One thing I love about this city, you can’t throw a Mjolnir without hitting a comic book artist. Such was the case recently when I threw my Mjolnir, okay, it was an umbrella, but you get the idea. I recently attended my friend’s gallery opening…I actually go for the free booze. As I was pouring my fourth glass, Peter, my gallery owner friend, asked if I knew this comic book artist Graig. “I said, Greg who?”, “No, Graig”, “Craig who?”. I wasn’t drunk, it was just loud. Who puts the bar next to the flamenco guitarist? Giving up on sign language, Peter pointed down the hall. This tall, pony-tailed gentleman in a sharp tailored suit was commanding an audience in the next room. He had a sketch in his hand, apparently trying to bring an attractive young lady’s vision to life…don’t ask me what she wanted drawn, it really would not add to this story.
Once this modern-day Joan of Arc moved on to the next victim, Peter introduced me to Graig Weich! I didn’t know it at the time (wine does not enhance my recall skills) but I had seen Graig before. Usually at the center of comic cons, his Beyond Comics booth is brimming with excitement. After going through our respective curricula vitae, we proceeded to discuss his current and upcoming projects.
Did I mention there was wine? Good, because it certainly inhibits my recollection powers. However, I had the foresight to exchange contact information so Graig and I can reconstruct his interview for you, gentle reader.
Q&A with Graig Weich of www.BeyondComics.TV
How did you get your start in comic books and what shows have you been featured on?
I got my start in comics as the featured poster artist for Image Comics Spawn issue #30 by Todd McFarlane. I was on Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men on AMC TV again recently seen here:
It was really a huge break through for them to feature an independent artist like myself on the shows. It is extraordinarily hard to be an independent artist and writer and to break through to the main stream media since us little guys do it all our selves without the help of the giant-sized mainstream corporations that have huge teams and funding behind them. Here is a clip of some of the TV shows that have been kind enough to shown my work:
FYI: CONTEST, You can be drawn in our next comic book: http://www.beyondcomicsinc.com/donate.html
It was another dream came true when the Howard Stern Show recently did a story on us, I couldn’t believe I was able to get on the show without bringing in a stripper or sticking a tampon up my nose in order to get on, lol, but to actually get on the show legitimately for my work was a real honor.
Here is a clip:
Gekido looks like a good ol’ cyber-ninja Japanese anime romp, are you influenced by the cartoons, anime and manga from our youth? How did you approach this art style & what is it about?
The co-creator and writer of Gekido is Brandon Wilson. I could SEE what he was writing in my head visually and wanted to create a style of art that would give us that same excitement we felt back in the good ‘ol days, so growing up with Anime and Manga really felt the right way to tell the story to match the visuals to the writing. I also want to give a shout-out to the amazing Vince “master of art” Spencer, check out his new book Zombie-Proof.
Gekido (Wrath in Japanese) is an intense story of a man of multi-cultural decent who has existed for centuries with a modern-day samurai-like body-armor that harnesses his unlimited power. He is on a mission to stop the world’s oldest Ninja clan, bent on world domination, using a mystical artifact of ancient power that could destroy mankind unless the assign known as Gekido stops them. He hates ninja’s because, in his own words: “they’re just so many of them and they have poking weapons”. Lol, I love that line.
Here is a preview of our new comic book:
Can you take us through your creative process? What’s a typical day like for Graig?
This is one of the best questions I’ve been asked thus far and I’ll try to answer it as honestly as possible.
Stressed, depressed, worried, happy, sad, lost, inspired, etc… A mess of emotions that I try to manage using my mind and logic, but it seems emotions have no ears which makes it hard to communicate with it, lol. As we get older and real life hits, major life responsibilities can drown us away from being able to function if we don’t force our selves to find a way to rise up above all the drama and stay on our “yellow brick road”, our path. Sometimes you wake up and your head is just not in the right place, but you still have tasks to complete, those are hard days, it’s like driving with the break on your car, you have to force yourself to go forward but everything takes longer. When all our blocks are lined up in place, meaning when you feel good, happy, then it’s like hitting the jackpot, I can do the work of 20 people non-stop when I hit a day like that.
I feel unstoppable. But life is all about ebb and flow, ups and downs. I try to keep my mind clear so I don’t take anything to get through the tough times, I just try to talk with friends and clear my metal hard drive out, as we get older, we accumulate a lot of garbage in there, so I work hard to find ways to redirect my focus. I find that when I am most down, that listening to music I like, forcing myself to workout and reviewing past work I’ve created reminds me that though there is still a lot left to accomplish, that I have already begun and must continue so as not to let my fans or my self down. I really love the fans because their smiles fuel me when they come to meet me at comic con. Here is a pic of a fan of mine named Adam, who went to his tattoo guy, Dana, to get my super heroes tattooed on his entire upper arm, it was the first time I had met him in person and he drove all the way into NY to meet me at comic con.
I gave him the fan award in my comic book seen here:
So once I get all that mess of troubles out-of-the-way, I begin to get to work. I try to spend one day drawing, plotting out the visual storytelling. The next day jotting ideas down for scripts. Coming up with new never-before-seen action scenes, that is a tough one. Overseeing the animation. Working on promoting my work, then late in the evening going out to networking events I’m invited to and making new connections and new friends too. Somewhere in there I try to find time to date the ladies, they can be good at giving us guys an energy boost, but unfortunately they always have the power to completely deflate and wreck us if we’re not careful. It’s best to stay on your own track and keep your eye on the ball. If you go to an event to network, and girls begin to show up, it’s important to view them as Pop-Ups, so time to turn on your pop-up blocker, lol, meaning they are distracting you from your work-goal, so tell yourself there is time for the ladies later, if you’re there to work, work and don’t lose focus (easier said than done, lol). At least for a guy like me, I’m honest and treat girls with respect so that makes me vulnerable to meeting girls that may not have the best intentions for me I have found, but now and then I do meet a few very dear ones and that is a nice find.
But I can talk about that for hours, now back to work! lol.
Can you tell us about how you created Gekido, Code Name: Justice & Ravedactyl?
Here is a pic of all our super heroes in the Beyond Comics Universe:
Gekido is the brain-child of Brandon and he teamed up with me when I came on board to create all the visual design-art and help consult on the scripts along the way though he really nailed the whole concept and story himself and is an amazing writer and creative thinker.
As for my other characters, Code Name: Justice and Ravedactyl, I created them myself before I teamed up with Brandon on Gekido and each of the characters will be making cameos in each other’s books.
The story – Code Name: Justice
From the ashes of tragedy rises a new vigilante… CODE NAME: JUSTICE. Shrouded by corruption and conspiracy theories, the world will be threatened by a doomsday terrorist cult planning world domination. JUSTICE wears a stealth-like outfit with a global flag symbol on his chest to represent the fight for world peace! One ordinary man, a failed musician, who lost his family in a terror-attack disaster, will unleash his own brand of justice and decode the mystery behind the new corruptions to uncover the truth to save the world, while facing his biggest demon of all — himself.
As for my next book:
Ravedactyl: Life Beyond Death
An ancient Artifact that holds the secrets to the unknown ‘true’ origins of the universe, will be thrust upon a struggling comic book artist, Pharrell, unlocking 100% of his hidden brain energy, transforming him into a human-weapon of armorized power called Ravedactyl, to stop the return of mythological-like creatures known as G.A.H. (Genetically Altered Humans) from taking over the world.
Ravedactyl, must uncover the buried secrets to our past, present and future in order to save humanity and life as we know it from an evil dictator, Sunder, bent on world domination who will unleash the apocalypse should he obtain the Artifact, in a hidden war, that will forever be known as: RAVEDACTYL: Life Beyond Death.
You showed me some CGI animation of Justice from Ravedactyl, it looks amazing! Was it a difficult to produce and do you plan to make it a full length movie?
Thanks, Yes, that is a scene from the script we animated to see how it might look. We have the entire 96 minute animatic motion story-board completed and hope to make it into a feature one day. I had to draw every single character by hand from every possible angle and texture map it onto CGI characters my team and I created, it took a long time to say the least but we see we can do it.
Here is a clip:
You have a lot going on, regarding your projects and working with Coco, how did this collaboration come about?
A dream come true! Took about 6 months for me to hook it up, meeting with each person and networking non-stop. Finally I was introduced to the right person who was kind enough to have me text her pics of my art while we were rushing in the car to get somewhere, time was of the essence. After careful review, Coco called me personally and I couldn’t have been happier.
I mean how amazing is that?!
She is an extremely smart business woman yet friendly. She has really created a brand for herself. She is very professional and Ice and she are amazing together.
I always thought she would make for a great heroine in a comic book, so I cast her as Cleo in our comic Gekido #1. She has the power to seduce men and turn them into her puppets along with some other amazing super powers. You can see us on her TV show on E! Entertainment Television’s: Ice Loves Coco , here:
Were you afraid of Coco’s husband, Grammy Winner Ice-T?
Um… Of course! lol! When Coco gave me a huge hug hello, I thought it would be a dream come true, but instead I could only think about Ice-T killing me if I step out of line, lol. Truth be told, he is amazing and very kind to me, but one heck of a serious man. He took me into a very tiny private room at his event recently. It was hidden away from the red carpet outside and could only fit us & his few closest friends with security. He put his arm around me and said; “Graig, look at this (censored and omitted, but look at this to get an idea: http://youtu.be/10LCZODPQFE ), but I turned my life around and became successful, it’s about surviving every day, and there is a reason why you’re in here with me and all the people out there aren’t…”
…So I began to think how sad my parents will be when they hear that Ice-T has killed me on the news… Actually, I really did get nervous for a moment as I didn’t know where he was going with this… And began telling me some more stories that I won’t repeat, as I respect his privacy so I will only say what he has publicly said before and what he said on the video we made…
Ice continued: “You’re in here with me, Graig, because you have proven yourself to be trustworthy and a hard-working entrepreneur fighting to make it in your own way and I respect that. The people out there could be my enemy and I could be their target. One person from out there could come in here and curse me out in the hopes to start a fight so they can sue me for 20 million. Get it?! I want to thank you for turning my wife into a super hero. You drew her so tight, that now she goes to the gym to try and match what an extra super fit body you gave her in your comic, so thank you for getting my wife to workout even more than usual in the gym, lol”. We filmed a little video about that last part which I will post soon. Ice is a brilliant thinker and really deserves the success he has earned. Here is a pic where I look terrified as Ice breaks it down, lol:
…And here is a pic of us after our talk when I learned everything is ok, note my extreme relief of happiness:
Adrianna Curry (Winner of America’s Next Top Model and VH1 Star) and Gary Dell’Abate (Bababooy) of the Howard Stern show are also involved. How do you approach celebrities to work with you? Do you carry bacon in your pocket?
Yes, offering them food always helps unless they’re vegan, lol… Honestly, before I began getting invited to events, I used to sneak in, it’s so nice to actually be invited now and now have to worry about security, lol. If the moment is right and the celebrities seem open to it, I will show them my work and see if they express interest, from that point, I will exchange information with them and see if we can figure something fun out, but honestly, it becomes major work and contract negotiations from that point on with their people etc. That could take months and months sometimes years. The good thing, is that now that they have shown me and my company and super hero creations on TV, some of the celebrities recognize me from the shows which makes connecting a lot smoother. Sometimes I think I’m dreaming but then I remember staying awake for between 36 – 72 hours without any sleep to make it happen. I have two jobs, creating comics and running a business, I never intended to do the later until I realized they go hand in hand and that is was the only way to make it happen.
Here is a pic of Adrianne as my character Tricity, Me, Coco as my character Cleo and my Super Heroes: Code Name: Justice, Gekido & Ravedactyl from NY ComicCon, they appear in my comic book Gekido as these characters:
What else can we look forward to from BeyondComics.TV ?
We are currently working on issue # 2 of Gekido with a 4 issue story arc for the first chapter. Then comes Code Name: Justice #1 followed by Ravedactyl: Life Beyond Death and in the far future, Quit and Humanibotics: Rise of the CyberNauts.
Aside from creating comics, you also do a little acting. Being cast as one of Bane’s Thugs with a walk-on role in The Dark Knight Rises raises the question, how is Bane as a boss? Is there a benefit package or 401k working as a henchman?
Now that Batman took him down, I can finally tell you what a horrid Boss Bane was to all of us, and no, he didn’t give us a 401K, he made us feel very dispensable. That really hurt my feelings.
I did my very best to do as he told, but it was so freaking difficult to understand what he was saying with that darn mask over his mouth. In the locker room, we all secretly called him Mumbles. I must say, I was very happy to learn that I am taller than Bane. On a side note, us Thugs were all very offended that he refused to wear a shirt, always trying to flex his muscles and show off, they didn’t show it on the film, but we all know from the comics he juices! And his temper obviously comes from roid-rage. He refused to see a therapist no matter how many times I suggested it.
For those who may have missed it, here is a clip of my scenes with him:
Where and how can we acquire all of these cool comics?
Our first comics thankfully sold out of the comic book stores and were distributed by Diamond, but you can order our comics Signed by the Celebrities at: www.BeyondComics.TV and look for our next comics by requesting them from your local comic book shop please. Also, for updates, contests, and giveaways, follow us on Twitter @BeyondComics (www.twitter.com/beyondcomics) and please like our FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Graig-Weich-of-BeyondComicsTV/7899991868?ref=hl
Thanks Graig for talking with us, what a blast! And we are looking forward to more stuff from Beyond Comics!