This week on #MECCAconWeekly, i am excited to bring you the creator of my favorite web series BOUNCE, DREAD SOCIETY X and TRIBORO TALES, Chuck Collins. We recently had a sit down, and basically, this is how it went. Collins has been a long time member of the comic books industry, hailing straight out of Flatbush. His energy is raw, his lines are raw, his art is OVERLY raw. Get to know the multiple faceted creator, and see what’s inside his mind, and how it even got up there…
NAME:: Chuck Collins
COMPANY/OCCUPATION(s):: RatRonin Studios/illustrator. BOUNCE, DREAD SOCIETY X, TRIBORO TALES.
PURPOSE FOR FOUNDING YOUR COMIC SERIES::
I love comic book art and story telling. It’s been a long life dream to be and illustrator and create my own stories and characters.
WHAT/WHO WERE YOUR CREATIVE ASPIRATIONS AS FAR AS WRITERS/ARTISTS?::
While most kids grew up with all the super heroes from the Big Two (Marvel/DC), I grew up on 2000AD. I read titles like Judge Dread, Slaine, ABC Warriors, Nemesis the Warlock, and Rogue Trooper. The stories were a little bit more real to me. Not to say that Marvel and DC weren’t good, but the stories in 2000AD were more compelling at a young age. It’s probably the rebel in me, but if it wasn’t black and white and indy, I didn’t have much interest. Haha.
ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME KNOWS HOW MUCH OF A DIE HARD FAN I AM OF ALL THINGS YEMAYA LOL. I CONNECT MORE WITH HER THAN ANY OTHER CHARACTER IN A COMIC THAT I’VE EVER KNOWN. EXPLAIN HOW MUCH YOUR WEB SERIES ‘BOUNCE‘ RESONATED WITH EVENTS AND/OR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ENTERED YOUR LIFE::
I have to say that I had no idea so many people would love BOUNCE! I started it with no intention of finishing. I did the first two strips as a way to vent the frustrations of working at the bar. I also thought people were so used to me drawing a more serious comics like DSX that BOUNCE! wouldn’t be well received.
I figured only people in the nightlife industry would be the only people that got the jokes. I was wrong and I’m glad that I was! It was so well received that I couldn’t stop now if I wanted to! So many people have related to it. Pretty much anyone that’s had a job dealing with serving the public in any way can relate to the strip.
BOUNCE is a labor of love. I haven’t made a dime from it. If this were a perfect world, the love and reception for it would be payment enough.
YOUR ‘BOUNCE’ CHARACTERS HAD A BIT OF A LOVE TRIANGLE RECENTLY. I PERSONALLY RELATED VERY MUCH TO IT, SO IT DREW ME IN QUICKLY. WITH THAT BEING SAID, DO YOU FEEL THAT IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR CHARACTERS TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER? ALSO, DO YOU THINK WRITERS SOMETIME DO THAT SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVE THAT WOMEN WON’T READ COMICS UNLESS THERE IS ROMANCE INVOLVED?::
I dunno about breaking the Internet. Hahaha. Relationships are all part of the human experience. Romantic or otherwise we connect with everyone in some way. I’ve found that the key in telling any kind of story is to share those experiences.
I can’t speak for other writers, but I try and make character that can relate to everyone. Some of the stories of read with romance seems artificial and forced, Which to me diminishes the characters.
MY SON IS A HUGE FAN OF ‘DREAD SOCIETY X‘. PLEASE GO INTO DETAIL BEHIND THE BACKGROUNDS AND ORIGINS OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW OF THE GREATNESS::
I created DSX almost 10 years ago. It’s my take on the post apocalyptic genre. In 2097, Society has been restructured as a one world government administered by a conglomerate of corporations, military might and spent political powers known as the Global Reconstruction Initiative [GRI]. Peace is kept not by the ballot, but by the bullet. The top ten percent live in walled off cities while the rest of mankind is left to forage among the wastelands. Aza Khan is a former member of the DSX a warrior clan and underground movement long since believe disbanded. In a fit of rage he turned from them and has gone Ronin. He carries him with grief of witnessing his kinship massacred by an unknown group. The only memory that remains is that of a black hand image upon their tunics.
Aza Khan is the dark stranger. He is the man with no name. Like many of the new world, his racial identity is skewed by the necessity of miscegenation. Behind the eyes of the stoic Aza burns the desire for desperate vengeance and release.
MANY TIMES WE WRITE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO US IN OUR CHILDHOODS, EVEN WHEN WE DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT. WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I USED TO PRETEND I WAS MISTY KNIGHT. HER WHOLE STORY FROM A MENTAL STANDPOINT ALWAYS SEEMED TO CONNECT WITH MY OWN. WHAT CHARACTERS DID YOU RELATE TO THE MOST GROWING UP AND WHY?
I don’t think I every had a character that I compared myself to. I do remember wanting to be a Bruce Lee Doctor Who!
OK, TIME FOR THAT DREADED QUESTION THAT SO MANY STEER CLEAR FROM- DO YOU THINK THAT SEXISM EXISTS IN THE COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY?::
The fact that you have to even ask me that question speaks volumes. Of course is does.
MY STAPLE QUESTION THAT EVERYONE I INTERVIEW WILL BE ASKED CUZ IT’S MY PARTY, I CAN WHINE IF I WANT TO- WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE CHANGED IN ORDER OF THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY?::
I have a lot of opinions on this subject, but here is what I mostly think- When you’re writing or creating a character, whether they’re a man, woman, black, white, gay or otherwise, you’re creating a character that’s an actual person, not a novelty or a false sense of what they should be. You’re creating a character that has lived a life and experienced the world in the environment they were born in. For example, when I wrote Yemaya into BOUNCE I wasn’t thinking about attracting the female audience. I was thinking about creating a character that anyone can compare to. Without her presence in the story, there would be a very important aspect missing from it. I’ll tell you a short story. One of my favorite games is Dynasty Warriors. My nephew is 9 years old and he asked me, why do I keep picking Zhu Rong.
I said that she’s a powerful character. His response… “But she’s a girl.” I had to then explain to him that she was a person, a human being. She can be as powerful as anyone. But the sad thing in teaching him that lesson was still knowing that there are still grown ass men who still think with the mentality of a 9 year old.
TWITTER CAN BE… OVERWHELMING, LOL. HOW DO YO UTHINK THAT SOCIAL MEDIA HELPS TO ADVANCE YOUR BRAND AS A WHOLE?::
It’s a pain in the ass but it’s a necessity. I try to respond to comments as much as I can. But promoting and keeping up with social media is a job within itself. If you want your brand to get out there, you have to buckle down and do the work.
ONE THING I CAN SAY ABOUT YOU IS THE FACT THAT WHEN IT COMES TO SPEAKING ON SOCIAL POLITICS, YOU HAVE A VERY CLEAR “NO DUCKS GIVEN” ATTITUDE ABOUT IT, ESPECIALLY IN YOUR ‘BOUNCE’ SERIES. HAS ANYONE EVER GIVEN YOU FLACK ABOUT IT?::
Hah! Some flack. Not enough for me to really care about. The world abounds in idiots of every kind. If you come to my bar and act like a douce bag, you’re gonna get called out. That same thing can be said about the whole world. Like George Carlin said “When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.” I’ll be up there drawing comics about it.
MULTIPLE TIMES, I HAVE SEEN YOU MADE REFERENCES TO THE TRAGEDY OF FERGUSON AND OTHER ASSASSINATIONS OF BLACKS IN AMERICA AS OF RECENT. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS TO ADD THAT TO YOUR ART, AND WHY?::
Very important. I may not go into detail on each topic, but it’s necessary. I’m a black man in America. I would do myself a disservice to not speak on these subjects. I have no intention a curbing my dialogue or story lines because certain truths make various people uncomfortable. These are truths that need to be spoken about with critical thinking.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS THAT EVENTS LIKE MECCACON, ONYXCON, BLACK COMIC BOOK FESTIVAL, BLACK COMIX ARTS FESTIVAL, THE BLACK AGE, EcBACC, EXIST FOR THE CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITIES, AS WELL AS THOSE THAT HAVE RECENTLY BEEN HELD IN MANY VARIOUS COUNTRIES OF AFRICA?::
Also very important. Growing up in east Flatbush, my only source of comics was the deli a few blocks from my house. I never had a con to go to or Facebook to discuss with other friends. All I had was Street Fighter 2 and a few shitty marvel and DC comics at that same deli.
We need these events to show the next generation that they can be just as talented, creative, and innovative as anyone else in the world. Black people have been the trend setters for almost every genre in entertainment across the globe. It’s time build on that foundation and start telling amazing stories on our own.
OK, LESS SERIOUS STUFF- IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY TWO CHARACTERS BE YOUR HOMIES IN REAL TIME, WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHY?::
I never really thought about that. Guess I’d like to have Akuma as a drinking partner and see where the night would take us!
NEW PROJECTS/EVENTS YOU’RE BRAINSTORMING?::
Apart from BOUNCE, I’ll be beginning to work on Triboro Tales Vol 2 and I’ve been revamping DSX to make it a weekly web comic for the summer. There are a few other things we’ll be announcing very soon.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE- LINKS, HASHTAGS, BRIBES::