While attending this year’s Comic-Con International I was able to sit down with two engaging talents, Matthew Scott Krentz and Vernon Whitlock III.
UTF: First off, guys, I got to ask who came up with The Blaze Brothers?
Matthew Scott Krentz: I would say Whitlock and I sat down and started brainstorming. He said, “All right, we got to make a story around these two badass characters that roll around in suits.”
Vernon Whitlock III: Half-brothers.
Matthew Scott Krentz: Yeah, half-brothers. Then we started deciding, “is it going to be a comedy? Is it going to be action or an adventure?” All right, let’s combine everything that we love about comics.
Vernon Whitlock III: Yeah, it’s everything.
Matthew Scott Krentz: I think that was the genesis of the project. Next thing you knew we had written almost the entire story before we named it. We just landed on that title and our writing names, we just go by The Blaze Brothers.
Vernon Whitlock III: We wanted to do something that was multi-racial. We have Chinese, Japanese, black, white all the colors you can think of. It’s like Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction. It’s a journey back to the ones that were great, if you know what I’m saying. We put it all together, and it came out solid. We’ve enjoyed a great response from everybody and we’ve got Marat Mychaels.
UTF: The name rings a bell.
Matthew Scott Krentz: Yeah, he’s worked on Youngblood with Rob Liefeld.
Vernon Whitlock III: And Deadpool at Marvel.
Matthew Scott Krentz: He’s an extremely talented artist. Then Doug Sirois, who’s done quite a bit of work for Radical [Comics]. He’s also doing work with Image Comics. He’s an amazing colorist and an illustrator who’s working with a number of different publishers.
UTF: I’m always curious when authors write their words but then they have to approach someone for the visual language of their comic book. How was it seeing the first few pages brought to life?
Vernon Whitlock III: It was outstanding. We had a collaboration with the artists. At first, it took a little while to get it together. He sees it one way; we see it another. Once we got it nailed down, the rest of it was easy, because he understands where you’re coming from and all that. We want a certain style. We’re hands on but we just can’t draw.
Matthew Scott Krentz: It definitely took some ironing out because we have big personalities and high expectations. Quite a bit of the imagery we provided and the examples of some of the artwork we liked. Then kind of the audition process, we’re saying give us some ideas for the look and style. From there, it’s really in their hands to just create that masterpiece. The first moment we saw the first pages and panels, you just kind of smile, just like a kid in the candy store. You just stop and you’re like holy shit.
Vernon Whitlock III: Yeah, that’s it.
Matthew Scott Krentz: That’s it. Once they got it, they got it. All right, let’s ride with it. Let’s roll with it.
Vernon Whitlock III: This is for hardcore action fans. Seriously, if you like action, if you like people getting kicked in the butt and all that, than this is a book you ought to get. We tell people, you read it once and you’ll get hooked. So far, that’s been the absolute truth.
UTF: Going off of that. You have that wonderful moment when you have your first creator owned comic book with IDW Publishing in your hand. How awesome was that?
Matthew Scott Krentz: Yeah, it’s pretty surreal. Walking in here on Wednesday delivering the books. And God bless IDW for supporting that. We printed these up ourselves and we decided to hand them out for free.
But just to walk in the doors while everyone’s setting up, it was awesome. Looking at comics and creators that you just love and admire and seeing their books in booths next to you and then at the same booth withyou, that’s the part where you just feel fortunate. The hard work from story, ideation all the way to execution, I mean we’re four and a half years in the making just to get to Comic-Con in San Diego.
We only feel like we’re halfway there, because now we got to get the word out and just let people know The Blaze Brothers. This is going to be a 204-page graphic novel. It comes out in two installments. Volume 1 hits the stores September 10th, and you can get the digital individual issues on comiXology, iTunes and Amazon.
Vernon Whitlock III: Like I said, we’re common guys out here hustling. Hey, I still have my first copy. I still think it’s under my pillow, if I’m not mistaken. That’s how proud I was. This is our first comic. It came out great, and every issue gets better and better and better. We love it. By the way, IDW is the greatest company to work for. No hassle, no problems. They’re just great.
UTF: As up-and-coming authors in the industry, there are other people out there who would love to write comic books. What kind of advice would you give them?
Matthew Scott Krentz: Go to a convention. Start talking. Go to panels. Talk to peers. Talk to artists, and just start learning. Don’t be afraid to take that first step. It’s kind of like you start rolling a snowball up the hill, and it seems like it’s impossible. But once you get it to the top, push it over the edge and let it gain some momentum. Don’t be afraid to fail. You’re going to hear a lot of nos, just got to go with it.
Vernon Whitlock III: You can come in at any level. We write. We do our own things. We produce the book. If you come in and you need a writer but you have a great idea, conventions are a great place to go. You’re going to meet the writers. You’re going to meet the artists. You can do it. It’s just a matter of placing one foot in front of the other. People get overwhelmed, and they quit. It’s not that hard, but it ain’t easy, either.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Matthew Scott Krentz and Vernon Whitlock III for chatting with me. It was a great pleasure to hear their insights and delve into their excellent property, The Blaze Brothers.
So what did you think of the interview my fellow fanboys and fangirls?
Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
S#!T Talking Central