarter. Seriously though, I do want to thank everyone who has already backed and supported the campaign as well as those who are thinking about it. With everyone’s help we can bring BTP to the next level.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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