Kevin Sheely is an Oneshi Press favorite! His work has been featured in no fewer than three anthologies (that’d be the third, the fifth, and now the eighth). In our latest anthology, Kevin teamed up with writer Desiree King to create “Finn: Guardian of the Five Gates.” We caught up with Kevin to chat about his latest creations, his process working on “Finn,” ’80s horror, Batman: The Animated Series, and much more!
Tell us about yourself, Kevin. How and why did you get into comics?
Well when I was a kid I had a handful of comics, Spider-Man, Robin, some mad and cracked and stuff like that. But I really got into it later after discovering James O’Barr’s The Crow and Frank Miller comics. I was also a big Kevin Smith fan, and he was one of the people that made me think as a teenager that it was cool to be into comics.
Can you tell us about your inspiration and creative process for creating “Finn: Guardian of the Five Gates”?
It actually initially started just as a drawing exercise. I was working in my sketchbook one day on drawing the head and face from different angles and just trying to draw, consistently and recognizably, the same face. Some of the expressions just had so much personality and it inspired me to think, “Who is this person? What’s she like?” And it just grew from that.
The mask that Finn wears reminds us of old-school horror movies. Is there any artistic connection there, or did you have other inspiration for creating the mask?
I don’t know if I consciously thought of a slasher mask, but I’m a huge fan of ’80s horror, and I think you might be onto something with that!
I heard you have a band as well! Do you draw inspiration from your music with your comics and writing or vice versa?
I am in a new band as well. I actually decided to start drawing at one point when my long-term band broke up and without any other real creative outlet I just bought a sketchbook and pencils and started trying to draw my favorite characters like Batman, the Ninja Turtles, and Naruto. It’s all one thing to me.
My old psychobilly band had songs about horror movies and comics, and my comics always have a soundtrack. Many of my characters are also musicians. The same goes for Des [King, co-creator of “Finn”]. I guess you write what you know.
What’s your all-time favorite comic-book-based movie? TV series?
That’s a hard one. It’s become kind of cliche to call out Batman: The Animated Series as the best distillation of Batman, but I’m gonna stick with it and say it’s true. Aside from that I really love the 1990 TMNT movie, and I think The Rocketeer is actually very underrated and deserves a reassessment.
What comic book character do you identify most with, and why?
There’s so many. I definitely identify with Batman since I lost a parent at a very young age and that made me very driven in my creative projects. On the lighter side I also feel very close to Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes because I tend to live in my head and let my imagination run away from me even as an adult.
For this project you teamed up with Desiree King. How did you decide to work together on it, and what was the creative process like for you as the artist and co-writer?
Well it helps that we live together! All kidding aside, she’s a great writer and we help each other a lot. I’ve done the first edit on all of her books and shorts (look up Desiree King on Goodreads) and she’s always been my sounding board whether it’s playing her a new song or running down a comic plot or showing her a sketch of a new character or painting. So it was a natural and in writing a female lead I thought it was important not to fall into the trap of being a man writing what he thinks a strong female lead is.
[Desiree has] never scripted a comic before, so we kind of did it Marvel method. We came up with the plot together, then I did thumbnails of the pages and wrote a draft of the script with what was in each panel. Then when we agreed that the story flowed I started penciling and she filled in the dialogue in the script. Then before I lettered it I went through and just did a little bit of dialogue tightening and that was pretty much it.
How do you make your work immersive and progressive (the Oneshi Press themes)?
Well we hope we came up with a relatable character and an effective female lead. I think people get into characters they can relate to that have normal problems. Finn may be a paranormal warrior but she’s also a teenage girl just trying to balance band practice, school, her obligations, and trying to find her own identity in a world that wants to put her in a box. We really took a page from the classic Marvel philosophy on Spider-Man, where we really care about Peter Parker and his suit is just a suit. Buffy was like that too, and that was an obvious inspiration.
Any new projects you’re working on? Are there old projects you have that you would like to promote?
As for what’s next, I’m working on a project that will be a comic first and hopefully will evolve into a short horror film that I’ll direct called Look Behind You. And there’s definitely more Finn coming.
Where can readers find you online?
I’m mostly on Instagram @kreepykevsart. I’m posting new pics, videos, and more every day.
Check out “Finn: Guardian of the Five Gates” by Kevin Sheely and Desiree King in Oneshi Press Anthology #08, out now from Oneshi Press!
And read our previous interview with Kevin Sheely over here!
If you like creator interviews, we’ve got more right here!
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