22 Sep “Our publicity budget consists of blood, sweat and tears“
This weekend an interview – our first ! – with the authors of The Maier-Files was published on the website of Stripelmagazine. Since the interview is published in Dutch we translated it into English for our readers. Here it is:
Striking new initiative: The Maier-Files, first comic book of the debuting duo Pat & Dorn. They have a go at it without a publisher but with a complete website, provided with a webshop, a crowdfunding possibility and an option to read the prequel to the series for free. By the way, you can understand “debuting” literally.
Pat: “I come from the multimedia world and always worked there behind the screens. So I’m completely new to the world of comics.”
Dorn: “I met Pat for the first time some twenty years ago in a pub in Schaarbeek (Brussels). When I recently gained lots of spare time, he came along with a project on which he had been brooding for some years and got to the “active” phase in the first months of this year: The Maier-Files. Would you like cooperating on that ? Yes, indeed. That I have been collecting comic books for half my life and so have some reference material was a nice little extra.”
Pat: “I have been brooding on the project for a few years indeed, but the theme of the key story and the start of it – which you can read in the prequel – literally come from my childhood years. My grandfather was a great storyteller and we had lots of mysterious stuff in the attic. At least, that’s what I thought as a kid. And with each of those objects came a story. On some autumn day he dug up a box with a picture of a passing V1, a few one million Deutsche Mark notes, rationing coupons, his forced labor papers from Germany … Tangible pieces of history making his stories more lively and his world really graphic. In that way he created an early multimedia history, a history of which you became part yourself. And that is exactly what we want to do: a bigger, contentual, interactive whole. And an attic like that, a warehouse packed with mysterious objects, is also where our story starts.”
What’s the comic series about ?
Pat: “The best way to get an impression is actually to read the free prequel on the website. It provides an image of where we’re going, be it however that the first full book goes back to events seventy years before what happens in the prequel. I’d call it a magical-realistic story, a story of seemingly impossible friendships against a background of worldly schemes, secret societies and their agreements, conspiracies and hidden agendas in the past century.”
Dorn: “The story is very close to reality in many aspects and tries to bestow us a look behind the screens of known facts. ‘Trust no one’ is a good baseline for The Maier-Files, though the friendships Pat is talking about are what keeps our main characters going. They are put to the test, but we hope they’ll survive the intriguing.”
You’re approaching the project in a rather big manner, not only concerning the content but also the form, with your own website and a Dutch and English version.
Pat: “Well, ‘big’ is only a matter of perspective, isn’t it ? We actually couldn’t approach the project in a smaller way given the economic reality. We sincerely hope to get The Maier-Files launched without a settled published. The whole project depends on the two of us, our publicity budget is as good as non existant.”
Dorn: “Honestly spoken, it consists of blood, sweat and tears (laughing). But up till now it has been one of the most educational experiences of my life. Incredible what one learns when one does everything on his own.”
Pat: “And the choice for an edition in two languages is merely due to the fact that the English-speaking market is a lot bigger than the Dutch-speaking market. If we don’t just want to have fun with The Maier-Files, but keep on doing that for a while, we have to take that in account. We’re both working on this more than fulltime, so we can only hope the response on our first books will be enough to make it possible to go on.”
You’re self-publishing the comic. How are things going ?
Pat: “We have a printer, all technical issues are resolved and at this moment we’re reviewing the ‘draft’ of the first book. So, we want to and will publish Book 1 in October. And yes, we think there’s room on the comics market. We don’t intend to publish just another comic …”
Dorn: “Precisely. You have to tell a story which is worth reading, different from the others. And I think The Maier-Files is exactly that. It’s a fascinating story packed with colorful characters, exciting though little known history and discoveries … No, I’m sure there’s enough place on the market for a comic like this one.”
Pat: “Furthermore we want to do more than publish this comic series. You could compare the comic to the stories my grandfather told, but there’s also the objects in the box on the attic. We want to create a full experience for our readers. With the technical possibilities of today that can be done. We want to create a world of which the readers can be part too.”
Dorn: “Remember he said we were not actually approaching the project in a big manner ? (laughing) First of all we want to offer a good comic series, maybe immediately adding some possibilities for the readers who want to go deeper in our world, and then, when reactions turn out to be positive and with sales showing so, take the following steps. But that will be after we’ve published Book 1.”
Pat: “Exactly. Book 1, working title The Inauguration, will be decisive for the future of The Maier-Files.”
Your enthusiasm certainly is no problem, gentlemen. Good luck !