Mike Barron is best known for his work on Nexus, Badger and the Punisher. I am a long time fan of his work. I was very excited to see his new Kickstarter launch. Mike was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to let our readers know about Q-Ball.
Mike Baron: Detroit homeboy Curtis Ball joined the Merchant Marine and ended up managing a warehouse in Manila. Curtis wanted only two things out of life: to see the world and study Kali/Escrima. But when a pack of tuxedoed sharks muscle their way into his warehouse, Curtis learns the hard way that it’s not always smart to mind your own business.
The spooks are looking for Donna Wing, a beautiful Chinese blogger, forced to flee due to her exposes of human rights abuse. Now Curtis and Donna are on the run—from the Chinese government, the tongs, and a group of international cutthroats who will stop at nothing to stop them from reaching the United States and spilling their guts.
Sometimes you have to spill some guts to spill your guts.
Mike: Curtis began studying karate in America. When he got to Manila, he threw himself wholeheartedly into kali/escrima, training with Danny Inosanto and Richard Bustillo, among others.
1st: Is Q-Ball a nickname he grew up with?
Mike: Curtis acquired the name while hustling pool in his native Detroit.
1st: What is Kali/Escrima?
Mike: Kali/Escrima is the traditional stick fighting art of the Philippines. All weapons are extensions of the hand.
1st: How accurately is the Kali/Escrima presented?
1st: Are either you or Barry McClain martial arts?
Mike: I have been training all my life. I train at www.karatewestinc.com Barry is simply a superb artist with whom I provide detailed instructions, in person examples and photo ref.
1st: How did you get together with Barry McClain on this project?
Mike: Y’know, Rik, I don’t know. I forget how I met Barry. I think I saw his art and contacted him. He lives in Denver so it’s easy for us to get together. Well…easier than getting together with people out of state.
1st: Who is Donna Wing?
Mike: Donna was chosen to participate in China’s National Wushu Program, in hopes she would represent China to the world. She stumbled into a scheme to kidnap children and sell their organs to wealthy foreigners and spread the news, trying to maintain anonymity but the authorities found out. She went into hiding.
1st: What connects Curtis and Donna?
Mike: Donna shipped herself out of China in a packing crate that landed in Curtis’ warehouse. Curtis didn’t learn about it until some thugs showed up demanding the crate. When Curtis investigated, he found a dead man inside. The dead man had discovered Donna, tried to take advantage, and she killed him.
1st: Who are they running from?
Mike: The Chinese government, mercenaries, and elements in the US who don’t want anyone to rock the boat vis-à-vis our relationship with China.
1st: With both the Tong and the government after Curtis and Donna. Are the Tong and the government working together or they fighting each other to get Curtis and Donna?
1st: Why self-publish, you have a long relationship with 1First Comics(no relation)?
Mike: First is a boutique operation limited resources. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
1st: What makes Q-Ball so cool that no true comic fan should miss it?
Mike: Barry is an explosive artist with a unique style. My stories grab you by the throat, erasing the wall between reader and comic. The martial arts are among the most realistic ever shown in a comic.