While Jason Pearson might be best known for his work on Deadpool and various cover work, the Atlanta-based artist's most personal project has been Body Bags. First published by Dark Horse in 1996, Pearson has revisited the series in several subsequent series for other publishers but now is on the cusp of doing it on his own -- with a little help from fans.
Earlier this month Pearson launched a Kickstarter for a new Body Bags series called "Don't Die Until I Kill You," and it rapidly broke its $20,000 funding goal and is nearing the 200% mark as it closes Wednesday. Calling the fan reaction "incredible," Pearson talked with Newsarama about plans for his new series.
Newsarama: Jason, you've worked on Body Bags on and off since 1993. Why do you think it's still so relevant and important to you?
Jason Pearson: Body Bags tells a story that I would like to see. Can't explain it any better than- it's a way to make ends meet.
Nrama: How has your thoughts and opinions on Body Bags changed since 1993?
Pearson: Well, the concept came to me in 1993. I didn't write the story until 1995 and the book wasn't finished until 1996. Originally, it was part of a group effort, from Gaijin Studios, called "Blanc Noir". My book, so far, is the only surviving story line from that time.
The book has changed as much as I have.
Nrama: This new storyline you have planned, "Don't Die Until I Kill You," what is it about?
Pearson: "Don't Die Until I Kill You" is a message from God story. A crossroads story. Whether it's for the characters or for me. Either way, it's a precursor for the next Body Bags mini-series titled "Vicious.”
Nrama: Can you tell us about the plot of "Don't Die Until I Kill You?"
Pearson: Told you in the previous questions as much as I am going to tell anybody. It's a crossroads story for Mack and Panda as well, as myself. You, like everybody else will have to read the book for more than that.
Nrama: How do you think your style has evolved since the last major Body Bags story you did at 12 Gauge?
Pearson: Drastically, I have changed a lot. So, expect the story to be drastically different.
Nrama: Speaking of 12 Gauge, you've published this with Dark Horse, Image and 12 Gauge over the years. Why'd you decide to forgo those now and go it your own for "Don't Die Until I Kill You?
Pearson: I'm still with Keven Gardner and 12 Gauge. Why I left Dark Horse? I wrote and drew an entire six issue Body Bags mini-series in 1999 and scrapped it because I didn't like it. Dark Horse wasn't happy with that decision so we parted ways. Keven wanted me to revive Body Bags in 2004 but he had to partner with Image to get publisher creditability with Diamond.
Other publishers will only pay upfront page rates, nowadays if they can 'own' a percentage of the book (strictly for Hollywood purposes). Body Bags is and will be a 100% me.
Nrama: You estimate this to be at least 80 pages, with a May 2016 ship date. How much of the book have you completed so far?
Pearson: I went with the minimum amount for doing the book because I didn't really believe anybody would care to see Body Bags again. The result was surprising even to me but I need more contributions or donations to make at least 96 pages, which is the equivalent of the original series. The book's script is being finalized now. Once the Kickstarter money comes in, I'll start drawing.
Nrama: And for this you're inking and coloring your own work. I know you've done this here on select things and covers, but what led you to decide to take it on for this 80pp project?
Pearson: On Facebook, I did a series of three page stories for free called Body Bags "Threebies". I needed to construct a creative style that would enable me to write, pencil, ink, and color for production purposes. I was happy with the result of the work.
Nrama: You've already made your stated goal of $20,000: what will that go towards? You've admitted this is your first time with Kickstarter, so how are you breaking it down into your page rate to live, and then for the printing & distribution of the books?
Pearson: I made the basic goal of paying for my rent and bills for a few months but anybody who has been in the industry knows that it takes more than $20,000 to do a mini-series. Even though I'm doing 90% of the work, I have to find a way to pay the letterer, color flatter, publishing and printing costs. So there are stretch goals on Kickstarter for people to contribute to.
Nrama: Could you see yourself doing more Kickstarters in the future, given how quick you reached the goal of the first one?
Pearson: Hopefully, I will make enough on this Kickstarter project and through my own efforts, afford my own projects like the next Body Bags series and other non Body Bags related projects.