Comic Creator Interview Series: Alethea Von Holland
In the Comic Creator Interview Series, Outright Geekery’s spotlighting independent comic book creators. Today, we’d like you to meet Alethea Von Holland!
OG: For our readers and other unfamiliar with your work, please introduce yourself.
Alethea Von Holland: Hello there! My name is Alethea and I’m a comic artist/freelance illustrator. Currently, I have a series titled Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale from Insane Comics, LLC. The series is about two exiled wolf brothers who must rise up against a corrupt goddess bent on destroying fate itself with her army of Beastmen. It’s an ongoing series amid a fantasy Celtic backdrop.
I’m self-taught with no formal education outside of a few art classes I took in middle school. My love for creating comics flourished into a passion for illustrating, sketching, inking, and graphic design. I’ve done a number of commissions for generous clients for websites, book covers, chat-sites, and portraits. Outside of my aforementioned series, I also have several personal comic series I hope to get started on soon.
OG: How did you get into comics? Tell us about your influences?
AVH: In the early days my dad collected comics and allowed me to read a few and when I was in middle school I learned about manga from a few friends of mine. Being young and impressionable, the three of us collaborated on webcomics and our own individual series dreaming of becoming manga creators. As the years passed, we all went our separate ways but my love for creating comics thrived. In the year 2009 I finally put my foot down and began development on Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale.
I have so many people and industries who inspire me from mangaka’s, books, movies, and video games. But I suppose the ones who inspire me the most and help fuel my imagination range from Jim Henson, Don Bluth, Hayao Miyazaki, Tim Burton, and Jhonen Vasquez.
OG: Tell us about some of your work? Where are people able find it?
AVH: Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale is my series and is published/distributed by Insane Comics. Presently, the Prologue (#0), Chapter One (#1), and Chapter Two (#2) are available for digital download and/or physical print. Chapter 3 (#3) is planned to be released in June, and Chapter 4 (#4) will be out in September—more installments will be announced later this year.
All of the installments (both digital and print) can be found in the Insane Comics storefront: http://www.insanecomics.com/the-insane-comics–store.html#!/c/0/offset=0&sort=nameAsc
Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale is also available on Drive-Thru Comics for downloadable PDFs: http://www.drivethrucomics.com/browse.php?x=0&y=0&author=Alethea
Or anyone is welcome to check out the website for latest releases, news, artwork, fan art, convention schedule, and other extra content: www.moonlitdawncomic.com
Aside from my personal series, I’ve also contributed sequential pages to a horror anthology called Insane Asylum which is available from the Insane Comics, LLC shop.
Additionally, I’ve done more sequential art for other horror anthologies like Insane Asylum Issue #2 and Insomnia, which will be released later this year.
OG: As an independent comic creator, what challenges do you face in getting your work to as wide an audience as possible?
AVH: Pretty much, everything that encompasses marketing is challenging. Insane Comics does a fabulous job at spreading all our titles and advertising, but I like to do my part and pull my weight. Advertising is an art form in a sense, because you have to lay out the right pitch that’ll grab viewer’s attention, take advantage the right time of day for social networking, and juggling these schedules with a day job schedule can conflict at times.
Another obstacle I face is when I’m pitching to comic stores to be possible retailers and once I mention Insane Comics has a Retail Direct program they almost immediately become hesitant. I can understand their concerns, I’m an unknown artist and they have a store they need to upkeep, so it’s a bit of a gamble. So far, one store near me agreed on a consignment deal but for stores that are on the other side of the country this option can be really difficult. But I’m an optimist and will keep trying my best to spread the name of my comics and help Insane Comics to the best of my abilities, so something’s got to give, right?
OG: What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into creating independent comics?
AVH: If I could go back in time and tell myself what I know now, it would be: “Remember why you love comics.” Being an independent comic creator you don’t make a whole lot of money. However, if the only reason you’re getting into comics is for the money, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Creating stories is a drive of passion foremost, an urge that you have to share this story with the world so people may enjoy it. The funds you make back are just a perk, and help expenses such as attending conventions and restocking art supplies.
There are days when I ask myself if I’m doing the right thing, and I’m nervous about making ends meet. On those days, I reflect on how far I’ve come in the past year and why I got into making comics in the first place. Then, I remember all of the love and support from endearing readers and having the honor of seeing smiles light up their faces then my head is back in the game and my passion for making comics is back on track. Getting into slumps is normal, doubting yourself is something we all go through—still go through. Don’t be afraid of failure, instead rise to meet it and strive to overcome it.
OG: What projects are you currently working on? Anything that you’d like to recommend to our readers to check out?
AVH: Where do I begin? I’ve contributed to several horror anthologies that are going to be released later this year from Insane Comics. Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale is ongoing so this is still on my plate, all current releases can be found from the Insane Comics storefront, and more issues are going to be available in June and September.
I’m presently in collaboration with Jordan King (creator/writer to series such as Sineater, AntiChris, and more) on an action/comedy series, which the date for release has yet to be determined. Also, I’m in discussion with Alex Barranco (author/creator of Wunderfolk) of co-creating a couple of series but these are still in development.
Recently, I got hired by Mad Z Productions to be a sequential artist for Koko Blayze: The Undead Killer, part live-action webseries , part comic book it’s about a 16 year-old girl who attends a private school and kicks demonic butt, written/directed by David Zagorski. More information about the series can be found at www.madzproductions.com. If you like dark stories with foul language, blood, and action definitely check it out!
And finally, in my very rare spare time, I work on a fantasy/romance webcomic called Between the Realms which can be found on Tapastic: www.tapastic.com/series/realms . And the best I can summarize with this, it’s about love across dimensions.