By Dave Hisaka, Content Creative Director at Temple of Geek | Read the article on Temple of Geek
Genesis II received a lot of attention at this years Wondercon! with their amazing display we expect the same amount of attention at SDCC 2018. We spoke with creator Allen Ling, whose passion for comics led him to Genesis II although it’s his first graphic novel he’s already enlisted some great partners and has plans to work on more. We highly recommend stopping by Booth 835 for not only the giant character models but pick up Genesis II.
What is Genesis II? How did it come to be?
I’ve had a life-long passion for comics, drawing and art, and I put it aside for decades for a stable career and to raise a family. I decided one day that I needed to do what I truly loved throughout all my life.. Genesis II started as a dream project between two comic book fans in 2015. Christian Boe, a commercial graphic artist, and I came up with the story and art together – I funded the project and managed it from beginning to end and Christian did most of the line art and a good amount of the coloring using digital graphics (Photoshop and a Cintiq tablet).
You had some personal challenges which led to making Genesis II, how much of your personal story is in Genesis II?
I was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2005, but I was incredibly lucky and pulled through, and Christian and I had both lost our fathers the year before we started in 2014. Although none of this was incorporated literally into Genesis II, Christian and I both went through some very tough times and we emerged stronger afterwards – that’s one of the themes we really wanted to explore in the book.
Being that this is your first graphic novel, what were some of the unexpected challenges you’ve had? How did you overcome them?
Oh boy, were there unexpected challenges! Both Christian and I struggled with beginners’ creative cramps in the beginning, and I rewrote parts of the story about 100 times. By the summer of 2017, Christian had burned out on all the changes and I had lost all my patience and my resources were dwindling. I had to get help from veteran comic pros like Mel Smith, Manuel Martinez, Nate Van Dyke, John Hageman and Nate Atkinson to finish the book. We finished over half of the book in the last 6 months – and the project had been going on for 3 years!
Are you bringing anything special to SDCC 2018? Will the giant 3D models be there?
Yes! The giant models will all be there and I’m having floppies of the first chapter of Genesis II printed especially for SDCC. Mel Smith, Christian and I will be signing autographs in the 1st edition hardcovers, and we have some really cool and fun merch.
What sets SDCC apart from other cons?
San Diego is the platinum standard for all comic-cons. Despite some criticism that Hollywood has taken it over, in my mind it’s still the “Academy Awards” of comics and the exhibitors there are really the best of the best. I am so grateful and honored to have been invited, especially because Genesis II had just debuted in March 2018 at WonderCon.
You debuted at Wondercon 2018, what was the overall reaction?
The reaction was good – we were a critical success, we (and the giant models) were definitely a photo-op, and the Wondercon staff really loved us too – they stayed late to get more pictures of the booth! That was a really good feeling. And it all got us into San Diego ComicCon.
What’s something in San Diego you look forward to that isn’t SDCC related? Could be a place to eat, a bar, etc…
My brother Lambert and his family live in San Diego, and he introduced me to SDCC in 2000. I can’t wait to share this experience with him. He’s part of the reason I’m here – when we went together I wanted to be behind the table as an artist and creator, not in front of it. I was sad that when I came back 4 years later, in 2006, I still felt the same, and when our Dad died eight years later, that really made me dive into starting Genesis II.
What are you expecting your first SDCC trip to be like?
We have a great booth spot at SDCC, and the attendance is 135,000 people – there are double, if not triple, the number of hardcore attendees compared to WonderCon. We’re the new kids on the block, and according to all my CC veteran friends no other new indie self-published graphic novelists have done what we have as far as putting together a big presence on the con floor. I believe in the project and the power of comics, and I am hoping that comes through and that I have the chance to connect with lots of other comics-obsessed people and new fans!
What’s one thing you are looking forward to at SDCC 2018?
Getting the book out to more people and making new fans! We didn’t cut any corners, and I want to give everyone that comes to the booth a phenomenal visual and personal experience. We’re also hoping that the book will capture the attention of some movie studio scouts out there.
What’s next for you after SDCC 2018?
I’m already cranking away at the next series of Genesis II “floppies”, 5 or 6 of them, which I’ll eventually compile into the next hardcover. Most of the new issues will be about the origins of the characters, it will be a bit edgier, but we aim to tone down the gratuitous gore even though we’re exploring some violent themes. Zac Atkinson will be taking over line and colors for the next series and John Hageman will continue with lettering. I’m now doing most of the story boarding and 100% of the writing this time. Aside from making comics, I also help out as a physical therapist on the set of AMC’s “Into the Badlands” with my long-time friend Daniel Wu, so I’m excited that I might be going to Europe for a month or so for the next shoot.