Now live on Kickstarter is a new graphic novel from writer Mat Groom, artist Erica D’Urso, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey, design by For The People, and editor Kyle Higgins. In just a few days the campaign has blown through it’s original goal, but with over a month left there’s a lot of time left. And with the stretch goals just starting to be announced, as well as some of the incentives available at various levels, it seems like this one will continue to go up.
Recently we had a chance to talk with Mat about the title, how it came about, and some of the Kickstarter rewards. Check it out below.
The Convention Collective: How does writing for an established series like Ultraman differ from creating something entirely new?
Mat Groom: It’s interesting, actually, I see it as a three-point spectrum—on one end you’ve got writing a traditional superhero comic, like BATMAN, say, where you’re picking up the world and established history of a character and going on from there. Then, in the middle, you have something like what we did on ULTRAMAN—where you’re taking existing ideas and iconography, but you’re remixing them and reworking them and in the process building a new world with its own history. Then, on the far end of the spectrum, you have a project like this—where you have no existing building blocks, everything is from scratch.
And I think that’s where there’s a lot of benefit in understanding your influences and thinking consciously what you might want to pull from or be inspired by. In this instance we decided we want to mix in some of the American superhero action that we love, introduce some tokusatsu elements to give the superhero aspect a bit of a different spin, introduce some high-school drama to fuel the tension of the narrative… and use all of those different elements to create a graphic novel about hope in the face of darkness, and action in the face of apathy.
TCC: Inferno Girl Red is influenced by the Japanese tokusatsu genre. What hallmarks of that genre did you try to incorporate into this book?
Mat: We’ve taken some inspiration from the aesthetics (you can see that a bit in the costume, and in the action sequence of preview pages) but what interested me most was the narrative aspects.
American superheroes are typically defenders of the status quo. They fight ‘crime’, and they’re just sort of indefinitely tasked with keeping things as they are. But tokusatsu heroes generally have a more focused, often finite mission, and they have a particular set of antagonists—and in pursuing their mission and taking on these antagonists, they’re often out to change the status quo, to leave the world a different, hopefully better place than they found it.
At a time when the status quo is so bad for so many people, that seemed like a more interesting and relevant approach to superheroes, to me.
TCC: What led to your decision to publish Inferno Girl Red as a graphic novel as opposed to an ongoing series?
Mat: I couldn’t help but feel that the ideas we wanted to get into with the book needed the breathing room afforded by a novel. I love writing single issues, and will continue to do so—but they require you to write a beginning, middle and end every 20(ish) pages, and I think this story is better served by not having to fit that format.
TCC: Obviously, without giving away any spoilers, if fans like INFERNO GIRL RED, are there any plans for future stories?
Mat: Yeah, we love this character and this world so we’d love to do more in the future, if fans respond to it. In fact, if we’re funded, you might see Cássia pop up in some unexpected places!
But our first and most important priority is providing a satisfying, complete story to the backers of our project—if anything comes after that, all the better, we think readers will be satisfied by the novel either way.
TCC: Often, Kickstarter campaigns have some exclusive benefits for backers. What can you tell us about the Kickstarter campaign for Inferno Girl Red.
Mat: The Kickstarter hardcover edition of the book will have an exclusive cover only available through the Kickstarter, along with exclusive concept art.
On top of that, we have other things you can get at various reward tiers—like high-quality art prints by 15 incredible artists including Nicola Scott, Darko Lafuente, Eleonora Carlini, Doaly and many more; an opportunity to cameo in the book, and an opportunity to own the original art of Nicola Scott’s IGR print!
There’s also one more reward coming, but it’s not quite ready yet so I can’t share what it is… I’m really excited about it, though, it’s something I’ve never seen a comics Kickstarter do before so I can’t wait to share it!
Thanks to Mat for your time and Hanna Bahedry of Superfan Promotions for arranging the chat.
Full press release is below with more info on the title.
ULTRAMAN Comics Co-Writer Mat Groom and CAPTAIN MARVEL Artist Erica D’Urso Launch INFERNO GIRL RED On Kickstarter
From Mat Groom, the co-writer of Marvel Comics’ hit ULTRAMAN comics, and rising star artist Erica D’Urso (CAPTAIN MARVEL and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS) comes INFERNO GIRL RED, an all-new original graphic novel that combines the high school super-heroic drama of INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE with the dynamic storytelling and world-building of Japanese tokusatsu superheroes, and the intrigue and relationship drama of British boarding school fiction. A Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund this all new 100-page, hardcover superhero graphic novel by Groom, D’Urso, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey, editor Kyle Higgins, and design group For The People, will launch later this month and run through May 5th, 2021.
We all need something to believe in. Especially Cássia Costa. An ancient cult and their army of demons have stolen Cássia’s home, Apex City. When a magical dragon bracelet rockets into her life and affixes itself to her arm, Cássia’s the only person equipped to stop the cult from offering the entire city to their dark lord. There’s just one catch…
The magical bracelet is powered by belief, and Cássia — an intensely pragmatic, rational girl – doesn’t have much to spare. She’ll have to find something to kindle her faith, though, and fast —because she has a secret legacy to live up to. Because her mother’s life is on the line. And because Apex City needs Inferno Girl Red.
“I’ve been working on this story for about three years now,” said writer and co-creator Mat Groom. “I’ve always thought it was worthwhile, but I was never certain it would work… until I met Erica D’Urso. Erica is just wickedly talented. You can see that in her work on JAMES BOND, CAPTAIN MARVEL and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. But it was her energy, her tremendous passion, that made me believe. Erica loves Cássia, and Cássia’s world… and that love infuses every part of this project. There’s nobody I would rather be co-creating this world with.”
The graphic novel is edited by Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom’s co-writer on Marvel’s hit ULTRAMAN Comics, and co-creator of the recent Image Comics’ smash hit, RADIANT BLACK. “Kyle and I share a passion for the Japanese tokusatsu genre, which is a big influence on INFERNO GIRL RED, along with British boarding school dramas and American superhero comics. There’s little coincidence that Cássia was first introduced to the world in the back of the first issue of Kyle’s series, RADIANT BLACK. In fact, the connections between RADIANT BLACK and INFERNO GIRL RED may run deeper than you think…”
In INFERNO GIRL RED, Cássia’s not shy– but bouncing around from city-to-city as her Mom bounced from job-to-job meant it was hard to make friends… and any friends she did make disappeared pretty quickly once they found out who Cássia’s mother was. So instead of socialising, she focused on learning– showing a particular aptitude for science. Now Cássia has a chance for a fresh start in Apex City. Her impressive test scores have earned her an invitation to the world-famous entrepreneur Doctor Janine Caro’s prestigious boarding school for promising young minds. There, Cássia starts to settle in. She starts to make friends. She starts to see a future for herself.
But when a magical bracelet blasts through a window while Cássia is studying late one night, everything changes. Cássia’s quickly drawn into a strange war that she previously only heard about from her mother…
The INFERNO GIRL RED Kickstarter campaign features the oversized, deluxe format hardcover (7 x 11 inches) with an exclusive, Kickstarter-only cover and Kickstarter-edition-exclusive concept art, as well as a RADIANT BLACK/ INFERNO GIRL RED team-up print by RADIANT BLACK artist Marcelo Costa and INFERNO GIRL RED artist Erica D’Urso and fourteen collectible INFERNO GIRL RED giclee art prints by Darko Lafuente, Doaly, Francesco Manna, Eduardo Ferigato, Dash O’Brien–Georgeson, Federico Sabbatini (with Martina Fari), Wil Sur, Kath Lobo, Serg Acūna, Eleonora Carlini, Tiffany Turrill, Nicola Scott, Nicole Goux and Valeria Favoccia!
The INFERNO GIRL RED campaign concludes May 5, 2021, 2021. For updates, follow INFERNO GIRL RED on Twitter.
To support the campaign, visit Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matgroom/inferno-girl-red-by-mat-groom-and-erica-durso