Living in the S.O.S

Survival tactics from creator Aaron Drouillard!

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Let’s face it. In Indie Comics there’s a lot of talk. Publisher’s start up, buy a few pop up banner displays, throw a few hundred or thousand dollars into promo art and some merch and if you’re one of the folks who stop by their display, MOST are all too happy to lay out the entire universe they’ve created in a 20 minute rant, instruct you to buy their book when it’s released (stuffing your hands with a ton of flyers) and you’ll probably never see them again! That situation thankfully isn’t the case at Rapid Fire Entertainment. A visit to their location at any convention starts with a warm no pressure greeting, (their happy to talk about comics, even if it’s not one they publish) if you’ve just met them within a few minutes you’ll feel like you’ve known them for years. It’s apparent that Rapid Fire Entertainment will be a staple in Indie Comics publishing and beyond for years to come. If you’re “in the know” (as you should be!) then you’re aware that for a few years now Living in the S.O.S has been on their slate for release, that day is finally upon us! Following up from their first release The Luminous fire-fly, Living in the S.0.S is a tale woven together by Rapid Fire’s director Aaron Drouillard, if that name sounds familiar it should, we’ve covered Aaron here on Indie Volt before by his stage name for his rapping alter ego Kemical. We sat down with the multi-talented creator to get some survival tips on living in the S.0.S!

Cover Image to Living in the S.O.S (Rapid Fire Entertainment) [Bien Flores]
So here we are, Living in the S.0.S is a go, for our readers who don’t know anything about you or the story, what’s this comic about?

Living in the S.O.S. takes place within an island quarantine set off the west coast of Michigan. Shoreline, a fictional Michigan city inhabiting over one million citizens, is devastated by numerous explosions and chemical leaks beneath the city. The explosions hit fault lines thus creating the island, and the chemicals poisoned the air and the water. These toxins had strange effects on those inhabiting the city, and the area was quickly quarantined by an unknown government. A story was given to the media about a tragic oil spill, and viewers were quick to move on. Although no one can prove what happened, one man’s face is plastered all over the quarantine’s walls as the one responsible for the “chemical terrorist attack”.

Kemical doesn’t look like your standard hero, he’s got metal arms and a gas mask you put him in a mainstream comic and he’s probably a villain! What prompted you to have him designed that way?

Concept art for the mysterious Flicker. (Living in the S.0.S/Rapid Fire Entertainment.) [Mark Marvida]
Throughout the comic you will quickly notice that you probably won’t find any capes and cowls here. Most of the Supernaturals (our term for the “gifted” ones) are wearing some form of street clothes to fit their theme. Kemical is no different. He wears military-like equipment, and never seems to have sleeves. This is primarily because the S.O.S. is limited on gear and supplies, so anyone to have this kind of stuff has been pretty successful on the Streets of Shoreline. Kemical doesn’t LOOK like a hero, but that doesn’t make him a villain. The truth of the matter is that in this city, there really isn’t a line between the two. The only thing that is real here is Death or Survival.
I don’t feel that “mainstream” is what I’m going for with this one. The Luminous Firefly is something for the kids, but this story is grim and so the design has to fit a “survival” type of environment. A lot of people will have some form of gas mask to correlate to the poisonous atmosphere in many parts of the city as well as other survival gear. Kemical will be the only one to wear a two-tank chemical respirator as part of his design concept. At this time Kemical’s image and mentality is less a beacon for hope and justice, and more of a threat to those who would try and take him out.

Anti Hero Kemical is a wanted man. (Rapid Fire Entertainment) [Mark Marvida]
You’ve been working on this book for a while, there’s a lot of time that goes into creating a book. multiple drafts of the story, finding the right artist, colorist, letterer..etc.

Living in the S.O.S. is a book I have been working on for years now, and to say it takes a lot of time to make a comic is a grave understatement. This is not something I do as a full time job, so funds for this project have been completely out of pocket. Rapid Fire has yet to use crowdfunds for a project which shows how dedicated we are to showing our stories to the world. I’m not saying future projects won’t have a crowdfund to back it, but our first books so far have been at the writer’s expense mostly.
I met Mark Marvida simply through social media groups, and when inquired about the project his work came through and worked so well. He did the second issue of The Luminous Firefly while starting the first issue of Living in the S.O.S. I had originally released a 6 page preview of the comic, which was colored by Whitney Cook. When we finally got to finishing the book, I was working exclusively with Mark Marvida and his brother Marvin Marvida. I took the task upon myself to do my own lettering. It’s my first attempt, so go easy on me.

Kemical dives into action! (Rapid Fire Entertainment.) [Mark Marvida]
When did you get the idea for the story? How did it progress from concept to finished product?

The story of Living in the S.O.S. has changed immensely over the years just based on where I’ve been at in life. Kemical is my character and based off of my persona in a lot of ways but I’ve never intended him to be the “title character” of the book. This series will be about the city itself, and all of the crazy inhabitants that it possesses. I did, however, change many things to the overall plot to align with future projects with Rapid Fire’s universe since the first conception.

You started promoting this book a few years ago, during that time, politically, things weren’t as “charged” as they are now! Some might say that Living in the S.0.S is a political story and relevant to a lot of things going on now in the U.S, what’s your response to that?

The book is absolutely politically driven, although subtle enough to not hammer you with it. I will take current events and spin them into our alternate universe and even have “alleged parodies” of people as well. I also plan for friends of mine through the music industry to have a part in the S.O.S. as time goes on, developing their own characters along the way.

Aaron Drouillard (Rapid Fire Entertainment Director & Creator of Living in the S.0.S)

The lead character, Kemical shares a name with your stage name as a hip-hop artist, could you expand on that and which one came first?

I’m not 100% sure which came first the recording artist or the comic character at this point. It’s all blurred realities. Although I think my first use of the name Kemical was from when we did wrestling events. My friend Chris Jacobs (allegedly also known as CJ Anderson) was with me back in those days too, I’m talking high school days. You might see some resemblance to the character.

At Rapid Fire, you along with Terrell Smith have started to build a comic universe, The Luminous Fire-Fly being Terrel’s creation and obviously Living in the S.0.S being yours, how much of the groundwork for the future is laid out by the two of you, and has either of your stories impacted of bled over into plans either of you have had?

Rapid Fire has been developing this universe since our creation around six years ago. Since then we’ve developed timelines for how all of our stories will intertwine. Terrell and I share a mutual hatred for “ret-cons” in various series and are going to do everything we can to fill as many plot holes as possible while crossing over the stories. The first major crossover is hinted in this first issue, but the Luminous Firefly has had Easter eggs of other characters already.

Rapid Fire will be releasing Living in the S.0.S October 20th 2017. If you can’t make it out to a convention to pick yourself up a copy of their newest release head over to the Rapid Fire Entertainment official website here or order any issue from their catalog here.

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