Comic Publishers

September 29, 2017

Interview With Greg Anderson-Elysee About ‘Is’nana The Were-Spider: Vol 2’!

Last year a friend of mine said that there was a comic that I should check out from this talented writer that he knew. Since I would have been a fool not to take the advice from such a wise individual I not only got a copy but hit up the writer to let him know how much I liked it after reviewing Is’nana The Were-Spider Vol 1! It wasn’t just me that liked this book because it made the Top Five Surprise Good Reads of 2016 in our 2016 write in Fan Poll. The people spoke and were heard! Now it’s that time again as storyteller, Greg-Anderson Elysee takes us on Is’nana’s next adventure. We were able to get a few minutes with Greg to talk about the new Is’nana The Were-Spider Vol 2 Kickstarter and what’s in store for readers!

Writer/Creator: Greg Anderson-Elysee

ComicAttack: First we’d like to say congratulations to you on the success of Is’nana Vol 1. Were you surprised at the overwhelming amount of support you received regarding your now sold out comic?

Greg Anderson-Elysee: Thanks so much, man. I really appreciate it. And yes, I was in fact very surprised. I definitely wasn’t expecting the reception it got from the first Kickstarter and even afterward. I never really thought of even selling out until it got closer to happening.

CA: Do you have a favorite moment or fan reaction after releasing Is’nana Vol 1?

Greg: Hmm. It’s hard to pick, really. I’ve been very grateful to connect with many people who enjoyed the book. But one of my favorites was this one little boy came to my table at the Black Comic Fest at the Schomburg in Harlem. He came with his mother and sister and a friend. He was so very shy and wouldn’t say much at all to me but showed an interest in the book. Months later at Big Apple Con, he came this time with his father and he was so excited to see me again. Gone was the shy kid, he was ecstatic to tell me all about it and his father was telling me how much the book and character meant to him after that day. It’s been great seeing how kids react to the book, especially given that I wrote it for teens and older in mind, but it seem to really take to a younger audience and their parents also seem to enjoy it with them, so that means a lot.

Is’nana and his father Anansi

CA: You assembled an impressive team for the previous volume. Will any of them be returning for this next chapter? If not who will be part of the new creative team?

Greg: Most of my team from the last book are back in this volume. Lee Milewski is doing colors again; Joshua Cozine on the letters and final production; and Walt Msonza Barna on the covers. Walter Ostlie is being a super star in the comic indie world and we had some schedule conflicts so we had to take a break from each other. Replacing him is Daryl Toh who I’ve been a fan of for a little while and given a project he and I were working on had to be shelved, I asked him if he wanted to come on board and he excitedly said yeah! I’ve been very happy with what he’s done adding to the mythos of the book.

Walter IS still a part of the team, rest assured. I know many people loved his work on the book. If we reach the stretch goal of the Kickstarter, we’ll be adding a back up story that Walter will be drawing, so I’m excited to be working with him again and am hoping we reach it! The back up story will also include crossovers with other indie comic properties, each draw by their creators. So that’ll be Walter and his series (Shiver bureau), Micheline Hess (Malice in Ovenland), Chuck Collins (Bounce!), Mike Priebe (Barrdok the Wanderer), Shauna J. Grant (Princess LovePon), Keef Cross (DayBlack), and N. Steven Harris (Ajala).

CA: The father/son dynamic between Anansi and Is’nana was something that stood out and for good reasons. Why was it important for you to highlight their relationship and will this still be a pivotal point in volume 2?

Greg: It was very important for me to showcase because the story of Is’nana is essentially a story about legacy. I wanted to highlight a positive Black father and son relationship (for the most part). I feel that’s something we don’t commonly see in a lot of comics or genre stories in the mainstream. And comics tend to give characters a tragic backstory where they lose their parents. I didn’t want the same here. And yeah, their relationship gets highlighted again in this volume. They don’t spend as much time in the first half but they do have some tension as Is’nana has taken it upon himself to go after the villains he unleashed onto the world, whether Anansi is there to guide him or not. At this same time, Anansi has gotten a bit overprotective and needs to learn to trust his son more. We’ll see what happens between them.

Art by Daryl Toh Colors by Lee Milewski

CA: One thing that caught my eye in Vol 1 was the depiction and application of Is’nana’s abilities. From the subtle to the in your face transformations on the page. Will we get to see any new powers and abilities from the young hero manifest in Vol 2?

Greg: You’ll see a lot of the same stuff in this volume but we’ll mostly be seeing Is’nana being a lot more comfortable in his role as being a fighter. In the last volume he was a bit more reserved and a pacifist. Now there’s been some time passed and he’s a better fighter than volume 1, so his comfort level with his abilities are there. We may see an added ability or two. One of my favorite things is coming up with creative stuff with him.

CA: The ‘Were-Spider’ part is still a bit of a mystery so will you be tackling that aspect of Is’nana’s character here as well?

Greg: Unfortunately not really in this volume. There’s actually some hints in each story thus far, from Vol 1 and the back up that showed the Prologue and a little bit in this coming volume. But nothing big yet. But next volume I have it planned to really go more into it.

CA: What can you tell us about the new antagonist in this story that we’ll be meeting and will we see the return of Anansi’s enemy, Osebo?

Greg: So last volume, Osebo was our big bad. He won’t be returning this volume. I have plans for later on, but not so soon. The villains this volume are Queen Mmboro and her daughter, Kantite. In the original Anansi stories, Mmboro was one of the animals Anansi had to capture to give to Nyame, the Sky God, as a part of his mission to become the God of Stories. Like how Osebo held a grudge all this time because of this, Mmboro does as well. The thing is, she was never brought back to her land. She was forgotten about and stuck in a vase. Her daughter, Kantite, upon Anansi’s kidnapping in Volume 1, used this as an opportunity to free her mother after joining forces with the warring hives of the bees, hornets, and wasps colonies. But due to Is’nana accidentally opening the portals between various worlds, Mmboro, Kantite, and the hives have made it to our reality and see fit to infect the humans as means of making sure their colonies survive.

Of course, Is’nana is here to stop them from causing harm and must protect the Baptiste family, a family of farmers who get caught in Kantite and Mmboro’s plans.

CA: With the roots of Is’nana deep in African folklore has your research and study opened you up to wanting to tell more stories that draw inspiration from this mythology?

Greg: Oh yes, for sure. I’m always trying to find books on Black folklore and jotting down characters I come across and trying to find ways to incorporate them. If we make the stretch goal for the extra pages, I’m hoping to have a story that focuses on characters from Haitian folklore, characters like Ti-Malice and Bouki, and Compere Cat. Popular trickster in Haitian stories, along with Papa Legba, the Haitian Loa of the Crossroads.

CA: Did you see yourself self publishing from the start and what has the experience opened your eyes to in regards to making comics and the industry?

Greg: Yeah, I definitely wanted to jump in self publishing. I wanted to learn how a lot of things run without people doing everything for me. Wanted to know what to do and what not to do, learn from mistakes, etc. I’ve learned a lot about making comics and some stuff in the industry and every week I learn a little something new. I’m planning to continue self publishing a lot of my own stuff.

CA: Are there any other writers or artists you’d like to collaborate with?

Greg: Ah! Too many to choose from! But I will say a lot of amazing creators I want to work with I can IF we reach those stretch goals! Then I can finally knock out some of them from my bucket list while also showcasing their own characters.

CA: This project must be time consuming so assuming you have time to read comics are there any now that you’re checking out?

Greg: I unfortunately don’t get to read as much as I would like, due to both time and money. Most of my money, if not for living, goes into production for my books. But I do try to support some type of Kickstarter here and there. But I’ve been digging what I’ve been seeing with Lion Forge with Joe Illidge’s imprint. The creators I have attached for the stretch goals I follow their stories regularly and support as much as I can. As for more mainstream books, I’ve gotten back into Spawn again simply because of Jason Shawn Alexander’s work. I mean, hot damn!! Definitely look up his art, it’s kicked my butt into getting back into art again!

CA: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on that you can talk about and where can we see you next?

Greg: Ahh!!! I THINK I can bring up that I’ve been writing a mini series for Jason Reeve’s One Nation universe. I won’t say too much, but he got me down to expand on his Strong Hold character. I have two issues down. I wish I can say about the others but I really can’t! One I’ve started scripting about a week ago finally and one that’s actually finished but I’m waiting for the artist to finish his other duties and start drawing and inking. When you post this up, I’m going to put this in his inbox to let him know to hurry his ass up!

CA: Hahaha! Well thank you for taking the time and we’ll be looking forward to checking out Is’nana Vol 2 and seeing what you have in store for us in the future!

Is’nana Vol 2 Cover by Walt Msonza Barna

To see more you should head over to the Is’nana Vol 2 Kickstarter and check out all of the extras and the very cool pledge rewards you can expect!


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