It's often said that one needs to be in the right place at the right time and if that's true, then Keith Giles is right where he needs to be. Longtime CBR News readers will no doubt be familiar with the work of former staff writer Keith Giles, whose interviews graced the cyber-realm of ComicBookResources.Com for the late part of 2000 and the majority of 2001. However, after interviewing his favorite comic book creators, Giles turned his focus towards pursuing his own comic book ambitions and recently found his work gaining positive reviews from the gentlemen at TheFourthRail.Com.
Taking some time out of his busy work schedule and family life to speak exclusively with CBR News, Giles spoke about the beginnings of his comic book ventures, under the banner of Plastic Animal Studios, and the work he'll see published in the upcoming "Prophecy" magazine.
"I gotta say," explains Giles, "I feel like I won some 'Artist Lottery.' I've got the best artists working with me. I know a lot of indie writers who write a great script, then go looking for an artist and it's really hard to find a good one, but I've somehow found a lot of them! "
Giles explains more about the Studio he created to house his various projects, "Plastic Animal Studios isn't a traditional studio. We don't publish other people's work or look at other people's stuff. I write the scripts and have artists work on the projects. When they're done, we shop them around to other publishers and hopefully find some success."
Plastic Animal Studios began, as you might expect, with a story that Giles had written not too long ago. "'Digerati' is really the comic that got Plastic Animal rolling," said Giles. "I had just started a new job, about two years ago, and I needed a creative output so I started to write this sci-fi novel; it's something I've been kicking around in my head since I was in high school. 'Digerati' is a near-future story, and it deals with technology that is in development or could be theoretically developed soon. I've done a ton of research on this. But, the core of the book is really about a search for identity. 'Digerati' follows two main characters, Gretchen and Caiden, who are trying to figure out who they are, but the advancement of technology is really stealing their identity. It's a cautionary tale because I feel that our society is racing towards technological advances without taking the time to consider what some of this can do to a person. The tagline for the book is, 'Who do you become when you lose your soul?' The characters are lost in this technology and they just want to know who they are deep down inside, what their lives truly mean.
"The second script I started on was 'Durango Silver,' sci-fi western story, that deals with the world after a biological weapon is released that 'eats' fuel, plastics, and concrete…and I'm not making that part up, there really is a biological weapon in development to do just that. So, I'm just theorizing a world that has been subjected to this warfare. Without plastics and fuel and concrete, we're back to the Old West. The book follows a young girl, Del Rio, who is badly scarred and walking the 'New West' hunting for five men for whom she has vowed revenge. It's a five-issue mini-series. I'll be pulling in a lot of Native American history into the story, even though it's set in the future, because it's really interesting stuff and I don't only mean the injustice they've suffered, but the spirit of the people and their willingness to survive."
Still, bringing the ideas to life isn't a walk in the park for Giles and as the founder of Plastic Animal Studios he explains that the joy of creating his own comics does come with some hardships. "The hardest part is carrying it all on your shoulders. Being an indy writer, you're not only the writer, but you're the talent scout, you're also the editor and you're also the project manager. You have to write the script and then find the artist, work with the artist, then give the artist some room to interpret your script and your characters the way that they want to- you have to oversee everything. In a way that's great- you have absolute, 100% freedom to do whatever you want and no one can tell you 'that sucks' or 'change that around,' though sometimes it is great to hear both of those things. Having to really direct and really run things is the hardest part, though it hasn't been a hardship- the artists I work with are all great people and they've been a perpetual source of inspiration. You gotta remember, with all this 'hard stuff' comes the other side of the coin- the 'good stuff.' I love seeing the pages that come back from the artists I've given the scripts to. It makes me want to go back and write something else! Seeing the art and words come together is amazing."