Faithstar Comics Interview
Rasmussen: Good day, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us abit about yourself. Image 1 of 1. Click to enlarge
Rick Madison: Rick Madison, CEO of FAITHSTAR COMICS inc.
Rasmussen: The Secret Origins of Faithstar Comics. Tell us how it came to be and it’s present disposition on the eve of it’s 4th Anniversary (May 17th 2009)?
Rick Madison: Well I've always been a fan of comics, When I was 29yrs old I was in the hospital for chronic heart failure, I saw an article (don't want to say where) but it talked about 2 icons using foul language, having sex etc.... To me that's not why I loved comics. Now I understand you have to follow culture but there are ways doing it with out going overboard to shock your audience, plus I have 3 boys and I don't want them to feel that they have a trend. So I decided to not whine about it but to do something, Faith Star Comics inc. was formed.
Rasmussen: Icons? I don’t suppose you remember which Icons? I have to admit I never heard of that one before… or I did and it’s so not synching with me right now… might be both considering…
Rick Madison: Doesn’t matter now almost everyone is extreme with making comics R- rated
Rasmussen: So… (and that is such a negative portrayal of comics since there are still a large section of E for Everyone content out there and you know it as well as I do)… anyway 4th Anniversary (which means Faithstar has managed to outlive former rival faith based company Realbuzz by a full year)… there is no strife we need to know about, is there? Anything that might doom Faithstar in the coming months that we should be overtly concerned about… is there?
Rick Madison: First of all in this genre you have to be able to diversify meaning don't be afraid of change, and realize in this business selling comic books will not pay the bills. You also have to love this, an be a student of the game. I don't foresee any problems coming up.
Rasmussen: So the business of faith based comics is pretty harsh then as you can‘t make a living off of the faith based comic business? Is it because the target audience is so small, or is it because not enough is done to draw in a more diverse audience (in your opinion)?
Rick Madison: Yes, it is hard to make a living off just selling comics in the faith based field.
Rasmussen: Briefly on another faith based comic that people in the Faith Based industry of comics seem to be avoiding. Archangel, the comic created a few years back by the New York Catholic Archdiocese. So far I’ve asked a few in the Faith Based industry about it and either they haven’t heard of it, or didn’t want to weight in on the topic. Have you heard of this, and/or are willing to go on the record with your opinion of the title and the controversies surrounding it?
Rick Madison: I haven't heard anything negative about Archangels, I did buy a copy a couple of years ago, I liked it. You my opinion about the title is simply put It makes you think and start religious conversation which is always good.
Rasmussen: But what about allegations that the title seems to focus on warning kids about sexual predators (if I remember right) but completely dances about the scandal concerning priests doing the exact thing it’s warning kids to stay away from (as it seems to not even
broach the possibility that people in trust, including priests, could also be capable of acting inappropriately towards children)? Where do you stand on this? Should they have honestly included that information in their comic and said (basically) “Hey, we’re not perfect. And your kids should be aware that even priests can be fallable, and he/she should not be pressured to keep quiet if his/her priest is the one doing things they’re not comfortable with.” (or something to that effect)? And since you have children did you not feel that the title did not really reach far enough to give enough info to protect children (and possibly (allegedly) whitewashed too much that was against the church’s best interest)?
Rick Madison: I must have misunderstood the question. the book arch-angels I liked, now the whole thing about the priest, well as parents we have to keep are eyes open, and when our children are expossed to that directly or indirectly We have to communicate to them the bad and good and the truth about people. I don’t think the book did what they wanted to do, I think you cant be scared to tell the complete truth and if the church doesn’t approve then go at it alone.
Rasmussen: I am pretty sure you mean the WRONG “Archangel” title (which is probably the reason why the NY Catholic Archdiocese picked such a generic title for their comic slash coloring book project). But still, even then, how could you have not heard the negative press? If you google the title you can see both pro and con about the title and those who spoke out against it… but then again mind you I already heard denial a few times already so it seems it might be quite easy to have missed news on this comic.
Rick Madison: I didn’t write arch angels so its not my job to worry about what there doing, I cant judge them but what i can do is try to make people aware of what I see.
Rasmussen: That’s kind of a negative approach to the situation (come on, you must have some stance even if you were not tied to Project Archangel). Well, let’s move on all the same shall we? In your Facebook introduction to Faithstar Comics you mention that your companies releases would be “an alternative to secular comic book that may contain spiritually questionable material.”, could you elaborate on what you meant by that and what you see as “spiritually questionable material”?
Rick Madison: Not may, It will have spiritual suggestions in every copy of each book, by placing scriptures that fits the title of each book.
Rasmussen: Question then, that’s not what I was asking. In your Facebook intro you mention “spiritually questionable material”. Could you elaborate as to your definition of “spiritually questionable material”, and you believe said material is “spiritually questionable”?
Rick Madison: Yes, I will be matching scriptures with the title so you'll actually be able to go to the bible an get my translation that fits that verse, so its like giving real life situations combine with scriptures to help you get through.
Rasmussen: But that does NOTHING to say what you consider as “spiritually questionable material”! I… OK, ok, moving on. Again, from the introduction, you say “we can creatively present biblical principles to encourage and initiate interest in seeking a deep and loving relationship with Jesus Christ.”. In regard to the series and story content can you explain how you do that, in presenting both biblical principles and a better understanding of Jesus Christ? Also can you note any specific examples from recent or upcoming title releases that best exemplify each in action?
Rick Madison: Its it goes back to you have to love this, you have to love talking about god, the gospel. That's all I can say without giving my secrets away. Angel-21 will give the first example of my goals.
Rasmussen: Can you tell us how, specifically or generally, Angel-21’s upcoming release factors in with your goals you mentioned concerning the presentation of biblical principals and a better understanding of Jesus Christ?
Rick Madison: You have to read it Ill give you a free copy, and you'll see what exactly what I'm talking about.
Rasmussen: OK, looking forward to reviewing your content then. Now, Super Heroes in Christian Faith Based comics. An excerpt from my interview with Buzz Dixon/Marlon Schulman (Realbuzz Studios)…
Buzz Dixon: “SERENITY began as a project for Stan Lee Media when I was his vice president of creative affairs. Someone suggested Stan do a Christian comic, Stan looked around and saw the only overt Christian in the crowd was me, and gave me the task.
My market research indicated superheroes would not be received well in the Christian booksellers market, and at the same time tween girls were just beginning to catch the manga wave via SAILOR MOON et al. So I proposed a comedic teen soap opera about an unhappy girl who finds a happy ending. Stan, however, wanted to concentrate solely on superhero concepts, so we had a mutually amicable parting of the ways.”
So then, question, why do you feel super hero themed faith based titles will work with another faith based company, Realbuzz Studios, crunched the same numbers of the Christian marketplace and found the exact opposite (that superheroes would not be received well in the Christian booksellers market)?
Rick Madison: OK, If you want it to work, Get off your but an make it work. Look Marvel survived by making you believe you that they were the greatest and people bought it why cause they're in your face telling you that they are. You have to believe that about your self and put in the work go out and promote even if don't have a book done promote the characters even if money is tight buy a ticket to a con and put flyer's on cars then leave, regardless work!
Rasmussen: So how has the faith based comic community reacted to Faithstar Comics?
Rick Madison: Faithstar Comics? Well people love the characters and the preview book I released a few months ago.
Rasmussen: Overall, have the returns yet on sales been promising, or do you feel there is abit of work left to be done before you reach that level where you can say “We’re getting there” in terms of overall sales?
Rick Madison: Preorders are going well, there always more work to be done until im in the top 5, overall sales its getting better.
Rasmussen: So then, Happy Anniversary again. What are your plans to celebrate the 4th Anniversary of Faithstar this year?
Rick Madison: Cant celebrate yet, not where I want be yet.
Rasmussen: Where do you want to be, in terms of Faithstar Comics and it’s publishing, one year down the line? Six (at the 10th Anniversary) and so on?
Rick Madison: In one year I just want be moving forward in this fellowship, in 6yrs I want to be #1 in the Christian market, In 10yrs I want to be mention in the same breathe with MARVEL, DC Comics & Top Cow.
Rasmussen: On the Faithstar website (can you provide us with a link so we can check out your homepage for ourselves?) you speak of the "enlightenment of non believers"… how exactly do you propose this (and who are, in your opinion, the “non believers”?)
Rick Madison: When I say non-believers I mean everyone who doesn't believe in god. I think I was put on this earth to give folks a new perspective on what faith in god is all about.
Rasmussen: Well then how do you propose to change the beliefs of those who don’t believe in god, and (well) why… do I not have the right to believe in as I see fit without others trying to change my beliefs to fit their own views of the world?
Rick Madison: My place is not change your beliefs, Its my goal to help you get a better view of why you might want to believe in god, you may have had a bad experience in church (etc).
Rasmussen: Why do you always believe it’s our faults we don’t believe in god enough? OK. Series questions. For each series can you tell us abit about the series and the latest issues out (and coming in the near future)
(Also if possible please tie together characters to the specific titles they belong to (if x amount of characters belong to one title together) and tell us abit about the titles and, if possible, the title’s “secret origins” (how each title came to be and what inspirations each title or character drew from for their invention)?
Angel 21 (upcoming May 2009 issue), Ascension, Black Halo, Blud Wolf, Colossian, Ghost Ram, Malachi "The Prophet", Osiris "The 9th Bishop", Sinister Pope, Soldier Priest, Swift Spirit, Thorn Cross
Rick Madison: About future books trust me the story lines will be fresh and exciting. Faith Star is a universe so everyone is connected and will still have there own books.
Rasmussen: But that answer (about Faithstar’s characters and their upcoming titles) really doesn’t answer anything… again. OK then narrow it to the Summer 09’ line up. Can you at least tell us about the titles coming from May to August 2009? And… reaching abit… at least hint at how 2009 will close (what we can expect at least in titles without any detail)?
Rick Madison: Angel-21 "Genesis" in May covers The Origin of Angel-21, Soldier Preist "Blood of Our Father" is in August, Ghost RAM " Ram in sheeps clothing" comes in Dec.
Rasmussen: Well… at least you managed to confess that much to us… heh… I said “confess”… anyway from the sampling of characters above (and from what I can see the above is about… hmm.. 33% more or less of what the site says you have? (36 characters to date if I remember right, apologies if I miffed my numerical memorization).
So question, from the sampling of characters above (that have character sketches on your website) does there seem to be a rather heavy emphasis on one specific ethnicity in characters? Also while I do remember one female character on your Facebook page there seems to be an overall lack of main lead female characters, not to mention characters of different and varying ethnicities… or am I wrong? (Do I need to dig deeper into the titles to see the IDIC of Faithstar’s character lineup?)
(Ask your best Trekkie what IDIC means if you don’t know.)
Rick Madison: Aw just want to give people a taste, I actually have more than 37 :) including some powerful women.
Rasmussen: Can you give us any specific info on female driven titles you have coming in the near future? Also, back to ethnicity again, can you explain why the previews you have to date lean seemingly heavy on a specific ethnicity and if we can expect (again) any IDIC in your line-up of characters in the coming days, months and so on?
Rick Madison: With female characters coming soon, Cross Star you'll see her in some team ups early next year first, she'll have her own title after we build her up
I guess cause I’m African American so I’d like to see more African American heroes, but I do have several other ethnicities such as Asian, Latin, Caucasian. You'll see new characters on the site in July.
Rasmussen: OH-kay… telling me you got someone as a sidekick for next year and maybe get a title later on isn’t a proud exclamation of your company’s “powerful women”… well, launch of online comic content on the webpage. When will you begin putting up content and what will the first titles be like?
Rick Madison: Ghost Ram will have the 1st online webisode coming this July.
Rasmussen: Tell us about Ghost Ram and it’s July Webisode launch… and because you’ve been avoiding the topic, tell us about this month’s Angel-21 issue.
Rick Madison: Ghost RAM online webisode is just his introduction don’t want to give his series away (simalaraties to Joshua meets Nightwing with Ironman technology) Angel-21 issue is his origin
Rasmussen: Well you shouldn’t have to worry about giving nothing away… you seem to have to whole secrecy thing down. How does Faithstar stand up next to other faith based comic companies out now? How would you compare your line up to your fellow contemporaries and what do you offer that you feel makes Faithstar a cut above the competition (so to speak)?
Rick Madison: I'm actually apart of joint novel with other Christian publishers coming this fall, so its cool I think some are just happy drawing and that's OK but this is my business also something I can pass down to my boys, as far as competition well its really not about that its about getting the word out there so hmmm.... Its about pushing.
Rasmussen: Tell us more about this joint novel you have coming up in the Fall (comic or prose)? Also will you be carrying it on your site or provide a link to it when it goes on sale?
Rick Madison: The novel doesnt have a title yet, The guys who are handling it have not decide it yet, Its basicly Superfriends save the world from demonic creatures. yes it will be on my site for sale (no date as of yet).
Rasmussen: Where can we go to pick up Faithstar Comics? Both physically (real comic shops) and online?
Rick Madison: I'm currently working on consignments at Christian family bookstores, soon online.
Rasmussen: When, exactly, does online sales start (and what titles can we expect to be the first to go on sale online)? Also can you tell us what Christian family bookstores carry your titles at present? (Who knows, we might even have a branch or two of said bookstores here on the Big Island!)
Rick Madison: Selling comics online will start in july (god willing) with Angel-21 will be first. As far as Christian Family bookstores I dont have a contract with them, I do consignments locally in the Tri-state area De, Ny, Phila, hopefully my sales will improve so I can get a contract.
Rasmussen: Any final words for our readers?
Image 1 of 1. Click to enlarge
Rick Madison: Stay Blessed
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