Comic cons are a great place to gauge the playing field for independent publishers such as myself. Whenever I get a chance to attend one, it’s at the artist alley that I will spend most of my browsing, my mingling, and my money. The way I see it, I can buy a big label comic at any comic book store, but this is my only chance to see other independent publishers in action. It is here that you can stumble across a wellspring of talent or a gutter of mediocracy. If I pass by a booth and it gives me that glassy-eyed, 1000 yard stare, accented by the small puddle of drool that has formed on my shirt collar, then you have made a fan for life. It was at the Cherry Capital Comic Con (C4) in Traverse City, Michigan, that Source Point Press did just that. That three-day comic con is where I met the extremely talented creators of Source Point Press, Trico Lutkins and Josh Werner. This was their home state, and let me just say that the Michigan creator collective is quite impressive. There are not many places in the Midwest with the growing independent comic scene that Michigan has right now. So, we asked Trico if he would be interested in answering a few questions about the work they are putting out, and being the generous creator that he is, he obliged.
IM: It seems you have your sleeves rolled up and you’re really putting out some great stuff. How did you get into writing and producing comics, as well as other books?
TL: I started reading comics as soon as I could read and began to create my own characters at around ten years old. After I hit thirty, I found myself happily married with a wonderful daughter, but there was still so much more my twenty-something-year-old self, thought that I would have accomplished by then. First on that list was making my own comic. I started going to every con I could, talking to all the creators there, and networking with artists. I’ve always written short stories, plays, screenplays, novels, and poetry, but writing comics is completely different. It’s all collaboration. The writer and the artist both bring ideas and visions to the project. Writing is a very solitary hobby, so having to work with someone throughout the process took some getting used to. Luckily, my first comic was with Josh Werner. He’s 110 percent pro in everything he does, so it helped me to learn fast and made me step my game up.
IM: Let’s talk about one of the comic labels you are working with: Source Point Press. How did Source Point get its origins?
TL: I was at a horror con when I met the cofounder of Source Point Press, Joshua Werner. We hit it off right away. He liked all the obscure stuff I was into and he is an amazing artist. I commissioned him to work on Jack of Spades #0. At the time, I just wanted to make that comic, and maybe a couple of poetry chapbooks (I had made some really amateur chapbooks when I was an undergrad). One thing led to another, and next thing I knew, we had published a dozen titles our first year.
IM: Which stories are Source Point Press producing currently?
TL: To tell the truth, I can barely keep up with it all (laughs). We are going through major expansion this year. We have a new president, Travis McIntire, who runs the company and manages new projects and titles (which works out awesome for me, because I can focus on writing and talking with fans at cons). We have a new ongoing series, Up the River, that is doing amazing! I handle a lot of the outside sales for the company and comic shop owners order copies as soon as they see it. We are reformatting Source Point Presents to be more of a magazine. It will still feature an original comic short story, but also interviews and tons of other cool content. We are expanding our graphic novel line with the titles Rottentail and Scorn. We are in negotiations with a very popular punk/rockabilly band to publish their first graphic novel. Also, Gary Reed (Caliber Comics, Dead World) is interested in doing a miniseries with Source Point.
IM: How did Dust Bunnies Comics come about and what is your role in it?
TL: I met Mike Eshelman at the I.C.E. (Indie Comic Expo) convention in Dayton, Ohio. He had this amazing comic inspired from poetry, titled (Non) Collaboration. A comic created from poetry! I had to be a part of that! (Laughs) I submitted a few of my poems for some upcoming issues. Mike is a really cool guy and a great writer. I’m hoping to work more with the Dust Bunnies crew in the future.
IM: What are some past and current projects that we can find your name on?
TL: I have a miniseries coming out in the spring of 2016, titled Magma-man. A short screenplay I wrote as an undergrad titled Scavengers was adapted into a comic and will appear in the horror anthology, Thirteen Little Hells, edited by one of my favorite authors, David C. Hayes. Josh and I have a Jack of Spades prequel story in the Michigan Comic Collective Anthology, Volume II. If you’re a comic writer, letterer, illustrator, editor, or colorist, and you live in the state of Michigan, then you have got to join that group. They are an amazing network of comic creators, and they do a lot of events to bring comics to local communities. I’m working on a few projects with Headshrinkers Press. Also, I have a short story in the magazine, Ghostlight, put out by GLAHW (Great Lakes Association of Horror writers). They’re a great non-profit group and some of the funniest people you’ll ever meet, so it’s an honor to be accepted into their magazine and to see my name in print with some outstanding horror writers.
IM: What’s in the future for Source Point Press, as well as for yourself as a writer?
TL: Lot of comics! (Laughs) Source Point Press is going to become a major publisher of comics, graphic novels, and books. SPP is expanding exponentially and will continue to make amazing horror, noir, and pulp-inspired books and comics. I’m working on a one-shot comic based on a sci-fi poem I wrote, called “Vostokapolis.” It’s being illustrated by the incredible Emily Zelasko. I’m scripting Jack of Spades #2 (actually the third story in the series) and writing the rest of the Magma-man miniseries. I’ve written a graphic novel based on my all-time favorite band, and I can’t wait to see it published. I have a project in the works with BJ Duvall. His imagination is amazing and I’m really looking forward to working with him.
IM: Can you tell the readers about one of your newest projects: Magma man?
TL: He’s one of the characters I created when I was growing up, so I’m really excited that he’s finally getting a comic. I feel like I’m introducing everyone to one of my childhood friends. (Laughs) It’s penciled by Rich Perrotta, who has worked for Marvel and DC. His artwork will blow you away. I still can’t believe I got a veteran of the Big Two comic companies to work on a project with me.
IM: Who are the characters that you will be introducing in this story?
TL: The title character is from another world, so we will not only meet him, but also get introduced to his homeworld. He befriends a couple of teens, Skunk and Christie, which brings a kid’s point of view to the book without becoming condescending to young people. Also, what would a comic be without a villain? Magma-man comes to Earth and becomes a light for humanity, but someone else from his world follows him here and gives humanity a reason to fear the dark.
IM: Is this going to be published through Source Point Press as well?
TL: Yes! I’m really excited because Magma-man and Jack of Spades are in the same comic universe, so there’re some cameos from Jack of Spades and other characters I’ve written for Source Point Press.
IM: At Indyfest, we like to try and give other indy creators, new and old, tools that may help them succeed at their craft. I have found some of the best advice is the experience from others who have traveled this road. Can you share some of your hurdles in self-publishing?
TL: Writing can be a juggling act. You want to give the artist enough direction, but still leave the script open enough for them to experiment with panels, angles, etc. Also, give yourself due dates for everything (mine is usually a week or two before a comic con). I tend to be patient to a fault, because I love the process of making comics, so I’m never in a rush to see the finished project. If it wasn’t for trying to get new content out in time for cons, and Josh putting a fire under my butt, I’d probably still be on our second book. (Laughs)
IM: And where can our readers follow you and find the comics and books you have produced?
TL: Pretty much any comic shop in Michigan has Source Point Press comics in it (and the ones that don’t will have them by the end of next year). Practically any comic con or book festival in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, or Michigan will have a Source Point Press booth, where you can not only pick up SPP merchandise, but also get it signed by the artists and writers. All of our novels are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and basically anywhere you can buy books online. And, of course, there’s our website:
To see what’s going on with me, I’ve started my own blog:
I’ll be posting about being an indy comic writer, editor, and publisher, as well as reviewing other indy comics. I’m a huge history nerd, so you’ll probably come across some history stuff on there, too.