INDIE SPOTLIGHT: JOE ST. PIERRE’S ‘LIBERAIDER: THE HARD DRIVE EDITION’ (WITH EXCLUSIVE ART)
We were lucky enough to score a one on one interview with the creator of Liberaider: The Hard Drive Edition, Joe St. Pierre, as he mounts his Kickstarter campaign to put out a full color hardcover collection of his awesome web comic. Including endorsements from legends like David Michelinie (Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Iron Man), Jim Shooter (Avengers, Legion of Superheroes, Secret Wars), Larry Hama (Wolverine, GIJoe) and Fabian Nicieza (X-Men, Gambit), this is clearly a project worth your attention.
St. Pierre was awesome enough to also offer exclusive art from the project. Said art from Joe includes collaborations with Sandu Florea (inker on Batman, Detective, Suicide Squad), Steve Firchow (colorist for Top Cow, and on Grant Morrison’s X-Men) and Jay Leisten (inker on Death of Wolverine).
On to our interview.
The Killray: Tell the readers what they should know about “LIBERAIDER: THE HARD DRIVE EDITION.”
Joe St. Pierre: The LIBERAIDER HARD DRIVE EDITION is a hardcover, full color graphic novel telling the origin tale of the Robin Hood of Cyberspace. The LIBERAIDER is a teenage hacktivist who infiltrates the databanks of the oppressive Dinosaur Corporation. He steals some key data, and becomes the most hunted man in the world. The Kickstarter offers some pretty good deals on the book, a print set, and you can get commissioned art and original art pieces from me there as well.
What inspired the creation of Liberaider? How did you come up with the concept and story?
I have always been a superhero fan. I’ve noticed there are a lot of characters out there who represent certain archetypes, like the Superman “god-on-earth” or Batman “human perfection” models, and there are TONS of characters who are clearly influenced by these archetypes. THE LIBERAIDER is my attempt to put a different spin on, maybe even create, a new superhero archetype, if all goes well.
Most of THE LIBERAIDER’s battles will probably take place in cyberspace, so incredible damage can be done; but when the average citizen looks out their window, they wouldn’t see anything different. Personally I like that aspect of the story.
I have to also give props to William Gibson. His books Burning Chrome, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and particularly Neuromancer were inspirational to me. I threw some Gibson homages into THE LIBERAIDER, and tried to blow them up in the origin story. I thought it was a fun device to play with, and that will allow me to make some room to move into uncharted territory with my future LIBERAIDER stories.
The way you depict technology and cyberspace in your art is very interesting. Do you create your art digitally, traditionally, or some combination of the two?
More of a combination. Most of the time I’m a pen and ink on paper guy, they are the tools I am most comfortable with. I also like the framability and collectibility of a piece of art once it’s complete. But once I scan it into the computer, where it is lettered and colored, I do mess with the art. I throw lots of FX in, especially in the scenes that take place in cyberspace. I may also correct drawing errors I missed on paper.
What’s your process like when you sit down to create an issue?
Since I am the writer and artist, I can switch hats pretty smoothly along the way. I will usually write out a plot skeleton with story beats, or specific scenes I have in mind. As I draw the art, lines of dialogue will come to me, and I’ll jot them down on the side of the page. That dialogue is usually reshaped and edited while I letter the page.
Sometimes I’ll be drawing a scene that might require further development, so I have the creative freedom to add a panel, or even a page to better tell the story. For the origin story of the LIBERAIDER, I think I wrote 3 versions of the script, which only partially resemble the final, published version. I am planning to include the “final” script in the Hard Drive Edition. I think it would be fun for readers to compare the two, and get an insight into the writing-for-comics process.
You have been working on this as a web comic for some time, what led to your decision to go the crowdfunding route and attempt to put together a collected edition?
I think the main reason to run a Kickstarter was to assemble the first story arc–which tells the origin story of the Liberaider—into a high quality, special event-type of product. I was also curious about the Kickstarter process, and thought it would be a good opportunity to learn a little bit.
There is also an opportunity for KS contributors to appear in the LIBERAIDER webcomic itself. I have a pledge level that allows the donor to be a character in the second story arc, beginning with episode #100. I can promise a horrible death for the character as well ;).
How long have you been working on comics?
Really, as long as I can remember. I still own comics I made when I was 9 or 10 years old, and some of those were redone from comics I had drawn and lost as a younger kid!
Professionally, my first gig as a penciller was on Rai #1 at Valiant. My first gig as a writer was Shadowman #9, also at Valiant.
What works and/or creators would you say have inspired your storytelling and art style?
Names you’ve probably heard plenty of times before, I imagine: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, John Byrne, Jim Steranko, Will Eisner. Barry Windsor-Smith and Jim Shooter helped me enormously in my early days as a pro.
What advice do you have for people that want to create their own comics?
Just do it! The more you do, the better you will get, and now there’s this little thing called the internet that allows you to publicly display your work from your own home ;). How cool is that?
Where can folks find you online (I’ll obviously include links to your Kickstarter, but feel free to plug twitter, blog, etc.)?
For my creator-owned work, you can seek out astronautink.com. For my commercial artwork, you can visit popartproperties.com. You can also find me on FB and Twitter, @Joe_StPierre. Feel free to send me your questions/comments.
Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Sure, I would like to thank those who have already supported the Kickstarter, and I would like to invite everyone who hasn’t supported yet to pledge in some way. I have incentives from $2 to $2,000, and if you don’t have cash on hand at the moment, that’s fine, please share THE LIBERAIDER HARD DRIVE EDITION Kickstarter with your social network. The book will not happen without your help.
Thanks for chatting with us, and good luck on the campaign!
If you haven’t already, check out LIBERAIDER: THE HARD DRIVE EDITION on Kickstarter.