Jared Gafford’s Renegade

Interview by Trico Lutkins

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Recently, I was the proud recipient of a great Kickstarter reward in the form of a comic called, Renegade. Renegade is written by Jared Gafford and illustrated by Tyler Sowles (Hank Stein, Corpse Corps, and several other comic book series). Plus, for super-awesome Kickstarter patrons like me it features a cover by Joshua Werner (Jack of Spades, The Creepshow, The Painting, Zombie Rush Riot, and he’s done lettering or inks for pretty much every comic made in the Great Lakes area). After reading the first issue I had to pick Jared’s brain to find out more about this awesome series.

How did you come up with the concept?

I promise you I’m not trying to sound cliché, but the concept for Renegade actually came to in the form of a really vivid, lucid dream I had. The dream was basically all the present-day stuff from issue 1 except a little crazier because you know, it’s a dream, and dreams are weird like that. When I woke up, I instantly wrote it down because I knew there was something I wanted to do with it. I then sat on this dream for about 2 months before I finally decided I wanted to turn it into a comic book. Once I started working on it, the direction for where I wanted the book to go just came to me so easily.

Any Kickstarter advice?

My best advice for anybody running a Kickstarter is to plan, plan and then plan some more before actually launching it. Renegade #1 was my first Kickstarter and while I did as much research as I could, there were a lot of things I didn’t plan for, including how much it was actually going to cost to produce. I greatly underestimated the cost to produce the book, which on top of some personal issues with both myself and Tyler, caused quite a few delays with issue 1. However, going into this next Kickstarter we’ll be launching in February, I feel much more prepared for what to expect. Running a Kickstarter is a lot of excruciatingly hard work and promotion. Put in the work, and you’ll see the success.

Renegade creator Jared Gafford sending out a stack of Kickstarter rewards!

Is this the first comic you worked on? How was the experience?

Yes, this was the first comic I ever worked on. I actually came from a journalistic and musical background prior to delving into the comic’s world. When I walked away from journalism and music, I still felt this itch to write. With my love of comics, it was a match made in heaven to start writing my own comics, especially after the crazy dream I had. The experience was very long and very hard. The first issue of Renegade took about 2 years to produce. But once I held that first physical issue in my hand, it made it all worth it.

What got you into comics?

I actually grew up loving comics, or rather superheroes from a very young age. I watched all of the classic 90’s animated series like Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Justice League and so on. But I didn’t really start reading comics until I got into high school. I didn’t really start getting into indie comics until probably about 4 years ago when I picked up my first Image Comics book which happened to be the book Sheltered by Ed Brisson. Since then, I’ve become a huge lover of indie comics. Not just the big publishers like Image and Dark Horse, but independent comics in general, most that aren’t even with a publisher, or if they are, are a smaller, more local publisher such as Source Point Press and Caliber Comics.

The cover for issue 1 of Renegade.

What was the first comic you ever read?

The first comic I ever remember reading was the beginning of the classic Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams Green Lantern and Green Arrow run from the 80’s. My favorite color has always been green, so naturally, that’s what I was drawn to.

What would you say your major influences as a writer are?

I would say one of my major influences as a writer would be Ed Brisson. He is so great at doing the gritty, real, street-level stuff and that’s exactly the tone I was going for with Renegade. Another influence of mine would be Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna. They do such an amazing job of writing conversation as if it was happening in the real world. It’s always so natural and true to life. That’s something I’ve always strived for as a writer is to make sure my dialogue sounds real, and not stale or over the top.

If you could write for any property, what would it be?

Oh man, that’s a tough one. I would like to say Green Arrow, simply because he’s my favorite character. However I don’t know if my style of writing would work well with that character. Honestly, I think writing a character like Moon Knight would be a blast. It would be great to tow that line between what is real, and what is not. I was a huge fan of what Jeff Lemire did on his 14 issue run of Moon Knight.

What’s your next project?

My next project that I’ve started working on will be a Sci-Fi/Slice of Life story about a world where artificial intelligence is the majority, and humans have started dying off and are looked down upon because they are imperfect. The story will follow a male AI who unintentionally falls in love with a human woman. The goal of the story is to bring more light to the prejudice that’s going on in today’s world, while doing it in a way that people may be more receptive to. That and I personally love AI stories and have always wanted to write one. I can’t tell you who I’m working on this with yet, but I will say they are awesome and I’m looking forward to blowing people away with this book.

Renegade #1 was very intriguing, when can I get #2?

We are planning on running a Kickstarter for issue 2 of Renegade in early to mid-February. The issue is already scripted and I am working with Tyler Sowles, Zac Atkinson and Jeremiah Lambert to put together the 5-page preview for that. We are hoping for a much faster turnaround time with issue 2, than we had with issue 1. Trust me, I can’t wait to get issue 2 in everyone’s hands!

You can stay up to date with the world of Renegade and Jared at the Renegade official Facebooks here.

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