Geeks A Gogo dropped by Boiler Con this weekend at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Also in attendance was Ben Miller, Indiana writer, who wrote and created the comic series Judges. We sat down with Ben to discuss Judges, and his current Kickstarter campaign to have Judges published in graphic novel form--which goes through to Friday, April 15th.
You can view the video interview here:
Enjoy, and sorry for the background music.
And here is a transcript of the interview:
GaGG: So, we're talking with Ben Miller. He's the creator of “Judges”. Can you give us a little bit of background on the story?
Ben Miller: Sure. So, the story is that it takes place in our world, but the most evil people in the world are demons in disguise. So there's a group of people who are called judges that come together to fight against them. There's a guy who's a member of SEAL Team 6, a girl who's a Sudanese freedom fighter, and a Syrian computer hacker. They all, through the course of what they're trying to accomplish, find out that the thing that they're actually going against is a demon and then they come together and form a team.
What originally, “Judges” was—is that I entered it into an online contest called “You Create Comics”. For a graphic novel you're supposed to get $50,000 for the winner, and I did win...but the company folded before they got to publishing my novel or working with an artist or anything. They gave me a small percentage of the prize money, and so I kind of had that to produce my first issue. I had known Cory [Hamshcer] from other things, but I knew that he had kind of been busy at Marvel—doing a lot of inking at Marvel. I didn't think he'd do it, but I just sent him an email that just kinda caught him at the right time when he wanted to do more pencil stuff. So he got on it, and he basically introduced me to the other guys that work on it, that's Sean who colored the first issue, Sean Forney, and then Thomas Mason did the next three, and Marshall Dillon did all the lettering and graphic design for it. So, he was kind of—he's been in the business for like 15 years and he's kind of my gateway in to kind of knowing all the other the people I've been working with. And for upcoming things, it's been people I've met at conventions and stuff like that.
GaGG: Alright, so where did you draw your inspiration from for “Judges”, like what other comics or movies or other stories?
Ben Miller: Well, “Judes”, the name actually comes from the Biblical “Book of Judges”, and some of the characters' names come from that, too. I have a theology background, so I brought in some of that and especially as we get into some of the later issues, there's some stuff from the Koran in there as well. And that's one of the main issues, but there are others. Shows—I like the show “Supernatural” a lot, it's got some of the same characteristics as that. You know, it has demons and things like that, or “Buffy” or you know, “Angel” and stuff like that. Those are shows he kind of shows that I've enjoyed. That's as far as inspiration, now as far as like, just pure writing, there is some common—I like Alan Moore's work, and Daniel O'Neil for, like old-school superhero stuff. Those are the two writers that are my biggest inspirations.
GaGG: Okay, so you mentioned that you have a background in theology—what is your background? How did it influence “Judges”?
Ben Miller: Well, I went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and I studied there. I actually am an ordained minister, and I run—what I do now kind of with that as my day job—is I a youth center for kids in Gary [Indiana], for at-risk kids. So, that the route that I took with it.
Ben Miller: Okay, and so actually at the place that I work, it's called Urban Faith Works, we were featured on a program called “The Secret Millionaire”, which was on ABC. And a guy came in, they told us he was a volunteer, and they were filming a documentary, but it turned out he was actually a millionaire and he ended up giving our program like $10,000. It was a really cool experience. You know, it was kind of like we were kind of getting a little nervous as it was going on because we talked to some people we know that knew things about like film and stuff, and they had four cameras and sound things that they were putting up and mic-ing us all up and they're like: “This does not sound like a small documentary crew that you're working with.” But it turned out being a really great experience, and I think you can still catch it on line. Definitely, I think it's still on Hulu, so if you want to check it out, it's the Gary, Indiana episode of “Secret Millionaire”.
Make sure you back "Judges" the graphic novel on Kickstarter. We can't wait to read it!