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

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Seasons – Kickstarter

Link to Seasons Kickstarter

The story of SEASONS (written by Nandor Fox Shaffer) revolves around one character, Fletcher Hart Iiams, a misunderstood, average young man who isn’t happy with his life anymore and has run away from almost everything and everyone.

Kickstarter, Seasons, Nandon Fox

I had the opportunity to have some of Nandor’s time to talk about Seasons and life in general.

What was your inspiration for Seasons?

SEASONS was undoubtedly birthed from this need I had to write something meaningful and thought-provoking for people to experience. That’s one reason. Another was attempting to create a story and character (Fletcher) that I could personally relate to. There isn’t many characters in fiction (that I’ve seen, in any case) who I feel has gone through what I have in my own life or reacts the same way I do in certain situations. Fletcher is my attempt to bring to readers a character that is searching for meaning in his own life and this search goes farther than feeling fulfilled with what material things or even close relationships with others can give you. And he himself isn’t even aware of what’s going on with him literally and allegorically, which just makes it even more real to me.

SEASONS is about facing yourself, the world, and the unknown and growing through those sobering experiences. I’m not saying other stories haven’t tackled these themes, however, I feel most don’t go deep enough. SEASONS aims to get to the core of what it means to live on this blue speck of a planet. A technical and more of a storytelling inspiration for SEASONS came about by how attractive the idea was to follow someone month by month through one year of his life and how the ‘seasons’ of the year themselves grant a person different sets of powers. That’s when I knew I had this undeniably neat creative hook. I fell in love with that idea and just couldn’t let it go or allow someone else to beat me to it.

How was it like designing the main character, Fletcher?

It was pretty instantaneous, really. Before Anthony even began drawing up sketches of Fletcher, I knew how I wanted him to look. I had a distinct image in my head of his hair color and body-type very early on in the writing process, and the finished product is exactly how I imagined him to look, be and overall feel. But no, Fletcher’s design isn’t based on anyone specifically.

I put together a little character bio sheet that had photo references to a young Tom Cruise and Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who) but that was mainly to give Anthony a visual example of what I was wanting. Same goes for the shadow-selves in the book. I knew how I wanted them to look — ghostly, creepy, purplish — and then Anthony brought the design in my head to the page.

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Kickstarter, Seasons, Nandon Fox

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Kickstarter, Seasons, Nandon Fox

What movies or comics have been an inspiration to you?

While I think stories and fictional characters have always been somewhat instrumental in influencing the person I am today, it wasn’t until I discovered Doctor Who, specifically the recent 11th Doctor era with Matt Smith, three to four years ago that catapulted me towards a love and admiration for storytelling. That’s where it all goes back to for me. Putting it bluntly, Doctor Who changed my life in a creative sense. I remember watching those episodes (especially the ones written by Steven Moffat, current showrunner of the series and probably television’s smartest writer) and I was in absolute awe at the dialogue, plots, and imagination involved. It blew my mind. If it wasn’t for Doctor Who and Moffat, who knows if I would’ve typed one word of SEASONS.

Other movies or television would include Star Wars, of course, many of the comic book-based films, anything that Christopher Nolan does, and I’ve also become a massive fan of USA’s Mr. Robot. On a side note, the creator of Mr. Robot, Sam Esmail, wrote and directed a artsy romantic dramedy called Comet that is exceptionally noteworthy. On the comic book side of things, Jonathan Hickman is most likely the biggest reason why I wanted to create and write comic books. His runs on Fantastic Four/FF and Avengers/New Avengers made me fall in love with the medium. I hold his New Avengers run in high regard. It should be in the top 10 Marvel Comics runs of all time. Because of Hickman, I’ve never looked at comics the same since reading his phenomenal work. Creators Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns, Scott McCloud, and James O’Barr’s The Crow have greatly inspired me as well.

What is your writing style? Do you plan everything (outlines etc.) or organic writing and see where the story leads?

It’s a mix a both, but I’m more of an architect than one who improvises. I usually know where I’m going from the very beginning. That said, better ideas come up as I write or an idea I thought was great for some reason just doesn’t fit when I try to place it in the story. I do know that I don’t like to handcuff myself to an outline in case there’s something I could miss. So all of my main plot points are permanent, but a lot of what happens in between has to feel natural, and the most organic way for me to do that is to take it one step at a time as I’m writing the script. Just panel by panel, page by page — think about what’s going on in the story at the moment and then find the most consistent and entertaining way I can get to where I want the story to satisfyingly end up.

What was your drive to write?

I really began to have an itch for writing when I was around 13 years old. I would write blogs and articles about video games and comics on certain sites and took “how” I conveyed what I felt pretty seriously. It was like this challenge I put upon myself to express my thoughts as articulate and creative as possible. I just honestly fell in love with words and in the ways you could use them. Then I began to realize more and more how everything I enjoyed — movies, music, video games, comics — began with an idea, and then those ideas were written down, and what was written down could, with a lot of hard work and long hours put in, eventually turn into a profound, powerful creation that impacted millions of people.

Stories could make us feel things we’d never felt before and touch us in ways that are wholly unique. And…I wanted in on that. I wanted to write and create something that would affect people, something meaningful and lasting. Fictional stories in general have brought me so much joy, laughter, hope as well as sadness, heartache, and terror, and I just have this desire to tap into what stories can do to the human soul. It’s supernatural, in a sense.

You mentioned in the KS video you gave up college. Was that a hard decision? Would you do anything differently?

It was a hard decision. I never expected to leave college during this time, but trying to write the series while working my day job and then pushing SEASONS out there on social media just wouldn’t allow for it (neither would the budget). I was juggling too many things at once and I just knew I couldn’t focus on school if I wanted to seriously pursue this. There’s also that possible stigma from people, “You dropped out of college???” And then, even worse, “You dropped out of college to write comic books???” It sounds like the illogical thing to do, but that’s what I love about dreams. It’s not about what’s reasonable, it’s about having faith and believing in yourself despite what others think.

I plan on going back to college at some point, but there’s also a part of me that thinks, “Hey, if SEASONS takes off, don’t bother.” Jokes aside, though, I’m hoping it wasn’t a mistake to postpone my education. That’s why I really need the Kickstarter for SEASONS Vol. 1: Spring to succeed — I’ll be at rest that my leaving wasn’t in vain. I’ll know for sure that you don’t need college to fulfill your dream goals in life.

I wish you all the best in this Kickstarter. The story sounds very interesting and the artwork is stunning!

Please check out Nandor’s work and support it if you can.

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