January 2015



Creating a graphic novel but stopping along the way to take some photos, eat some food and admire great art!

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Xtreme Champion Tournament (XCT) by Shaun Paulet

Check out Issue #2 on Kickstarter NOW!

I had the opportunity to review XCT (Xtreme Champion Tournament) #0 & #1 and discuss the story with the creator Shaun Paulet. However I do want to showcase that XCT #2 is currently on Kickstarter! Please check out the Kickstarter and support this great Australian story!

XCT #2 Cover :
Shaun Paulet, XCT, Kickstarter, Xtreme Champion Tournament, Spartacus

XCT #0 & #1 Review :
XCT #0 starts out as Spartacus is being flanked by different Roman armies and he makes one risky play for glory. Unfortunately for Spartacus, his plan does not succeed and this sets up the premise of the story. Spartacus is revived in the future to battle in a future gladiatorial arena!

XCT #0 Cover :
Shaun Paulet, XCT, Kickstarter, Xtreme Champion Tournament, Spartacus

XCT #1 Cover :
Shaun Paulet, XCT, Kickstarter, Xtreme Champion Tournament, Spartacus

In Issue #0, Paulet maintains a similar story of Spartacus’s demise. Although the reader does know where the story will end, the writing from Paulet and Brendan Halyday is crisp with an attention to dialogue. Jerry Gaylord’s (artist) pencils in the origin story suits the kinetic fight scenes and I was actually hoping that somehow Spartacus would be able to defeat the Romans! It’s a very minor detail but a darker colour scheme with more shadows would have suited this issue #0 as it is very much the “tragic” opening chapter.

Shaun Paulet, XCT, Kickstarter, Xtreme Champion Tournament, Spartacus

Issue #1 changes everything as Paulet resets the world. With Spartacus brought back to life, this is a platform to now launch some great stories! The artwork against compliments the writing and the fight sequences are amazing. There is very good sequential panels which convey the movement of the battle! Again (it’s a very minor detail), a darker colour scheme would better suit the fight sequences however does not distract from the story.

I’m eagerly anticipating the building on the story arc and seeing the story develop. It’s off to a great start.

Shaun Paulet, XCT, Kickstarter, Xtreme Champion Tournament, Spartacus

Thanks for the opportunity to review XCT #0 and #1. Good luck on the Kickstarter launch of #2! Why did you pick a historical figure like Spartacus? What was the inspiration behind it?

I have always liked mythological stories, but especially the individual story of Spartacus ever since I saw the Kirk Douglas version when I was a kid.

I remember that movie! I am Spartacus! Anyway Why Spartacus?

I have always been intrigued by those who are able to inspire passion in others and I have found how Spartacus was able to raise an army and fight Rome a quite intriguing story, especially as there is not that much actually written about him. Recently the rise of the sport UFC has also become a strong passion of mine, being something as close to gladiatorial sport as you can get this day and age.

The inspiration of the series came after the end of the TV Series Spartacus from STARZ ended. I really didn’t want the story to end there and wanted more. I found myself dreaming of a story where he was cloned and then forced back into a Gladiatorial environment like the UFC in the future. At 3pm in the morning I jumped out of bed and started writing down everything I could. And that’s where XCT was created.

How far have you plotted out the story? Do you have a definite ending you want to reach?

There is a generic plot for about 36 issues of the series with an ending I would like to reach. In saying that some great advice I received off David Peterson (creator of Mouse Guard) is that not to be too set on any one thing. Like anything else creative a comic is a living thing and can change depending on readers, certain events or perception. Being open to things changing is the best way to keep your series interesting and interactive with fans.

Jerry was great find. As I mentioned in my review, very fluid fight sequences. What was the process to find him?

This process was much easier than I would have thought. It was a bit of luck in timing also. Jerry had just finished his run on Boom Studios Fanboys Vs Zombies which I had loved. When I knew the series was ending and the current artist I had planned to work with pulled out, I thought what couldn’t hurt emailing him to see if he was available. After a day or too he seemed interested in the project and has been on the series ever since and is signed on to do the first story arc which ends with issue #4.

One thing that’s part of your promotional pack is that you got actors from the Spartacus (TV Series) involved with your project! How did that happen?

I have to give both the actors from the series and the conventions Supanova, Dallas Comic Con and Rebels Convention a big thankyou in regards to this as without the help of the event organisers and the willingness of the actors I don’t think I would have been able to get them involved. Most of the actors from the STARZ series are either Australian or New Zealand so when they heard about the creation of a new Spartacus story they were only more than happy to get involved. Now having attended a few conventions with both Manu and Liam they are always great in catching up with me, tweeting about the series or just chatting about all things pop culture. I was quite surprised about how geeky Liam actually was.

What’s the next steps? Planning to reach out to more countries?

Having done most conventions in Australia I really wanted to take XCT international and with the creation of some Spartacus conventions it gave me a great opportunity to visit other countries and reach other Spartacus fans. Also with the creation of regional con’s like Sugar City and TropiCon it’s been a fantastic to bring my product to a regional fan base. They don’t always get these type of events and I felt like I had to make the effort to give back and support some of the smaller conventions.

Thanks for your time to answer the questions.
Good luck with your Kickstarter!

Check out Issue #2 on Kickstarter NOW!

Shaun Paulet, XCT, Kickstarter, Xtreme Champion Tournament, Spartacus

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