“We tried to make ourselves creatively happy first and foremost, and not worry about what would actually sell a comic book” Sabertooth Swordsman creators Aaron Conley and Damon Gentry on the secrets of their success
This week sees the release of Sabertooth Swordsman an inspired new digital first series from Dark Horse Comics unlike anything else you’ll read this year. Written by Damon Gentry and with art from Aaron Conley it’s a tripped-out, blood-soaked, indie-spirited adventure comic packed full of Cloud Gods, Mastodon Mathematicians and much much more. we contacted Doug and Aaron to discover more about this weird and wonderful world and to find out who really is the best animal based swordfighter.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration for Sabretooth Swordsman? Where did you get the ideas and characters from and how does it compare to your other work?
AC: I think a lot of the inspiration for SS came from Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit even before I had read it, but I knew it was just going to be about something insane with loads of action and violence. I know this is going to sound cheesy, but most of the origin came to me in this half dream of a guy climbing a mountain and being changed into different types of heroes by a cloud guy until he got it right, the rest of the book was Damon and I throwing ideas back and forth over a few beers. I think the book is pretty different compared to what we had done previously, we were doing a web comic called The Sarcomere Carruthers Show which was this Max Fleischer inspired 4 panel joke comic.
DG: For the rest of the characters in the book I was just asking Aaron what he wanted to draw and suggesting stuff he would have fun with, except a goat scene which I really wanted and he hated drawing, but I like that scene, so his suffering was delicious.
It’s a pretty crazy book which are your favourite characters to write and draw? And what do you think this book offers that other books out there can’t?
AC: Sabertooth himself was my favorite character to draw, I never got sick of drawing him and the challenge of always trying to draw him perfect was a lot of fun. The cyclops wrestling team was fun as well, I could draw big muscles and ugly faces forever and not get sick of it.
DG: As far as what it has that other books don’t, I mean, it’s pretty weird and idiosyncratic in a lot of ways, I’d like to think. We tried to make ourselves creatively happy first and foremost, and not worry about what would actually sell a comic book. Probably a colossal mistake, now that I think about it. Shrug.
AC: We have know each other since high school, but we have been working on comics together seriously for about 7 years now. I think I just come to the table with ideas and things I like to draw and Damon makes sense of all of that and throws in some great spices, that and he tolerates my whining and yells at me when I want to redraw a page like 3 times.
DG: The yelling does no good.