I've been writing as an affiliated blogger for Malena Public Relations for over a year now, and I always love meeting the artists I'm given by them, whether it be in person or online. Usually it's online, but at Long Beach Comic Con, I was able to meet Keith Foster, a comic book writer and creator, and be able to sit down and have a talk with him about his epic comic Kodoja.
I hope you all enjoy this in-depth look inside the mind of someone who has a very bright future in the indie comic industry!
1. When and why did you decide to write comics?
The story on Kodoja, in this case, is...well, the first thing about Kodoja is it was an album. It was a piece of music and it had nothing to do with anything but Godzilla. The band I’m in is Big Pimp Jones. We had created a giant monster movie soundtrack. We were going to bill it as some kind of lost Godzilla soundtrack. And then, a couple of things happened and mainly, one of them was that we couldn’t use Godzilla’s likeness on anything, because the company that owns Godzilla is really, really protective. And we were like, “What’s the use of this cool fake lost Godzilla soundtrack if there’s not going to be any pictures of Godzilla. So we kind of sat around and were like, “Well, what else can we do?” And I’d written a couple of things and I said, “I’d like to write this, and I’d like to write this as a comic.” I've been into comics since I was in the eighth grade.
It was just one of those things like, it seemed like it would be a pretty good fit, and we gave it a shot. So yeah, I’ve only been doing this since 2012, this is my first comic series.
2. Aside from, obviously, Godzilla, what comics inspired you when you were younger?
Well. the first comic book I ever read was Secret Wars, which was this huge superhero mashup, and I really like that. I guess the ones I can remember early on were Batman. I'm a huge Batman fan. I’m also a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so Batman and Sherlock Holmes had this nice intersection: they’re both brilliant crime solvers. One just uses a lot more action.
3. Where do you see yourself taking Kodoja in the future?
Well, we have five issues out right now, which are being collected into a graphic novel. We have firm ideas for the first 20 issues or the first let’s call them six mini-arcs. This is the first arc. There’s a bunch more that are coming along. So, that’s where we know we’re gonna go. This story is just the beginning and we’re just going to keep evolving it.
I'm actually a huge fan of, and I don't know how much of an influence he’s going to be here, actually, but I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan. And, for me, the coolest thing about Neil Gaiman is just when you think his story is going to go a very standard way, it never does. It makes a weird left turn. Or it just meanders somewhere and by the time you get to the end, you’re thinking, I never expected it to get there, but this was a really cool way for it to go. I’m hoping that Kodoja does that, in it’s own giant monster way.
4. Would you personally like to see Kodoja animated on as a live-action film?
I would love that! I think, for whatever reason, animation feels like a better fit, only because the artist who does Kodoja, Rory Smith, has a background in animation and the art has a very animated feel to it, so it does feel like it’s in the more animation realm.
5. You did mention that you’re in a band called Big Pimp Jones. What kind of music is it and where do you see the band going in the future?
So, the music is funk. We’re kind of on the place, in the past. we've released some albums, some 45’s, that were pure funk. We did the soundtrack to this comic book and it is giant monster music meets funk. In the future, I think we're going to keep on revisiting the funk. We’re actually going to release our own music on 45’s because I am a huge vinyl guy. Where we're going now is, we have this comic we're going to keep on scoring. Our first album that kind of got us known internationally, if you want to say, is we did a first and second fake Blaxploitation soundtrack. First was called Bad Bad Jimmy Ruckus and the second one is called Jimmy Ruckus and The Five Fingers of Death, and what we did was we presented them as kind of long-lost kung fu movies with ridiculous funk and we even included snippets of dialogue supposedly from the movie. We liked that direction. This all began as a fake Godzilla soundtrack and we are alsogoing to score the second comic book we;re doing with the same creative team.It will be king fu based. So we're also going to do the soundtrack for that and then we’re going to do new work for every Kodoja story arc that comes out.
So, film scoring even though the films are just merely our own property, so we can have the whole big-time media thing.
6. Can you tell KSR a little more about the kung-fu comic? When it will be released or a little more of what it's about?
Here's what I will say: I’ve written a lot of it and the art is being worked on right now. It is a mix of kung fu and something, and I don't want to say what that something is yet, because that something is really cool. It's a definite twist on kung-fu. It has a lot of elements of my favorite kung fu films, which are The Shaw brothers, those really cool 70’s wu-tang wildness to it.
7. Would you ever consider signing with a major company to further Kodoja’s reach?
I would consider doing it. It’s almost like a process of elimination thing. Marvel and DC, they don't really do a lot of creator-owned material, so you’re kind of already looking at Image and Dark Horse, IDW…that kind of thing. So, yes for those.
At a certain point, self-promoting is a good way to go and doing it yourself is a pretty good way to go. But the answer is yes, if the opportunity comes along.
8. If there was any comic book character that you had the opportunity to write, which would it be and why?
I think it would be Doctor Strange. I would love to play around with magic and that kind of stuff. And I’ll even give another one which is Iron Fist. I love Iron Fist and I love kung fu. And I know, I just gave two Marvel characters! But those would be the two that I think, in terms of characters that I love to write and characters that I think would be fun, but it’s also characters who are just kind if bubbling under the surface that just might possibly happen, like, “I’d love to write Spiderman.” You know that will never happen.
9. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Wow. Being a caffeine addict would not surprise anyone who’s ever talked to me, [Laughs.] That’s a great question and I want to give it a good answer.
Well, the first thing is I really like burritos. Specifically, I really like breakfast burritos, so not only do I just like burritos but I really like breakfast burritos. That may not surprise them, but it’s something that they wouldn’t normally think about.
Second thing is, despite my being in a funk band, I really love extreme metal. I subscribe to a magazine called Decibel, that;s just about really hardcore extreme metal. Im fact, there’s something about extreme metal and really dark, orchestral music that almost joins somewhere. I can't quite figure out how that works!
The obvious influences in Kodoja are Godzilla and HP Lovecraft. A less obvious influence is a manga called Death Note. It's basically this awesome story that I highly recommend to anyone. My favorite thing about it is that the two primary characters are both extremely intelligent. So, what the majority of the comic is them talking to each other, but them also thinking their way and trying to out-maneuver each other intellectually. So it becomes this awesome chess match of the wits, and that's something that I’m trying to bake into here. It’s just that the two things playing against each other are this hyper-intelligent, adapted, 200 foot tall machine and its creator.