New Worlds Comics and the Terrorist Connection: Interview with CEO/Head Writer Guy Hasson
Today we are joined by Guy Hasson, the CEO of New Worlds Comics which has published both Wynter
, a sci-fi tale of social media gone wrong, and Goof
, a comedy about a superhero who just can't catch a break. He is also a writer, director and producer. Find out more about his many projects here.
You are a writer, director and producer at Old Man Productions. Can you explain what Old Man Productions is and what projects you’ve done with them?
[caption id="attachment_60496" align="aligncenter" width="339"]
Guy Hasson: Old Man Productions is named after my grandfather, who was a terrorist. No, no, the good kind of terrorist. The one we like today.
Sigh. Now I'm going to have to explain that.
My grandfather was born in Turkey in the beginning of the twentieth century. When he was two years old, his parents moved the entire family to Israel. Except it wasn't Israel then, it was Palestine, which was controlled by the British Mandate. Imagine the situation: You've got streams of Jews coming back to the Promised Land, you've got Arabs already living in the land, and it's all controlled by the British Empire. That's not a powder keg, right?
So. In his teenage years he did what everybody did – he joined the freedom fighting groups fighting both the British and the Arabs for the land. The group he joined was all about using terror against the other two sides to drive them out of the country. To make a verrrry long story short, after Israel got its independence and following its Independence War, my grandfather made a hard 180 and, unlike all his friends who were die-hard nationalists till the day they died, became an ultra-lefty, super-activist liberal.
In his seventies, he wrote a book called The Old Man and I
, in which his young self, disappointed that he didn’t kill anyone, confronted his old self, who fought for other principles, for betraying the principles he grew up on. It's a fascinating read, but it's in Hebrew.
In any case, eleven years ago I was trying to find financing for a horror TV series I'd written on spec. I'd gotten a little funding and wanted to get the rest from Hollywood. When trying to approach Hollywood studios, I thought it'd be prudent for me, Mr. Newbie No-Name Nobody, to have a company name that sounded like it's existed for quite a while. So I called it Old Man Productions, as a tribute to my wonderful grandfather.
That's how Old Man Productions came to be. Although the original production fell through, I've produced a few theater shows through the company, as well as wrote, directed and produced a feature-length indie SF film called Heart of Stone
about a man who has non-human emotions (as opposed to inhuman emotions), and an underground SF web-series called The Indestructibles
about dead superheroes.
And finally we get to last year, when I launched New Worlds Comics on Feb. 2014. To be dry about it: New Worlds Comics is the name of the brand, but the company is Old Man Productions.
You are the CEO and head writer of New Worlds Comics. How is New Worlds Comics different from other comic book publishers?
Hasson: New Worlds Comics has a few core principles.
One: We make art. That means:
- We bring you top-notch stories and top-notch art.
- We’re looking for artist who create art, not product.
- We treat our artists as artists. They get a cut from every sale of their book. Because artists should be able to live off their art.
- One story per writer. A story is a writer's soul. A writer should write his/her story from beginning to end, period.
- All our stories have endings. A story without an ending is a story without a middle. Some stories will end quickly, some will take a few years. But reading our comics, you can trust that we'll be true to the story, that we can change anything permanently, and that you'll actually have an experience of a story with a beginning, middle, and an end.
Two: Women are heroes.
- The historical lack of heroines that women can look up to and be empowered by is criminal. It's just criminal. When I was a teenager, I could imagine myself as Spider-Man or Superman and be empowered. If I were a teenage girl, who would I look up to? Lois? Betty? MJ?
- At least half of our titles will and do have women or girls or teenage girls as their heroines. The titles that don't will still have three-dimensional women characters.
- Last point on this: We will not have female heroes who are Superman, but a woman. A strong woman doesn't mean an unbreakable woman. That's not strength. That's the same as having a Barbie Doll as a model for a female body – it's just ridiculous.
Three: We’re a company for the digital age.
Can you tell us a bit about your science-fiction series Wynter? Why did you decide to write this series and depict social media in such a light?
- We want to make the experience of buying our comics easier than buying ‘regular’ comic books.
- What does this mean? First, we started out as digital only. You can find us in ComiXology and in our New Worlds Comics iPad app. That allowed us to spend all our money on quality of art rather than
- Now we’re moving on to the next stage.
- We are offering at our website all issues of Wynter for free download or for as much as you want to pay. You can download it instantly, read it, and then decide how much, if anything, you think it deserves.
- I think the digital age requires us to think completely differently about how we sell comics and from where.
- I should also add that the great reviews we’ve been getting have allowed us to release our first trade paperback. Digital age or no, people are excited from Trades and have been asking for them.
[caption id="attachment_60925" align="aligncenter" width="424"]
Wynter #2 Page 2[/caption]
Hasson: Isn't it the future?
Don't you just know that in the end we'll have all the apps in our heads?
Don't you just know that when we do we're going to be able to post emotions? Dreams? Things our eyes see and therefore record?
Don't you just know there's an iMe app around the corner that analyzes people's pupil dilation when they look at you and tell you how attracted they are to you?
Don't you just know that when there's SO much more information about people than there is today, you'll have an app that shows you what people around you look like when they're naked, just by pulling stuff from the web and adding a little with smart algorithms?
is the future. Don't tell me you can't handle the future.
You also wrote Goof. How would you describe this comedy series?
Hasson: Ever seen a teenage boy?
Let me describe him to you. Awkward, gawky, clumsy, gangly, and graceless. He thinks he can speak, but he can't spit out the right words out of his mouth if his life depended on it.
Now imagine our hero, Nick, a twenty-something man who never outgrew that phase. Now imagine aliens chose him, and only him, as Earth's only superhero, giving him unlimited powers with no Kryptonite weakness. Now, sure, he can beat the aliens no problem. But in his life? He's just become Super Goof.
is a light-hearted comedy about the goofiest man alive, who falls in love and must battle his own geekiness to get what he wants. Goof
is filled with slapstick humor, physical humor, and every issue has at least one scene designed to have you rolling on the floor laughing.
Are there any future series coming out for New Worlds Comics that you can tell us about?
Hasson: In January we're going to release our first in a graphic novel series called Lost in Dreams
Imagine a mother and father checking in to the hospital in the year 2000, ready to have their baby. The doctor says, "Push, push, push!" and the mother pushes until the baby comes out. Except no one else sees or feels the baby come out. Nor is it still in the womb.
The baby girl was born into the Dream, the place where we all go when we dream.
That's where she spends her life.
She's raised by a father, not her biological father, who is only there when he dreams, a father who doesn't remember his dreams when he wakes up, and doesn’t know he has a daughter.
This is an epic adventure story about the life, birth to death, of Joy Shelley, the girl who lives in dreams, and the adventure she has with her father, her friends, and creatures created by dreams. We explore the dream, its mysteries, the reason Joy was born like this, to name but a few things the series explores.
The first graphic novel shows her birth and then her first adventure as a 6-year-old as she discovers for the first time who she really is and where she is, and decides to run away from home… into other dreams.
With every graphic novel, we're going to jump ahead 3 years into her future. So by the second one, she'll be 9 years old. By the third, she'll be 12. You get the idea. We're going to stick with her for as long as she lives. And so far only I know how long that's going to be.
Lost in Dreams
is an epic adventure for the entire family and will be released in January 2015.
What is your fantasy novel Tickling Butterflies about?
Hasson: Stories have power.
The more a story is told, the more power it has.
When a story is told one million and eleven times, it becomes real in a special land of fairy tales.
explores the power of imagination and story. It probes the depths of the fairy tale land, its secrets, its hidden recesses, and even the secrets of The Storymakers – us. Because somewhere in that land is a way to get to Earth and to find the secrets of those who tell and invent the stories.
is a novel built like a fairy tale book: It is constructed of 128 fairy tales that come together to create a huge, epic tale.
was serialized at my website and can now be found in its entirety here
. I'm currently in talks with a publisher about it. We'll see what happens.
What advice do you have for people aspiring to be writers?
Hasson: Hopefully, in about two months we'll be opening up submissions. So I'll tell you roughly what I'm going to tell everyone who wants to submit:
Write from your gut. Write from your soul. Write about the most unique thing that is you. Write the best story in the world.
If you want to write a variation of something I've seen before in a comic book, go submit it somewhere else. In New Worlds Comics we're going to turn comics into Art. If you know how to do that, join us. If you want to rehash old stories in a new way, there are at least Three Big companies looking for company men and women.
Thank you for your time Guy! Best of luck with New Worlds Comics and all of your endeavors. It sounds like we have a lot to look forward to!