Zoop into the Week with Thirty-Three

Zoop into the Week Thirty-Three

By: Nicole D’Andria

While usually featuring Kickstarters on “Kickstart the Week,” this will be the very first time I showcase a campaign on the Zoop crowdfunding platform! First up is Thirty-Three, a five-issue collection featuring everything from bombastic action to dysfunctional family drama. I’m talking with both the creator/writer and one of the artists, both talented comic book professionals.

Compared to John Wick meeting Raising Arizona with a tough of Die Hard, Thirty-Three is about a former assassin known as Thirty-Three. Escaping the life of a killer and becoming an office drone known as Andrew West, his life as a divorcee with a sad apartment leaves much to be desired. Things get even worse when the league of genetically enhanced super assassins that he used to be a part of hunts down his new identity. Now, he must go on a road trip with his ex-wife, young daughter, and teenage son to keep them safe.

The story is the brainchild of writer Juan Ponce, who worked on Marvel Voices: Comunidades, which served as a celebration of Latin heroes and creators. A talented creator, I previously worked with him as an editor on his fun one-shot The World’s Strongest. The artist for the first issue of Thirty-Three (the first 22 pages of the trade’s story) is Marco Finnegan, whose comic book work includes Lizard in a Zoot Zuit and Crossroad Blues. The main cover artist and interior artist for the rest of the trade is Gavin Guidry, who I e-met during his work with David Pepose on Going to the Chapel. Some of his other comic book cover work is featured on Army of Darkness, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers: Beast Wars. He’s also working as a lineart assistant on Captain America: The Ghost Army.

Backers can get the entire five-issue (116-page) trade digitally (for $12) and physically featuring a variety of covers from the talented hands of Gavin Guidry, Will Rosado (Green Arrow), and Bex Glendining (Lupina) (for $25 each). Additional copies and digital commissions are also available at higher tier levels. The creator is seeking to raise $5,000 by February 24, 2022. Consider backing the ­Thirty-Three campaign here.

But if you want even more info about Thirty-Three, enjoy my interviews with Juan Ponce and Gavin Guidry below!

Juan Ponce
Juan Ponce

Nicole D’Andria (ND): What can you tell us about the dysfunctional family at the heart of this story and the importance of the nature of their relationships?

Juan Ponce (JP): The Wests are an interesting bunch, like most families they look out for one another, yet they’re also always butting heads. Prior to superhuman assassins arriving in the picture, everyone in this family was in different stages of their lives. Laura and Andrew got divorced less than a year ago; and while Andrew couldn’t seem to find a hold on life, Laura was trying to move on to the next chapter. Their son Peter was trying to figure himself out while trying to make sense of what the family just went through. He’s sixteen, so making dumb and reckless choices was his way of coping. Sophia is nine, to her, there’s always a light at end of any tunnel. Now that they face a deadly threat things have changed, but really, a lot hasn’t. Problems that deep don’t just disappear. The big difference now is that they’re physically stuck together, the problems that have long been hidden or ignored are now issues the whole family must confront.

Essentially their impromptu road trip is some pretty messed up family therapy, as the Wests have to grow stronger or face inhalation.

Thirty-Three Bex Glendining (left) and Will Rosado (right) Variants
Thirty-Three Bex Glendining (left) and Will Rosado (right) Variants

ND: On the campaign, when describing Thirty-Three, you say “Think John Wick meets Raising Arizona, with a dash of Die Hard for good measure. Fans of Barry and WandaVision will feel right at home here, as will readers of Birthright and The Vision.” Could you discuss in more detail what specific aspects from each of these works are tapped into via Thirty-Three?

JP: Sure, so Thirty-Three was written before Barry was even announced, but they have a lot in common. The most obvious aspect is that it’s the story of two assassins trying to go straight and find meaning in their lives. But it’s the nuance of that show that I think this story really captures as well. This is a man with demons, he hates these demons, yet they are part of who he is, whether he likes it or not. Both Barry and Andrew are men that can’t look in the mirror, both struggle with facing who they really are.

Birthright and The Vision inspired a lot of this book. Those comics captured the idea of real family drama with a supernatural twist. Some of the most intense and gripping moments in those series were conversations between family members. I did everything I could to have that same energy here. Every confession from a character had to feel as brutal as an explosion or gunshot injury.

Movie-wise: John Wick, Die Hard, and Raising Arizona are ingrained in this story’s DNA. I wanted the brutal badass action of John Wick, with an underdog hero like John McClane at its center. I fused those worlds together then pumped in some superhero comics fuel to really add some stakes. Lastly, I needed the tone of this world to be offbeat, fun, and serious, so I looked to the Cohen Brothers for inspiration. Films like Fargo and Raising Arizona captured the feeling I wanted well, so they were my guiding stars.

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ND: As Thirty-Three features one of the world’s deadliest assassins, if you could have “Andrew West” face off against any other comic book character in an epic battle, who would it be and why?

JP: The first choice that came to mind was Captain America, but as I think more about it, a funnier battle would be between Thirty-Three and The Winter Soldier. Andrew and Bucky are so similar, not just in physical strength and training, but in backgrounds. The only difference is Bucky is a badass; Andrew is a bit of a superhuman oaf. Their battle would be intense, brutal, and hilarious. I can just imagine Andrew being in awe of Bucky’s arm while being thrown by it.

ND: When devising the dark comedy for the series, how dark do the comedic moments go? Can you give readers an example of the type of humor they can expect to experience?

JP: Well, a horse gets punched in the face. Right after Andrew cusses it out. In his defense, the horse is evil.

ND: You mention two artists for Thirty-Three on the campaign page, Gavin Guidry and Marco Finnegan. How would you describe the individual styles of these two talented artists and their roles within Thirty-Three?

JP: Both Marco and Gavin are amazing. I was beyond lucky to land these two incredible artists. Each delivered the exact tone I wanted and awesome action sequences, yet each did it in their unique voice. That first chapter by Marco has been compared to Aja’s work on Hawkeye and I can totally see it. But he has this particular style where a dynamic moment can transform into a deep poetic moment from one panel to another, it’s truly unbelievable. Gavin, who drew most of the series is keeps the action moving better than most action films. He gets timing and sequence very, very well. And he can give you an image with no words that says more than a page with dialogue. I’ve never said this out loud, but I often think it. Gavin created a brilliant summer blockbuster in Thirty-Three, as well as an impactful indie film.

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ND: Why did you choose to use Zoop for your campaign and what have been some of the pros and cons of using the platform?

JP: As soon as I read Zoop’s mission statement, I knew they were my next crowdfunding platform. I’m grateful for everything Kickstarter did and offered us last time. But truth be told, they had their limitations. Zoop is dedicated to the indie comic creator, Kickstarter couldn’t be, and that’s okay. Team Thirty-Three garnered most of their backers on Kickstarter, it was a really demanding task. Honestly, it was a full-time job. From day one Zoop promoted us and ever since that day they have worked hard to push our book. It’s truly a collaborative experience, and as an indie creator, that means the world. The rough part about all this is that we’re at the forefront of something new, yet with more reason, that’s why Thirty-Three must succeed this time. We have to help this platform grow, so that indie creators have more options.

ND: What is the number one reason why people should pledge money to your Zoop campaign?

JP: This book isn’t your average mature comic. It was designed to be a binge read. I love a Saga because it’s a book you just can’t put down. That’s what Thirty-Three is. A mature comic with real stakes, heart, and insanity it’s unrelenting, yet also quiet. If you’re a comics reader looking for a book that can rival that binge-worthy Netflix or HBO show, well, this is that book.

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ND: If you could pick any fictional family to be a part of, which family would you pick and why?

JP: The Simpsons, because they are the best, they’re just so funny and heartfelt. Though I must admit, The Flintstones crossed my mind—I just love Dino—but Bedrock is concussion central, haha.

ND: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?

JP: Tell your story, not a specific idea—but your story. Make comics because you love the medium and want to share your voice in this beautiful art. If you’re here for money or to bank on that one big idea, look elsewhere. If you’re here to share your voice, do it, you’ll feel richer than any millionaire. Never stop being a fan or a student, and remember it’s a team effort. It’s a hard job, but it’ll all be worth it when you tell your story.

ND: Promote yourself! What other projects in addition to this one do you have planned for us to look forward to in the near future?

JP: This past December I was really lucky to be a part of Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades, I got to tell an awesome Nina the Conjuror story with Wilton Santos, Dijjo Lima, and Ariana Maher. When it comes to the future, everything is under wraps right now, but in the coming months there will be announcements, just keep an eye on my Twitter: @ElOzymandias or my website: www.poncecomics.com. If everything works out, I’ll have a pretty big announcement soon, it might even be the biggest comic announcement I’ve ever made. Also, I’m aiming to have a few free stories released in the near future. Here’s hoping!

Gavin Guidry
Gavin Guidry

ND: How would you describe your style and how you’ve applied it to create the world within the pages of Thirty-Three?

Gavin Guidry (GG): Oof. Haha. Well, I think I have an “open-line” style that sort of lends itself to character comedy and emotion, which are both essential to Thirty-Three. I’d like to think I also bring a big of visual rhythm to the action scenes as well.

ND: If you had to talk about what page was your favorite to illustrate (barring spoilers of course), which would it be and why?

GG: Any of the pages featuring Scrubs characters. They were just a delight to draw.

ND: As Thirty-Three features one of the world’s deadliest assassins, if you could draw “Andrew West” facing off against any other comic book character in an epic battle, who would it be and why?

GG: I’d pick Deathstroke from DC Comics cause he’s also specifically a highly trained mercenary who fights tactically, so he mixes martial arts skill, strength, and creativity in his best fights, including turning his opponents’ strengths against them. I could just see a very long, exhausting, bloody fight between the two of them going on for pages and pages.

Thirty-Three Preview Page 7-8

ND: Your digital commissions are one of the potential treats readers can get by backing. Can you describe what your favorite commission of all time was and why? What about the weirdest one you ever did?

GG: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’ll always enjoy drawing Spidey, Daredevil, and Nightwing. I’ve mostly had pretty tame commissions, but I do get some out-of-the-box requests from a particular person, like the Muppets and Chuckie together, or Speed Racer and Dom Torreto from Fast and the Furious. He always gets interesting ideas.

ND: What is the number one reason why people should pledge money to your Zoop campaign?

GG: I think one of the best things about modern comics is the wide variety of tones and tastes we’re able to get through crowdfunded comics and small pubs, and our little comic strikes a pretty unique balance of family adventure, black comedy, and action. Supporting this particular end of the market is essential to fostering that sort of variety, and I hope folks give us a shot.

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ND: If you could pick any fictional family to be a part of, which family would you pick and why?

GG: Seems like it’d be pretty fun the be a Richards.

ND: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book artists?

GG: In comics, the only true difference between “aspiring” and “being” is the act of making comics. We all have different goals we aspire to, but as long as you’re making comics, then you’re a comic maker. That’s the only magic ingredient. There’s nothing, especially in the social media age, that’s stopping you from making your comics and getting them out there.

ND: Promote yourself! What other projects in addition to this one do you have planned for us to look forward to in the near future?

GG: I’m currently helping draw Captain America: The Ghost Army, along with Brent Schoonover, for Marvel/Scholastic, as well as working on a creator-owned series that should be announced in the next couple of months.

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ND: Thank you for taking the time to share your world with us, Juan and Gavin! Readers can check out their Zoop campaign for Thirty-Three here.

Do you have a crowdfunding project? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart/IndieGogo/GoFundMe/etc. the Week?” Then message me on my website. Also considering checking out the official Kickstart the Week: Interviews with Comic Book Kickstarter Creators Volume 1 on Kindle.

Other “Kickstart the Week” features:

Voyage Anthology 2: Melting Pot

Bear Skin – a Hardcover graphic novel of Dread and Horror

Karma The Sizzling Erotic Graphic Novel


A Hunter’s Tale: A Comics Poem

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