I’ve been friends with Alex, his wife, and his brother for more than a decade. Alex has been a frequent panelist is on my panels at San Diego ComicCon and WonderCon. Alex is a professional publicist. Now he is launching his first comic on Kickstarter. I couldn’t wait to invite him to First Comics News to let our readers know about his project Femonster.
First Comics News: When did you first get it Comics?
Alex Raymond: I first got into comics in the early 80s. Maybe about when I was ten or so. I had been given comics before when I was younger to encourage me to read, books like Spidey Super Stories and such. But the exact issue which cemented my love of comics was Brave and The Bold #184 from 1982. From there, I jumped on a moving train and started collecting some phenomenal titles like the Perez/Wolfman run on New Teen Titans, The Fury of Firestorm series, and all of that led me up to Crisis.
1st: Who’s your favorite comic character?
Alex: Overall, I would say The Hulk. But the answer could change depending on what I am reading at the time. If I fall into a great Batman story, and I am reminded why he’s so brilliant, then my answer would change to Batman. It really depends on how and the story in which the character is being used.
However, my favorite superhero is Electra-Woman from Electra-Woman and Dyna Girl.
1st: What makes a good comic?
Alex: I think it’s engagement and movement. The characters need to be compelling and have depth. There have to be reasons why they do the things they are doing. That was an interesting challenge in that my characters are not what is typically considered heroic, nor are they conventional “anti-heroes.” They are monsters. They are put in a position in which to survive; they need to act. That is something everyone can understand – self-preservation. Saving humanity is a by-product. They just want to live to see tomorrow.
1st: As a publicist, you’ve done a lot of writing, how is writing a comic different from the other writing you have done?
Alex: Comics have made an impression on me in the way I create a press release or a bio, etc. The opening blurb used in Superman comics back in the day, “Rocketed to Earth from the doomed planet of Krypton, Kal-El became the world’s greatest superhero…” is an excellent example of a comic book element that made an impact on me. Having that compelling, grandiose phrasing in my head helped me write attention-grabbing press releases. You have to grab the reader’s attention; you have to assume the reader knows nothing about your client; you have to tell a story. Those are all elements that have been engrained in my mind from decades of comics.
The main difference between my PR work and comics is now I have 22 pages, and each one has to connect to the reader and get them to continue the journey.
1st: What made this the right time to launch your own comic?
Alex: It’s been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I actually came up with the concept of The Femonsters around 2012. The story continued to rumble around in the back of my head for years. When COVID hit hard, a significant amount of clients took time off. Since work output diminished for them, there was not as much for me to publicize. So I used the available time to create, write and solidify everything.
I finally got to a spot where I thought I had a fantastic story, that the characters were strong, and then I started doing an enormous amount of research on launching a Kickstarter. Fortunately for me, I have taken part in the How To Get News For Small Press panel at SDCC and Wondercon for years and listen to other creators’ experiences, and now I can put that to use for this campaign.
1st: What is Rise of the Femonsters about?
Alex: It’s about life, death, desire, and revenge. The world’s greatest monsters reluctantly unite to thwart the sinister intentions of a resurrected mummy queen’s quest for retribution. At the center of the story is a pair of mystic ornaments. One is called the Life Creator, and the other is called Death Breaker. With these ornaments, someone can raise and command the dead. They unlock the secrets of life and death – a vampire can be made human; a ghost can finally die; an undead creature can be brought to life, and a betrayed mummy can reap vengeance.
1st: Are these the classic universal monsters?
Alex: Something Universal Monsters did that Hammer Films didn’t was to bring their monsters together in a movie. As a fan of Hammer, I would dream about what it would be like to have Oliver Reed fighting Peter Cushing fighting Christopher Lee fighting Ingrid Pitt. That became a thought for creating my universe of monsters and how they would interact.
1st: What is the Monstar Universe like?
Alex: The tone of this story is dark and gothic. Rise of the Femonsters feels like Hammer films meets 70s Marvel monsters. That vibe was some of my inspirations for creating this universe. I’m a massive fan of that ambiance. My favorite movies are The Vampire Lovers and Frankenstein Created Woman.
Since so many years went into planning, I have a wealth of stories to tell about the characters you’ll meet in Rise of the Femonsters. And the universe is growing.
1st: What can fans expect in the first issue?
Alex: A lot of action. I want this to feel like a thrill ride. I knew If I were going to make any type of impression and get people talking, I needed to come out swinging. The first draft was overwhelming. I had to work on the pacing to instill more character development and give the reader a chance to breathe. But, yeah, issue one should come with seatbelts.
1st: Since you’re connected to a production company, is the plan to follow up with a Rise of the Femonsters film?
Alex: I am keeping my options open. My first goal is to get issue one knocked out, and then it’s straight on to issue two. I want people to believe in these monsters and want them to be part of their lives. If that journey brings me to a film or action figures, I’m all for it.
1st: Who is the artist on this project?
Alex: There are a few. And all of them have been awesome. The fantastic Tim Seeley did a variant cover. MG Curves, who is predominantly known for his sexy pin-up style of art, came on for a couple of pieces.
1st: How did you find him?
Alex: All in different ways. I have known Tim for a while. Others were a matter of recommendation, or I simply saw their work on Instagram. I stumbled across the art of Joel Souza and immediately dug it. I reached out, and he delivered a fantastic tribute to the classic Marvel Premiere #28 Legion of Monsters cover.
1st: What made him right for this project?
Alex: I have been fortunate in that I have been working with some talented people. From concept design to covers, all of these artists have come back with brilliant work. It must be luck or fate, but they have all been right for this project.
1st: What rewards are you planning?
Alex: I have a lot of great Femonster collectibles that will be available. There will be variant covers, prints, stickers, trading cards, and more. I’m also making a special box available that will look like a giant old-school VHS box that will contain all the variant covers and exclusive swag. I’m really excited about that one. The video store horror crowd will appreciate it.
Also, people who pledge in the first 48 hours of the Kickstarter launch will get a thank you video from Countess Dracula herself, Tanya Tate. And those that commit over $50 in those first 48 hours will get a personal shout-out from Tanya. When the campaign goes live on August 1st, you’ll really want to be there. I’m telling people to go to MonstarUniverse.com and click the “Notify Me” button so they don’t miss out.
1st: What is the minimum pledge for a PDF?
Alex: Issue #1 will be $8. I’ll also have a Deluxe Digital PDF for $15 that, in addition to issue #1, will also contain the script, variant covers B, C, E, and G, original concept notes, and character bios. …and anything else I think to throw in.
1st: What is the minimum pledge for a physical copy?
Alex: It’s $10 for the main issue, which also comes with a digital copy.
1st: For anyone on the fence, what makes Rise of the Femonsters so cool no true comic fan should miss it?
Alex: This comic is a rollercoaster. For horror fans, action fans, or people who love a good story, Rise of the Femonsters is for you.
This Kickstarter launches on August 1st. You can sign up to be notified on the prelaunch page