"Who Doesn’t Like Time Travellers, Assassins, and Dragons?" Five Questions with Devin L. Michaels

Following the success of her Kickstarter for Destiny’s Fate, writer and editor Devin L. Michaels has come once more to the crowdfunding site for her newest, most ambitious project to date – comics anthology Capitalism and Other Stories.

Six stories with a whole range of artists and styles, genres and ideas, the project is looking for $4000 in order to fund publication – and is getting closer and closer to reaching that target! So, to find out more about how the anthology came about in the first place, I spoke to Devin about the project. Five Questions (ish), and five answers!

Art from Capitalism, by Joel Ferris and Mike Stock

Steve: What is the premise of the anthology? What caused you to start it up, and what can readers expect from the book?
Devin: The premise of Capitalism and Other Stories is six stories of fantasy and wonder for any comic fan. We’ve got time travelers and assassins and dragons. If you love the genre of fantasy, then we’ve got you covered. (Because seriously, who doesn’t like time travellers, assassins, and dragons?)
The anthology idea originally started back in February 2013. I thought about doing an anthology, but at the time I didn’t have the start-up funds because the crew and I were in the middle of production for Destiny’s Fate #3. 

It wasn’t until Joel Ferris tweeted me in September with, “Hey, nerd! Write me something so I can draw it,” that I started to take the anthology idea seriously. I formatted “Capitalism” for Joel, and then in October, my friend Don Pankievicz from It’s Like That Studios offered the DF Crew space in the Twisted Christmas anthology, hence “Punking Santa.” Shannon Fowler and I had been working together for some time on various projects, so I reformatted a novel idea to complete “Dragon Slobber.” 

From there, I saw we had the beginnings of an anthology, so I finally brought on Sarah Elkins, with whom I had wanted to work for some time.
What readers can expect is a professional-level comic book. Joel has been working as a graphic artist for years, and Mau has worked for corporations such as Coca Cola and Snickers. Rodrigo owns his own art studio. Sarah has been such anthologies as Womanthology: Heroic and Womanthology: Space. Shannon graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s in Fine Art with concentrations in graphic design and Drawing, and I’m a copywriter for a wholesale travel company and edit its magazine, On the Go: A Magazine for Travellers

This is a professional anthology brought to you by professionals.

Art from Dragon Slobber, by Shannon Fowler and Mike Stock
Steve: How did you approach writing CAOS? How did you decide on the stories included, and what links them?
Devin: “Capitalism” is dark and political. I approached writing it with a story to tell about America’s economic system, but with “Punking Santa,” I wanted to write something fun. With “Dragon Slobber,” I wanted to a mixture of both—a fun, romantic story but with some action. “And Another Thing” was actually written for a different anthology which asked for a twist on life, so I tried to take an everyday scenario and add a little humor to it. For “To Ride a Cloud” I wanted two female leads to counter the two male leads in “Capitalism,” and “Ravenous” ties into DF since I missed writing Kainoa and his posse.  
The common link of Capitalism and Other Stories is familial ties. What constitutes family and how does a family function? In “Capitalism,” Joel and I explore the dysfunction of a father and a son relationship—a human-trafficking father and his assassin son. In “Punking Santa,” Mau Vargas and I show the friendship between two mythical figures—Santa Claus and a witch, Autumn. “Dragon Slobber” showcases the budding relationship between two dragon slayers, with art by Shannon, and in “To Ride a Cloud,” Sarah and I reach to the depths of life and death with two superhero sisters.
Also included in the anthology is “And Another Thing” which showcases an elderly couple’s bond, and “Ravenous,” a Destiny’s Fate story to prove that family doesn’t have to be defined by blood. Both are completed by the Mau Vargas and Rodrigo Tobias. Production and letters for all stories were done by Mike Stock.  
Steve: Who are the DF Crew? Who’ll be working on the comics with you?

Devin: The DF Crew is my team from Destiny’s Fate, a comic series about a time-travelling assassin. The team consists of Mau Vargas, the artist; Rodrigo Tobias, the colorist; Michael Stock, the letterer and production artist; and me, the writer. Also on board is Erin Meier, our editor.
CAOS is slightly different from DF, as we’ve added Joel, Shannon, Sarah, and Ellery Prime (editor of “Capitalism” and writer of Chromatic Press’s Gauntlet) to the mix.

Art from Punking Santa, by The DF Crew 

Steve: Why take the project to Kickstarter? How have you found the process of crowdfunding thus far?

I took the project to Kickstarter to help with the artistic, production, and shipping costs. The actual price of the Kickstarter is just over $5k, but we want the books in the hands of readers. So we’re shooting for a lower goal in hopes of being funded. I decided to go with Kickstarter instead of Indiegogo because if the goal isn’t reached, then the anthology can’t be produced as is. 
Crowdfunding, in itself, is an amazing but gut-wrenching experience. There are people you meet on social media sites who see your work and want to help. You might not know these people other than a few exchanges a year, even, but they love what you do or they’ve talked to you and have enjoyed the conversations. I’m so grateful for these people because they’re more than backers. They’re friends. We push each other’s work on social media. We proofread each other’s work, and the project becomes a group effort. It takes on a life of its own, and I’m so grateful for these people.
However, the experience is also gut-wrenching. As the writer, the process includes videos, banners, art—and all of that is on you to get it completed or to have it completed. I also never do back-pay for my creators. They’re professionals and deserve the best, so some stories are half-contracted, so I have mini-panic attacks before and during the process. So there’s always that constant fear of, “What if we don’t get funded?” The stories may never be finished.
I’ve been on both sides of the funded and not-funded side of Kickstarters, so I’m learning slowly how to deal with those attacks.
Steve: What else are you currently working on? Where can we find you online?
Devin: Other than CAOS, I’m also working on an action-romance novel called Toll and the fourth installment of Destiny’s Fate. I’m also writing the beginning stages of a superhero Webcomic called Callipolis, which will hopefully drop later this year.
On Twitter: @DevinLMichaels
On Tumblr: devinlmichaels.com
Facebook: Devin Leigh Michaels

Website: devinlmichaels.com

Many thanks to Devin for her time! If this has all convinced you to have a closer look at Capitalism and Other Stories, you can find the Kickstarter right here! 

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