Bret and I met over the weekend at the strangest place, a crafts fair in his hometown of Worcester, MA, just minutes after a fender bender outside, and in a room with local Celtic punk bands playing amidst tables loaded with cupcakes, taxidermy, necklaces and pins.
Naturally, I gravitated to the comic book artist there and looked at his book, Sherlock Holmes and the Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner and enjoyed his portfolio of drawings. There was a steampunk Batgirl in his signature style as well as Sherlock Holmes vs. the deadly Daleks.
His new book takes on Alice in Wonderland and puts her Alice where she should be, a strong hero and her adventures after she returns home. Bret’s Indiegogo campaign runs until June 20th.
Bret M. Herholz: Thank you Clay! Quite a lot has happened actually! The story I’ve written picks up where Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland left off.
We come to find out that all of Alice’s adventures weren’t all just a dream. The Queen of Hearts found a way to break through to Alice’s reality and her army has taken over the world.
Alice manages to escape with the help of some of the friends she has made in her adventures down the rabbit hole such as the Mad Hatter, March Hare and White Rabbit. The bulk of the story takes place six years later with a now 16 year old Alice continuing her fight against the Queen of Hearts.
Your story takes place when Alice comes home. Have there ever been stories set in that time of Alice’s life?
I was told the recent series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland takes place in Alice’s world. My wife saw the series and she said it was pretty good. As for comics. Hmm? I think the Zenoscope series does a version of an adult Alice in the modern world.
What makes your take on Alice different?
I’m a bit weary of all the “sexed-up” and “fetishy” versions of Alice. Especially in comics.
I think people forget Alice was written as a young girl, so I wanted to write a version of Alice that was “fun” and “adventurous”.
Sort of a cross between the Doctor from Doctor Who, Harry Potter and a dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When we met, I was enjoying your sketch book with Edward Gorey versions of Sherlock, Batmam, Batgirl and the Daleks! What made you go for a different artist other than yourself for this book?
The way the story was written, I needed an artist with a dynamic action adventure style.
How did you come across your artist Paul Loudon?
I discovered his work on deviantArt and I immediately fell in love with his style. It was his comic pages for a project he’s working on titled Bust-Up that caught my eye. It was a story he’s pitching for an all girls superhero team. The art reminded me of a cross between Darwyn Cooke and Dan Clowes.
And this was just one of the styles Paul works in. I got to know Paul through social media and I just found we had quite a bit in common as far as the shows and cartoons we watched. We both were young in the 1980s so we both remember shows like Masters of the Universe and Thundercats. I wanted to incorporate a lot of those elements into the project.
I also picked up a copy of your Sherlock Holmes book! Wonderful stuff. Two questions — any plans for a sequel and what is your relationship with Alterna Comics?
It remains very good. They gave me my break.
I can’t say enough good things about all the great stuff Peter Simeti and Erin Kohut are putting out through Alterna and all the kudos they are getting is because of that hard work.
As for a sequel… Hmmm… not sure… yet.
Have you stepped into the world of digital comics?
Slowly. A couple of my books are available for digital download. I also color and letter digitally too. I understand technology is a tool that needs to be utilized. If you don’t, you get left in the dust.
So many creators use Kickstarter –why Indiegogo for you?
I think with Indiegogo if you don’t reach your goal you can still keep what you made.
Happy Unbirthday! What is your favorite Alice and Wonderland trope to play with? Even at the bakery Eat Me cupcakes aren’t uncommon!
I think it might be “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
Where can we find, follow and like you online?