Mine to Avenge: A Great Indie Comic in the Making (Interview with Robert Jeffrey II!)
Every so often, a Kickstarter comic book campaign comes around that truly marks the beginning of something special, and Mine to Avenge is undoubtedly something special. Writer Robert Jeffrey II, artist Matteo Illuminati, and colorist Loris Ravina’s series is part futurist cyberpunk superspy action thriller and part historical supernatural story. In the first five pages, we go from 1800’s New Orleans to 2100’s Siberia.
Mine to Avenge follows the Retribution Cabal, a team of highly skilled and technologically advances agents with one mission, “protecting only those descendants of America’s original sin.” The Cabal formed in the 1800s after a little girl escapes the demonic LaLaurie family. Three hundred years pass by and the LaLaurie’s return.
A Great Debut
The first issue is excellent, and as of last night, we’ll get issue #2 in the coming months. But, as with any artists, the Mine to Avenge team isn’t done yet. If issue #2 is as good as issue #1, we’ll all be clamoring for issue #3…and #4, #5, and #6.
And writer and creator of Mine to Avenge, Robert Jeffrey II, can’t wait to deliver them to us.
When we meet the character in the future, we’re very far from New Orleans. In fact, Siberia is about as different from New Orleans as one could get. Why did you choose this location?
Robert Jeffrey II (RJ): I wanted to write a series that would be world-spanning, even universe spanning at a certain point. Staying within one locale wasn’t going to work for Mine To Avenge, so utilizing different locations was something that I’d established from the jump.
I sort of love the idea of the globe trotting hero
The two lead characters, Prya and Travis, are brother and sister. So, what do you hope a sibling dynamic will bring to the series?
Thanks for focusing on the relationship Prya and Travis. Prya’s sort of “adopted” Travis as her little brother, so the fact that the scene makes it read as if they are related by blood means a lot to me. I wanted to have a personal relationship between two of the leads of the story, and it gives them a chance to go back and forth like brother and sister. There’s a familiarity there with the duo which comes as a result of this relationship, and it shows from the time they start razzing each other to the point at which they “go to work”.
Artist Matteo Illuminati (what a perfect last name for this series!) and Colorist Loris Ravina give the book a vibrant energy. How did you connect with them and how did you know they would be the right artists for Mine to Avenge?
I actually have to give credit for finding the art team to the publisher, Evoluzione Publishing. Marcel Dupree, the owner and talent scout of the company, brought the team to me. Once I saw how well Matteo and Loris complimented each other with their work, and as you said, the vibrancy they bring to the pages of this story, I was hooked.
You also financed issue #1 through Kickstarter. So, how does your experience with issue #2’s campaign compare to that first one?
Well, the hope was that the fans who really enjoyed the 1st issue would come back for more of Mine To Avenge. We’re seeing that happen, but the strange and also cool thing that’s happening is that we’re finding a lot of new fans with this second issue’s Kickstarter campaign. One of the things that we try to do is get the book in front of as many reviewers, news outlets, etc. as possible with each release of installments in the series. I think that’s gone a long way in letting people actually see what folks might be paying for.
What are your hopes for Mine to Avenge? Find a bigger publisher? Keep it crowdfunded? Sell it to HBO for a kickass 10 season tv series?
My hope is to finish this first story arc, which will be six issues, while also telling more stories in this universe. At the end of the day, my goal is just to tell a solid story which everyone can enjoy. Do I hope that the series might be adapted at a certain point? Heck yeah. I’ve got student loans to pay. 🙂 So Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Shudder, please hit me up. But at the end of the day, my goal is to tell a story that people will enjoy and just keep coming back to.
The Future of Comics
The world of comics might spin on the wheels on the wheels of Marvel and DC, but we need more original stories and more talent. As a graphic novel studies professor, I’ve seen a lot of comics. But I haven’t seen anything like Mine to Avenge, and I can’t wait to see more.
And remember, There’s still time to contribute!
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.