It’s 5 o’clock on what seems like just a normal Friday afternoon but there’s already an almost palpable. artistic, and lively vibe buzzing within the eclectic walls of Mutiny Cafe as I walk through the front door. Scattered groups of colorful people mill around in an all-embracing dance of a shared love for everything from books and comics to classic rock posters and painted artwork hanging above flyer covered windows looking out onto Broadway. The place reeks of brewing coffee and inspiration; the perfect atmosphere to meet comic book creator creator, R. Alan Brooks. I take my seat next to him at a corner table inundated by the late day sun in order to talk about his latest creation, The Burning Metronome.
Well, as music geeks know, metronomes keep time in music. So the idea of one that’s burning conjures the image of time running out, which I like.
I’ve been reading comic books since I was 5, and only decided to try writing them a few years ago. Comics are a unique medium, because when you’re reading one, you’re essentially collaborating with its creators to determine the pace and rhythm of the story. You decide how quickly the page turns, and how much time you spend looking at the art. There are methods comic creators can use to encourage you to speed up or slow down, but ultimately, it’s up to you. Even movies can’t do that. And that’s something that I love about comic books.
Generally, ideas come pretty easily, but the execution of those ideas is the real work. Any artist ,aspiring or professional, can often pluck ideas out of the air, but it doesn’t matter if we aren’t willing to do the work to craft those ideas into finished products. So, once I have an idea, the next step for me is to mold it into something that is entertaining to people besides myself. Because, after all, I can only buy so many copies of my own book.
The Burning Metronome is about six courageous explorers who find themselves trapped in a world where they encounter the strangest creatures they’ve ever seen: human beings. It’s basically a supernatural murder mystery with social commentary; kind of a Twilight-Zone-meets-Usual-Suspects type of story.
Comics like Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and X-men all featured social commentary, and strongly influenced me as a kid. More recently, Ex-Machina, Hawkeye, Black Science, and Kill or Be Killed and others have made me more aware of what can done with genre storytelling in comics.
I wrote the script and my partner Matt Strackbein did all the color art and lettering. Matt and I met just under 2 years ago at a birthday party for a mutual friend and we immediately began to talk about ways we could collaborate. Frankly, I was lucky to be able to work with him because his design work has appeared around the world, and he’s been published by Dark Horse Comics.
Once you read The Burning Metronome, my first hope is that you’ll enjoy it. My second hope is that you’ll find some encouraging and different ways to look at your own life, and that you’ll feel enriched for having read it.
Wonderful. It was crazy to connect with so many people who were enthusiastic about something I created with Matt, and have them so excited about what we were doing. It was so cool and emotionally fulfilling that I frankly can’t imagine it having gone better.
So far, so good. Ha! People have been very generous with their feedback, and I’m very thankful.
I’m actually outlining the second story arc of The Burning Metronome now. Also, I’m writing Falling Deep, a comic that Gerhard Kaaihue is drawing. That’s a secret agent story, which is really an exploration of love and divorce.
In addition, I’m continuing to write a children’s comic called The Adventures of Captain Colorado for Pop Culture Classroom, an educational non-profit that puts on Denver Comic Con.
Finally, I’m on my second draft of a film script for a director in Atlanta.
It’s full of talented and generous people who all support each other’s endeavors in really dope ways. I love being part of this community.