Dez Demise is a writer from a far away land she calls Hella, California. Just launching her debut comic The Creation via Pronto Comics, she spends most of her time being a mom of boys and getting lost in dream worlds of magic whether it’s in her head or via video games or comics. She enjoys full glasses of red wine, playing the Ukelele horribly, tacos, sushi, and Pokemon. She spends some of her days at the local bookstore sitting in front of her computer with a cup of coffee social networking or writing silly stories that she believes won’t get her anywhere in her life. Severely obsessed with everything Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits, she hopes that someday she can make an effect on someone’s life somehow as they have to her own. Feel like working with Dez? You can reach her at email@example.com or Twitter
Interview by Erika Rothberg
TCJWW: This is your first venture publishing a comic book. Have you been wanting to make The Creation happen for a long time? When did you begin working on this project?
Demise: Yes, this is my first comic ever! In fact, I wanted it to be a giant graphic novel. I first came up with the idea of The Creation in 2010 after I had my twin boys. I pitched it to Pronto Comics in 2011 via email. One day I was doing my regular lurking on the inter-web for comic book companies to see what I can find—anything—that maybe I could pitch the idea to. Well, Pronto Comics came up. So I checked ’em out. I went on Pronto’s website and on the site they have a section that says: How to Join. Under that section was: Making Comics with Us. So I emailed Patrick J. Reilly and sent my info and pitched the idea. He emailed me back with Flash—like speed. He dug it! After emailing back and forth, also via text, I came to realize Pat was a rad dude. Next thing I had to do was write a comic script. Which I’ve never done before. I have written scripts and stuff but had no idea on how to write a comic script. Little did I know it’s almost the same damn thing. I honestly felt kinda dumb when I found out. After I got the hang of it, it was simple and fun. Did my thing and got to work. After it was written, I emailed it to Patrick to get it edited. He sent it to Writer and Creator Dennis Knight to edit it. This was going to be the first project as an editor for Dennis which was rad because we are all on the same page with The Creation; this is our baby.
TCJWW: I know you are a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work. The Creation (which is beautifully drawn) reminded me very much of the world of The Sandman, and Deimos looks like she could be Death’s relative. How did Gaiman’s work influence you? Did you guide Andrew Moran to use The Sandman as inspiration for the world of The Creation?
Demise: Ah.. Mr. Gaiman The Great. I love him. He is what I hope to be like someday. I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman since I was just a wee little Dez. My dad had introduced me to Neil Gaiman’s work. I was just a little kid, probably like eight or nine, and he gave me a Sandman comic. He was really into comics. After I read that, I was hooked. Ever since then I have been obsessed with him and everything he does. As far as The Creation goes, just reading it you can tell I am a huge Gaiman fan. He has inspired me on several levels, not only in the stories I write, but in my everyday life. I know that sounds kinda cheesy but like I said, I hope someday be just like Neil Gaiman, you know, get married to Amanda Palmer and be awesome writing stories that people all over the world will read and appreciate. That’s what I hope to accomplish with The Creation, stories, as well as other things I write is to have a connection with the readers. The Creation is a story about becoming alive when one was never really born and every part of you is someone else with their own stories and memories. It’s a story about love, death, happiness, and tragedy. It’s a metaphor for life in a way, I guess. That’s what I feel when I read Neil’s work and that’s how he has inspired me for The Creation. When I came up with the story, I was going through a lot of craziness in my life and creating a fantasy-type story helped me escape and cope with certain things that I was going through at the time. Made me feel that no matter how dark and dreary the world in my reality can be, that I can create something for me to read and escape to. That I can overcome—that everyone—can, whether you’re a hero or a misunderstood villain. I put a lot of myself in these characters. There is so much that goes into this story. I hope to continue and take Andrew with me the whole way.
Andrew Moran is the amazing artist who brought The Creation to life in visual form. He had it down. I was very descriptive when I wrote the story and I was lucky to gain an artist with the talent to bring what I had in my imagination to life. If I can remember correctly, when talking to Andrew about this project, I did mention that I am a huge Gaiman fan. I’m not sure if he added some Sandman zazz to it because of that, but what I am sure of is that he is a very talented artist. I just explained the descriptions to him in the script, he sent me some sketches, and instantly I was in love. He was the perfect guy for this project.
TCJWW: What’s up next for you, besides continuing The Creation? Are you working on other projects right now?
Demise: Well, currently writing more for The Creation. Also, I have a couple of other fantasy stories I would like to transform into a comic. I have also been throwing around the idea of a children’s comic series in my head and to close friends. I have two twin soon-to-be four-year old boys and currently pregnant with another boy due in July, so I would like to write something they can get into since The Creation is just too dark for little kiddos. So hopefully more great and amazing things to come. I also was invited to be part of the Creative Women Mini Con by Ben Schwartz from Empire’s Comic Vault shop in Sacramento, California in October. If you’re ever in Sacramento, be sure to check out the shop. More details with that soon to come.
TCJWW: What was it like collaborating with Andrew? Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
Demise: Andrew.. He rules. I was lucky to find Andrew Moran. What happened was, I was severely struggling with artists. Trying to find a legit and reliable one who not only can meet deadlines but also bring The Creation to life from my words. I went through artists like crazy, which was why it had taken so long for The Creation to come out. I have a friend, Jim, who went by the name Murf Comics. He did a shout out for me on his social media page that Dez Demise was looking for an artist for a project. That week I received plenty of emails. I narrowed the artists down to about two or three—Andrew being one of them. I sent sketches from each of them that they had done for my character and emailed Patrick J. Reilly for his opinion. Sure enough, he felt Andrew’s was more suited for this story and I agreed. I emailed Andrew back, said here’s the script, and show me what you can do. Next thing I knew, he had the pencils done and scanned and he emailed them to Patrick. He started working on the inking and stuff and sent those over. After that, it was the waiting game. Finally, Pronto said that The Creation would be featured in Strange Stories #4 in April 2014.
With Andrew Moran’s art and Dennis Knight’s editing, and everyone from Pronto Comics, this comic wouldn’t have happened. The crazy thing about creating this comic is that I live in California. Pronto Comics is based out of New York. Everyone I’ve worked with on this book are all East Coasters. Everything we have done has been through technology and robots. Phone calls to texts, skype to Facebook, and emails.
TCJWW: Do you have any advice you would share with writers who want to make their dream of a comic book or graphic novel a reality?
Demise: All it takes is great imagination and others with great imagination by your side and that creates worlds of wonder and fantasy and heroism and triumph. That creates worlds of endless dreams to discover that reality limits the mind. So, get a pen and a parchment and begin discovering and creating.
On a last note, I will quote Neil Gaiman: “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is YOU. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only YOU can.”