1. It’s nice to talk with you, Mikel. Can you tell me a bit about yourself? What inspired you to start creating your own comics?
Of course! Haha I’m from Toronto, Canada. I play sports like basketball and football. I started liking comics when I got my first one, a Spider-Man Unlimited issue from 1998. When I was in grade 5 (mind you, this was in class), I used to write little stories about basketball. I would write pages on how Michael Jordan won those championships in the 90’s and I would draw him as a stick man playing basketball. I also couldn’t draw, no matter how much I tried haha, but I was so inspired by doing it. I would say to myself “I wish this was a comic,” now looking back on it, I don’t think it would’ve been a good idea haha.
2. Tell me about Samurai Shin, the comic looks really awesome from just the few images I have seen from it.
Well there’s not much to tell. It’s about two Samurai, Keith Masaru & Amir Astuko, that go on a journey looking for the man that destroyed their village. It kind of has that Afro Samurai and Samurai Champloo feel to it.
3. It’s really easy to see in the art how Afro Samurai has influenced the series. Was that intentional for it to look so similar to the anime?
Well, yes. Me and Ivan are heavily inspired by Afro Samurai. For me, I liked how the art had a mix of dark and beautiful colours. That is what we are trying to do in Samurai Shin, along with placing a great story to it. Even though I was kind of disappointed that Afro Samurai ended with 5 episodes and a movie, it still had a great story. I really wish they made the series longer.
4. How did you meet your artist Ivan Aguilar? What made him right for illustrating Samurai Shin?
Hmm… We met on Facebook. Actually, I approached him because I saw some of his artwork shared on Facebook, so I sent him an inbox message saying something like “Look man, we should do something similar to Afro Samurai & Samurai Champloo.” He said he always wanted to do something like that. He did children books, which I guess for him was kinda boring, so he did some sketches for me and we talked about the name of the comic, and Samurai Shin was created!
5. How mature can we expect Samurai Shin to be from action to gore to sex, if any in the last category?
Expect to see a lot of mature material in Samurai Shin. You guys are going to want to put on some 3D Glasses. Then you’ll be like “Wtf?! Is this a movie??!” Hahaha nah just playing, but there’s definitely a lot of mature content.
6. Tell me a bit about your writing style. Is there any sort of specific routine you take to your writing process?
Basically, I keep a notebook in my bag. When I’m out working or going to the library, I go to a quiet area and write down my ideas. Funny thing is, a lot of my ideas come during my break while I’m at work because it gets kind of boring sometimes, so I end up spacing out and think of more ideas. When I get another break, I go write that idea in the book so I won’t forget it.
7. I know you like to use Social Media as your main platform for advertising your comic, what about Social Media is so appealing to you? Have you ever thought of using Kickstarter to finance Samurai Shin?
Nah, I don’t think we are going to use Kickstarter. Maybe in the future, but not right now. I don’t think we are that popular on social media. We haven’t put out any issues yet, but Ivan and I have discussed it and we would considering doing that sometime in the future.
8. Are there any other comics in your catalog that you can tell us about? If so, where can our readers pick those up?
I don’t have any comics in my catalog; this is actually the first one that will be digital and published online. We are working on a website right now for Samurai Shin. There will be a comic store for the series and the soundtrack will be on there as well.
9. What kind of anime do you like? Is there any genre you prefer over others or do you just watch whatever catches your eye?
Actually, I like Attack On Titan, Psycho-Pass, Afro Samurai and Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop, Michiko to Hatchin, Dragon Ball, and Naruto. Recently, I just finished watching Durarara!! Seasons 1 & 2. Part 2 of Season I thought was pretty good.
10. So, you guys are actually doing a soundtrack to Samurai Shin?
Yes we are. Umm, it has a Hip Hop/Jazz flavour to it. There will be artists on there like AJB4, Tripstyle, Clever Thoughts, P.Soul & Woet Beats. We’ve got fun skits on there. Senshi Kenzoo and, actually, I’m happy to announce that we have Daman Mills on there as well. He helped English Dub the latest Pokemon Movie. He will be on the soundtrack, so it’s shaping up to be a good soundtrack.
11. Are there any other Indie Comics that you’re looking forward to?
Hmmm, yes. Shout out to Stephane Metayer, the creator of “Tephlon Funk“. He has dope concepts. I’m interested in where him and his team goes next with this project. His team beat their Kickstarter fund by at least, what, 7k? That’s dope. I’m really hoping him and his team do good with this project because they have something special here.
12. Lastly, is there any advice you have foraspiring writers who wish to start breaking into creating their own indie comics?
Keep working hard, never stop chasing after your dreams… actually, Naruto said it best: “Never give up, believe it!”
Thank you to Mikel Mellis – the writer and co-creator of Samurai Shin – for chatting with us about his works, his love for anime, and his dope soundtrack that’s about to drop. You can follow the progress of Samurai Shin – due out sometime between March and April – on the comic’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SamuraiShin1/?fref=ts
I hope you all enjoyed this interview!
Interview by: Derrick Crow