Nichi Hawkins of Headshrinkers Press
Dishes on the business!
If you’ve gone to a comic convention in the last few years, you’ve seen Headshrinkers Press! Indie Volt staffers are still trying to figure out how to get Headshrinkers Blazers, so far we’ve been unsuccessful, but soon we’ll figure it out! Stop at a Headshrinkers Press table at ANY show and you’ll find publishers who are genuine and actually excited about the world of comics and the future the medium holds. Trico Lutkins, while FAILING to secure a Headshrinkers blazer did manage to get an interview with Nichi Hawkins of Headshrinkers Press! Check it out below!
How did you first get into comics?
That started in the oddest of places. My grandmother used to take me to antique flea markets when I was younger and that was sort of our quality time together. It was there that she handed me my first comic. It was like an old ‘Creepy’ or “Tales from the Crypt” comic, I don’t remember exactly. I’m sure my dear granny did not realize that she was opening a door of many doors to come for me. Sometimes our childhood is not always filled with carefree days and lollipops. Sometimes growing up can be filled with rough times and uncertainty and it was during those bad times that comics teleported me away. It has become the greatest story telling medium ever for me.
You’re one of the founding fathers of HEADSHRINKERS PRESS, how did that come about?
Honestly, I just wanted to self-publish my stories without censorship and I really wanted to learn how to self-publish. It was sort of an experiment in the beginning as I just needed a flag to publish under, but that flag has since drawn in other talented individuals who want to be a part of what I am doing. That’s when my partner Landon Faulkner joined and suggested we start going to cons, which was probably the best decision ever for us. Self-publishing & starting my own comic publisher has is in no way been glorious or full of returns from investments and time. No Benjamin’s, boats and bitches here. It’s hard, really hard. It could literally be years before you ever see any fruits from your labors when venturing down this road. But I am not in this to get rich or famous. I have this creative pressure building in my head that needs to be released before I aneurysm out of here and when it’s done, exhausted from my cranium and released upon the world, I am gratified, as if released from a vice. If you’re thinking of going into self-publishing as a way to get club honeys, then I suggest trying other things. This is truly a labor of love and you have to be doing it for you, nothing else. We are a very small label, just a couple creators doing what we love and that’s how we have decided to keep it. We are not looking to be the next big thing or the brightest light. We enjoy being that small strange treasure you come across one day in an attic.
Headshrinkers Press publishes a wide variety of comics in many genres, what do you look for in a Headshrinkers’ title?
We’ve always said that in order for us to publish a title, it has to have that Headshrinkers “feel” to it. What is that “Feel” exactly? It’s a recipe of equal parts macabre and strange with a dash of dark humor. It can be in any genre, but there is a definite element that must click with what we are doing.
Speaking of what makes a great Headshrinkers title, you’re the creator and author of LANDSLIDE. What inspired LS and how did you come up with the idea?
The LANDSLIDE story was just the first of many stories rolling around in my head that I decided to manifest. Maybe this was because it was the easiest to write for me. It literally just spews out of me, where on other stories I really have to work at getting them just right. I think maybe that’s because LANDSLIDE really is a part of me. It’s like when one of your passions bleed in another passion and that synergy just makes the process happen with effortless fluidity. You see, comics are my first love but I also have this great passion for nature and this unexplainable intrigue for plants. It’s weird I know and I never know how to convey this without sounding like a damn hippy, but my house is like a jungle. I’ve worked in plant nurseries, exotic greenhouses, and organic gardening centers. I even pursued a degree in biology/botany at one time (which I need to get back on). I just gravitate towards greenery and actually have a little home nursery I work at on the side. I think my admiration and wonder of the earth is what created this character. Living in Kentucky for the majority of my life; I have spent a lot of time in nature, in the hills and the mountains. Staring out across the landscape and imagining one of those forest covered hillsides breaking free of its earthly vice and trekking off across the country side. I also played a lot of fantasy and RPG games as a kid and for some reason, the concepts of elementals always captivated me. I wanted to do as much as I could with the idea of natural and unnatural elementals, exploring their traits and experiment with their possibilities. Pitting them against one another in destructive kaiju battles, or mixing them together in a blender to create something unique yet horrifying.
After reading LANDSLIDE #1, it’s obvious that you do a ton of research into history, cultures, and mythology/folklore. Does the story lead to doing research or do you come up with ideas from doing random research?
I’d have to say it’s a little bit of both. I’m sure The random research into interesting concepts has triggered ideas and other concepts for stories that require more research into other fields. I love history and I feel like a story should not only entertain you but also educate you in the process. I love taking historical events that are possibly lost to the general population and build a setting around it. But in the LANDSLIDE series, I also make it a point to research actual legends and lore from different cultures as well, including them into the Landslide series so that I may resurrect the forgotten ones, once again. There are a lot of monsters and powerful beings from different cultures that will be presented in the LANDSLIDE stories as well as the cultures themselves. The ancients intrigue me. Here we stand thousands of years from a very different reality that existed where we now walk. The mysteries of our world have become my pallet when creating LANDSLIDE and I have such amazing concepts to materialize. My goal in each issue is to make you say “well, that was weird”.
How many issues do you have planned for LANDSLIDE? Are there any teasers you can share with us?
For this arc, I have 6 issues planned for the first Volume which will follow the main character Cecil Fern and tell his story. I have so much written and rolling around in my head that I could go on and on with LANDSLIDE. My plan is to do 3 volumes of trades. One for the past (which is the volume I am working in now), and the other 2 are for the present and the future, not necessarily in that order. All the while and in between, I would like to also work on a few graphic novels or one off stories that veer off of the main arcs and tell stories of other Landslide monsters around the world and through time. Needless to say; this series is not going away too easily. As for a teaser; let’s just say I will be including different elementals as well in each Volume. Since there are 3 planned volumes it will be one for water, air, and fire. This first volume is water
You keep a pretty busy con schedule, what’s your elevator pitch for Landslide?
“If you could control your own Monster, who would die first?”
Who would win in a fight, Landslide or Igoo from Herculoids?
Mmm, that’s a good one. Brought that one out of left field didn’t ya? Making me use the googler and shit. Technically these two are pretty similar so I’m not sure if they would have a problem with each other unless of course IGOO somehow woke LANDSLIDE from its slumber. Then maybe an altercation would ensue. I’m pretty sure the LANDSLIDE monster would be much larger than IGOO, as they can become massive the longer they live. So a large one could probably step on IGOO and crush him like a pebble. But maybe with a younger, smaller LANDSLIDE like in issue 1, there would be a decent battle, depending on how big IGOO actually is.
If you could write any comic, which one would it be?
Anything with Swamp Thing, Man Thing or The Heap. I could dream up all kinds of murky tales for these guys. I’m also a big fan of Godzilla, so that would be an amazing series to write. But I have always wanted to one day get a shot at an old 80’s franchise like the Gremlins, Tremors, and Critters. Man, that would be a helluva toy box to rummage through.
What’s your next big project?
I have two pretty big titles in the works, outside of LANDSLIDE. I am working on a series called RATCHET CITY through the infamously independent label CRAZY MONKEY INK. This is a gritty, pulp’ish tale of a dying city, a dark heart, and justice, bloody justice. The other project is called PACKHOUNDS and I am not sure where that will be published yet. This is a tale of animals rising up off of their haunches and walking and talking as men in an effort to throw mankind off of the food chain and reclaim the earth as its rightful heirs. The only thing stopping this from happening is PACKHOUNDS. A pack of Manimal dogs working with mankind to take down hostile, Manimal threats against humanity. When mankind has the whole world against them they turn back to their faithful companion, the hound. This is an amazing story with an amazing crew working on it. It should be finished by end of this year for a 2018 release date.
Where can we find your work?
Funny you should ask, I just recently set up a blog site where you can find all my published wares;
And of course the website to my publishers;
If you want to check out some free to read web comics, you can find the Landslide series here (we will be releasing issue one of Landslide in web comic October 1st, 2017.), as well as the home for the Ratchet City web comic: