INDIE SPOTLIGHT on Greg Woronchak

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Indie Spotlight- by Erica Heflin

EH: Today we’re speaking with the creator of Lil’ Ninja, Greg Woronchak.

This all-ages project is currently funding on kickstarter at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1413636382/lil-ninja-debut-issue-comic-book
EH: First, let’s get into the story of Lil’ Ninja. What inspired you to tackle this subject matter? 

GW: When my daughter was about 2 years old, she’d bound around the house with reckless energy. I joked to my wife that she was a ‘ninja’ and that sparked an idea for a story. I’d always loved comic books, and felt creatively inspired to try and make my own, which continues to this day.

EH:Lil’ Ninja is considered an all-ages book. What age group is your target demographic? How did you use the material to keep older readers entertained as well?

GW:I’ve always felt that comics should appeal to any age. I decided on a style of artwork that older readers would gravitate to, and yet with a vibrant color palette that younger ones would also be drawn to (bad pun). At the same time the plot, while easy to follow, is sophisticated enough for any age group to enjoy. When considering any of my concepts, I try to create material that I myself would find cool, and yet I’d be comfortable showing to my own children; this helps me find that balance which good all-ages comics straddle so well.

EH: In the comics industry, how do you think that all ages material fares?

GW: I don’t think it sells as well as it should (a sweeping generalization, I’ll admit). Shelves are crowded with gritty books targeting the dwindling demographic of 30-40 year old collectors, while many retailers seem afraid to display all-ages books prominently. At the same time, a lot of such books offered today are licensed titles that feel like watered down versions of the source material. Comics needs a flood of wildly creative books (that any age group can appreciate) with fresh concepts to push aside the dour, ‘realistic’ books that most parents wouldn’t want their kids to read.

EH: Why is it important to expose young readers to comics? 

GW: Young readers are the lifeblood of the industry; once the aging fanboys move on, the small monthly sales can’t support the publishing costs of the Big Two. At the same time, speaking from experience, being exposed to comics at a young age opens a door to a fantastic world of imagination and creativity. Comics are an incredibly unique medium with a special ‘language’, and kids should be exposed to them, rather than folk treating them as silly or disposable.

EH: Lil’ Ninja is a forty page full color book. That’s an unusual size for comics. Why did you chose to go with an oversized issue rather than splitting the book into two volumes? 

GW: Originally I was going to go with a smaller page count, but I find 40 gives folk great value for the eventual price point. Also, I had that number of pages pencilled and inked, so I figured I’d just go with it. Future issues will probably be around 25-30 pages (getting ahead of myself, of course).

EH: Explain your collaborative process. How did you first approach penciller Ash Jackson and colorist Dustin Evans? 

GW: I ‘met’ both through Digital Webbing. Ironically, both have moved onto other things in the years since the did the work for me (the process has been long because I’ve only hired talent once I had the budget ready to pay them up front). I’d give Ash a plot, he’d produce wonderful pencils which I inked and reformatted for story-telling purposes. Dustin was given the pages to color, and did a fabulous job. I’ve been fortunate to find such talented guys willing to work on my project.

EH: Your kickstarter has already achieved its funding goal. Why should more people get involved and support this project? Where will the excess funding go?

GW: Excess funding goes toward issue two, which has already been plotted. More than that, having more Backers mean more people interested in my book, or hopefully spreading word about it. I’ve always felt a grassroots approach to building a fanbase can work, but it’s definitely a lot of effort.

EH: Where might readers find more of you and your team’s previous works?

GW: My Blog archive features a wealth of material showcasing my concepts, current and future: Sore Thumb Press- http://sorethumbpublishing.blogspot.ca/

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I’ve done two issues of Hellcraft, for Owl Comics: OWL Comics (@OWLComics) | Twitter

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Maggie Culpepper for New Pioneer Comics-

http://www.newpioneercomics.com/products/maggie-culpepper-new-pioneer-issue-1

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A story for Argo comics- http://argocomics.com/

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And a variety of small press books that still haven’t seen the lighht of day yet (as far as I can tell).

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