INTERVIEW: Tom Scioli on Process, Princess and His New Patreon Account

Cartoonist Tom Scioli made waves this year when his comics biography Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of The King of Comic was released (read our chat with Tom about that here). Tom has now followed that up with a couple of new projects, one of which is an exciting new Patreon account. Tom is releasing all sorts of comics there, including Princess, his latest sci-fi story.  Read all about it and make sure to check out all of Tom’s work, it’s some of the best comics/cartoons being put out.

Monkeys Fighting Robots: So when we last spoke Tom, your latest book Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of The King of Comics,  had just come out. Now you’ve started two recent endeavors I wanted to ask you about. First off, you’ve created a Patreon. What made you decide to jump into that?
Tom Scioli: I wanted the extra motivation. I’ve kept busy during the past year, but I wanted the little bit of extra pressure to push me beyond my comfort zone.
MFR: What can readers expect from your Patreon? 
Scioli: I’m sharing comics in progress that I’m working on at the moment, most recently a superhero comic called Super Tiger. I’m sharing PDFs of recently completed works like Young Zeus and Princess. I’m currently coloring one of my older comics, The Myth of 8-Opus, and I’ve been sharing those pages as I complete them. I’ll dig into my archives and share what I find.
MFR: What do you get out and enjoy of Patreon as a creator?
Scioli: I enjoy the contact and engagement. It lets me know which works connect. I made coloring 8-Opus a higher priority because that’s what Patrons kept asking for.
MFR: As a subscriber, I gotta say I loved the recent Princess comics you put out. It feels like one of those ’80s movies I would see on a UHF channel as a kid. It cued up memories of stuff like Ice Pirates, the Masters of The Universe film, Last Star Fighter.  Is Princess a recent concept, or one you have had for a while?
Scioli: Working on comics like Go-Bots and Transformers vs GIJOE made me realize that 80’s sci-fi is really where my heart is. I love 60’s Marvel and 70’s DC, but the eighties are my sweet spot. I started working on Princess after I finished Super Powers, so it was probably around 2017.
MFR: You also adopted a style close to what you did in the Kirby book for Princess? Why did you choose this look?
Scioli: It helps the reader identify with the main character.
MFR: 2020 in general has seen a huge surge in Kickstarters, Patreons, Etsy and other self-published routes. Obviously, the pandemic was a huge factor in that, but why do you think indie comics specifically have found so much success in these formats?
Scioli: You can engage directly with your audience. You get feedback at every stage of production. You build an audience and gauge demand before you go to press.
MFR: Where do you see comics going in 2021? 
Scioli: I have no idea. I wish I could predict that. My hope is that once the pandemic is over things are going to bounce back in a big way and all the things we’ve been doing out of necessity will make the whole industry more structurally sound.
MFR: You also started a YouTube Channel, Total Recall Show. Tell our readers about it. And what made you want to do your own video podcast?Scioli
Scioli: I host it with my friend Matt Zeoli. We talk about whatever we feel like talking about that week. Mostly movies and tv shows. Occasionally comics. One of our ongoing themes is we read early drafts of movie scripts and compare them to the finished product. That’s been really interesting. I’m always interested in process and the road from idea to execution. As far as what made me want to do it, I’d been doing a number of Zoom interviews and other people’s shows, and I’ve been a recurring guest on the Cartoonist Kayfabe show. I’d done enough of these things that I felt like I had a grasp on how to make one of these, so why not make my own show. More than anything, it’s an excuse to get together and have the kinds of conversations I haven’t been able to have lately.
MFR: What else are you working on as the year closes? 
Scioli: I’m working on Super Tiger. I’m working on a follow-up to Young Zeus. I’ve got a couple of top-secret projects in the works that I can’t talk about. 
Manuel Gomez
Manuel Gomez
Assistant Comic Book Editor. Manny has been obsessed with comics since childhood. He reads some kind of comic every single day. He especially loves self-published books and dollar bin finds. 'Nuff said!