Self-Published Spotlight: Rick Lopez’s THE POWER

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.

When I laid eyes on the artwork of Rick Lopez’s comic, The Power, I was immediately blown away. My reaction was so visceral I knew it was a book and artist I had to follow. I reached out to Rick and we started communicating about comics, his work, and art in general. It was only a matter of time before I featured Rick in this column. So check out our chat and definitely head over to Rick’s online shop and pick up The Power!

Monkeys Fighting Robots: Rick, first off I know how busy you get, so thanks for taking the time to chat! 
Rick Lopez: Absolutely! No problem at all, thanks for having me!
MFR: So what’s your comics’ secret origin? How did you get into the medium? 
RL: Honestly, they were always around. I had a stack of Disney comics as a kid I loved, the hero comics were a bit harder to come by for me amidst the speculator boom though. Barnes and Noble was my LCS long before we got a legitimate shop in my area.
MFR: And when did you decide to start creating your own comics?
RL: For a few years I thought I’d just be writing comics and other people would draw my books. I had someone in line to draw The Power and it fell through. I did the script and thumbnails already so I just started it myself in early 2019 and learned a lot, Image Grand Design really changed the game for me though.
MFR: Let’s jump right into The Power. Can you give our readers a synopsis? 
RL: The Power is a four-issue limited series about a boy creating a comic, only to discover a realm beyond space and time.. within his own mind! So it’s focused around the creation process and while we work we drift off to another more ethereal plane in our minds.The Power
MFR: The art in The Power blew me away. Specifically, the colors and layouts, which seem to be a huge focus for you. What is it about these two elements that draws you to focus so much on them? 
RL: Thank you, I really appreciate that!  I think specifically with The Power I’m trying to represent (the best that I can) those inner planes of the mind and the meta capabilities of the medium through the layouts and the colors so that in and of itself makes them so important.
MFR: Did you have any specific influences on The Power? What artists/books did you look at for inspiration?
Grant Morrison is a huge inspiration to me in general, I would definitely say Morrison’s run on Animal Man and the Flex Mentallo mini-series are inherent influences on The Power.
MFR: I freaking love your homage covers. You’ve done Infinity Gauntlet #1 for issue one and the classic Miller Wolverine #1 for issue two. Why did you decide to do these homage covers and did you have others in mind? What other homage covers can we expect if you care to tease?
The homages are a lot of fun to do but I also think it adds a bit of recognition to the book even just at a cover glance. I wanted to use as much from comics as I could really. Initially had planned on using a New Gods cover for #3 but opted for a Green Lantern Darryl Banks cover that I felt lent itself better for my book. That being said I have two Kirby covers planned four-issue 4 and the trade is still to come.
MFR: What’s your progression and creative process like? What’s the first thing you do when you decide to put pencil/pen to paper? What tools do you use?
Usually I’ll thumbnail my ideas pretty small on scratch paper, scan those in, blown them up/move things around on Procreate, print onto 11×17 Bristol board, clean the pencils up a bit then I’ll use my light pad with another bristol to ink/tone the pages and scan them back onto procreate for colors and clean up. I think using both [digital and analog] is the key, I know a lot of people are going full digital but I can’t give up that human look and the original art that you get from inking traditionally. There are these Pilot double brush pens that I’m obsessed with and recommend a lot and the Uniball white signo pen is another amazing tool I use with every piece. Then of course Ticonderoga and Staedtler pencils, mechanical pencil, microns, deleter screentones, Ames lettering guide and procreate are all staples at the desk as well.The Power
MFR: Was self-publishing always the route you were going with? Or did you have other publishing methods in mind?
I think self-publishing was always the option, I kind of thought I would release everything all at once with The Power and got really far with layouts and pencils but ultimately I don’t think that was the best idea.
MFR: Self-Publishing, in general, is on a huge upswing. Patreon, Kickstarter and now Substack. As a creator, why do you think self-publishing is growing?
I think a lot of creators are tired of giving away their best ideas to companies for them to own. We have all these apps at our fingertips to grow our own audience and reader base. We can make our Patreon, Kickstart our books and get the net big enough to live off of our own ideas without compromising to a corporation. Image Comics showed us this 30 years ago.
MFR: Besides The Power, what else have you worked on? And what else are you hoping to work on?
My first works were 14 pages in Image Grand Design, I did a page in the Weapon Ecch book and another page for the upcoming BMN Year Wha book (that I need to finish), as well as 4 pages coming up in Wizerd #2 from Cosmic Lion Eli Schwab later this year. Craig CK and myself co-founded Next Panel Press, which is a bi-weekly collective of strips from a group of artists across the globe. My strip Cosmicat, is about a joint smoking feline outlaw making his way across the galaxy, as past, present, and future all begin to unfold around him! The 17th strip is about to drop this weekend so nearly enough to collect into a single issue. I collected the first seven into mini-comics I’ve been giving out with book orders though.
MFR: Where can our readers find you and your work?

You can find me the following ways:
Instagram @doomdazed
Twitter @_doomdazed
Rick Lopez Cartoonist on Facebook
@Nextpanelpress on Instagram
Next Panel Press on Facebook and Webtoon.


And grab my books at www.bigcartel/doomdazed. 

The Power

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!