“It’s Jurassic Park with Ghosts” Ghost Island Joseph Oliveria talks supernatural theme parks, conventions and Kickstarter

We first met Joseph Oliveira and read his ‘dark gem of a read’ Ghost Island at this year’s True Believers Comic Festival, where the book debuted and it has remained one of our favourite comics of the year so far. So with news that the second issue was about to hit Kickstarter we thought we should catch up with Joey and find out more about his world of ‘Jurassic Park with ghosts’ and his adventures with conventions and Kickstarter.

Ghost Island is set in a fun park populated by ghosts, can you tell us a bit about where the idea came from? Was it always based on that as a start point or did you start off focusing on the more paranormal and psychic elements first?

Joseph Oliveira: I’d say it definitely started with the paranormal elements first. It all started with this curiosity of Ghost stories, they’ve always intrigued me. The stories you read, the mysteries behind these haunted spirits who once walked the earth. Who were these people before? And why are they haunting these people/locations? That’s how I came up with the premise of Ghost Island. There’s over a 100 Ghosts imprisoned in the attraction i’d love to tell all of their stories but we go in to a select few of them & their dark pasts via our psychic protagonist Josh. More specifically in this next issue, we see The Butcher! Who debuted right at the very end of issue #1. I’d also love to do some spin-off one shot comics based in this universe on each of the Ghosts before they came to be on the island.

The book has a very Agatha Christie feel to it, with all the various characters coming together on an island of a mysterious benefactor, so what books or films would you say inspired you to come up with Ghost Island (it also reminds me a bit of Shutter Island?)

JO: Well the hook is “Jurassic Park with Ghosts” and I only realised the familiarities when people started mentioning it to me! There’s definitely a House on Haunted Hill vibe. Music inspires me the most when writing. And i wrote the whole of issue #1 to the soundtrack of The Sixth Sense I guess that’s where the island gets that eerie atmosphere from.

Which of the characters are your favourite to write and which should people keep an eye on for future developments?

JO: I’d say Josh our protagonist each issue we’ll be revealing more about him bit by bit, via flashbacks. I’m really enjoying establishing the relationship with his missing fiancee over the coming issues. Honestly each character really has their part to play in this series. Its only a small cast so there are no throwaway characters. Keep an eye on all of them and really ask yourself do you trust this character..

How did you hook up with artist Anabela Turlione – did you have a definite idea of the style you wanted the book to be, or did you develop the book with her in mind?

JO: So I found Anabela Turlione through social media and I feel incredibly lucky to have found her. Her dark, grayscale really fit with the vibe and style I was always hoping for in this series. I’m from a filmmaking background so i’m very descriptive with the kind of shots i want with each panel then Anabela really goes and nails the page even beyond my beliefs. It really has been a pleasure working with her. We’re both really passionate about this series and we’re fully committed to completing the 5 issues together.

The books’ got a really strong sense of design and amazing production values on it, was that important for you when putting this book together?

JO: Definitely! I’ve always had high standards when designing anything. We’re putting so many hours into this that we want it to be perfect. And at the end of the day people are parting with their hard earned cash to buy these books so we want it to be more than worth it to them.

When we met at True Believers it was one of your first cons as an attendee wasn’t it? But from following you on social media it seems like you’ve been going to lots more? How have you found them and what’s been your highlight? 

JO: I love conventions! True Believers was indeed  my first! We’ve totalled 6 conventions so far, and have 14 more booked! People think i’m crazy. They’re mostly right. But I booked a lot of them just after Issue #1 of Ghost Island was printed as I wanted to get it out there as much as possible. I’ve learned a lot from the convention circuit and I’ve grown as a person because of it, pushing me out my comfort zone.

Highlights have to be meeting new people, I genuinely enjoy it and talking to others who are passionate about comics. I feel like I’ve found my place and i feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to be doing this.

And finally you’re about to return to Kickstarter with the new issue, so why should people back your book and what are you offering readers in terms of stretch goals and extras? How many issues will you be doing in total?

JO: We have had some incredible support in the first day of the Kickstarter. And we’re really trying to continue the momentum now. Ghost island has abit of everything in it. It has horror,mystery, some twists coming up, with some great characters you’ll hopefully become attached to by the end of the series. I don’t think there is anything quite like it out there right now. Ghost Island has been confirmed as 5 Issues though each issue comes in at a nice 38 + page book. 

You cand back Ghost Island #2 on Kickstarter here and find out more about the series at ghostisland.com