John K. Snyder III is a fixture of the comic book industry. His reputation in the world of independent comics is nothing short of impressive, including founding the underground press and comic staple The Duckberg Times that features cartoons and comics alongside articles covering the diverse art scene in Washington, D.C. Before long he graduated to the Big Two comic book publishers including having worked on Green Lantern and Suicide Squad for DC Comics – although he is arguably most famous for collaborating with Matt Wagner on their famous series: Grendel.
In recent years, Snyder has been collaborating with Eisner-Nominated publisher Bedside Press (The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, Window Horses), to update and reprint his 1980s series Fashion in Action.
FiA went from being the little Kickstarter book that could to hitting shelves at Local Comic Book Shops all over the world – where you can find it now!
Major Spoilers caught up with Snyder to talk about working on and revisiting Fashion in Action in the contemporary comic book climate..
You can read Major Spoiler’s previous interview with Bedside Press founder Hope Nicholson here!
MAJOR SPOILERS: Let’s start with an easy question: what made you want to bring back Fashion in Action now for contemporary readers?
JOHN K. SNYDER III: I had been hoping to collect the series for years, to return to my creator-owned roots and bring back what started me in all of this in the first place. It’s been a pleasant surprise with how well it’s been received with contemporary audiences. It’s like a time capsule that’s been re-opened at just the right time, made possible by Hope Nicholson of Bedside Press.
MS: What about Fashion in Action do you think still resonates with comics fans?
JKS III: I’d like to think it resonates because the series has a spirit of independence that comes not only from the characters, but from the independent comic creator-owned movement of the early-mid 1980’s, which you can see mirrored in the explosion of new ideas and talent today.
MS: How did you find the crowdfunding approach to comics versus the traditional trajectory when Fashion in Action was first published?
JKS III: It was an exciting and overwhelming experience that I could not have even have thought to to approach without the expertise of Bedside Press publisher and editor Hope Nicholson. By becoming personally involved, it brought in me in direct contact with the fans in a way that would not have been possible in the traditional approach of past publishing.
MS: How much of the reproduction and retouching process were you privy to?
JKS III: Hope has the highest quality publishing standards and worked carefully with the printers to get the best reproduction and paper and binding possible. I handled the restoration using my personal files of original art, film positives, original colors, and other forms of original of reproduction used in the 1980’s. My original publishers, Dean Mullaney and Cat Yronwode of Eclipse Comics were very diligent in returning all of those materials back then, and I had fortunately managed to keep most all of the material since the 1980s.
MS: What was working with Bedside Press like?
JKS III: It was great, Hope gave 110%+ to this collection, as she does with all of her books, to make sure it all comes together and the end result is a collection that has far exceeded anything I had hoped for over the years.
MS: Beyond including it in the cool title, why did you want fashion to be a focal point of this story?
JKS III: It has a couple of different meanings, not only in the clothing, but in the mashup of the different kinds of technology, the politics, the overall world of Fashion in Action–something old, something new, driven by the need to perpetually move forward, to grow. And constant change, you know, like the saying, “Fashion is fleeting”.
MS: Frances Knight is such a badass lady protagonist. Was it difficult balancing her power and her glamour?
JKS III: Frances’ character in that regard comes pretty easily to me. I feel it’s part of her style, with the power suits, tie, and cloaks, always wearing black, her style actually helps to define her position of authority in her business and her life.
MS: Choose between your darlings: who is your favourite supporting character – Talia, Sarah, Kelly or Ursula?
JKS III: Ok, I don’t think that’s possible, they’re all my favorites! It would be great to develop storylines where they all meet at the beginning of the story and break off to have individual adventures all over the world to spotlight their personalities even more. Perhaps even getting other artists and writers involved along the way, too!
MS: I always like to end with this question: what advice do you have for aspiring comic book creators?
JKS III: I would say this has to be the most exciting period in my lifetime for an individual to go out on their own to create comics about whatever you want them to be about and reach your own audience. Now more than ever, it’s important to develop your own individual style, and I think using the internet and social media to get out there and start finding your audience is the way to go. Some publishers like talent to come on board not only with good work, but already with a following and audience of their own. However, you may find in today’s world of independent funding that you have everything you need to be published in your own hands and you can work to make your own niche in the market!
You can get Fashion in Action right here.