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At last weekend’s Fan Expo Canada, cartoonist James Turner (Nil, Rex Libris) debuted several color posters spinning out of his graphic novel Warlord of Io from SLG Publishing.
He calls the above poster “Tiki Mek”! Expect Turner to have a larger print run available on his website in the coming months. He’s also working on posters featuring his characters from Nil and Rex Libris.
Also, James is letting us run two exclusive short comics he’s done. Read on, faithful readers …
I have a confession to make. It’s nothing I’m proud of, but I’ve learned to live with it. I don’t like Sci-Fi.
Sure I love Star Wars and Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy and I especially love James Turner’s Warlord of Io, which is the inspiration for this post, but I can’t get through an Isaac Asimov anthology to save my life. Not even when all the stories are about robots. I like a lot of Warren Ellis’ creator-owned stuff, but the only one I truly love is Anna Mercury.
When I first discovered this, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I’d grown up thinking of myself as a Sci-Fi fan. I loved John Carter of Mars. Killraven was one of my favorite Marvel characters. I didn’t realize that there was anything wrong with me just because no amount of Jack Kirby could get me interested in 2001: A Space Odyssey. (I was nine; I expect I’d have a different reaction today, but that would be all Kirby’s doing and none of the concept’s.)
Of course, it’s the hardcore Sci-Fi fans who are telling me that I don’t like their genre. Star Wars isn’t real science fiction. It’s fantasy. There’s no actual science to it. It’s just Lord of the Rings with spaceships and blasters instead of dragons and magic wands. But you know what? I’m okay with that now. Let the hardcore Sci-Fi folks have their label. I’ve found another one I like better anyway.
What it is and what’s the difference after the break.
Earlier this year, James Turner was one of the first creators to see his work (Warlord of IO) not to be published due to Diamond’s increased order threshold for publishers policy. But in announcing that the miniseries would not be published, SLG instead chose to make the Warlord of IO miniseries be available for download (as noted back in May). The series, described by SLG as galactic politics, most recently released its third issue. I wanted to see how having one’s work available for download instead of being published (and the PR surrounding this business decision) benefited and/or affected Turner, thus this email interview.
Tim O’Shea: Understandably it could not have been fun to be the poster child for Diamond’s change in policy, but did the series benefit somewhat by an increased profile and getting more folks to be aware of your work?
James Turner: It was definitely the best possible moment to be canceled. I have always been known for my timing. The publicity certainly didn’t hurt, even if It didn’t help much with sales of the digital version. It may with the full GN. Who knows? You just gotta keep on truckin’.
One thing about the whole affair that’s rather funny is that after Rex was canceled, I decided it would be wise to do a series that appealed to a larger audience. Something more mainstream, more accessible, and easier to read. I knew it was a tough challenge to launch a new series and I wanted to have the best chance possible of creating an ongoing work. I had two ideas in the works: Warlord of Io and Hell Lost. Warlord of Io, as a sci-fi comedy adventure, seemed to have longer legs and broader appeal than the more esoteric and possibly controversial Hell Lost, so that’s the one I went with. Of course it pancaked into the pavement before the first official issue came out. There’s a lesson in there somewhere but I haven’t figured it out yet. It may be that I just need to harness the astonishing power of boobs more.