William Mull talks about FORBIDDEN GALLERY

William Mull is an Actor, Improv Comic, Writer, Producer, Musician, Artist, Tennis Player, and a Comic Book publisher. William joined with comic industry veteran Dærick Gröss Sr, forming ACP Comics. William was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to talk to our readers about his intriguing life and how it lead him to start his own comic publishing company.

First Comics News:    You have been an actor, improv comic, writer, producer, musician, artist, and tennis player. You do know that most people pick just one of these things and that’s their career for their entire life?

William Mull:   Really? Hmm… well, I must not be doing it right.

1st:    What on earth made you decide, what I really need to do with my life is… become a comic book publisher?

William:   A high school buddy of mine in Macon, GA, Craig Hamilton and I bonded over our love for comics. We worked on a graphic novel together way back when, before the term graphic novel was even a thing. Craig went on to achieve great acclaim as a comics artist and illustrator, and rightly so. His talent never ceases to amaze me. We were able to reconnect creatively for the Archimedes story in Forbidden Gallery #2 — and wow, what an incredible cover. It was a life-long dream of ours come true, and a blessing for which I’m extremely grateful.

1st:    Did anyone ever mention that small press publishing is a lot of work for little money?

William:   It’s definitely not about making money for me. I’m doing it because I love it. It gives me so much joy, it’s worth the considerable amount of work, and all the hardships involved.

1st:    Have you been a life long comic fan?

William:   Comics have been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I still have most of my comics (although some were lost or stolen), and I won’t ever sell them. I can recall parts of my life, where I was at the time, and what was going on, whenever I think about or revisit a certain page or issue. I wanted to be a comics writer and artist almost as soon as I realized there were people making these wonderful things.

1st:    When did you find the time?

William:   I’ve always read a lot. Comics helped me deal with the difficulties in life growing up. And I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I owe my large vocabulary to comics.

1st:    What type of comics did you read?

William:   I read the entire gamut of genres; from superheroes (Captain Marvel/Shazam initially got me hooked) to funny animals, to horror, adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, weird sports… Bronze Age Marvel (loved the letters pages and bullpen bulletins, too), DC, Charlton, Gold Key, Dell, Atlas; Eerie, Creepy, Heavy Metal; I picked up most of the small-publisher and Independent comics I found; they felt special to me. I bought a huge book early on called The World Encyclopedia of Comics, edited by Maurice Horn, that I pored over and re-read for years. It gave me a great appreciation for the rich legacy of the medium. As for favorite artists, I could go on forever, so perhaps that’s better saved for another time.

1st:    What does ACP stand for?

William:   I’d rather keep that a secret, although it does stand for something specific. I think it’s more fun not to give everything away, to maintain a healthy mystique. I remember not knowing what DC stood for, and when I learned it was Direct Currents, it didn’t mean as much to me. The letters themselves were just so classic and iconic.

1st:    How did you get together with Dærick Gröss Sr.?

William:   Daerick and I worked together on the Two Kingdoms story for Forbidden Gallery #1; we met personally before that, and we’ve gotten together a couple times since. We get along well, and I think a great deal of him personally. I also look up to him as an artist, designer and professional.

1st:    What made him the right choice as Art Director for ACP?

William:   I don’t know if he was — just kidding! It was obvious, from working with him. I respect his knowledge and experience. And yet he’s very humble, and he listens to my point of view. I’m very grateful to have him, although I’m sure I drive him crazy sometimes. Sounds like a relationship! But it’s a good one.

1st:    You live in Georgia and Dærick lives in California. How do the two of you collaborate to produce ACP Comics?

William:   We both lived in the L.A. area until I moved back to Georgia recently. Fortunately, that doesn’t affect our working situation, since we’ve always worked together and communicated online.

1st:    You have a lot of different creators working on Forbidden Gallery, how did you choose the creators?

William:   The stories are always the most important factor. Beautiful art can’t make up for a bad story, as they say, although it doesn’t hurt. We try our best to maintain our high standards, and we’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented people, who don’t mind a good challenge.

1st:    Are you on the look out for new creators for future issues, or is it the other way around, you’re trying to produce the comics fast enough to keep up with the creative team you have?

William:   I’m always open to meet and work with new (or older but new to me) talented people. We certainly don’t try to push out comics as fast as we can. I want to be rightly proud of everything we release.

1st:    Many start up comic publishers use Kickstarter to build an audience and finance their project. What led to the decision to self-finance instead of crowd funding?

William:   I’m not against using Kickstarter, although as you said, a lot of publishers go that route. I don’t have as much experience with it, but I admire how successful some of the ones I’ve seen are. I think an anything-and-everything approach is a good way to go.

1st:    How frequently is Forbidden Gallery published?

William:   At this point, we try to release a new issue of Forbidden Gallery every six months. If the stories take longer until they are ready, we won’t release before everything comes together in the way it’s meant to be. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance, but it’s worth it.

1st:    In between stories in Forbidden Gallery, there are pin-ups. Is this a nod to Night Gallery?

William:   I love pin-ups, if they’re done well, enhance the expectation for the story without giving too much away. I was familiar with Night Gallery, but the reruns weren’t as prevalent as The Twilight Zone, growing up. So I don’t remember any specific episodes, or what the back-story was specifically with the paintings. I do love the tight, moralistic tales Rod Serling told. With Forbidden Gallery, I wanted to do a horror/adventure anthology with stories that stood on their own, represented by a work of art, so I came up with our own premise and unique host. Forbidden in the title is a nod to Forbidden Worlds.

1st:    Self-publishing, without Diamond distribution, how do you get your comics to retailers?

William:   That side of the equation isn’t easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is, especially when you’re new. I’m not discounting Diamond distribution in the future. Anything’s possible!

1st:    How can fans get a copy of your comics if their comic shop doesn’t carry Forbidden Gallery?

William:   You can order Forbidden Gallery from http://www.acpcomics.com and I’ll send your copies to you personally, bagged and boarded.

1st:    Is Forbidden Gallery available digitally?

William:   Yes it is, via ComiXology. Forbidden Gallery #2 has already been approved, so you can look for it there soon, along with Forbidden Gallery #1.

1st:    For anyone who reads this and isn’t quite sure about Forbidden Gallery. What makes Forbidden Gallery so cool no true comic fan should miss it?

William:   I welcome anyone who remembers what made comics great in the first place, and hasn’t yet given up and written off the medium as a whole — or even if they have, to give us a try. As opposed to the disposable nature of so much of today’s mainstream comics, and entertainment in general, it’s my fervent desire to create a work of lasting value.

Thank you for the excellent questions, Rik. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and your readers about ACP Comics, and to help spread the word about Forbidden Gallery #2. We’re very proud of what we’ve done and hope you will love it.

Pre-Order Forbidden Gallery #2

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