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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:

Jessie Garza doesn’t exactly put himself out there in high-profile fashion. The founder of Viper Comics jumped into the comics business in 2001, heedless of the fact that most indy publishers crash and burn, leaving behind a pile of debt and hurt feelings. But Viper has been different; they’ve grown, slowly and steadily, avoided controversies about monies owed and rights ownership, and now they’re about to see their first other media project debut as THE MIDDLEMAN begins its summer run on ABC Family. The other thing about Viper Comics I really appreciate? The quality of their product is pretty steady. I rarely see something out of them that really doesn’t work. That falls back upon Garza, the decision maker. He may be somewhat anonymous, but he’s got his mojo working. He was kind enough to do a quick Q&A with me recently.

(picture poached from Wes Molebash)

MM: Certainly no one gets into comics publishing thinking they'll get rich. What drew you to it?

JG: Well what drew me to comics was the opportunity to be involved in a process where we would develop original stories. For us being able to see a project move from the initial stages of concept all the way to a published format is just amazing. Really cool to see the ideas come to life.

MM: Did you have an ultimate goal when you started up Viper? Did it change, or have you moved along the path you expected to take?

JG: Only ultimate goal we really had was to be able to work on material we wanted to work on. Many times when submitting new ideas you’re at the mercy of others. We wanted to be involved with ideas that were not the everyday stories and since this was going to be the case that meant we'd have to go it alone. Viper has actually moved along pretty much way we envisioned from beginning, things have not happened as fast as we'd like but we're very limited on that, there is so much that is just out of your control.

MM: When you began publishing, what sorts of projects were you looking to publish?

JG: We wanted material that had not been done before. Ideas that were a little off and different from everything else that was being published. When competing with so much monthly material, you need ideas that stand out.

MM: I've seen a lot of your focus move away from floppies and go straight for trades. Do you foresee a day when you stop making floppies altogether?

JG: Well for us it's been more of focus to target two markets at once: the comic book industry and the book industry. Plus some of the stories we've published are just better told if published in a graphic novel format vs. a monthly floppy.

MM: The first Viper product to make it to the TV screen (THE MIDDLEMAN) debuted on June 16th. How do you feel about that? How close are you to seeing another Viper book hit TV or the silver screen?

JG: Well it’s a very surreal experience; we spend so many hours working on stuff that it's almost as if we forget and fail to raise our heads up to see where we're at. But we are so happy that Javi allowed us to be part of this experience, it's just great to see the comic book pages come to life.

We have numerous other projects in various stages of development, and couple really close to where we hope announcements will be made in the near future. Both are for feature films.

MM: You recently announced your new celebrity-driven horror line, BLACK MAMBA. Where did the idea to do this come from?

JG: This has been something we've been wanting to do for a while and we've been slowly chipping away at it, but it's just been a matter of having time to work on this and organize it.

From the onset we just wanted to do something really fun and be able to work on all horror material. We then came up with the idea to go back to the core classic elements of horror projects that make horror fun; you know stuff like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Jeepers Creepers. And it was at this point we figured what better way to do this then to partner with people who have experience in this genre and establish an all horror imprint. For us it was something we really hadn't seen explored.

MM When will we see the first book from the line ship?

JG: The first book, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, is tentatively scheduled to ship in October 2008. We're finalizing a Special Edition issue #1 for SDCC. Our plans are to print a limited edition cover of 500 copies and will be giving them away for FREE at SDCC. We will be giving away 1 copy per person and limit to 100 copies per day. An announcement on this and few other things happening for Viper at SDCC will go out early July 2008.

MM: Beyond that, what does the future hold for Jessie Garza and Viper Comics?

JG: Well at this point seems the future holds lots of work for us and many more cool stories we'd like to share with comic fans.

Marc Mason


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