Nov 13, 2013

Preview/Interview: Fallen Ash

My friend Kimberly Smith has created a comic book with Benjamin Bartolome (regular Cube readers may recognize the name) and Sam Gungon! Fallen Ash is a fantasy comic, available via Indy Planet and via the Kindle! And now it's available on Comixology! It's also available in black and white for Filipino readers (just email Benj at I asked the creative team a bunch of questions, so enjoy this short little preview/interview!

Fallen Ash
by Duy

What's Fallen Ash about?

Kimberly: These answers depend on the type of person you are. Fallen Ash is about...:

  • Political types: ...a corrupt government that keeps its people completely oblivious to the world around them...and they all must be stopped.
  • Religious types: ...a corrupt government that takes orders from a higher power. ...and they all must be stopped.
  • Scientific types: ...a corrupt government that takes orders from a false god that knows the periodic table really well... and they all must be stopped.
  • Regular comic book geek types: ...fulfillment of your hopes and dreams. It increases sexual performance and gives your life meaning.
There will be death, cursing, drugs, insanity, false gods, sexual content and a fox. An actual fox. The animal type. You’re welcome.

What's it like working on the art for this book?

Benj: I'm really diggin' the work! The fantasy setting, the characters, and the scope of the story. And I do appreciate the way Kimberly sets the pace. It won't read like the usual blockbuster or superhero adventure. Without being too spoilery, I can say there will be some tangents, with some whimsy added in there for that touch of spice. It kind of has its own heartbeat. In a word, it's very organic, and I love that. Pure is another nice, vague word I'd like to use to describe it. I'm itching to get back to the drawing board for the second issue. 

Sam: Coloring Fallen Ash was a unique experience for me. The characters in the comic have green skin that presented some challenges. There were techniques that I've used for years that don't work with Fallen Ash and I had to develop other methods just for it. Once I got a method that works, it's a matter of making the characters pop, especially when they're against green backgrounds. At times when I'm stuck I'd look up Dave Stewart and study how he colors things. I'd also look up green characters like She-Hulk, Hulk, and Poison Ivy.

And what's it like working with each other?

Kimberly: Working with Benjamin is like ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day. He’s awesome and very easy to work with.  I made so many changes and asked him so many random things and he never complained but I imagined he wanted to stab me with a pencil once or twice.  And Sam colors her ass off. She colors like she has three eyeballs and an extra toe on her left foot.

Benj: Kimberly pampers the artist. It's true, it's true. There's a lot of breathing room for me to play around with regarding pacing, acting, designing, and all that makes me pretty happy. Of course I run things by her before I put anything down on paper (or screen, in this case), but the workflow has been a breeze. And she's genuine and a genuinely cool person, to boot! Except her taste in superheroes. Her favorite sucks. (Just kidding, boss! Please don't fire me!)

Sam has been my teammate in the local independent scene, so we already have that solid connection. I do have to apologize to her, as I am now getting used to (actually going crazy with) using thin lines in my work, and as any colorist knows, that is a bitch to flat and color. I have told her on more than one occasion that she saved my pages and I mean it. Colorists mostly go unnoticed in comics, but I'd say she could be the secret weapon in this outfit.

Sam: I get this sense of trust from Kimberly with the work I'm doing with Fallen Ash. After I got the colorist spot, when I submit a page, I have never had it come back to me for revisions. That trust is a big deal for me coming from someone who really knows and loves comics. In that way, I directly work with Kimberly on a limited capacity. The first time I really worked with her was on the variant cover. She's very accommodating. She gives you liberty with the art and the feedback she gives really helps.

I've known Benj for some time now and got a chance to work with him on a project before, so working with him is easy. There is no anxiety when sending the pages or awkwardness on things I have to ask about or point out to him. It's a great advantage when making the comic.

After the Philippine release at this Saturday's Komikon (in black and white), what's the plan for Fallen Ash's international release in full color and moving forward?

Kimberly: It has been submitted to the printer and three digital publishers. I'm just waiting now. If people like it then I’ll keep making it. If people don’t like it then I’ll keep making it anyway just to annoy them and I’ll make it twice as long as originally planned.

Again, you're welcome.

Finally, if you were pitching this to new readers, what would you say?

Sam: Fallen Ash is a fantasy action book about death and its ties to life, to the living.

Benj: I can definitely say they'll be getting the work of people who are truly excited about their creation.

Kimberly: It'll hurt my feelings if you don't buy it. And if you don't, I will break into your house and change your skim milk to whole milk. And you have nothing better to do anyway.

Hey, look, it's Kimberly's husband, Back Issue Ben! Do you have anything to add?

Back Issue Ben: Buy it. It's been proven to increase sexual appeal.

Fallen Ash is available online at Indy Planet and Amazon and Comixology, and for Filipino readers, you can ask for a black and white copy from Benj at And go like the Fallen Ash Facebook Page!

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