In the 3rd of our UK Indie Comic Interviews, we talk to Anastasia Catris about her new Kickstarted comic book – Cirque Du Mort.
Cirque Du Mort – Volume One is the first in a collection of gruesome stories revolving around the cast of a haunted circus; the Cirque Du Mort. The cast and crew of this spectral show all have a story to tell. From the tragic to the ridiculous; the macabre to the magical; each character in this cursed carnival is treading the eternal boards for some reason or another – and they would like to share it with you.
Hi Anastasia, do you want to tell me a bit about the Kickstarter campaign?
The Kickstarter ran throughout October, finishing on November 1st, for a book called Cirque Du Mort, which is an anthology book collection of short stories, illustrated and written by myself, based around a haunted circus. That was successfully funded within 2 days of it going live!
Yeh, I was a bit overwhelmed to tell you the truth! I was looking for £2,500 and I managed to get that in 2 days! It went to staff pick and was featured in the comic section as well, and was the top pick for Wales, which is where I’m from!
Excellent! Where did the idea for the book come from?
This is my first own created piece. I’ve been doing freelance for about 4 years now, so working for other people. That means I had to change my style quite a lot depending on the job. So I wanted to work on something that was mine, and inspired by things I like. It was very much inspired by my love of the circus for a start, and my love of horror obviously! Also the old Victorian Penny Dreadfuls. So it’s a collection of short macabre stories, some of which are funny, so that are outrageous, and some just quite dark! That’s mixed in with a little bit of voodoo imagery, and carnivalesque stuff. It’s very fun to draw!
How did you get into illustrating?
I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid. It was always something I was really passionate about, and I went to college to study art at A level… and I failed! *laughs* My art teacher didn’t seem to think that comic books were a viable art form…
Yeh… I’ve know that sort of ‘art teacher’…
Yep, I think we’ve all had that sort of art teacher! I lost a lot of confidence in my art because of that. I ended up doing English to degree level after that, because I loved reading (and obviously loved reading comics as well!) Whilst I was there, I read a LOT more comics than the novels I probably should have been studying… But a lot of people became encouraging of my artwork again, so that gained me a lot of my confidence again through that. So I decided to go to art school, but obviously, I didn’t have an art A level, so I thought I needed to look for something that didn’t need A levels. Then I remembered The Kubert School, which was advertised in a lot of comic books, so I ended up applying, thinking ‘what the hell, i’ll see if I can get in’, and was really lucky, and got accepted! So when I was meant to be doing my dissertation in my 3rd year of English, I was actually working on my art portfolio, and jetting off to New Jersey to study with some amazing comic book artists!
That’s very cool! So now you’ve got the funding for the comic book, when is it coming out?
It should be out around December (2014). One of the reasons I ran the Kickstarter was to allow me to afford to do it myself, because obviously being a freelance artist, I have to do a lot of work in order to get not much money a lot of the time! I do a lot of things like sketch card art, fan art, and private commissions. I’ve worked for Kerrang Magazine, and Dynamite Entertainment as well. So the Kickstarter gave me the time to work solely on the comic. The books is about 24 pages, with 10 characters and 10 stories. It’s actually fully inked and drawn, and just needs to be coloured and edited. And i’ve actually received the funding now, so it means on Monday, it’s all systems go!
Hence why you’re so smiley!
Do you know what you’re doing once this book is complete, are you going to carry on doing more?
It is going to carry on. There are actually more than 10 characters, so it was really hard to pick the first 10! I have a notebook full of many many other characters to come. In fact, one of the stretch rewards [additional rewards on Kickstarter if you get to milestones over your initial funding request] was that some people have got is a preview of a character which is going to be in the 2nd book, so there is a 2nd volume, which was funded through the Kickstarter as well!