Dustin Weaver made a name for himself drawing Star Wars, Infinity, and Secret Wars' The Infinity Gauntlet, but now he's going to space for himself in the new creator-owned title Paklis.
Launching this week from Image Comics, Paklis is an anthology of various stories written and drawn by Weaver - some ongoing, some shorts, and some just one issue's length. One part Amazing Stories and one part Heavy Metal, Weaver's Paklis kicks off with the over-arching epic Sagittarius A*, the 10-issue long Amnia Cycle, and the short Mushroom Bodies.
Weaver talked with Newsarama about this three-ring anthology circus Weaver is doing, who he might bring in to help, and how he's pulling it all together.
Newsarama: Dustin, in your own words what is Paklis? It’s an anthology, right?
Dustin Weaver: Yes, it's an anthology. It'll have both long stories and short stories. My hope is to always have something new going on in each issue. It's a place where I can basically create anything and do anything. It's really the ultimate dream project.
Nrama: I remember some of these as webcomics, but aren't some of them new or updated?
Weaver: Yeah, I was putting Amnia Cycle and Sagittarius A* online a while back. I stopped putting them online, once I got it in my head to do an anthology. I'm doing some rewriting on them. Not a lot. The idea with Amnia was to be making it up as I went. It's supposed to be raw. Reworking it too much would undermine that I think. There are new stories. In issue one there's a short story called Mushroom Bodies, and in Paklis #2 there will be a short story called An Empty Shell in the Ocean, which will have a longer sequel that I plan on starting in #9. In #5I'll start a three-part story.
Sagittarius A*will be an ongoing strip and Amnia will end at Paklis #1.
Nrama: Besides you being the one doing them, what connects these stories? Is there a shared theme?
Weaver: I believe there are shared themes, but I'm not consciously trying to connect the stories in any way. Each story is its own independent thing. At least so far. I wouldn't rule out the idea of a crossover. There's room to have all sorts of fun.
Nrama: So what does the word “Paklis” mean for this?
Weaver: "Paklis" is a name my daughter, Lucy, made up. When she was real little she would name all her stuffed animals and toys, and most of the names were things she made up. One of the stuffed animals was Snowy from Tintin. She named him Paklis. I thought it was a cool sounding name. It sounds like "pack-less," like a loner. I ended up using the name for a dog-like animal in Amnia Cycle. I used it again for the name of the studio I had with some of my friends for about a year. For me, the name has taken on a meaning of independence, and it also has a connection back to comics through Tintin.
Realizing I could use the name for a comic anthology is almost what made doing an anthology possible. Coming up with a name for an anthology seems so tough. There are a good number of comic anthologies that have kind of nonsense words for titles. It works because it doesn't define what's inside.
Nrama: I've been wanting to see more of you writing work after Secret Wars' The Infinity Gauntlet. How does it feel to be in the thick of it right now, one day away from Paklis’s debut – at Image Comics, no less?
Weaver: This is certainly a big deal for me. The formation of Image was really significant for me. It's possible I wouldn't have pursued making comics if it hadn't been for Image. Being so close to having my first creator-owned comic out and have it be from Image is like the fulfillment of a journey I started when I was 13.
Nrama: I see you writing and drawing this - are you coloring, lettering, or anything else? Stapling and printing it even?
Weaver: [Laughs] Yeah. I'm leaving the cutting down the trees, the making the paper, the printing, and the stapling to a different guy. He'll get a small "special thanks to" in there. Yes, I'm doing all the coloring and the lettering, for the most part. Actually, I will have some recurring collaborations in Paklis. In issue two I collaborate with D.J. Bryant on An Empty Shell in the Ocean. Basically he had written a very short story. It was almost like a poem. He emailed it to me in the way that we might share sketches with one another. I loved it and asked if I could adapt it. I'm using it as a kind of primer for a longer story we want to do together a little further down the road. I set it in the world and used the lead character. D.J. actually hand-lettered this story.
D.J. has a book called Unreal City that comes out in August from Fantagraphics. Check that out when it comes out. I've read it. I'm certainly it's one of the best books of the year.
Nrama: Doing creator-owned comics after years of working for Dark Horse and Marvel. What's the new work life like?
Weaver: It's been weird. Creatively, it's been very satisfying, but it's strange to not really be answering to anyone. It feels like I'm not really working. Contributing to that feeling is that I haven't been making any money, because I won't make anything until the issues are published. I'm not getting that page rate. There's also the thing of doing everything myself. I'm wondering if I'll ever land on a consistent production process... It's harder, it's more fun, exciting, stressful, and uncertain... It's all I ever dreamed. [Laughs]
Nrama: So what are your big goals, overall?
Weaver: My goals are to continue to make stories I think are cool in Paklis for as long as I can, and to get better at creating those stories as I go.