By: Nicole D’Andria
This week we’re taking a look at a psychological horror one-shot from a first-time creator. Learn about the story of Enlightenment and its portrayal of mental illness from the writer.
Enlightenment is a 24 page one-shot about a depressed and suicidal man’s inner demons and the turmoil he faces between his personal faith and self-resentment. It was created and written by Arismendy Jimenez, the founder of Aristocracy Comics. He reached out to OutLand Entertainment and found artist Ger Curti (Chillers) and letterer Ed Dukeshire (X-Men, TMNT) to work on the interiors. Plus the editor is his childhood friend, Felix Nunez.
The Kickstarter has already reached its $1,000 goal but will still be taking pledges until February 14, 2020, at 1:00 PM EST. Rewards include digital ($10) and physical ($15) copies of the one-shot, plus stickers ($25), print, buttons ($35) and more options, which you can check out on their Kickstarter page.
I spoke in-depth with Arismendy Jimenez about Enlightenment and his new publishing company.
Me: What are your favorite psychological horror stories that helped inspire Enlightenment?
Jimenez: Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaal, American Psycho starring Christian Bale and The Babadook starring Essie Davis. These fantastic movies inspired me so much as the psychological battle these protagonists had to go through shows a different side of horror that gives it a fresh and exciting twist on the genre.
Me: How would you describe the main character of Enlightenment and the struggles he’s going through?
Jimenez: Just an ordinary man who is going through the struggles of life while coping with self-resentment and depression. I feel the importance of representing ordinary people who are going through these psychological battles against their inner and external demons.
Me: Why do you feel it’s so important to talk about mental illness through media like comic books?
Jimenez: I believe stories are here to inspire and uplift not just to entertain and provide escapism, hence tackling the essential topics such as mental illness just felt right. The medium of comics allows for the creation of intense visuals that can provide a fresh take on the genre regardless of the dense subject matter.
Me: Why do you feel a one-shot is the best way to tell this story, and do you see yourself continuing it in some form or another in the future?
Jimenez: A one-shot just felt perfect for me since I’m funding the project entirely by myself. It was not only cost-effective, but it also felt more impactful telling the story in this fast pace fashion. I do not plan on continuing the story; this is the beginning and end of the man’s journey to enlightenment.
Me: What is the mission statement of the publisher you founded, Aristocracy Comics, and why did you decide to create it?
Jimenez: The reason I created Aristocracy Comics as an LLC was more for legal protection. It was also to legitimize my brand and stand out with a logo and a name. My mission with this company is to build it into a skateboarding/comics brand that represents my comic book stories mixed with my skateboarding interests. As a kid, I always wanted to be a sponsored skateboarder but it never ended up happening, so I eventually elected to sponsor myself. I want my brand to represent what the oak tree logo represents: strength, morale, resistance, and knowledge.
Me: Can you tell us more about Outland entertainment and its role in Enlightenment?
Jimenez: OutLand Entertainment’s role in the book was overseeing the project and getting me in contact with the art team. I couldn’t be happier with their services. The team they got me connected with was unbelievable. The company also provides the contracts and handles the taxes, which takes a lot of the responsibilities off of an independent creator. If you have a passion project you want to get made, please give this excellent company a call.
Me: What is the number one reason why someone should pledge your project?
Jimenez: The number one reason someone should pledge to my Kickstarter is that I am a 24-year-old who wrote and financed his first book solely by himself. I put in the massive amount of time and effort putting this project together and forming the brand. I worked tremendously hard to tell a story that not only entertains but also delivers a strong message about mental health. I am certain that my passion will shine through.
Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?
Jimenez: There will be a lot of frustratingly lonely nights but please keep your head up and continue to create your own path toward enlightenment. From the time I decided I wanted to make a comic book to the time it finally came to life, it was an unreal journey. Climbing to the top of that mountain and seeing the view below was incredible. Apart from hitting my funding goal, the overall experience of learning the art of storytelling was well worth it. Watching your creation come to life was a life-saving experience and I genuinely believe it gave me more meaning and hope in life, which made this investment wildly worthwhile.
Me: Thanks for your time! If you want to check out Arismendy’s Kickstarter, you can see it right here.
Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website.
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