Randy Siplon Puts the “Kill” in “Kill Reaver”, the New Fantasy Comic on Indiegogo (Interview)
Comic book and trading card artist Randy Siplon recently launched an Indiegogo campaign for Kill Reaver, a new fantasy comic book that takes its inspiration from… We were fortunate enough to get a chance to discuss his Kill Reaver campaign which is still available to support here.
As always, the answers below are represented as closely to “as written” as possible with only minimal edits.
The Splintering: Thanks for joining us, Randy! You noted that your book Kill Reaver is inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and Heavy Metal, but looking at the artwork and being a retro gaming fan, it reminds me most of SEGA’s Golden Axe video game. Am I on the money here? Are there any other inspirations for the book?
Randy Siplon: Yes! I would say I am definitely influenced by video games like Golden Axe and countless others in the fantasy RPG genre. I spent many hours as a child feeding quarters into the arcade game Gauntlet and its sequels as well. Kill Reaver is basically a combination of many influences thrown into a stew and simmered until awesome.
TS: With a title like Kill Reaver, you have to expect a lot of action, but how visceral is the violence in the book, on a scale from Care Bears to glorious blood bath?
RS: Most definitely glorious blood bath! This book is not for kids, unless those kids are awesome! I know that times are different these days, but when I was a kid I was always trying to sneak a peek at my older brother’s violent comics and horror movies. Now kids get to live the violence through video games and Kill Reaver would probably seem tame in comparison!
TS: It looks like the buff helmeted guy is your lead character – aka the Kill Reaver, I presume? What can you tell us about the character and the world around him?
RS: Yes, he is indeed the Kill Reaver! Originally he was a member of a tribe of warriors known as the Kill Reavers. They were a small army of mercenaries that worked for an evil king. The king eventually turned on them and executed the entire tribe except for one sole survivor. Now he is out for revenge and also seeking redemption for the atrocities he has committed in the past. It’s basically the story of a bad guy turned good and seeking redemption and all that good stuff. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to give away too much. You’ll have to read it to find out!
TS: If you could see him go toe-to-toe with any fictional character (presumably to inflict horrific, bloody violence upon them), who would it be?
RS: Kill Reaver is a love letter to the sword & sorcery characters I grew up with so I would say maybe Conan (the barbarian not O’brien) or He-man. Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer also comes to mind. Kill Reaver vs. Death Dealer, that just sounds cool!
TS: You show the Minotaur and an army of skeleton warriors on the Indiegogo page. What other fantasy/mythological creatures can readers expect to see in Kill Reaver?
RS: Oh man, I have a tone of different monsters and bad guys lined up for the Kill Reaver to slay. Rat creatures, giant spiders, stone golems, and one of the “final boss” types is the tentacled monster on the cover named “Kron”.
TS: You noted that you are doing all of the writing and line art yourself, and that the Indiegogo campaign will help raise money for colors. Do you have a colorist lined up, yet?
RS: Yes, I have one in mind. Matt Yackey colored the cover and it is so beautiful that I would love to hire him to color the entire book.
TS: You’ve previously worked on both comic books and trading cards. Do you have a preference? What is it like as an artist to jump between sequential storytelling and flashy showpieces?
RS: I am an illustrator at heart so my first instinct is to try and make everything a flashy showpiece. However when drawing comics you have to sometimes really on subtlety in order to tell the story properly. Not every panel is a stand alone illustration, they need to flow together. Kill Reaver isn’t really about subtlety if you can’t tell, so I’m kind of going balls to the wall with the art.
TS: You have a $10 thousand stretch goal that will unlock cover artwork by Dan Fraga. How did you approach him for the Kill Reaver project? What made you consider Fraga as having he right style for the job?
RS: Dan is just a terrific artist and an old friend of mine so when asked to do something to help out the project he was more than happy to do so. He recently drew some issues of a He-Man comic so he can draw musclebound warriors with no problem. I can only hope we get to $10k. We have a ways to go!
TS: This book is part one of the Kill Reaver story. Is this the first part of an ongoing series, or do you have a set number of issues in mind?
RS: Kill Reaver will initially be a three issue series with the hope of doing another three issue arc in the future.
TS: Veteran comic book writer Chuck Dixon laments that comics took a hard turn towards superheroes several decades ago, and that the industry would be healthier today if it had not largely abandoned other genres like fantasy. Do you agree? How would you describe the current state of fantasy comics?
RS: I love superhero comics, but I would agree that there is a definite lacking of other genres including fantasy. I think the great thing about fantasy is that you can combine elements from every genre and not be beholden to any one reality. I like the “anything goes” mentality that fantasy offers a creator. This is my world entirely and the possibilities are endless.
TS: What makes the comic book medium unique as one well suited for fantasy genre?
RS: I think the major thing is that budget is not an issue. My budget is my pens and pencils and my mind. I’m not constrained by budgetary limitations like in film or animation. Yes, there are production costs, but the actual creative process is limitless.
TS: Besides comics, in what other entertainment mediums do you see Kill Reaver?
RS: I think Kill Reaver could be translated into anything. Video games, Movies, Television, Funko Pops, Lunch Boxes, whatever! Lol
TS: Once Kill Reaver is fulfilled, do you plan to charge ahead into issue two, or do you have other projects in mind during the interim?
RS: When we get funded I will completely focus on fulfillment of the first issue and then start working on Kill Reaver #2. I am committed to Kill Reaver for the foreseeable future.
TS: A year from now, how would you describe success for the Kill Reaver project?
RS: Success will be measured once I have that printed copy of issue #1 in my grubby little hands!
TS: What would you do with the power of the Beyonder?
RS: Make everyone back Kill Reaver #1, and then end world hunger. In that order. Lol
We would like to once again thank Randy Siplon for taking the time to answer our questions and to have some fun with us. You can visit the Kill Reaver Indiegogo page here. And of course, thank you for reading!