This week, Tommy Lutz guest hosts Webcomic of the Week! Meg Markey will be back next week.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Embree, the writer and creator of the webcomic known as The Port.
It’s a very new comic, so for those of you not yet acquainted, this article is the perfect place to start. As for you who have been keeping up on The Port, this is a great place to get to know more behind the scenes of this awesome new webcomic.
Tommy: I know what The Port is, but could you tell us in your words what The Port is about?
Richard Embree: The Port is basically about the residents of Bridgeport. The first arc follows the new partnership of two detectives and a leader of a street gang. As the story unfolds new characters will be introduced and new plots will take place. It’s actually hard for me to say it’s this or that, it’s just easier for someone to read the story.
Tommy: What inspired you to write a story about a city through the eyes of many different characters?
Richard: When coming up with The Port I was thinking to myself, “What kind of story is it going to be?” I realized that by doing that I was limited myself to a certain kind of story, depending on the main character. Then I had the idea, “What if I made the actual city the main character?” If I did that I can tell whatever story I wanted, within the city. I wouldn’t say it’s limitless, I still have to follow the tone. There’s not going to be zombies or aliens, but having the city being the main character opened up a lot of different avenues. The city is the star of the story, and the story is shown through the eyes of it’s residents.
I also wanted to do a story with many characters because some character are going to die. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s going to happen. If I have a lot of different characters then I can keep the story moving and keep people guessing on who would be next to exit the story. I love giving people surprises.
Tommy: Who do you think is your target audience? As in, what kind of fans will like this webcomic?
Richard: The Port is definitely for a mature audience. I’ve always had that in mind when creating it. As for what kind of fans, I would have to say fans of crime, action, and drama would enjoy this comic. That’s what I’m a fan of, so it’s really fun to write in those areas.
Tommy: What made you decide to create a web comic as opposed to a printed comic?
Richard: I attended a independent creator panel at WonderCon, and just took notes. They had a lot of really good advice, but the main advice they had was do a webcomic, get yourself out there, have something to show. Doing a webcomic is the quickest way to get something actually published to the public. Think about it, you have people like Mark Waid doing webcomics now. You have your product in a convenient medium, and save the cost of printing. It’s a win win situation.
Tommy: would you ever consider printing the pages of The Port in a comic book?
Richard: Of course. I plan to pitch it to some publishers to see if there’s any interest, and if there isn’t any at that time I’ll just print some up myself. I’m not going to lie, I would love for a publisher like Image or Dark Horse to bring it to print, but I’ll settle for small print runs and Convention tables. I just hope people enjoy reading it.
Tommy: what was the process of putting together a team to work on The Port?
Richard: I got extremely lucky with this comic. I found Nicolas Cerone on a website and he just had the look I wanted, but most importantly he had drive and heart. Having those two characteristics make and break your project. After finding Nicolas, I found Sean Burres to do the colors. I had another person doing colors, but that didn’t work out, so when I found Sean he had to color some pages over. When I got page one from Sean I was in heaven. He made it look so awesome, and he got us caught up. Sean has heart and drive too, like I said I’m lucky.
As far as writing, I heard that you should always have an editor. I had Dane Lamont on my Facebook, so I reached out to him. He has an English background and is a fan of comics too. I finish up a script and send it to Dane and he bounces ideas with me and gives me feedback as a reader. Again I got lucky. It’s really a pleasure to work with all of them.
Tommy: With a new page released every Tuesday, how far do you have planned out in your head or in stone for The Port I have pretty much the first five issues outlined right now. Since I have the luxury of going slow with the webcomic I can changed little things here and there. Dane and myself can bounce some ideas and not really have to worry about deadlines.
Thanks to Richard for taking the time to answer these questions for us. You can of course view The Port webcomic at www.theportcomic.com, where a new page to the story is added every Tuesday for your enjoyment. Now that you know more about The Port, what are you waiting for? It’s a highly enjoyable comic!