Welcome to Self-Published Spotlight, a regular interview column where I will be highlighting self-published comics and the creators and small print publishers who make them.
Jamie Jones entered my radar when he started drawing the weekly Monkeys Fighting Robots strip. After some searching, I discovered Jamie’s solo creation, The Baboon (a pulp adventurer along the lines of Indiana Jones, Doc Savage and even a little The Shadow) and loved it right away. So when I read that Jamie was doing a new Baboon one-shot, I was on board immediately. I quickly supported it on Kickstarter, then reached out to Jamie to ask him all about the book. Always gracious, Jamie answered all my questions and you can check them out below. And make sure you head over and support The Baboon: Skull of A King.
Monkeys Fighting Robots: First, Jamie, why don’t you catch us up on what you have been up to. It’s been roughly a year since we last spoke. When we chatted, The Baboon and Pink Lemonade Jamboree book you did with Nick Cagnetti had just come out. What’s been going on with you in the past year?
Jamie Jones: Oh gosh, so much! I wrote and drew the second Baboon Comic, a 94 pager that I’ve been releasing first on Patreon. I bounced around the whole southeast crashing on friends’ couches for several months before officially moving from St. Pete, Fl to Savannah, Ga. I’ve been slowly adjusting to the change. I started a Twitch channel and now I launched a Kickstarter for a Babs one-shot.
MFR: Some of our readers may not be familiar with you and your work, so give us a quick rundown.
JJ: I’ve been doing the self-publishing game since I started making comics. First with Tres Dean and our sci-fi western book, DODGER. Those comics got me some gigs for some pro wrestlers and KICKING ICE (written by Stephaine Phillips). I then went off and made the Baboon 2 years ago, launched the first book on Kickstarter. I also did the ComiXology original book QUARTER KILLER with Vita Ayala and Danny Lore. I’ve been working on Baboon stuff since then. Oh and I do the Tales of MFR comic strip on this here website!
MFR: So let’s get into your latest book, The Baboon: Skull of a King. Give our readers the elevator pitch on the latest Baboon adventure.
JJ: There’s a gem-encrusted skull of an ancient king that Babs and Monkey Bones go to
recover from an ancient tomb. But, they are not alone. Enter The Baboon’s old rival, The
Cyclops Barbarian. And the race to see who can get the skull first ensues.
MFR: What made you go with a one-shot floppy this time?
JJ: I wanted to. haha. The beauty of the Baboon and how the book exists in my head is just a lot of one-shots really. One-shots of varying length. The books don’t have one long narrative tie. So when I was working on this story I knew it was going to be a “flash in the pan” kind of story and the single issue fit that.
MFR: Did you use any different approaches, tools or processes on this new book?
JJ: Not really. This year I’ve been introducing more Papermate-flair pens into my drawing. But they were always kind of there. I used to draw with those pens all the time in school. Just doodling in the margins. I guess I’m chasing the joy of drawing again. And using tools that I used when I was younger is one of the ways I’m doing that. But, other than that, I’m still using my number 4 Silver Black Velvet brush dipped in Sumi ink.
MFR: This is, I believe, your fourth successful Kickstarter project. What’s it like working within that system now that you have experience?
JJ: It gets easier each time. The hardest part is in the promotion. I’ve thought about hiring
someone to help me out on that end. But, the constant push is very draining. Kickstarter has made the back end so much easier to use since my first campaign too. They keep updating, making it more user-friendly. Now it’s just another tool to help gauge interest in the product.
MFR: What is it you love about Kickstarter? Is there something about it you don’t like?
JJ: Kickstarter is great for name recognition. People on the street know what’s up when you say you’re running one. The only thing I don’t like about Kickstarter, and I’ve said this so many times, is the integration of shipping costs on books in the total money you’ve earned for the project. I wish they would hold shipping payments in a different space so I could see the final total without the shipping. I think it would be more honest to the backers to show exactly how much has been collected for making the project.
MFR: Do you see yourself using Kickstarter exclusively going forward? Like would you ever work with a publisher?
JJ: Kickstarter is a lot of work. I think in the next few years I’ll be making the move from
Kickstarter to a more direct approach through a site that I run. Taking preorders and the like on my end. But, Kickstarter is so good for building that initial audience.
As far as publishers go. I’d love to have a publisher. It’s just finding one that is willing and
wanting to work with me on this book. I’ve been pretty uncompromising on the look and feel of The Baboon, which I have found, can be off-putting to publishers. I have found Publishers don’t really know what to do with a Pulp Action-Adventure “all ages” comic where people smoke and there’s no potty humor. But, readers get it. So, maybe down the line, I can do the Jeff Smith thing and just give a publisher a whole mess of comics for them to release.
MFR: You have been live streaming as you create on various platforms, especially Twitch. What is it about streaming while you draw that you like? Does it benefit the art? Does it affect how you work?
JJ: Twitch has become the thing for me. It’s great! I love the community over there. This is a great question that I wish I had a better answer for, but there is really no change in the art production. I sit, I turn my camera on, I start drawing. What Twitch does do, is let people into my insights while I draw or layout a page. Insights that if
I was not streaming, would still be said out loud as I talk to myself. So Twitch makes me a little less of a crazy person.
MFR: What else do you have going on? Anything you want to announce?
JJ: I’ve got some stuff in pitch mode, which is fun and great. So maybe you’ll see some of that stuff, maybe you won’t. What I can say is The second Baboon book is going to be launching on Kickstarter early next year. And then, and I’m really excited for this, The Baboon Magazine. The magazine format is something I really love and I’ve always wanted to play around with it. I have no timeline for that yet though. It’s a lot of moving pieces.
MFR: And where can folks find your work?
JJ: I’m @artofjamiejones on all social media!