While goats and horror may seem like strange bedfellows, Tom Spellman’s budding Year of the Goat comic series opens up a whole new world of capra delivered violence.
Tom Spellman, founder of Spellbound comics is the mastermind behind the glorious horror that is Year of the Goat. If you haven’t yet had the chance to check the series out, in short, it’s about some angry goats in the world bringing hellfire and mania to the human race.
Q: What inspired this coming of the “Goatpocalypse” and the absolute gore fest that the series is becoming?
A: I have always been a fan of apocalyptic stories, such as Walking Dead, Planet of the Apes, Sweet Tooth, The Last Man, etc. I also have a very dry, warped sense of humor. For some reason the idea of a goat talking and walking on his hind legs is hilarious to me. Wrap all that up, put a bow on top and you have Year of the Goat.
With a passion for story and a love for comics and graphic novels, he is pursuing his love for the craft at an angle that many comic creators—writers and artists—have approached getting their work into the hands of the readers for the last few years: Kickstarter.
Although the name of the crowd-funding site sometimes triggers a little bit of PTSD for those who have backed failed projects, or have yet to see their rewards to be fulfilled two years later, comic book artists and writers have found a great deal of success with their work. Horror-based comics, like Spellman’s Year of the Goat, have not only been on the rise, but often meet their funding goals over non-horror projects.
Q: Did you first try to pitch the comic to publishers, or did you put Year of the Goat straight to Kickstarter?
A: My original intention was to pitch the idea to publishers. As I did research, I learned that it is very popular today for publishers to allow creators to publish their stories under the publishers label as “creator owned” stories. Ultimately, this means having the labels name on the cover of your comic but you are still responsible for all creation costs. While looking into this, I came across Kickstarter. The platform would allow me to self-publish my story and find backers to cover costs. I like this idea much better because it allows me to interact one-on-one with readers, along with giving me the ability to publish my story the exact way I want it published.
Although horror does well on Kickstarter, Spellman has also launched his other comic series, Time Stop the same way. With two books that are starting to look pretty successful, Tom’s method for getting his work straight into the hands of readers by cutting out the middleman really provides him with the freedom to craft story-telling and direct art styles the way he intends to.
Many comic creators who are budding in the industry have also found the world of publishing and selling your ideas to another publisher treacherous and often, inspiration killing. Similar to publishing novels, the dance between making a marketable product to sell to the maximum amount of audience versus sustaining the artists/writer’s vision will often turn pieces either into money-making ideas while sacrificing the integrity of content—or the project ends up never seeing the light of day.
Year of the Goat, is one of those pieces that might have scared away potential publishers for its graphic nature. Tom’s move directly to Kickstarter eliminated the need to navigate the murky publishing waters.
Q: The first issue seemed like just a silly concept that was pretty unique, but the second issue is really hooks readers in and demonstrates that the “evil blood-lust” goats aren’t just a novel concept, but are more of a mysterious story that has great depth. Is it challenging to get readers or potential distributors into the concept initially?
A: That is exactly what I was going for. The Goatpocaypse has to start somewhere and in issue one, we see a few goats turn evil and attack the first humans that cross their paths. Though it doesn’t seem like much is going on, the ground work is set for what exactly is going on. Though goats continue to turn evil in issue two, their attacks are more wide spread and more organized. We also learn that goats cannot be killed by humans. This is going to make it difficult for the human race to win this battle.
In issue three, we see a pack of goats inhabit one of the largest cellular hubs in the world. It looks as if they plan to further organize their attack by cutting off all human communication. But, there a lot more to the goats’ plan than it seems.
A twisted and ultraviolent spin on something that sounds like George Orwell’s greatest nightmare (Animal Farm, anyone?), Year of the Goat is more than just blood-thirsty horned beasts standing on two legs and tearing their human victims to shreds, it’s something increasing in depth and surprising readers with every turn of the page.
Q: In issue two, you’ve introduced the lone, blue-eyed traveler who seems as if he may become the hero of the series. His character sets sort of a western spin, are you playing with different genres within the series? Or do you see the story sticking with a western theme?
A: Yes the blue-eyed stranger does seem like he drifted in from a Western Movie. There is a little surprise on the last page of issue three that is going to make readers question who exactly this guy is. Though we’re working on issue three right now, we have started early artwork for issue four. It’s that issue that we find out a lot about his cowboy look. The story does take place in New Mexico so it only seems right that he dressed like a cowboy but the question is whether he really is or not.
Behind Spellman is a team of individuals who do coloring, lettering, and the striking covers and glorious goat-istry that happens in every page.
Q: Let’s talk about your team working on the series, are they part of the initial conception of the series or have they begun to grow as part of it along the way?
A: Though the story and dialogue comes from me, the team has definitely become part of the creative process for the series. Once I developed the concept, I contacted Rafael Chrestani with my ideas to see if he would be willing to draw it. I had worked with Rafael on my previous comic, Time Stop. John Rudwall did the editing and post production for Time Stop, so I wanted him to work on Year of the Goat as well.
With the petal to the metal and two successful issues currently under their belts, more is in store for the gory goats on parade.
Q: Issue 3 currently has a few weeks left on Kickstarter and being funded is within your sights, how many issues do you have planned and do you think you might publish a hardcover when it’s finished?
A: I know how Year of the Goat starts and I know how it ends. What I don’t know is how much of the middle I’ll be able to tell. I have a lot of great ideas for the journey but I guess it all depends on whether people continue to like the story and back it on Kickstarter. Yes, I plan on a trade paperback that will contain the first four issues. When they are complete, I’ll most likely run a Kickstarter campaign for printing unless I can find a publishing company to cover the costs.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring comic creators looking to get their projects out on Kickstarter?
A: The number one piece of advice that was given to me was to build a base of friends ahead of time before you launch the Kickstarter campaign. This is crucial. Once you hit the launch button, you need to be able to have a base of people to reach out to for backing and support.
Anyone who is a fan of bloody apocalypse-type horror will love Spellman’s Goat series and appreciate how it nods to its predecessors (like Walking Dead) while creating a whole new world of page-turning horror.
Below are some glimpses into what’s coming in the next issue: