“Our core ethos is to create stories and worlds that the children who are in hospital will lose themselves in” Aaron Rackley on the inspiration for Fair Spark Books
We first met Aaron Rackley via his wonderful Little Heroes Comics Kit initivaive. Well, after the success of several anthologies and a number of convention appearance, Aaron has turned publisher and founded FairSpark books, an all ages imprint packed full of great titles like Gallant and Amos and Megatomic Battle Rabbit. We catch up with Aaron to find out more.
Tell us a bit about your new venture Fair Spark Books? How did it get started and what inspired you to become a publisher? Was it all as a result of your successes on the Little Heroes Anthology?
Aaron Rackley: Fair Spark Books was the outcome of our successful Kickstarters for the Little Heroes Comics Anthologies. After the great fun we had on putting these together and seeing children and adults enjoy the books. We wanted to look into providing these to hospitals alongside the kit as a mini library. We then looked into creating more books and comics to send alongside the anthologies and it has grown from there.
How did you connect with the various artists whose work you publish? Do you offer to publish existing work or are you commissioning new work from them?
AR: In the early stages it was a lot of myself sending social media messages to comics I knew had not been in print before, eg. Gallant and Amos was and still is an online webcomic. Now that has expanded to working with creators on projects they have coming up and also commissioning our own IPs. So a lot of great things coming over the next few years.
You’re about to release a collected edition of the wonderful Gallant and Amos series, how did you meet creator Rob Barnes? And what was it about G&A that made it so appealing?
AR: I happened to come across Rob Barnes on twitter over a year before I reached out. I had been following his Gallant & Amos series online and I was already in love with the characters – especially their short witty stories and Amos’s unending hunger. So when it came to starting up Fair Spark Books it was the first comic I wanted to secure and as lady luck was on my side, we did.
The books are all ages, I guess that is important to you? And connected to the Little Heroes ethos of providing comics for kids? What do you think makes a great all ages book?
AR: Our core ethos at Fair Spark Books is to create stories and worlds that the children who are in hospital will hopefully lose themselves in. We try to pick stories that we feel are aimed at a younger audience, are funny (if they have hidden Disney style adult jokes even better) and have a moral story to them.
Will there be more Little Heroes Anthologies? And how are the Kits going – are you still producing them?
AR: So far we have been successful in every Kickstarter campaign for the anthologies and we currently are over our target on the third one. We will continue to make these as long as they raise their funding target. This is due to the fact that all the money raised from these goes to the Little Heroes Comics Charity and we would not want the charity to be making a loss on a book when it could focus that resource into sending more comic making kits out to the children who need them.
You’ve been releasing an online interview series on your YouTube channel as well? How’s that all going?
AR: The online series we have entitled Behind The Curtain is a series of livestreams I am working on with different comic creators each week. After spending a year at various cons and having the same conversations around process over and over again and people saying someone should write this down. I decided why write it down when we could film a few of us having these discussions. We have done 3 so well and the response has been great. The next one we are planning is around lettering comics so subscribe to our youtube channel for more updates.
You seem to be releasing lots, dare I ask what’s next? And how do you find the time to fit it all in?!
AR: The truth is not a lot of sleep, however when you are doing something you love then this is not a burden, unless you are my fiancee who I am sure would argue differently. I am however starting to bring more people onto the team to help with other jobs.
You can purchase Gallant and Amos The Collected Edition along with all the other Fair Spark titles at www.fairsparkbooks.co.uk