Seeing as how I’m now posting news about comic books and will be doing reviews of select comic books going forward, and also how I’m a big supporter of Indie developers, I wanted to catch up with an independent comic book creator during NYCC. I got in contact with David Rondinelli, the founder of Horizon Line Comics, who was there promoting his new series Node. I spent some time asking him some questions about Horizon Line Comics and his flagship series, Node.
Me: David, tell me about Horizon Line Comics and what was your motivation for starting your own company?
David Rondinelli: Well basically it’s been around since early 2012. I got my start volunteering at a gallery called the MoCCA museum, which is the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in NYC. And that allowed me to make a lot of great contacts and from there I met a group called Pronto Comics, which is an independent not for profit publisher and event planner. And basically from there I got a chance to foster a lot of my skills and talents. I started off doing small anthologies (about) 6 to 8 page stories that got put in some of their different titles. And from there I worked my way up to becoming a manager of some books, and then I became the head editor of some books. And I helped organize different teams, kept them together for another anthology I did, which was called Manganation, and that’s also gonna be here at NYCC 2013 and we’ll be promoting it. But basically I wanted to kind of see what it’s like to take the reins myself and do a project completely on my own. So I started Horizon Line Comics and the first title that I’m promoting is Node. And I’m very excited because our 4th issue is about to launch and so I’m here promoting it as my new big deal.
Me: So tell me about Node. What does this comic book deal with and what separates it from other comic books?
David Rondinelli: Basically on a philosophical level and a creator level it’s very much a metaphor for when I moved to the city. I was a young creator and I wanted to be a writer and get into something that was not corporate or not money-crunching. And when I came to the city it was very rough. So Node was a story that mimicked that. (However) it’s a story about a girl who had dreams about being a musician and she doesn’t realize that she’s a descendant of an ancient line of martial artists who use their zodiac signs as a battle art form. And what happens is as time goes on magical creatures, monsters, all those kinds of things, they enter the world and reveal themselves. But instead of being embraced they get chucked to large city prisons, which are kind of like internment camps. So she finds herself trapped in one of these and she meets a mystic who is also a scientist and a vigilante who basically says if you help me clean up the city I’ll get you your freedom. So right now the first 2 issues were one story arc, which was a lot of fun. Had a lot of great people working with me on that. The third issue has gotten 5 stars on DriveThruComics and it’s doing pretty well too. And I”m hoping that issue 4 will continue that success.
Me: Is it a limited run or do you plan on keeping this series alive as long as you can?
David Rondinelli: I’m gonna try to keep it alive as long as I can. I’m hoping to continue with the artist I currently have. Right now after issue 4 we kind of want to work on making a longer story arc so there’s a very plausible chance that there’s gonna be another 3 issue story arc that’s coming out soon. Node issue 4 is gonna be a larger issue. It’s gonna be 30 pages instead of 20. It’s gonna deal with an updated version of the Golden Fleece from Jason and the Argonauts, the myth. It’s also gonna have some themes of exorcism and possession. So if you like any of those things definitely check it out.
Me: Where is it set? I know you said internment camps were set up for people who have magical abilities. Is it set in a realistic city such as NYC?
David Rondinelli: It’s not stated in the comics but basically what’s gonna happen is cities that were on the verge of collapse or in ruin, Detroit comes to mind, have been converted into these great dome cities that are like giant cages. So even though they’re cities these creatures aren’t allowed to go out into the real world and they’re not allowed to coexist with mortals. And I guess the metaphor for me is when I moved to NYC, everything felt very cloistered. It’s like you’re in this really big wonderful city that’s flashy and people seem magical on their own and everybody is so different and diverse. It can be very overwhelming but then there’s also a time when you can feel trapped in it. So that’s the correlation I was trying to make with the character but for the most part it can be a lot of fun. Yeah it’s a futuristic dystopian existence.
Me: I definitely see some similarities between your position as an Indie developer of a comic book and the larger publishers such as Marvel and DC (and my experience with my website), how has your experience been in trying to get your comic book published as well as getting publicity for it?
David Rondinelli: Well I will say that it’s a lot of footwork, and the larger companies are very fortunate they have a publicity mill and an existing legacy that really allows them to be a brand name. So I’m actually on the ground floor trying to become a brand name. I’m hoping I can create an iconic character that will resonate with audiences and then I can elevate myself up and not have to hustle so much. But that’s part of the fun at comic-con. You get to meet people like the Hulking Reviewer. That’s one of the things about being an independent creator. It’s a chance to do exactly what I want to do and I don’t have to come under too much editorial scrutiny and judgement. It gives me a lot of freedom. The trade-off is you really have to pull off a lot of work to get it known to people. But the internet has really changed everything so much in the landscape where creators can have a lot more control and freedom and hopefully a lot more exposure.
Me: Any future comic books planned?
David Rondinelli: Yes I do I have some in the near future. The first anthology for Horizon Line Comics is gonna be coming out soon. It’s gonna have 3 different stories. They’re gonna be between 6 and 8 pages. That’s gonna be a smaller project but it’s definitely on its way. I’m working on expanding those projects as well. So if you pick up that anthology it’s gonna be a season teaser. I have another project about aliens. It’s a trippy psychedelic type thing. It’s an homage to music, an obsession. So please feel free to check it out on my website. To any artists or writers out there who would like to work for Horizon Line Comics you can feel free to reach out to me at any of the media sites that I just mentioned. Anybody that is interested in promoting their own stuff I have a Facebook page and you can post freely on it.