Marco Lopez writes,
Two of my favorite things about doing this series of articles is I get to discover new talent and comics and as you all know the purpose of You’ve Never Heard Of… is to shine a spotlight on self-published creators who release their work in print or digital and creators who work for publishers that don’t rank in the top 10.
We’re in a golden age of comics right now and in an age of geek none of us could have ever imagined, but with the good comes the bad. As our geek news sites become more corporate they tend to focus less on comics and in some cases, less on independent creators. Which is why this series was created. As you all know Bleeding Cool is a popular site and has never shied away from giving a soap box to those starting out and trying to carve a niche for themselves.
So, with that having been said let’s get started. Today I’m gonna be interviewing Enzo Garza. The writer, creator, and artist behind the weirdly cool indie comic Gutt Ghost. If you’re a fan of the comics from Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, and Heavy Metal Magazine then this is the comic for you. And if you’re not then you should try it anyway because you never know.
Speaking of Heavy Metal, Gutt Ghost recently premiered in the #288rd issue of the magazine. So, if any of your shops still have a copy pick it up.
Marco: I read the 6-page mini comic you sent me and I gotta say I liked it. The comic oozes indie love through every single page. There is a very dry almost particular humor and dialogue that at first might seem off-putting to some but works very well within the style of art, expressions, panel layout and coloring. It all comes together very nicely.
Which brings me to my first question. Give us the story behind the creation of Gutt Ghost and is there more planned beyond the mini comic and its premiere in Heavy Metal Magazine?
Enzo: Gutt Ghost originated from an illustration I did in a high school art class back in 1999. It would be 16 years later before I would do anything more with that drawing. In October of 2015 I participated in the Drawlloween challenge only to get as far as two days in… pathetic, I know. Day 1 of that challenge was to illustrate a ghost so I looked back to that high school sketch and did an updated version. That new drawing of the ghost with guts then sat around for another 7 months before manifesting into something more.
Fast forward to May of 2016 and I was attempting to finish a mini comic about a parasitic warrior leech named Mik-Viktor. My intention was to have it ready before that year’s MegaCon in Orlando (my first time tabling at a convention). The comic wasn’t completed in time and at the suggestion of my wife, Leena, I went to the convention with a sketchbook of various illustrations and two prints (Mik-Viktor and that updated image of a ghost with guts). The ghost print sold out and after reprinting more for the third day, I realized I needed to shift my attention to this little gutsy ghost. MegaCon ended and I went to work to produce a quick little mini comic before Heroes Con in June. Three weeks later I had the first mini comic and named the character Gutt Ghost.
As for the future of GG, I have another mini comic coming out in December, an 8-page story being published exclusively for Heavy Metal in February and a full-sized comic out before March. There’s a story fleshed out for Gutt Ghost. Something I love about the character is he’s set within a very real world. He has a circle of friends, job, girl he likes. Honestly, he’s just like you and me… minus the ghost and guts thing. Some of my favorite stories are those set in the real world with just a hint of fiction. That’s what I strive for in the Gutt Ghost comics, something relatable.
Marco: When and what made you fall in love with comics and why did you start the journey to becoming a self-published creator in this business and how has that ride been so far?
Enzo: I grew up reading various comics purchased at local gas stations and grocery stores. My most impressionable memory would be my introduction to Creepy and Eerie magazines (Thanks, Dad!). Illustrations of ghoulish horror really stuck with me and it’s at the center of what I dig drawing to this day.
My deeper love for the medium was birthed by the independent and DIY comics I would find at local shops. I’m a strong supporter of anyone making their own comics. In 2010 I started making my own mini called “Sensation Boom”. It was very simple with each comic only lasting 4 to 6 pages. Every issue had the same gimmick- “Homeless hero, in raggedy costume, takes on all manner of ghoul and foul mannered monster by blowing himself up”. Silly stuff but I had fun doing it.
Unfortunately, for years I stopped making comics and let it all drift away. Thankfully, May of 2016 was my return to making comics. Looking back and seeing everything that’s occurred with Gutt Ghost in just 5 months is surreal to me. By December, I’ll have tabled at 7 conventions and it’s been great meeting so many cool people. Knowing they dig what I’m putting out means a lot to me and I’m anxious to share the expanded story with them all.
Marco: What are some of your favorite DIY and independent comics you’re checking out right now? And what is it about the indie and DIY part of the industry that draws you to it and what do you feel the rest of the industry could learn from it?
Enzo: One of my favorite self-published comics right now is Matthew Allison’s Cankor. I can’t get enough of his art and the Cankor story as a whole. To know he’s constantly slaving over that book has me all smiles. I’m on board for anything Benjamin Marra does too. Other works I’m really digging right now is Weston Notestine’s Verdugo, Ed Luce’s Wuvable Oaf, Chuck Forsman’s Revenger, Michel Fiffe’s Copra, Jim Rugg’s Street Angel, Victor Puchalski’s Kann, Motro by Ulises Farines and Erick Freitas, Austin James’ Hollow Mountain and anything Alexis Ziritt does… ever. Beyond those talented folks, I’m always searching for new material by Ofloda Monstro, Jay Bee, Greg+Fake, Jeremy Baum, Buster Moody, Corinne Halbert, Lukasz Kowalczuk, Keenan Marshall Keller, Tom Neely, Fabian Rangel Jr., Josh Simmons, Ralph Niese, Mel Dale, JB Roe, James Henry Dufresne, Shaky Kane, Matt Harrison, Greg Steele, Derek M. Ballard, Tom Scioli, Johnny Ryan, Matt Smith, Aaron Conley, Jared DeCosta, Nicole Goux, Dave Baker, Noah Van Sciver, Adam Yeater, Brett Marcus Cook, Chris Faccone, Jason Ramirez, James Harvey and Ed Piskor… to name a few.
I’m drawn to these individuals and their projects because of the passion, creativity, and skill they display naturally. Their ability to get out there and make comics unlike what I’m seeing… it inspires me. I think the industry is beginning to take notice but it needs to listen up. The creative and independent voice in comics can crumble mountains and honestly, it’s a damn sight to behold.
Marco: Besides Gutt Ghost are you working on any other creations? I know you mentioned Mik-Viktor and I’ve seen some great illustrations in your SOLD-OUT Asylum Shriek Wanna Atomic zine.
Enzo: I’ve got a handful of stories I want to tell but to boil it down for the present, there are 5 comics I want to make. Gutt Ghost and Mik-Viktor are the first two and I want to bring back Sensation BOOM as well. The fourth and fifth are something I’m building towards and are very near and dear to me, they’re titled “Kelp” and “Second Death of the Ghost Gang Five”. I’m seriously considering releasing a mini comic for all of them to get an introduction out there.
Marco: So, besides Heavy Metal have you gotten any interest from any other independent publishers and are you interested in working for the other publishers or just on your own stuff?
Also, tell the audience that will be reading this on Bleeding Cool why they should check out Gutt Ghost and any other future work you got coming up?
Enzo: After Heavy Metal I received some interest from a couple of smaller publishers and have some things lining up. Beyond that, I’m certainly down to work with others depending on the material. No matter what the future holds, I will always have a special place in my heart to self-publish. There’s little that compares to the feeling of making your own comics, however small, and sharing it with the world.
As for why anyone should check out Gutt Ghost? To me, it’s about our experiences in life. Gutt Ghost shares, for the most part, the same experiences we do. From friends to frustrations, happiness and doubt, love, and pain, it’s about finding someone or something relatable. That coupled with spots of the strange and surreal, it’s what Gutt Ghost is all about.
In regards to my future endeavors, I will always try to tell a good story and illustrate some gnarly art. If it’s something you dig, you’re more than welcome to join in the chaos ensued.
Well, that’s all she wrote. I hope you all enjoyed this article. Let us know how you feel below. And don’t forget to check us out in two weeks when I interview Robert Jeffrey, writer/ creator of Route 3, Editor In Chief of BlackSci-Fi.com, and writer at Tesseraguild.com
Marco Lopez is the co-owner of the website Atomic Rex Entertainment. Where you can find the ongoing weekly webcomic Massively Effective, that Marco describes as Bill and Ted in tights. Also hosted on the site is Marco’s web strip series Orion’s Belt that follows an Afro-Latino family of adventurers in space and his anthology series A Shot of Whiskey. Marco has also written for Zenescope Entertainment and Lion Forge Comics.