Jo Perfilio is the JP Roth of Rothic Comics and she has been a regular on the convention scene since 2012 selling her own brand of mythological inspired comics with strong female leads. Our own Jez Ibelle is among her fans ( http://www.firstcomicsnews.com/?p=181498 and http://www.firstcomicsnews.com/?p=145828 ). However, if you aren’t a convention regular you might have difficulty finding Rothic Comics. All that changes now, as Diamond has just started distributing Rothic Comics with Southern Nightgown volume 1 and REM 8 #1. Jo was nice enough to stop my First Comics News to catch our readers up on all things Rothic.
First Comics News: What type of research do you do with the Mythology you mix into your stories?
JP Roth: I have taken Literature and Mythology courses in the United States and England, and finalized my studies at Varsity College in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with Mythology as one of my majors. I have always had a deep fascination for lore, and my house and life are filled with such stories.
1st: How did you get started self publishing?
JP: I have always written down my stories, and art has been a passion of mine since I can remember. I wrote Ancient Dreams in Mexico, and I drew a few drafts (hooray for fingerpaints!) of the characters I saw in my head. Dawn McTeigue and I grew up together, and I have admired her art since the beginning. I called and asked her if she would help add the visual fascination. We created the teaser for Ancient Dreams–on A4 printer paper, no less–and printed the book at Copy For Less. We then took that questionable piece of work and brought it to SDCC 2011.
My sister, Clare Bendandi, used to work for Thomas Tull, who has since set up Legendary Pictures. His advice to us was to go and make it a cult classic. I approached Mike Krome and Sabine Rich, and thanks to their time and talent, we put together the first issue of Ancient Dreams, which has since sold thousands of copies. We took this book and our nerves to Wonder Con 2012 and honestly killed it. The rest is history.
We’ve had our ups and downs, for sure. This industry and difficult to succeed in. But my team is made up of solid art gods and goddesses, so I don’t believe failure was ever in our cards.
1st: Why self publish instead of looking for a publisher?
JP: To be honest, I was back and forth on the issue, and I believe that if I had decided to go with Ancient Dreams as a Novel, I would have pushed for a publisher. But after receiving feedback from a few major houses, the consensus was that, the story was too big to be told in such a small space. I needed to either go full-force with a Game of Thrones style saga or go back to the drawing board.
So I did, and when the idea of making that and all my subsequent stories into comics came up, the instant reaction and reception of our launch was so overwhelming that we just held on. We actually sold over 500 copies of my flagship series Ancient Dreams at our first ever officially-attended con (WonderCon 2011). At the time, we were absolutely disappointed with ourselves, as we had printed 1,500 copies, intending to sell them all. Now that we have learned about this business, I realize that as an unknown Indie creator, those numbers were actually quite epic!
1st: How did you initially distribute you comics?
JP: At conventions, and a blog I hosted that people began ordering from. Of course, since then, I have moved to a beautiful new site
1st: How did you end up at Diamond?
JP: By not taking no for an answer!
1st: Are you distributing your new comics at Diamond or is it just back list for now?
JP: Right now, the issues in Diamond are ones that have already been released, but not for long! As they are written, drawn and printed, they will be revealed ! REM 8 #3 was just submitted, so the next issue will be the brand new Issue #4! Ancient Dreams just went in and will be in the August 2016 Preview. (We will release #1-4 each month) After that, it is all new! As will be all the subsequent series that we submit through Diamond.
1st: You currently have eight different comics in the Rothic Universe with eight different mythologies, can you give us a little background on each of these titles…
JP: Ancient Dreams – This is based on Greek Mythology
Southern Nightgown – Pure magick…Celtic
REM8 – Asian Myth
Theory of Magic – I wanted to write a more, kid-friendly, pure fantasy story filled with fairies and everything that is magic. At some point, though, my “Roth” took over, and there now exists, plot twists, evil magic, danger, etc. But the pure magic is there, and the love story of my hero and heroine will leave you saying — “I do believe in fairies, I do, I do!”
Kiss – This one came out of nowhere literally, one day I was sitting there thinking about what it is exactly that makes you love someone, who, for no earthly reason, would be your obvious match. All of a sudden, the most beautiful goddess popped into my head, the ugliest man-beast then appeared, and in the middle of them was Cupid aiming his arrow…Ergo — KISS!
Ancient Dreams is the story of Cara Wynter, who is she and how does she relate to Greek mythology?
Cara has nothing to do with Greek Mythology in a sense and in another she has everything to do with it.
Cara’s past life is based on a mythological story about Athena’s House of Women. These girls were untouchable priestesses born and reared to be sacrificed on their 18th birthday. Their sacrifice would in turn grant great strength and power to whomever they had been given to in death.
The hero is Hades son, also a character not specified in Greek Mythology. However, with the names and myths I use, I try to stay true to their lore. But retelling a myth is much like a day…always identical—never the same.
1st: Southern Nightgown, explores Norse mythology, who are the girls involved and what is their journey?
JP: This is a complicated story to explain. It is wrapped up with myths of the White Lady and Christianity, Celtic, and Norse Mythology, with inter-dimensional aspects that border on sci-fi. The girls are fictional characters, though to me they each represent a great power lost on the earth. Their stories through these realms have endless possibilities.
Four girls (Satin, Savanna, Clare, and Vienna) find a chest filled with nightgowns. When they put them on, they are tattooed by the threads of the gowns. The tattoos are portals pulling them through these realms where they find their alternate histories and repeating lives.
1st: Theory of Magic features Selyara, and tells a tale of fairies from Celtic folklore. What is the basis of Selyara fairy tale?
JP: This is loosely based on Fairy Lore, the rest is my story. On the day the god Cronus was born, it is said, the earth quaked and screamed at its core. The cliffs bordering the seas ground together and flames shot up into the open sky.
Each flame carried a Seelie faerie. In their blood flowed the magics of the old worlds and the fire of immorality. The ashes that fluttered to the ground held the Unseelie who carried magic in their blood but no flame.
Every century, to balance the scales, each breed of the Fair Folk, must walk in human skin for three days. For some, it is a brief sojourn into another life, but for the Seelie, these days mean only death. One drop of royal Seelie blood will give any fey true immortality. This this is the love story of a blood hunter and a Seelie princess. It is how I think magick/science came into our world.
1st: Crysalis is a sci-fi story, are there any myths involved in this story? Who are Eve, Val and Treya and what is the Crysalis?
JP: This series was actually conceived and written by a friend of mine, named Brandon Stewart. When he came to me with his initial outline draft, I thought it was AMAZING!! I agreed to offer my poetry or musings if you will, and also assist in the final editing of each issue. This is an amazingly magical sci-fi series and you all should IMMEDIATELY pick up a copy and check it out! http://www.elysiumtreasures.com/shop/comics
1st: REM 8 follow Tae Rayne in a future Zodiac inspired world. What is her world like?
JP: It’s the year 2228 and Tae Rayne’s world is a dystopian nightmare! The Senji, a dangerous Asian syndicate, now fully control technology, and thus the world. We have now harnessed the energy from our solar system, and machines have been created to imprint a human soul.
At puberty, the “soul link” is established. If the child survives, they remain human and live a digitally sound life in the city hovering above ground — The REM. If the link is not established; the child begins to transform into a beast mirroring aspects of their astrological sign. Disconnected from the REM and cast out of society, these beasts are known as the Gaians. To stay alive they are forced to live near the earth’s core and funnel what little energy is left.
Think “Mad Max” and “In Time” had a baby and that baby is our earth in 2228 🙂
1st: Kiss is the classical Greek Athena story set in the year 9883 AD. What is it like for the Olympians after thousands of years without believers?
JP: I do love that you asked that question because I cover it in this series. However, AD in the case of Kiss stands for Athena/Dionysus. The number is unimportant, as Cronus does not exist as we know him. While many of my stories are based on true myth, Kiss however, is my ‘could have been’. The date is actually a code that will run through this series. All my mythologies will connect through Kiss as well.
1st: Mojo has Captain Morgana on the cover. Are there stories and myths in Mojo, or is it Eric Basaldua’s sketchbook?
JP: This is a collaboration between myself and the Ass Man himself, our very own e.Bas (Eric Basaldua)! The story is based on pirate lore: Captain Morgan is the goddess of rum, and she has enchanted it so that when men are at their most euphoric, she can steal their souls – CLASSIC!! E.Bas then, of course, blesses all of our eyes with his unimaginable and beautiful artwork. It is certainly a mash-up unlike anything out there today.
1st: DiVinica is a demonic tale base on Dante’s Inferno. What is your take on the Divine Comedy?
JP: The two are in no way related. Mine is not a series, it is a collaborative project with Dawn McTiegue…more details to come soon! On the subject of Divine Comedy – I would have to say, hip, hip, hooray!!
1st: For fans who can’t wait to get these comics at their local comic shop, what conventions can they find you at this year?
JP: I will be at:
Denver Comic Con
New York Comic Con
Wizard World – Chicago
There are a few more shows that have asked me to attend but they are not yet finalized. If you want to find me though, the best way is to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JPRothic or become a member of my site where we have a live calendar posted and you can sign up for notifications and alerts: www.rothic.com
1st: Where can fans order the comics direct?
JP: On my website: www.rothic.com