First Comics News: Can you tell us the story line of “Imprinted”?
Jason Burns: The series is one in a larger shared universe that my company Plymouth Rock Creative (PRC) has been working on for some time now. Like Marvel or DC, the characters all share the same world and will eventually cross paths. Imprinted is the first we’re releasing as part of the titles and readers will actually catch a glimpse of a scene from a future title in the first Imprinted.
The story itself follows a young woman who is a reverse reaper. It’s her job to put souls not yet destined for the after life back into their bodies. All of the stories about a bright light, seeing loved ones on the other side, all before being rocketed back into the body… it’s basically her. And while that’s her job, it’s not really the story itself. It certainly applies though because when something… something very evil… starts to declare war on humanity and taking souls before their time, she becomes the only person who can stop it, and in doing so, will realize she can do so much more than what she already does.
1st: Who are the main characters and what are they like?
Jason: The main character is Lilian, the young reverse reaper. She is a loner, partly by choice and partly because of her back story, which we’ll start to see a bit of in issue 2. She sort of envisions herself a throwback and admires the pinup girls of the past, modeling her own style after them, albeit with some more updated flare.
The other main character we meet right away is Montray, and he’s an actual reaper. He and Lilian have a working relationship, mostly because they have to. They don’t have anything in common, but they run in the same circles… those circles being with dead people. He is sort of a major wet blanket… as about as serious as you can get. He does his job and cares very little about anything else.
1st: How has your career lead you to creating this comic?
Jason: PRC has been creating comics for about three to four years now and this is the first of the titles we’re releasing. We’ve created dozens of new titles, though not all of them fall under this shared universe. Only about five of them will be tied together. But as far as what brought me here… basically the job of creating comics. It’s what I’ve been doing for years, and each title leads to the next. I’m very lucky in that I get to do something I love, and work with people I admire and respect at the same time.
1st: Why will “Imprinted” be so good everyone will want it?
Jason: Well, I certainly hope that’s the case. We’ll be releasing it for free through a digital pop culture magazine called TrunkSpace that PRC is also responsible for. The magazine will be featuring interviews, reviews, and comics, with Imprinted being the first we release through the site. Each week is a different issue of TrunkSpace, with new content posting every day. Our comics will post every Wednesday, with Imprinted premiering on February 1st. TrunkSpace itself launches on January 23rd with a bunch of great exclusive interviews, including Danny Nucci, who is currently starring in Free Form’s The Fosters, the band No Small Children, whose music was featured in the new Ghost Buster remake, comic artist Joe Eisma, and the producer of The Strangers and the recently-released The Bye Bye Man, Trevor Macy, to name a few.
So, yeah, I hope Imprinted finds an audience, especially knowing that we’re offering it for free to people. We’ll be posting a bit of it each week, so if someone wants to try out a new comic universe… it’s a good place to start because there’s no financial commitment, just your eyes to the page.
1st: What inspired you to write “Imprinted”?
Jason: Coming up with a new set of heroes for the shared universe was a lot of fun, but also a lot of stress. Hero comics have been around for decades and decades… and everything has been done or done twice. The inspiration for me was finding themes that I found interesting and then building characters around those themes. In the case of Lilian and Imprinted, it was death. It’s a subject that literally everyone can relate to, so I wanted to create a character who had to reluctantly be a part of death, even as she herself had a hard time with living.
1st: Which character in “Imprinted” most reflects your personality?
Jason: Hmm. That’s a tough one. I wouldn’t say any of them just yet, which is odd. They’re both so different than me, but as the world spreads out and goes wider, I’m sure there will be one that resembles me. It’s hard not to put yourself into your writing for long.
1st: How would you feel if one day you woke up in the world of “Imprinted”?
Jason: Well, in the first arc something very evil is killing everything, so, I’d have to say I’d be pretty terrified if I knew what was going on. If I didn’t, I’d probably be pretty oblivious. For the most part, it’s a world pretty similar to ours. Nothing too crazy going on for all to see. YET!
1st: How would you say your writing has improved over the years?
Jason: I’d say leaps and bounds. I used to come up with ideas in my head, and then just write. I literally HAD to get everything down on paper, and then from there, I’d tweak and alter and plan out further. Nowadays I plan ahead a lot more and prepare the story for not only a beginning, middle, and end, but for additional storylines should that be the case.
1st: What did you get out of writing Sesame Street Comics?
Jason: It was such an incredible experience. I learned so much. I was also serving as editor on the books, basically project managing them, so I got to see so many aspects of dealing with existing characters and notable brands. I did the same with a number of DreamWorks Animation properties, including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Megamind, and the process is always fascinating because you’re not just working on a book, you’re literally working on a worldwide brand.
But with Sesame Street in particular, it was very nostalgic and really, an honor to work on those characters. The folks at Sesame Street Workshop are also so incredible on so many levels that it was an experience I’ll never forget.
1st: What can you tell us about Plymouth Rock Creative and “Adults Only”?
Jason: PRC is a company I co-founded in 2011. We are an intellectual property creation house/studio and we create content in various forms, though mostly in comics and feature film/television scripts. In 2011 we shot our first project, a web series called Adults Only that followed a former gymnast… someone who was America’s sweetheart… who was so down on his luck later in life that he had to take a job at his brother-in-law’s adult video/novelty story to make ends meet. It’s a comedy… quirky and filled with lots of recognizable faces from television and film. We released it in 2012 and it’s available on YouTube.
1st: Why was “Pocket God” such a success?
Jason: The guys at Bolt Creative who created Pocket God had a really great sense of where the story was going from the time they brought the characters into comics so we were working so far ahead that, I think in many ways, readers could tell that they were getting something bigger than a companion series to sell more apps. The story and the comic was so important to Bolt Creative and it showed in the pages. Also, the characters were a lot of fun, especially Noobie. So much fun to write. I ultimately did 26 issues of the series, which is the longest I have ever spent working on one set of characters.
1st: Do you have more ideas floating around in your head for more comics?
Jason: Oh yeah. Tons. Hopefully I’m not going anywhere in terms of the comic industry. I’ve been missing in action since the release of the Sesame Street comics, but that’s because PRC has been working on so many new books that we have kept our head down and just focused on creating. We have a full library now and the first of those will be Imprinted and the titles from the shared universe to follow.
1st: What comics besides your own would you recommend?
Jason: I sadly have not been reading much new at all lately. I always go back to my old Spider-Man long boxes and recently revisited the entire run of Exiles and some old Detective Comics. Mostly I have been reading books relating to road trips, as I am a big fan of hitting the road for extended periods of time and just sort of finding life. My recent read was a book called Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon.
1st: Anything to say to the fans of your work?
Jason: Definitely give TrunkSpace a try and in doing so, Imprinted as well. We don’t go live until January 23rd, but people can track us at www.facebook.com/trunkspacemag and www.twitter.com/trunkspacemag for news on when the launch goes official!