Hi my name is Sridhar Reddy and I am the co-publisher at Z2 Comics. I came across the CCAS booth at SDCC last week and met some lovely folks who were very excited about what we were doing. Wanted to come on here and start a discussion about a very cool project and our initiative for the future in terms of faith-based comics.
In August we'll be publishing an original graphic novel called EDEN in partnership with the Christian rock band SKILLET. It's been a project we've been working on for almost two years with the band. The book is written by Skillet lead singer John Cooper, and illustrated by Chris Hunt, who did our book CARVER with us. The book comes with an exclusive downloadable single "Dreaming of Eden" by Skillet, and also comes in a beautiful deluxe oversized and slipcased edition.
We are not an exlusively-Christian publisher, but it is a space that we've been wanting to get into some time. I married into a devout Christian family and my son is baptized, and as he's been growing up it's always been a big concern for me personally about the kind of media he is going to consume, where his attentions will be and a real dearth of earnest and truthful content for Christian kids who are interested in comics.
I came across Skillet through my son's babysitter, who opened my eyes to current Christian music. I marveled at how the band was able to create metal music for kids and adults who loved that sound, but who were apprehensive as the majority of metal music didn't align with their values. I made the same parallel observations in my own profession, which is comics and film. We'd just started a music initiative with our books (working with The Black Keys, Babymetal and others) and it seemed like the right time to approach Skillet about doing a book with us. I was honest in my intentions to create a cool book for Christian readers and the Coopers, who are HUGE comic book fans themselves (John has all of the Avengers characters tattooed on his leg), jumped on board immediately.
Turns out comic kids and musicians ran in the same tribes - we were introverts, often bullied and challenged for the things we liked and that were important to us. Being a Christian artist even moreso. We just want to read and listen to cool stuff that inspires us, paints stories in our heads, and connects to us on a granular and spiritual level. So it became a natural marriage to meld all those worlds, and that is how we ended up with the book. John penned the original story and edited the book, and it's turned out wonderful. We're even making an appearance on Fox and Friends tomorrow to announce the book on nationwide TV!
I've attached an unlettered preview page of the book to this message. It's really, really beautiful.
As a publisher I want to hear your stories, your experiences, and your ideas as we push further into this initiative. We'd love to pair a story concept with a Christian band, and we have just signed another influential Christian band to do a book next year (will reveal the name soon). Like I mentioned before, this is our first rodeo in the Christian comic book market, so I won't pretend to know what I'm entirely doing. But that's why I'm here, to learn and to grow.
But most importantly I want to know the heart behind our work, of why it is important to be a strong and authentic voice in a world that, for the most part, either doesn't want to understand or actively suppresses those voices.
Thanks for taking the time to read this intro, and I hope to be a regular contributor to this special forum. Cheers!