With the first issue of Squatters, what really struck me about the book was the very high standard that was employed on the issue. The writing was excellent, and I was already aware how good Graeme Howard was – but the art on the book was even better than I’d expected. Given the excellent quality of that book I’ve been keeping an eye on what Eli Mamane does next – I’ve been lucky enough to catch up with the indie producer for a quick Q & A session:
John: given the nature of the book where did your inspiration for it come from?
Eli: The inspiration came from a combination of my love for science (as I am a science teacher after all) and my need to absorb all of the national geographic and discovery channels on TV. Specifically for this project I had researched parasites for some time before I started to write this comic. Their behaviour has totally fascinated me from the outset and I am constantly being blown away by what they can achieve in the wild.
John: you used Kickstarter for the first book, and you are again using crowd funding, how important is new technology to you in bringing your story to life?
Eli: Simply put without peoples support on Kickstarter this comic just couldn’t happen. Even though the first successful Kickstarter just paid for the printing costs of the comic it was enough to help me get this comic out to a wider audience. We are trying to produce as high a quality book as possible, a lot of love and care goes into every page and we hope the readers feel that. Outside of Kickstarter each comic costs me thousands of pounds to make and comes from my own pocket. There is little to no chance of breaking even never mind making a profit. However just like any good indie project out there it’s the story that comes first. Every little help we get from people on Kickstarter makes a huge difference on how quickly the project becomes realised.
John: how did you meet your art team for the book, do you have a history with them or have you found them specifically for the book?
Eli: A bit of both, I have known and admired JPB for quite a few years. In my opinion he is undoubtedly one of (if not the) best colourists in the U.K and for me it was unquestionable for me to have anyone else on this project. In terms of my pencil and inker originally we had another extremely talented artist on the project called Paul McCaffrey. He was doing the pencils and inks (whose work can be seen on the front cover of issue #1) originally. Sadly due to work commitments he couldn’t continue so I was forced to look elsewhere. But with every cloud comes a silver lining and Graeme Howard and I met shortly after when I was interviewing people for the book. I felt his art style matched the project best and the rest is history.
John: following issue 2 of Squatters what is the future for the story? Will you be continuing episodically or is there a natural conclusion awaiting your characters?
Eli: Squatters is one of those stories where I have to be very careful what I give away. The basic concept people should know is that this six issue story arc is about scientifically accurate parasites. The first 5 issues focus on different parasite in each issue. The sixth comic ties the lot together in a quite extraordinary way. The glue that allows this story to happen is the quarantine agents (quarks). We follow these “quarks” into a world no one was ready for. I can’t say much more than that. I hope that in the future one day the series could continue and the world could be expanded to explain things further. For now however the six issue story arc will have to do.
John: your first issue was a solid book, have you had any industry interest in the Squatters story?
Eli: Sadly no, although we have had a lot of compliments from reviewers and top creators in the industry we just can’t seem to get the break we need. I think it is very hard to get people to sit up and listen when the static noise of the internet is just so loud. All we can do is keep moving forward with a positive attitude and knowledge in the fact that we are doing something quite different and special here.