Interview With Benton Rooks Creator Of Treta-Yuga And Kali-Yuga
Note: I did help fund the Kickstarter for this comic.
Rip: Treta-Yuga the second in your experimental comic series the Yugaverse, with Kali-Yuga being the first. So how long do you plan, or at least hope, for this series to be number-wise?
Benton Rooks: Well first off Benjamin thank you very much for taking interest in my work. It’s long been my ultimate dream to write comics that achieve both critical and commercial success with readers.
While KALI was somewhat experimental, I wanted TRETA to be a straight up dark fantasy story, with oversized and painterly, cinematic art.
TRETA is an epic but I’m not going to place a length limit on it just yet. I have material completed for (at least) a three volume trilogy. I am still very young in writer years, but this script is what everything has been building to since I finished my bachelors thesis on a proposal for a graphic novel some years ago.
I really want to dedicate the rest of my life to being the best writer I can be and not in a competitive way or anything; I really just want to feel satisfied with my creative work, on my own terms. It’s my hope to grow and evolve as I do so.
Rip: In regards to comic book conventions do you have any you plan on selling these at during the year of 2015?
Benton Rooks: While I would have loved to be at cons in 2015, it took some time to find the right artist for the trilogy and we are just now getting around to the completion of the first issue.
That being said, I would like 2016 to be a year full of dedicated touring. As of right now, I’m really excited to send out reviews to the press, begin to network more, and I’m focused on getting this action packed story out there to as many readers as possible.
Rip: Why did you decide to continue with Kickstarter instead of say Indiegogo which offers flexible funding?
Benton Rooks: Well, I had a background with Kickstarter as KALI had successfully been funded there. Comics are one of the most popular categories, but I felt that it was important to potential readers they know that I had previous (albeit very limited) experience writing in the medium. However I know other crowdfunding sites do offer other strategies and more options as you said.
Rip: Speaking personally for a moment do you ever suffer from burnout regarding any of your interests? If so how does this effect your work on related projects?
Benton Rooks: In the fourth grade I discovered my first fantasy story, The Hobbit. Since my discovery of dragons I’ve always loved reading, mythology, storytelling, and art. The passion for that stuff will always be there.
For a very brief period when I felt that I had to both illustrate and write TRETA on my own, I’ll openly admit I had a period of a few months where I was feeling way overwhelmed and stressed. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy creating the art—I learned a lot about myself and my strengths in being active about the character design and concepts directly. That helped a lot in the overall evolution of the script.
At the same time, I wasn’t going to delude myself in believing that I could create something visually on par with someone who had many more years of practice. The story is really personal and I didn’t want it to suffer because of my own inexperience. My producer and I also needed time to really save money in order to hire someone who was a pro.
Now that I’ve found a painter that delivers professional work (and really fast considering the assortment of references I’m always tracking down and throwing at him), I’ve just been happy with the visual appeal and feel really free simply to focus on the actual scripting of the story.
At this point I’m honestly just very excited to get the material out there as fast as possible for reactions, as fantasy stories are still underrepresented in the medium.
Rip: Now I would like to end with a fun question. What are your current top five comic companies based on the year you think they did some of their best work?
Benton Rooks: Like many others I grew up just like super hero stuff and only found indie/creator owned, or experimental comics later. I’ve respect for the big two for starting everything and being entrepreneurs in the comics medium that admittedly only recently began increasing in popularity because of the films. That said, there’s plenty of popular stuff I still watch, read, and love.
In regards to Western comics, I do love what I see coming out from Avatar Press, Image, Legendary, and Vertigo—I’m a bit behind on actually reading and keeping up with everything, but always try to look out for original stories and creator owned work. I’m a massive manga/anime fan as well.
Having an active career in the comics medium will inevitably open new collaboration and networking opportunities. So I'm looking forward to making more friends and actively supporting writers I love, too.