Thursday, April 14, 2016

Five-Q With Royden Lepp, Rust

One of the cool things about being an author is the ability to network with other authors, especially if you're fortunate enough to be publish by a smaller publisher like I was. It creates a tight, cool little community. I admired what all of the authors in my small community have done to expand their work and become successful outside of the inner circle.

Today's guest is Royden Lepp, a creator that I met through my connection with Lamp Post Inc. in 2008. I've been admiring his work for a long time. We talked about Rust (his creator-owned comic published by Archaia), his experience with the film industry, and his views on marketing his work.

Aaron David Harris: Tell us a little bit about Rust. How was it conceived? What influences or inspirations move the story forward?

Royden Lepp: Rust started as a video game pitch. I work full time in the game industry, so that’s the medium it was first conceived in. After several years of it not getting a lot of traction, I decided to apply it to another medium and comics seemed like the most appropriate. I can't point to any one influence or inspiration that launched the idea but I've always cited Terminator 2 as a movie that had a lot of creative impact on me, as well as the early books of Kazu Kibuishi, including a comic called Daisy Kutter.

ADH: There was talk of Rust being adapted for the big screen. Can you tell us a little more about that? Many creators dream of a film adaption. What should creators expect when courting the film industry?

Royden Lepp, Creator of Rust
RL: Creators should expect the unexpected. Film adaptation is not a singular process and many different creators have many different experiences. The Hollywood adaptation of Rust has been a great experience with many highs and lows over the course of the last few years. We still don't know if it will be realized as a live action film but it's been one of the highlights of my careers to watch its development in the hands of other brilliantly creative people.

ADH: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being both the writer and the artist of a story?

RL: Advantages are that obviously I get to have full ownership over the IP and the story. I get to draw exactly what I want to draw, and I get to tell the story that I want to be  part of. The drawbacks are that I don't get to have creative collaboration and create those wonderful stories that only come from the trust and investment between two artists.

ADH: As someone who has fostered a fanbase, what is your take/advice on marketing and promoting your work. What kind of role, if any, does Archaia play in your marketing efforts?

RL: Again this is a different experience for every creator. Archaia has a great marketing department but at the end of the day, I am responsible for my fans, my interaction with them and how often I connect with them. A marketing department is great, but nothing beats twitter, Instagram and facebook.

ADH: What's next for you? What's next for Rust?

RL: You'll be able to find me at Emerald City Comicon this year in Seattle as well as Long Beach comicon in LA in the fall. Rust: The Boy Soldier - The prologue, just hit shelves last month in trade paperback, and Rust: Volume 1 Visitor in the Field hits shelves in trade paperback in the fall. Volume 4 is still on my desk and due next year.