In part one of our two-part interview with "The Red Star" co-creators Christian Gossett and Brad Kayl, Gossett talked about why Team Red Star is bringing their title back in-house under their own Archangel Studios. Now it's Kayl's turn to answer those same questions and offer his own brand of insight into the business of comics publishing and what the immediate future holds for "The Red Star."
"The publication of 'The Red Star' will lie solely with Archangel Studios, our own publishing company from now on," Kayl told CBR News Sunday night. "The quality of 'The Red Star,' of course, won't change a bit -- we've always striven to put together one of the best books the industry has to offer and will continue to do so in the future without interruption. CrossGen was a great place for Archangel to test an affiliation and we thank them for the opportunity-aside from this nothing will change; 'The Red Star' will solicit from now on (along with 'Assassin' our new property) in the Archangel Studios section of Previews, and we'll continue publishing a great book.
Kayl explained that the choice to leave CrossGen had everything to do with differing goals, not any sort of dramatic conflict or negative reaction by any party.
"Both Archangel and CrossGen are fiercely independent companies, and we respect them for that and for a vision of comics rare in the industry today. Together we decided that it was more of a mutual admiration that drove us to work together, than any serious business needs; simply put, we liked each other so much that we just wanted to do something together, but we didn't know exactly what. As it turns out its just better for our two companies to attack the industry from separate places - but we'll still be there for each other in times to come, and in times of need. Make no mistake, we still love CrossGen and all of the people who work there-they are great people, period.
As to the question of "The Red Star's" various publication changes, Kayl explains that these sort of changes aren't unusual, especially considering the comic industry's current state of flux and uncertainty.
"It is quite possible that we are difficult to work with," said Kayl. "Honestly I don't know if we are or aren't. I'm sure that CrossGen doesn't think so, though. We have a strict policy of professionalism and integrity, the likes of which are rare in any industry, let alone comics. For some this can be seen as a type of hard-headedness, or arrogance. This of course isn't true, we are also some of the easiest people to get along with that I know.
"Our 'jumping around,' as you call it, isn't all that radical when you think about it -we've been with two different publishers in the three years that we've been publishing, no more - there have been professional ball players that have jumped around much more than this, and no one seems to see that as a problem. Hell, professionals in our field often work for several different companies at once as well-I wouldn't call them indecisive or hard to work with. That being said, I will say that we've settled exactly where we want to be - independent and proud of it. If things change in the future and we re-examine this, we just might end up working with CrossGen after all - that would be fine with me if we did."
When Team Red Star first announced they'd be publishing with CG Entertainment, some in the industry looked to the Team as the lab rat in the great experiment that was CGE, taking cues from them to see if working with CGE would be good for other creators. While "The Red Star" will be leaving CGE, Kayl still thinks very highly of CGE and has only positive things to say about CrossGen and their offerings.
"I wouldn't say that the experiment went bad at all," explained Kayl. "Like most experiments you learn a tremendous amount during the course of that experiment, and the result becomes secondary to the actual process itself.
"Like I have stated before, CrossGen consists of a stable of very wonderful people - all different, all liked. I would say that trying to work together, was at best premature; like I said above, we just liked each other so much that we wanted to work together in some capacity, we just didn't really think of how.
"I would still suggest to those wanting to go the CGE route that they should still consider doing so - it's a good place to be, and allows for a climate of learning and trust. This is a rare thing in our neck of the industry. At worst you'll walk away having learned something and having known some of the coolest people in comics. At best you will have found a magnificent home for your property, a place where you can take advantage of machinery that wouldn't be normally possible for a small company.
And just as Gossett told us in part one, the split with CGE has been a pleasant one.
"It was completely amicable in all regards," admitted Kayl. "Both of our companies are fairly young in the scheme of things, and we're still learning how to cope with a market place that is deteriorating at a rapid rate. Our venture was just one such strategy to get a hold of this run-away train - the fact that we won't be working together for the foreseeable future says nothing about how we feel toward one another; I hold CrossGen in high regard, and I'm fairly sure that CrossGen holds Archangel in the same regard. The mutual respect we feel for each other won't diminish any because of this parting of ways."
Kayl filled CBR News on what's coming next for "The Red Star." First is the Makita bust, sculpted by Gentle Giant stuios and currently available for order. Makita will be followed by a run of different characters from "The Red Star," with Maya being the next release, to be unveiled at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year. Following Makita will be the Red Woman and then Kyuzo, which Kayl tells us is his favorite.
"And then for all those that find the oversized trade a problem we plan on publishing a 'normal' sized trade consisting of all the Red Star books out to date," said Kayl. "This will be an affordable way to just jump into the Red Star universe and be brought up to speed. We are also planning to release a guest story written by a well known and respected writer (to be penciled by Gossett) - I can't say who just yet, but we will announce it in the near future - keep an eye out. If that goes well you should be seeing more of these guest spots as we invite talent to jump in and play with our universe."
As if all the above isn't enough, Archangel Studios will be launching their second title July of this year. Kayl talked briefly about "Assasin."
"['Assassin] is a four issue mini-series that will be published in July this year in time for San Diego. I will be writing it, Jeff Henderson will pencil it and Goss will be handling all art direction. The book will be colored by Aaron Horvath who has learned his skills from none other than Snakebite - so expect that the work will be great. We have a preview book out now ('Assassin #0') that hasn't been solicited yet, but will be in the future. If you want to get a copy now, please visit our site and go to the Red Store - you can order with a credit card or check or send us your first born - we accept both sexes! The preview book itself is a ten-page intro story penciled by Jet with a sketch-book section in the back showcasing his tremendous work. We're glad to have scooped him up, because once the big boys see his stuff they're going to want to grab him for their very own."
Look for more on "Assasin" soon at CBR News and don't miss Christian Gossett's thoughts on "The Red Star's" publication changes.