Interview With Writer Benton Rooks About His Comic Kali-Yuga
Rip: What makes Kali-Yuga # 1 unique versus other indie comics?
Benton Rooks: I tried from the outset to make the KALI-YUGA universe feel like watching a dark fantasy film, and I encouraged Juan to explore a painterly style in the illustration of the first issue. This story was inspired in part by my friendship with mythologist John David Ebert, who worked for the Joseph Campbell foundation as an editor and went on to do a recent book I did a foreword for called Giant Humans, Tiny Worlds: Adventures in the Universe of Graphic Novels looking at how mythology relates to technology, the information age and graphic novels.
Rip: What was a comic that inspired your work on this Kali-Yuga # 1?
Benton Rooks: Like many others, Grant Morrison's oevure was what introduced me to meta-fiction and comics as a sort of image magic in general. Invisibles also introduced a very interesting and complex gnostic philosophy--it was almost a treatise on metaphysics in some ways, and especially when I had found out how much The Matrix really borrowed from Morrison, it became a standard reference for how to do sci-fi tropes properly in stories for me. But I have been inspired by all sort of things outside of comics too, such as The Worm Ouroboros, which I first learned of in a list I found online of Neil Gaiman's favorite books.
Rip: Why did you decide to have a foreword written?
Benton Rook: It was important for me to re-envision the possibility for the dark a-moral wizard archetype to be re-introduced, because I feel the more campy variety has been done more lately in Adventure Time and also in Terry Pratchett's work. This approach is great and very funny, but I liked the slightly more scary approach that Clark Ashton Smith had in his own Smythos universe in approach to the wizard archetype. I kind of wanted to inject a bit more horror back into general fantasy tropes.
Works in the YUGAVERSE deal with the central question of how the East and the West orient themselves fundamentally different in regards to metaphysical practices, but this aspect I feel is more strongly pronounced in TRETA-YUGA, the prequel to KALI-YUGA, which will be up on Kickstarter very soon.
Rip: Will people be able to buy this first issue online and if so where? Are there any upcoming conventions you will be going to sell your work at soon?
Benton Rooks. Those interested can find this on Amazon, where a digital version and print options are available. I'm very excited because I will be selling this issue, along with new work while attending a number of different cons in an upcoming 2014-2015 tour. I will announce this on social networks as they are determined.