Vault's Open Source takes you behind the scenes of what goes into building a comic as told by the people who are producing the titles you love.
Eliot Rahal is the mastermind behind the new shared-universe Cult Classic. We chatted with him recently about making comics and his answers made us laugh, cry, and nod in that knowing kind of way.
What role do you play in the creation of a comic book?
That's an interesting way to ask that question. Aside from the standard writer/co-creator perspective...I'd say I usually like to play the part of communicator. The listener. If there is ever a problem, I want people to be able to come to me and express themselves in a safe environment. Making a comic, at any stage, can cause a lot of different kinds of stress. It's an exercise in patients and kindness. Helping to create trust amongst everyone is the best way to guarantee the best of everyone. That's how you create good work.
Who or what influenced you to get into your craft?
You know what? I think about that a lot. Like...How did I get here? Is any of this real? What exactly am I getting so incredibly stressed out about again? Because the reason why I'm here. The reason I create comics. It's simple. It's love. I just really like cool stuff, and I always take things way too far.
If you could have lunch with any comic character, who would it be and why?
Superman. I've been really getting into Superman lately. It's like...every single word he said to you would be like the most important words you ever hear.
What is Cult Classic and why should people be reading it?
Some of my favorite things growing up was sitting in the basement at night, and watching TV by myself. I know that sounds sad, but it wasn’t. I remember finding a VHS copy of the 1951 “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” I watched it by myself in front of this giant tube TV Zenith television we had. It was like an alter. Late night TV movies from when I was like six/seven years old were my entry way into comics. Into culture. The idea behind Cult Classic is that everything is going to be set in the fictional town of Whisper -- The most haunted town in America! It’s our Springfield from “The Simpsons” or Astro City but set in the “Twilight Zone.” We invite different creators to come and tell different stories. Everyone builds the world together. We all own a piece.
What's the biggest challenge in creating a shared universe for comics?
The whole thing.
In a perfect world, how would you like to see Cult Classic grow for yourself and other creators?
To grow a thing where everyone is happy and happily participants. I want different creators to come in and tell their stories, feel like the creators, and have contributed to something larger. My growth is with the projects.
Do you have a process or activity that helps generate new ideas?
I just get carried away from time to time, really.
What's the best advice you could give to a new creator?
Write. Make. Create. And chill (trust me the most on that one).
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
Aside from Cult Classic? I'm currently doing Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe. Also, I’m going to be contributing to The Corpus Anthology which launches on Kickstarter very soon. I’m also doing two other pretty exciting things this year, but I can’t say anything about those just yet.
What other published credits do you have out there for people who want to pick up your work?
Cult Classic (coming soon!), Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe, The Doorman, and The Paybacks!
How can people follow you on social media?
@eliotrahal on twitter is just fine by me!