#UCFF Ep. 2 Highlights: #TheFocus Talkin’ to the Man behind the Mask

G’Day Crusaders and Flipsiders,

Dodgy in the mix, The Focus in Episode 2 of Flipside Focus is Mask by Richard Smith. Prior to the episode being aired, Richard was kind enough to catch up with yours truly.

D: What inspired you to write the story?

RS: There’s not nice and pithy story about how I was inspired to do this story – I was brain-storming potential ideas for another project, and this one came to me.  It was too good, so I had to steal it.
The image of broken pottery had been stuck in my head, which is why the ‘masks’ all have a ceramic feel, even though they are initially indistinguishable from faces.
It took me a long time to settle on a Roman-style setting.  Initially I wanted to do a european medieval fantasy setting, but it was a bit obvious, and I played around drawing characters in Victorian style as well as other eras.  In the end I like the Roman style due to the influence of masks in Greco-Roman theatre relating to masks in the graphic novel.

D: How long did it take you to write Mask?

RS: From when I started counting, about 800 hours.  I generally tell people around 1000 hours in total.  It was about one and a half years of work.

D:  What got you into comics & what do you like reading?

RS: When I was a kid, there was a Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon on TV that I loved (Satam it’s known as nowadays), and I saw in the local newsagent that they were selling the Archie Sonic comics, and that’s how I started into comics. Despite being a gigantic Transformers nerd, the Marvel Transformers never felt right to me tonally, but the Batman Animated Series got me into Batman graphic novels hard.  From there, I just kept seeing new things to read – European works like TInTin and Asterix, the rise of Manga in the West. Basically my love of the medium just kept growing.

D: If given the chance to write for a big 2 (Marvel/DC) book, what would you write?

RS: It seems a little obvious, but I would love to do a Batman or Superman reboot.  I think the mark I’d be aiming to make would be to maintain a balance between the heavier themes of those mythos and the inherent absurdity and campiness of the superhero genre. As a Transformers geek, doing some Transformers comics would be a dream too.

D: What is next for Richard Smith?

RS: I’m working on a new graphic novel – an Ancient Egyptian Western called ‘Rootin’-Tootin’ Khamen”. I’m also experimenting with a few ideas to have series I can be releasing more regularly.

D: Where can fans grab this book?

RS: It’s available on my website www.crystalseastudios.com, and the e-book version can be found at www.drivethrucomics.com and www.amazon.com.
In a matter of months, www.thebentonet.com will be up and running, and a special library edition will be available from their website!
Check out my review: http://www.comiccrusaders.com/review-mask-tpb/
Do ya’self a favor and check it out!
Listen to Flipside Focus Episode #2 HERE
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