By: Nicole D’Andria
Robert Krisch returns on “Kickstart the Week” to talk about his second Kickstarter for the Turner Family Terrors comic book. Part Hellboy, part The Simpsons, this adult horror comedy has already blasted past its goal and is looking to push itself to fulfill even more stretch goals.
Turner Family Terrors features the dysfunctional Turner Family, who must save the world from the likes of Stalin’s ghost, Baba Yaga, and a horde of fiendish ghouls. The series takes its comedy cues from the likes of What We Do In The Shadows, Monster Squad, and Young Frankenstein with plenty of foul-mouthed moments. It also takes the familial elements of National Lampoon’s Vacation and mixes it with Lovecraftian horrors while keeping a black-and-white style reminiscent of The Walking Dead.
The creator/writer of Turner Family Terrors is Robert Krisch, an Emmy nominated TV editor and writer/director of the award-winning short film The Crows of Culver (check him out on Twitter: @robertkrisch; Instagram: @robkrisch, and Facebook @turnerfamilyterrors). He’s joined by Serbian artist Aleksandar Bozic, whose past work includes Slave, XYZ, Ötzi, and Mega Chomp.
Two editors are on the team, including the director of Wishmaster 3 and 4, Christopher Angel, as well as myself, editor of everything from Tapas Media’s Comedown Machine to J-Novel’s Culinary Chronicles of the Court Flower. The main cover artist is Easton Hawk (The Flatwoods Monster, Mothman of West Virginia) and the variant cover artist is Joel Saavedra (Coronary, Housebound anthology).
The Kickstarter has already passed its $3,000 goal and unlocked a variety of stretch goals. Some of the rewards include digital copies of the first ($5) as well as the second ($10) issue of Turner Family Terrors as well as physical copies of the first issue ($15) and the second issue ($25). Check out the official Kickstarter page for more rewards by using this special project link!
Below, enjoy my interview with Robert Krisch, whose Kickstarter will be drawing to a close in a few days on June 2, 2021, at 4:00 PM EDT. Also, check out our first interview here.
Me: Using only one sentence for each person, how would you describe each member of the Turner family?
Krisch: Bob Turner might be a brilliant rocket scientist, but when it comes to parenting, he’s a definite bumbler.
Eight-year-old Matty Turner is the straight man of the group; the kid with a heart of gold… but a razor-sharp sword.
Five-year-old adopted daughter Sophie Turner is the terror of the family, but will she be the terror for all mankind?
Laura Turner is an ass-kicking Mom, droppin’ F-bombs… and bad guys.
Me: Which member of the family do you think you’re most like and why?
Krisch: In the entire TFT universe, I probably most resemble the Russian Swamp Creature Iggy—drooling a lot and addicted to BBC Melodramas. But if I had to narrow it down to one member of the Turner Clan, it would of course be Bob. While I’m no rocket scientist like Bob Turner, I am definitely a dopey dad trying his best, and occasionally not screwing this whole parenting thing up. But I do feel sorry for Bob. He basically gets his ass kicked in every issue. Oh well, better him than me.
Me: The second issue takes place in Roswell, New Mexico. Why did you decide on this location in particular as part of the family’s road trip adventures?
Krisch: The Turners are being hunted across the United States by a ragtag group of monsters. Their journey starts in LA and will end in Ithaca, New York. I needed a place in between for issue 2 and there was only one obvious choice—Roswell, New Mexico.
I love Roswell. I’ve screened two film projects at the Roswell Film Festival, including the horror short I directed, The Crows of Culver. A few years back I attended the festival and had a blast taking in all the sci-fi kitsch the town had to offer. When the Turner Family’s demented road trip started, I knew I wanted a stop-over, and Roswell seemed like the perfect spot.
Outside of every storefront in the city, there are large wooden “Cigar Store” Alien statues. I thought that backdrop would look cool in a comic. Also, the more I thought about Roswell and the Alien mythology, it just sparked a new wave of ideas. What if Bob Turner was from Roswell? What if he had a mysterious Alien encounter that I could explore? In issue 2, we’re gonna have a lot of fun with this Alien connection.
Me: Can you expand on what you mean by this issue being “part noir, part technicolor”?
Krisch: TFT lives in a classic horror black-and-white world—think Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. But for me as a creator, I wanted to continue to grow and try new things with my second comic, and introducing some color to the book seemed like a natural progression. When I wrote this little demented dream/nightmare sequence in the middle of issue 2, it gave me the opportunity to play with a little color. The dream starts sweet and vibrant—kind of a riff on My Little Pony.
But it quickly devolves into this Carrie-esque technicolor bloodbath.
I thought we could have a blast coloring those four pages, but still be true to our dark, moody, noir book.
Me: This Kickstarter includes a Kickstarter Exclusive Variant and pin-up illustrations from a variety of artists. Can you talk about each of these art pieces and how they represent Turner Family Terrors?
Krisch: Last year I picked up a copy of the indie hit, Monster Matador, from a local creator, Steven Prince. The back of issue #1 just exploded with art, pages upon pages of exciting back matter: vibrant pin-ups, variant covers, and bonus material. After I read Steve’s comic, I was thinking “yeah, I’m doing that for TFT #2.”
I set out to meet and collaborate with a whole new array of artists. I was already lucky enough to be working with the Serbian illustrator Ske Bozic on the interiors. I soon found Easton Hawk to create our “Alien” Cover A, which he just killed—so creepy. For this campaign, we are introducing our first TFT Variant Cover painted by Argentinian artist Joel Saavedra. I always loved the look of a “Puzzle Piece” cover, and Joel painted an absolute beauty.
This Variant Cover takes us on a visual ride through Roswell, NM, the location for issue #2, but also gives a glimpse of what the future will hold for our sweet, little Sophie. (Spoiler: It’s gonna be dark.) We’re printing a very limited quantity and offering them as Kickstarter Exclusives, so definitely grab one of these rare Variants before our campaign ends on June 2nd.
The Pin-ups have been a joy to create.
The first one is illustrated by my friend Dylan Campbell. Three years ago I walked into my local comic shop and met Dylan, who was signing copies of his charming book, Scared By The Bell. I asked him, “How the hell do you make a comic book?” Well, it’s three years and one pandemic later and Dylan’s pin-up is in issue #2 of my comic book. Just amazing. For his piece, I wanted to do a play on the traditional family photo but with a mysterious reveal or two hidden away.
Another insanely talented dude is Jason Pierre. He’s a writer, director, and awesome illustrator. For his pin-up, I wanted to create a close-up of a panel in my comic. In the book, I didn’t have the real estate to create a huge Splash page drawing, but for the pin-up, we did just that. Jason nailed it.
Me: You’re only halfway through the campaign and your Kickstarter has already raised more money than your previous one. To what do you attribute your upward momentum?
Krisch: I’ve learned a lot over this past year about how Kicktstarter actually works. I give a ton of credit to Tyler James Vogel and his ComixLaunch Pro Community. The big takeaway for me is that Kickstarter is like a house party. They will provide the house (their platform), but you’ve got to bring the partiers. It’s incredibly important to develop an audience prior to launching your campaign. Get them revved up and excited, so when day one arrives, your campaign will explode right out of the gate.
In the last six months, I’ve created a newsletter and built a small audience of awesome folks that are into the comic or want to support me or both. That’s been the big difference this time around and you can see it in our campaign numbers. (click here to join the newsletter).
Oh, and one other reason issue #2 has been such a success is the addition of our new editor. She’s pretty awesome.
Me: Tell us a bit more about the stretch goals backers have unlocked so far.
Krisch: Our Stretch Goal Campaign has been super fun this go around. We’ve upgraded the paper stock of our print edition as well as super-sizing our digital version, adding tons of behind-the-scenes material. We created a family-friendly coloring book to pass out to the kiddos (remind me to take out all the F-bombs). We have limited edition signed bookmarks and a digital six-pack bundle of indie comic hits. We just unlocked exclusive access to my award-winning horror short film, The Crows of Culver, and we’ll be releasing the four-page cold open to TFT #3 if we hit our next goal. Yes, issue #3, here we come!
Me: You also recently announced a collaboration between Turner Family Terrors and Buddy. Can you tell us a bit more about this and why the two series complement each other so well?
Krisch: When my campaign launched I made a real effort to continue my support of the indie comic community, promote their projects and back their books. One comic I came across was Terry Mayo’s new release Buddy #1. When I read about his comic, it reminded me a lot of Turner Family Terrors—it’s sweet, scary, funny, and demented. I was working on a pin-up with artist Jim Harrington, an anime take on TFT, and it just seemed like the perfect environment to throw Buddy in the TFT world. I mean c’mon—just look at those two adorable little monster slayers. Sophie Turner has always wanted a dog, and now she gets a dog—if only for a couple of weeks! Just don’t tell her that.
Back both campaigns until June 2nd and receive a Limited Edition Original Print from artist JP Harrington Jr.
Me: What is the number one reason why someone should back your Kickstarter project?
Krisch: Turner Family Terrors #2: Welcome to Roswell is really the product of a year’s worth of love and creativity. Last year when I thought about what I wanted to do for my second comic, I had a list of about 10 things I wanted to try. I was hoping to achieve just a few of them, but, as it turns out, I’ve checked off every single one. My collaboration with artist Ske Bozic has gotten that much tighter and is reflected in the work. I brought in an additional editor to help craft the story. I introduced a little color to the book to give it a unique look. I commissioned two covers and three pin-ups illustrations, collaborating with five new artists. There’s just a lot of hard work and passion thrown into this issue. It’s a gorgeous comic, you should pick it up.
Oh, and if you just want to laugh at a few inappropriate jokes, you’ll get that as well. Part Scooby-Doo. Part Rick and Morty. 100% bonkers, adult horror, comedy, and fun.
Me: And in addition to your advice from the last “Kickstart the Week” piece, what inspirational advice do you have for aspiring writers? (you can see what you said previously here for reference)
Krisch: Last time around I talked from my perspective as a comic creator who had just finished his first book and how I made that happen: reading books on creating comics, asking questions at my LCS and cons, taking online classes on writing, and connecting through social media to find an artist. If I could create a comic book, anyone could; the important thing was to just start the journey.
Well, let’s say you’ve started down that path, written a script, maybe have an artist working on some pages. The advice I would give is this: it’s time to circle back to your comic book friends and the indie community and try to engage on a new level. Read their pitches or scripts, give some feedback, support their Kickstarters, promote them on social media, and buy their books at your local comic shop. The indie community has each other’s back. They’ll be there to help you get through the good times and bad, and in a year you’ll not only have your first book in your hand, but you’ll also have a community of friends and colleagues rooting hard for your success.
Me: Promote yourself! What else do you have in the works at the moment that we can expect to see in the future?
Krisch: Turner Family Terrors #2 will be released following this current Kickstarter. Some exciting news to share is that the art for #3 will be finished this month as well! So we’ll soon be back with more Turner Family wacky hijinks later this year. The goal for our series is a four-issue, 100+ page graphic novel, and we’ve got 79 pages in the can. Thanks to our amazing fans and Kickstarter backers, this passion project of ours is coming to life.
Me: Thank you for taking the time to make this interview happen, Robert! And best of luck with the rest of your Kickstarter. Readers interested in checking it out and backing the Turner Family Terrors can see the campaign here until June 2nd at 4:00 PM EDT.
Do you have a crowdfunding project? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart/IndieGogo/GoFundMe the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website. Also check out the official Kickstart the Week: Interviews with Comic Book Kickstarter Creators Volume 1 on Kindle, free for Kindle Unlimited users!
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