I guess I'll start with the basics: My name is Chris and I've been writing about the Starbolts since 1996. The idea for them came when I was sitting on the back deck of my parent's boat that summer. I was just drawing comic book characters as I was already well into my comic collecting hobby.
A friend of my parents came by and saw me drawing the first Starbolt, Manta. She asked who he was and I explained it and said that I should write the stories and call the guy "Manta Man". That idea didn't sit well with me and neither did her idea of him being a 40 yr old guy living in the marina.
That didn't work. So, I decided to make him MUCH younger. I wrote a hundred page story based on him and his friends and followed that up with a few more stories that I still have in those spiral notebooks.
The story, however, went through several rewrites until I decided on something a bit more concrete. I decided to make the team akin to the classic X-Men and Avengers, New Warriors teams that I read growing up. They would train as a literal next generation of heroes. Their parents were heroes, too. Only, they were a decidedly different bunch. The Starbolts predecessors became a G.I. Joe style team fighting for freedom and all that. Their sons and daughters became the Starbolts and that's where the "Next generation of Earth's heroes" comes in.
Eventually, I decided to write the story on a few places that had fanfiction sections on their site. The place was okay and I got a few fans here and there. A good friend of mine told me to expand the story and I decided to post them on the Internet.
I put them up in text format for a while and I decided that wasn't working. Instead of pressing on, I created sprites that I could use to create a sprite comic based on the stories. The Starbolts was always going to be a comic and thanks to my friend the late JewWario for giving me a sprite template, I was able to make decent sprites for the comic. I didn't mind writing in prose form. I just always envisioned it in the style of a comic book.
I began reading comics when I was about maybe 11 years old and my first comic was a Spider-Man one I bought at the store next to my dad's dentist office. Right away, I fell in love with the character and started reading a ton of other books. They and the Star Trek shows really inspired me to create my own series.
By 2011, I decided to create my own web show that focused on comic books. The show is called Comic Showcase and in it, used to review good and bad comics. Later, I decided to shift the focus a bit to showcase Marvel Comics since that is the universe I know the most about. Although, every once in a while I will do a non Marvel book. In the show, I provide a little background to help viewers and then review the comic. Every once in a while, I also toss in a retrospective here and there. You can watch all of my videos here:
Frequently asked questions that aren't covered above:
1. What's the deal with how you sound?
I sound the way I do because I am deaf in both ears and I wear hearing aids. I had speech therapy when I was very young and that helped me to sound the best I can.
2. How far in advance are comics planned?
I tend to meet with my creative consultant to discuss story ideas about maybe fifty or so comics before a comic hits the Internet. I tend to plan for the next storyline while I am in the middle of a current one. It keeps ideas fresh.
3. Do you have ideas for comics other than Starbolts?
Not really. I like working on Starbolts and if I come up with new characters, I'll put them into the universe I've created somehow and make it work. Starbolts is the main comic I like to do and I like working with these characters.
4. If you had the time or the budget, would you make a Starbolts animated movie?
Definitely! Who wouldn't want to see a movie with their creations in it? I think it would be fun to work on and finally see these characters come to life.
5. What is "Nightstrike" and why do you use them in the comic?
Nightstrike is a team of mages that defend our realm against all magic based threats. Nightstrike was the creation of my online friend, Michael "Neo1977" Rehor. He was the one who initially came up with the characters, concept, the city they lived in, the villains they face and such. We would talk about them and the Starbolts quite a bit. Sadly, he passed away and left me his creations. I couldn't let such an awesome idea go to waste so I incorporated them into the Starbolts universe. I suspect that's what he would have wanted because we liked talking about each others' stories a lot and planned to work together some day.
6. What kind of equipment and editing software do you use?
My camera is a Panasonic SDR-S50 78X zoom handheld camera. It's the same one Mathew "Film Brain" Buck used to use for his "Bad Movie Beatdown" series early on in his series' run. It works for me as it's portable and works surprisingly well.
As far as editing software, I use Sony Vegas 12 now for videos and some animations. The animations take a while to do as I have to edit frame by frame. I used to use Vegas 10 and of course Windows Movie Maker. As I learn more about how to make videos, I think the programs will get more advanced and Vegas 12 is pretty advanced. I admit, I still kind of marvel at all the fun stuff it does.
7. What comics will you and won't you review?
I plan on reviewing more classic comics. I enjoy doing retrospectives of older comics and going decade by decade down the line. It's fun and we get to see how the characters progressed over the years as they changed writer/artist team.
I review good comics on my show and won't really review bad ones. There's enough bad comic critics out there on the Internet. It's a good idea, I think, to focus on good comics. So, in that regard, I try to say what is positive about the medium I am passionate about.
I typically won't review stuff like One More Day and One Moment in Time because they have been done to death. Plus, they are already well hated. there's no sense beating a dead horse. So, yeah, I tend to review good comics because I think they deserve attention. We need to show the world that some comics are good and should be checked out by everyone.
8. How long does it take you to make a video and a comic?
A video takes me about a week or so to do. What I do is:
1. Write the script and send it to my editors.
2. Scan the comic.
3. Record audio and video. Audio takes the longest as I often have to make sure I sound clear.
4. Begin editing.
A weekly comic takes a couple days depending on if I have sprites already made or not. If the sprites and background are already made, it can be a short while. I also send my script to an editor, too.
9. Do you only review superhero comics?
Yes. I like reading about superheroes. It's a passion I've had since I was a kid. Now, that isn't to say that I won't review a non superhero comic. I will. The right one has to come along and I'll look at it. Lately, I've been thinking of reviewing comics based on '80s stuff I grew up with. Thanks, IDW!
10. Do you take requests/have a schedule?
I will gladly take any requests. Requests can be sent to my e-mail address on the main site and on Twitter/Facebook. The only time I really schedule things is when I do a retrospective or if there's a select block of comics I want to do that are part of an event like the 2015 Secret Wars.
11. Do you have a Facebook page?
Yes. It's right here: https://www.facebook.com/Starbolt-Productions-109799699073466/
12. Who are your inspirations for writing?
I've had many writing inspirations over the years and I think my biggest has been Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man and so many other characters I've read about over the years. His early work and the work of others like Kurt Busiek and Fabian Niceiza really influenced my writing style and I thank them all for getting me inspired to create my own characters.