We can all agree that 2017 is a strange time to be alive. A time wrought with scandal and tragedy on what seems to be a daily basis. While we all carry different perspectives and ideas about the past, present and future, Dirtbag Endorsed Artists, SUBURBAN VERMIN have given an artistic take on our modern day of weird. "TV HEAD NATION" is the name of their first ever comic book series, and it is being released alongside some new music from the band, as well as some other goodies and add-ins. I had a chat with the band about the series.
So, you’ve created your own comic book series, and that automatically makes you cooler than 80% of all bands. Well done! Was any one of you responsible for the idea to create a comic series, or was it a whole-band concept?
The basic concept stems from a poster we had commissioned from artist Nathan Blu a number of years ago with the band depicted as super heroes. For our last record 'Headless Over Heels', we did a horror anthology comic with different artists for each song. For 'TV Head Nation' we we wanted to serialize the comic story as well as the music to match how music is consumed currently. There have been many contributions to the basic concept by the entire band and management, but the concept and stories were conceived and written by bassist/vocalist Jason Vermin. There also was some additional writing by Dan Rafter who has worked on the Gearz series.
What is the series all about?
Before the election last year when we started planning the comic series, there was a lot of fear about what the world would look like if the unthinkable happened. 'TV Head Nation' in a lot of ways is a reflection of a worst case scenario. There are some parallels that can be drawn to current events, but through a science fiction filter.
The series itself follows our hero Ramona trying to find her wife who has been abducted by an alien warlord and his empire. There are the band characters who help her out, but for the most part, it's Ramona who is the driving force behind the comic. You get the sense the more you read how evil can spread and how that effects the different characters and the world they live in.
How many books will be in the series, and what does the release schedule look like?
There are technically three comics in this series, with Issue #1 being double length. The first half of issue one was initially released for free comic book day as Issue #0, but they ran out so quickly, we didn't want anyone to pick up Issue # 1 and not have the full story as well as miss out on the songs that were included with that release. Issue # 2 will be released October 20th 2017. Issue # 3, we're hoping December, but at the latest January.
In addition to “TV Head Nation,” we are releasing “Zombie Bloody Zombie,” a Suburban Vermin short story that takes place before the events of “TV Head Nation.” That'll be out October 28th 2017 for Halloween ComicFest.
Who is the mastermind behind these awesome illustrations?
The illustrations are by Amy Fay, an artist out of the UK. She's been amazing to work with and instrumental to the success that we've experienced with “TV Head Nation.” She will be working with us on the next set of comics.
Have you considered shopping it around, or maybe bringing it out to Comic-Con next year?
There are pros and cons to having an imprint or company try and help or take over the Suburban Vermin comics. It's a lot like trying to find a record deal. You want to maintain creative control and not to have art decided by committee. The comics already have been a big boost to the music and we've gotten such a warm reaction. We're still relatively inexperienced in the comic world, but already we're getting some modest success doing things unconventionally.
As for comic conventions, we actually are stating to get into that scene. We're making our con debut October 21-22nd at the Central City Comic Con in Yakima, WA. They already have some great guests and are really enthusiastic with working with us.
Next year, we're going to be doing more conventions and balancing that schedule with our regular show schedule and with releases that we're planning for potentially this time next year. We're actively planning to expand our comic universe so right now we feel that conventions will become a big pillar in how we do things as a band.
And where can we buy this thing?!
If you're in the Northwest you can buy the first issue from Comic Hut in Renton, WA. You can buy digital copies of the comics for your tablets along with mp3s from our website. We're trying to workout a web solution for selling the physical copies online, but due to the nature of the project, we'd like to ensure that they reach people in good condition which can drive up the price for shipping with comics.
Another thing that all you Dirtbags can do out there is let your local conventions know that you want us there. We're really keen on getting on the road, playing for all of you and getting you our comics as our comic universe expands. We're really into contributing to the comic/geek culture instead of just using the comics as a gimmick for promoting the music. We also have trading cards that contain music, paper craft figures, board games, etc.
We're all nerds, for me this is combining pretty much everything I'm nerdy for into the band. It's all different ways to compliment the music.
Thanks for all the support!!