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It?s Saul or Nothing

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Saul Colt, of Toronto’s SSS Comics, talks about all manners of fun stuff – like ninjas and girl on girl action.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Let’s start of with the obvious question - who is Saul Colt?

SAUL COLT: Who is Saul Colt........This is a question that I hope will be asked one day on A&E's Biography! But until it is I guess I can field it. Saul Colt is a just a guy who loves Comics. I have been reading them for my entire life and feel this is one of the greatest art forms in the world. I have the utmost respect for all comic book creators big and small and am just happy to be included in it.

BF: For those that might not be familiar with you – you’re the guy that created Canada’s own SSS Comics. Can you share a little bit about the company – where it came from and where it’s going?

SC: I originally formed SSS COMICS to publish one book. Not one title but one book. I have always loved comics and wanted to publish one so I could cross that off of my list of "Things to do before I die". I published my one book and figured I would walk away but a funny thing happened. A few people enjoyed the book and enquired about more issues. Not a huge number but a few vocal people and I really liked that feeling. It is because of this that I stuck with it and to this day I am appreciative because I feel that with the last few issues that we are really getting it right and putting out books as good as anything else on the shelves.

My vision for SSS COMICS is pretty much where it is now but I still have goals. I don’t set sales goals but rather fan goals. My goal is that one day at a Con I will spot someone wearing a SSS COMICS t-shirt or dressed in costume as one of my characters. That would be incredible.

BF: And what does SSS Comics have upcoming?

SC: Eclipse & Vega: The Beds We Make #2 will be in stores this Wednesday (May
11th, 2005) and the next issue of Eclipse & Vega will actually be its last. Right now I am knee deep in writing a "definitive" guide to self publishing comics as well as a crime fiction book. The Guide will come out first and I hope to have it in time for San Diego's Comic Con International and the Crime Book called Rope will be an early 2006 OGN.

BF: You mentioned Eclipse & Vega - the flagship title for SSS Comics. For those who might not have heard of it, can you give a little run down on what the book is about?

SC: Eclipse & Vega is about two “new to the biz” superheroes who with the help of their mentor (retired hero Packaging-Man) always seem to save the day while really pissing of Packaging-Man! To see what I mean you can check out a preview of Eclipse & Vega at
http://www.ssscomics.com/previews.html.

BF: If a person walks into a comic shop this week and sees Eclipse and Vega on the shelf, what should they know about the title?

SC: The art on this series is handled by the ENORMOUSLY talented Bill Maus who has now done 4 Eclipse & Vega books and I really feel the title took life when he can aboard!

The Writer is a mystery. The credit is given to Allan Smithee. It could be me. It could be some Hollywood heavyweight. I am leaving it up to the reader to decide.

The Beds We Make is all about the ruckus that surrounds the girls after they share a simple kiss together. The girls are not lesbians but rather use the girl on girl kiss to distract a villain so they can apprehend him. The plan works but they now must explain themselves!

BF: What was your inspiration for Eclipse & Vega?

SC: The inspiration was early Stan Lee comics that were a bit campy but full of personality. I always wanted Eclipse and Vega to be a fun alternative to the darker superhero books that dominate comics today. Please don't get me wrong, I enjoy those books but I also think there should be a balance so if someone goes into a comic book shop there really will be something for everyone.

BF: Zen the Intergalactic Ninja is an independent character with a fairly long history. Can you give a brief recap of the character and what readers might need to know before picking up an issue of SSS Comics’ Zen: Bounty Hunter?

SC: Zen does have an interesting history. Our version takes all the things people liked about the old Zen and re-introduced the character so it could be as enjoyable for a first time reader as it would be for a long time fan. Another interesting thing is that I have decided to publish Zen: Bounty Hunter #1 and #2 for free on our site www.ssscomics.com as a Thank You to all the people who support us and our books.

BF: What does writer/creator, Steve Stern have planned in the near future for Zen?

SC: Steve always has things cooking but you would need to ask him for specifics. I don't want to ruin any of the fun.

BF: If you had only one sentence to sell someone on SSS Comics, what would you say?

SC: Free Love and Virtual Saul! [Interviewer’s note: It’s true!  Check out the website- and make certain you have the volume turned up]

BF: What is your dream project, Saul?

SC:  My dream project doesn't even include me. I would love to see some of my favorite creators and people handle Eclipse & Vega in a special issue. People like Andy Lee, Darwyn Cooke, Brian Michael Bendis, Phill Hester, Scott McDaniel, Jade Dodge, Frank Miller, Jim Mahfood and the list goes on and on.

BF: You mentioned earlier about SSS Comics having a fun, campy feel to them. What are your thoughts on the current "trend" of darker superhero adventures? Is there still room for humorous comics?

SC: Honestly I don’t think there is room for certain genres and that is too bad. What I mean by this is I sell enough books to keep going and turn a very small profit doing a superhero/humor book but in general it seems people want dark superhero books or alternative humor and not a combination of the two. I love my book and it makes me laugh so I keep publishing it but if I were a publicly traded company that needed to be accountable to shareholders I know my book wouldn’t exist.

BF: Many people have expressed concern over the current state of the comic book industry. What do you think the industry needs to do to survive?

SC: I see the industry moving in a direction toward catering to book stores with trades and hardcover editions. I hope I am wrong about this but I can’t help but wonder if monthly comics will still be as popular and accessible in ten years as they are now. With major book chains expanding their Graphic Novel sections I hope the big box mentality that has hurt smaller retailers in other industries doesn’t creep in to comics. In my opinion there is
nothing better then buying comics in a comic book shop. I can only imagine the looks you would receive in a Barnes and Noble if you tried to start up a comic book related conversation about a certain writer or artist.

BF: What advice do you give to aspiring creators who want to break into comic book publishing?

SC: The best advice I can give is BUY MY SELF PUBLISHING GUIDE! (Available
soon – I promise.)

BF: Before we wrap things up, is SSS Comics going to be at any conventions this spring/summer?

SC: As of now I am only going to be at Comic Con International and Wizard World Chicago. I am also trying to get out to Wizard World Boston.

BF: Saul, thanks for taking the time to chat.

SC: Thanks again for the opportunity!

- Fletch Adams

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