Today Casey is joined by Matthew and Summo and Pete Collins to talk about The Bardic Verses, on Kickstarter now!
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Matthew Sumo and Pete Collins – The Bardic Verses – Video Interview
Casey: [00:00:00] All right, everybody. Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show, I got my buddy Matt Sumo here, and you’ve seen him before on the show during our Leanna Kangas interview, he was a lot of help and he’s a fun guy to have around. Right now we’re going to talk about him.
We’re going to talk about a book he’s doing with his buddy, Pete Collins guys.
Matthew Sump: Grumman, how are you? Not bad?
Casey: I’m good. I’m good. So, today is a little different I thought I’d be home recording this interview. Instead I’m sitting outside my daughter’s ballet studio and because ballet has got to happen, man.
COVID or not apparently. And so, we’re, we’re doing that and you guys are home. And this book is going to be popping off very soon. So let’s talk about it. The bardic versus
Pete Collins: yeah, man. We’re about a week out. Holy smells over a week out from the Kickstarter goes live on nine eight. The BORTAC versus is an 80 page[00:01:00] graphic novel about a bar, just trying to escape the shadow of family legacies, the son of a famous warrior.
He kind of shirks that to, to be a musician slash storyteller. And we just kind of follow him on the quest that he goes on and, and sort of dealing with again, like his inability to. Swinging a sword and get into combat and how he deals with the situations that he gets put into. The thing I like about the book is it’s kind of anthology style.
You know, it’s, it starts with him in a bar it’s it’s, he’s playing a set list. The set list is all the different stories in the book. All the stories are drawn in different art styles. And they’re like, oh my gosh is, so we start with, like, we have a Jack Kirby homage. We have like a Frank Miller, sweat slash more comic Amash.
And we have some other ones peppered in there as well. So it’s been kind of interesting and cool to like, see Pete draw these different styles. And yeah, that’s, that’s, it’s it for us.
Casey: Yeah, I remember you, you showed me [00:02:00] a few of the early pages and you were kind of explaining the concept to me. I was like, holy crap, this guy’s versatile.
It, it it was a jaw dropper moment. And so a lot of you guys, I don’t know if we got into it when you were on the show last. But you’re a comic writer. You’ve done this before you have experienced with this, you were on the, what was it? Eisner award-winning or nominated?
Pete Collins: It was a Ringo and Ringo.
Ringo nominated deadbeats comic, which was fan fricking testic. And It was one of my favorite comics in that anthology, by the way, it was just such a fun idea. And you you’ve been hammering away doing all this cool stuff, and then you run into this guy at work of all places. Tell me how that happened.
Pete Collins: We want to take this
Matthew Sump: one. Yeah, sure. So, I kept having people come over to me like, Hey, does this guy. [00:03:00] He’s kind of new, you should talk to him. He’s written comic books. You guys might add something in common there. And you know, it was like, oh, that’s kinda cool. And then likewise at the same time he was seeing little doodles or drawings that I would like do in the middle of boring ass meetings and, you know, hand off to people.
And he’s like, Hey, somebody says somebody who’s an artist who is this? And it all just kind of like, it all just kind of like fell on on like our company holiday. So, you know, we, we bumped into each other there. That’s where we connected. We started talking and that, that was that man. So
Casey: that’s wild.
Yeah, it’s it, it seems like way easier than normal to find a working partner and you guys seem to have hit it off right away. Yeah. When who came up with the initial concept for this, because this is very unique then was it a hard sale to the other
Matthew Sump: guy? Honestly, I think it was, it was just a [00:04:00] spit balling, right?
Like, you know, we were, we were sending messages back and forth. Like, you know, we wanted to work on something we want, you know, got me involved in this this project he asked if I wanted to do a pinup for an anthology. He was in that was K volume, two, three. I never remember to.
And so, and I did that and kinda, you know, the bug bit me when I saw him praying and Matt and I just started spitballing ideas. You know, there’s a lot of, you know, chatter in between there, you know, about this, that, and the other thing, but, you know, slowly but surely we kind of just kind of came up with this idea organically.
It wasn’t a pitch to one or the other.
Casey: That’s awesome. What is your experience with comics outside of this book? As I was project,
Matthew Sump: I have no experience outside of this presence. So for real, for real, that’s crazy. This is my first project, man. And,
Casey: and you obviously have some, some [00:05:00] nerd bonafide, he’s just looking behind you.
So you’re into it. What is, what is your w what are you inspired by.
Matthew Sump: Ooh, that’s a, that’s a deep, deep question, man. I’m inspired by a lot of stuff. I’ve been reading comics since I was in middle school. I had some grandparents who owned a hobby shop and that kind of hooked me you know, and you know, I play video games pretty, pretty rapidly.
You know, there’s a slew of different movies. I like Spotify as a genre, but I also did my tour. Realm of Dungeons and dragons. So I played that for about 10 years. You know, so as we started kind of like coming up with with, with our idea, you know, it was like, you know, I started like hearkening back to those days where I was playing D and D and you know, that, that kind of fueled some of the Some of the art a little bit for me.
But yeah, man, I’m, I’m all over the place with it and I have three kids, so it’s like, you know, as I keep telling them all the time, it’s like, you don’t know how lucky you have. When I was your age, I would’ve killed for a Spider-Man movie. I would have killed for an Avenger. [00:06:00] Oh yeah, for sure. You know, you know, at this point in your life, you have, you know, 10 different Batman films.
At least I had zero. Well, the one with Adam West, I guess, you know, until the Mike came around, you know, so it’s like, you know, if it was a. It, wasn’t a thing to be proud of necessarily to be a nerd back in the day. Right. Like it was so, so you’re lucky you get to wear that on your sleeve and show the world that, you know, that you’re a fan.
And so that, that’s kind of inspiring to, you know,
Casey: also Matt, like what, what are your comic inspirations? Because you are. You’re a versatile writer is as much as I talked about Pete being a virtual artist, you’ve done so many different styles of writing for comics. W what really just kind of knocks your socks off.
Pete Collins: so I’m like a big, I’m big into dialogue. You know, Brian, Michael Bendis with his run on open, and Spider-Man like, really Opened up that [00:07:00] world to me, where I was like, oh, I want to, I want to write characters the way he writes characters. Cause they sound like real people. But so like Bendis is running on ultimate Spider-Man anything that Brian Kayvon.
Even, you know, saga the weird stuff down to why the last man he’s another one who was really good at, at, at baking characters, sound realistic. Like they don’t sound like, like your standard, like comic book characters. They sound like real people. Yeah. And just people like that. Jeff Johns for a time when he was his run on teen Titans was really good.
Yeah, I’m, I’m really tuned into like good dialogue. I like anything that has good dialogue in it. And I, I kind of strive for that in my books. Because again, it’s just, it just makes it that much more like the visuals are cool. Of course. Like you always want to show off your artists, but like, I, I want to give people something that they they’re going to read back and go, oh, that was like a fun conversation.
They had like what a cool, like way to make your character sound or what a funny thing to have them say or do dialogue wise. So I think that’s really important.
Casey: Awesome. Awesome. [00:08:00] So, I’ve really been impressed with what I’ve seen of the book. I don’t know that we’ve really gotten too deep into it in this interview as to what the reader can expect.
Can you give us kind of a breakdown of that? Like, give us the elevator pitch and then Tell us. So tell us about the campaign.
Pete Collins: Sure. So the elevator pitch for the book again is just the Bard, you know, playing a set list in a bar about the different adventures that he’s gone on. And then basically all the stories could stand on their own, but they do kind of connect because it’s one long journey that brings.
You know, you’ll find out why he’s at that bar. He’s there for a specific reason. We find out why during the course of, of the stories. So again, just a collection of stories that he tells the audience all done in a different art style. And yeah, I mean, it’s just, it’s one long story in 80 66 pages of art.
Oh my gosh. There’s some back matter, some [00:09:00] really fun back matter in the book. We got some pinups in there from some awesome artists that I’m excited to talk about down the road. And we have some character sheets. If people want to use the characters in there, like tabletop RPG games, that’ll be back there.
There, we have a map that we drew up. That’s really fun. Cool. Easter eggs. Yeah. So just, just, you know what, I I’m really into like a book. Just has that much extra value. Like yeah. Everyone loves like a book that, you know, just, it’s just still good comics, but like, we wanted to add stuff like fun, cool things to have in the back as well.
There’s some process stuff. There’s some other like doodles that Pete has done that we haven’t really shared around. That’ll be in there just again, like just extra content to bulk. You are
Casey: creeping into Phillip Kennedy, Johnson territory there with all the back matter and stuff. Oh my gosh. He was telling me about the, the last gods.
Pete Collins: That’s a deep
Casey: book he did, right? Yes. [00:10:00] Yes. And it was just the concept in like all the back matters that he had for it. I was immediately like, I’m too stupid to even think about starting something like that. Just like, as, as a writer, I’m like, I’m make the big guy hit the other guy that is like, oh my gosh.
So, hats off to people that are, that are also doing that. Cause that is amazing to me. I love stuff like that. What, what were your fantasy inspirations? Cause it seems to have like, you know, the bar and all that. There’s the, the D and D inspiration, I bet. But where were you kind of, really into like the, I don’t know, Lord of the rings or anything like that?
Pete Collins: Yeah, I mean, I would say like Conan was kind of cool. Some were already Howard. Yeah. Would little Robert Howard. So I will say the, one of the biggest inspirations for the book in general, it was the Witcher Netflix show because [00:11:00] they have a, they have a Bard character that I just like loved. Cause he’s like this goofball, like that bothers.
It’s like anytime he shows up, just bothering him. And I, I kind of, our character isn’t as annoying, but our character is as charismatic as that, as that Bard character. And. Yeah, I think I was just like obsessed with fantasy visuals, like any, like I played the Witcher game which are free. I’m trying to think there was something else.
That was a huge inspiration. I mean, you’ll see in the book he, we’re going to do like a piece on Zetta. We’re going to do like a whole section of Frazetta illustrated. I mean, I’m kind of glad we didn’t me too.
If there’s a volume two, we might save it for that. But. For Zetta was definitely, we were looking at for Zetta stuff for a while there. But yeah, I mean, [00:12:00] just like anything and like Pete said, like he was big into D and D so he was really like my sounding. I’m not, I’ve never played D and D before, surprisingly.
So I was basically just asking him a ton of questions. Like, you know, what are, what, what things can we work with? I was doing a lot of research on D and D trying to make. You know, references to creatures and things like that. But yeah find and stuff like that.
Casey: A few weeks ago, I had to, I was doing some research for something and I was pulling up a bunch of Frazetta pictures and my wife was like, saw me kind of going through it on my computer.
She was like, fuck, are you looking at? And I was like, oh, I’m, I’m pulling apart references. Well, he had a tight yeah, that stuff when I was a kid like seeing like your first Frazetta painting is just like, holy crap, this amazing. Yeah. That’s stuff. Rocks. So this campaign. You have stretch goals. Do you have anything like that set out or is [00:13:00] it all just like, let’s just get the book done. It’s 60 pages. What else do you want?
Jesus Christ just lives.
Pete Collins: We don’t talk enough
Matthew Sump: for a while. Yeah. So like we decided to put all the cards on the table, right? Like, we do not have stress. We had originally, we had kicked around so many different ideas as far as like, you know, you know, what do you want to give different backers different, you know, different tier levels.
It all boiled down to like, we want the book in people’s hands. So we have S we have six, six six reward tiers and that’s counting or retailer bundle. And it just came down to like, you know what, we’ll take some stickers, we’ll put them in there, we’ll take a bookmark. We’ll just put it in there.
We’re not going to make that like little Chachi things that, you know, you can get after the fact we’re not going to do ad-ons. We wanted to keep it humble and say, And even, even keeping it humble, you know, the math Kickstarter, math is weird math. It’s not fun. You know, and this really being on Matt’s [00:14:00] first solo Kickstarter and, you know, my first really anything, it just made sense to just keep it as a, keep it simple.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. All of the stuff can add, add up and just be a massive headache. So do not blame you one bit. What, what’s your like your basement level price on the book?
Matthew Sump: Well, digital and physical are both $20. The only difference being of course is with physical, you’re paying for shipping. In addition to that the physical comes with the digital version.
Also. Everything has everything comes with a bookmark, a couple of stickers, a signs assigned. Which will be signed by myself, Matt and our letterer the fantastic Matt Prosser and everything’s going to be boarded and shrink wrapped before it’s packed. So it’s going to be a nice tight, safe package.
We have a few other tiers too where like our digital tier is also going to include some of Matt’s greatest hits or as I call it not Sumo sings, the blues volume. We have we have some art tiers also. [00:15:00] We have a traditional art tier, which will include a five by seven you know, inked commit, inked original piece of art.
The book itself has done digitally. So I’m going to be doing these in addition to seeing through the rest of the book. Another tier is a digital TT RPG character. So cool. Yeah. So if you play D and D shadow, run Pathfinder, whatever if you back that if you back us with that tier I will provide you with a high resolution eight and a half by 11 size version of your character as rendered as best as possible.
We have an offshoot of that as our last year and a more expensive one. And that is the same thing. The same committee. But we’ll have it presented in a high quality canvas. That’s 11 by 17.
Pete Collins: And so
Casey: cool. Cool. Yeah. Holy smokes. That’s rad. That is it’s a lot of bang for your buck and that book, like with a $20 starting point that is red, especially given that it’s like, you know, 20 pages or 60 pages.
So, any plans for [00:16:00] continuing the story later on or. Like a one and done.
Pete Collins: I mean, so here’s the thing we we’ve been talking about what a vine two would look like. Obviously it hinges on the success of the campaign. So if, if this does well and we get funded, then there are definitely plans for vine too.
So we we’ve, we’ve talked about it. And it’s something that once all the dust settles from the Kickstarter again, provided it as well, which I think we’re pretty competent and well, we’ll definitely start production. I don’t mine too.
Matthew Sump: There may or may not already be scribbles on cocktail now.
Nice. The Bartlett curses. Second part. So, man, this is exciting. Can I talk a little bit about like creative process and stuff like that? That’s my 1660 pages is a massive undertaking for anything. Right now, Pete, I’m [00:17:00] sure you’re, you’re drowning and, and pages. You have to do mat, you know, you have to come up with, you have to come up with a shit.
You have to figure it out and make everything work. Matt, when do you, when do you do your writing and how do you do your work? Great
Pete Collins: question. Uh it’s it’s whenever I have free time. So, it’s watch breaks during the week after work during the week, late nights during the week, and then over the weekend, it was, you know, from sunup to sunset basically.
Oh, really? Yeah. It just, whenever I could squeeze it in like the cool thing about, about this book, we started it a little over a year ago. At this point we started it like right before COVID hit And it was just kind of, there was no time timeline. It was super loose. It was just work on it when we could, you know, I would work on the script in chunks because again, we had the luxury of it being a series of stories.
It wasn’t just one long story. I mean, again, we had to tie in a lot of stuff, but [00:18:00] I was just working on it in chunks. I would be like, all right, here’s this, here’s this one sec section. Here you go. I’d go onto the next one and so on and so forth. The beauty of the relationship that I have with Pete is that it’s super collaborative.
Like I would send him pages and he would go, Hey, like, what if we did this instead of this? And I’m like, yeah, sure. I’m like, whatever, you know, if you think it works better, that way. I don’t mind, like if I need to rewrite dialogue based on that, like that’s no problem. Like I have no issue writing my dialogue around.
Like, if you want to blow out like a page, which we’ve done a couple of times, To make it better to make it flow better. Like cool. Like I’ll, I’ll, I’ll fill it in. From there
Casey: Sorry. P w when do you do your work, man? You have three kids have
Matthew Sump: a full-time job and, yeah, it’s, it’s crazy, dude, but something I’m sure you can relate. Your, your current [00:19:00] surroundings, especially is exactly. I can tell you. I have one son who used to go, used to be in band. So I would literally sit there for four hours of band practice in the parking lot with my tablet drawing in my car.
So, you know, it’s it’s the same kind of thing as mass. I just, whenever I can, you know, I. It’s a lot of late night drawing for sure. Usually, you know, I’m making a cup of coffee around like seven 30 at night. One because I love the days and two, because, you know, I need it. And I’ll draw until 11 30, 12 30 at night.
Sometimes they’ll slip away, like during the workout or get a 15 minute break here or there, or I’ll bring my tablet too. I’m using air quotes here to take notes during a meeting, you know, it’s, it’s whenever I can, honestly it is it is a hard balance at times, you know, but it’s worked so far you know, we’ve got physically out of the I don’t remember the final number.
I think w what was it? It was like [00:20:00] 62 pages to.
Pete Collins: I think it was 66,
Matthew Sump: 66. Yeah. So like I’m, I’ve already fully finished out you know, 58 pages. So
Casey: were you reminded me of something? I snuck off in the middle of the day to interview Dan Jurgens at my work. And so I had to, had to sneak off into the.
And in the middle of the interview it was an old dusty attic nobody’s ever out there, but it was the quietest place in my building. Dan Jurgens only had so much time during the day to fit us in. And I inhaled what seemed like all of the dust in the attic. And I think I died a little bit. Dan, Dan Jurgens is like, are you okay?
But yeah, it was, it was awful, but yeah. Yeah. You got to find that time, man. Yeah, yeah,
Matthew Sump: yeah, no, one’s going to find it for ya. Right. Life, life will always be there to try to get in the way. Right. So you just gotta, you gotta hunker down and do the work. [00:21:00]
Casey: What really fuels you because you can’t always be putting out.
Some people can, I can’t, I have to have some, you know, something to, to kind of rekindle that creative spirit. Is there anything that, that makes you guys want to create?
Matthew Sump: Great question. Like if I, if I’ve hit like a brick wall, right. If I’m drawing and it’s just like, you know, on that, you know, it’s been a long day, I’m starting to feel it. I will, I will literally push myself until, until I can’t physically. C straight or draw at all. And then I’ll just, that’s the first thing I look at when, you know, I pick my tablet back up is okay, where did I leave off?
Oh gosh, I left off there. Oh. And then I’ll just readjust, you know, it’s you know, I find, I find, I find that music helps a lot. You know, I, I prefer metal over all other [00:22:00] genres, so that’s typically what I’m listening to. I tried to avoid finger foods while I’m drawing. So it’s a lot of shakes and you know, ice cream and that sort of stuff like really just anything that I can, I can ingest quick and easy without getting grease on my fingers, you know?
Casey: What about you?
Pete Collins: So I play a lot of video games. Like Pete said, I listened to a lot. I’ve listened to a ton of music. I’m probably listening to music, maybe eight hours a day. Cause I worked, I worked from home. I. I don’t have to necessarily talk to people on the phone, maybe here and there, but when I’m not talking to somebody on the phone, my AirPods are in I’m listening to music.
I feel like music, like where people will like outline books. They’ll like take notes and do stuff like that. I just, I workshop all my stuff in my head while I’m listening to music. So I’ll write a page in my head and then go, all right, I’m going to like, get this down on paper later on in the day. And do do it that way.
But yeah, it’s mostly music video games. I’ll [00:23:00] read here and there. Watch movies when I can, and then not working.
Casey: Awesome. Awesome. So w what, what music, what, what band have you been listening to? Mostly. Anyone banned what has better yet? What has fueled, what would be the soundtrack for you guys for this book?
Pete Collins: Well, it is funny that you mentioned that we are I’m going to put together a playlist, which I’ll send out to the Kickstarter. So I don’t want to tip my hand too much there. But I will say One of the artists I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Donald. Yeah.
Nailed it. A lot of y’all may be there. Cool. That’s him, right? Michael McDonald’s I’m pretty sure. Anyway there’s artists called destroyer. It’s like a synth wave.
Casey: I liked them. They’re good.
Pete Collins: He uses like a lot of horror movie samples in his music. I really like. But yeah, that’s and then this playlist that we’re going to put together that you’ll see,
Casey: I think he has a [00:24:00] song called like Tinseltown or something.
It’s really good. Yeah. When I first heard of that band, I was upset. It wasn’t a metal band because it was such a bad-ass metal name. And it was like this kind of tweet, indie rock guy, and like, but yeah. Yeah, I dig it. It’s good stuff. What about, what about you, Pete?
Matthew Sump: I’d say, I’d say over the last like few months, it’s been a mixture of of Slipknot.
And avatar probably okay. Little Royal blood trickled in there. A little deaf tones trickled in there a little bit
Matthew Sump: Oh yeah. I’ve seen him live twice. They’re sonically superior. I love that. Oh yeah.
Casey: Yeah, I saw them with. Got some bandit suck and I cannot think of their name right now.
They had a song called voodoo and it was smack
Matthew Sump: gods. Yeah. Yeah. I saw Godsmack also, what was it? That was
Casey: the Heidrick Jasmine early two thousands. Yeah, it [00:25:00] was right when they first started covering Weezer and I was like, holy shit, are they covering. Okay. So that was great.
Matthew Sump: Yeah. The first time I saw him, it was a much smaller show and I couldn’t hear straight for four days.
That’s how I knew it was a really good job. But, but that said, I don’t think, I don’t think they like the music is great for like helping me stay motivated for sure. Th there’s not a lot of there’s no, there’s no Slipknot influence in the art. There’s no avatar influence in the art, but. To me it’s like that happy metal keeps me focused.
It sounds a little weird. I could never explain it to my parents I guess. But I, it, it, it always kept me focused something about the beat or the riff of the screaming. I don’t know, but
Casey: it’s like a constant drive if
Matthew Sump: it’s just pure momentum.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. Unless you’re in the day room like I am, and then you’re just kinda like.
Just got to sit back here and relax for about 15 [00:26:00] hours.
Yeah, man, I’m really excited about this book. I’m super stoked. When is it coming out again? Can you give me the date of when.
Pete Collins: Yeah. It’s September 8th, which is a Wednesday, of course, for new comic book day. And then it’s going until the 11th of October, which is the day after New York. Comic-Con if they still
Yeah. Yeah. That’s why, I guess it’s still up in the air right now, even, even now. That’s crazy. Yeah. You guys, I can’t wait to get this book in my dumb fat, sweaty hands. I’m super stoked for this. Matt has been showing me like tidbits and tell me a little bit here and there about it. I’m like, oh my gosh, this is genius.
The fact that y’all met each other at work is mind blowing because it. The way you guys have kind of put it together, it looks like you had a long working [00:27:00] relationship together in comics already is, is really impressive. I can’t wait to see the whole thing and I can’t wait to see what else you guys have in store.
Matthew Sump: wait for you to see it, man.
Casey: So real quick website, what’s the website.
Pete Collins: So, there’s two, the most important one would be TBV kickstarter.com, which is the, the Bartok versus that that’s the the initials T B V kickstarter.com. That’ll take you right to the campaign where you can sign up to get notified right now.
And then once the campaign goes to. That’ll take you right to the campaign so you can pledge. The other website is just Bartok versus.com, but you’re just, it’s just there that has a link to the Kickstarter, but it’s just there to let you know about the book and tell you about Pete, myself, and our other collaborators that we work with.
Nick and Carlos and cross. And maybe some other people that might, may or may not make it on there. And that’s it. And just the socials I’m at madman begins everywhere on the
Casey: best name ever.[00:28:00]
And, and Pete, where can we find you, man?
Matthew Sump: Well, right now in my son’s room is we’re doing this call. But I’m on all social media is PAC PAC illustration.
Casey: Nice. Nice. Hey if it makes you feel any better I did an interview one time and I wasn’t planning on doing video, but they insisted on video.
And at the time we had, we were kind of moving some rooms around and I was doing the interview in my daughter’s bedroom. Which is lavender color. It’s really nice. And I noticed behind me I couldn’t move my camera around enough to position myself to where all of her beauty pageant trips. We’ll be out of the way.
So there was like all these tiaras and sashes and trophies behind me as I’m interviewing like some comic person. I forget who, but yeah. Yeah, it was nice. They, they, they knew I was beautiful.[00:29:00]
Thank you. Thank you. I’m just waiting for you to say it. You guys, thanks again for, for chatting with me about this, can’t wait to read the book. You guys, the Bartok versus TBV kickstarter.com. You guys want to say anything on the way out? Okay.
Pete Collins: No, I shouldn’t say take care. Watch out for the Kickstarter and.
Casey: Watch your damn hands, please. And do something like covered up, stay home something. Man I’m I’m in the south where everybody’s covered with the blood of Jesus. They don’t believe in that stuff. So, yeah, it’s getting real sketchy out here, so nobody out how I’ll get off my soap box, but yeah. Yeah.
Take care of each other. Take care of yourself. Peace out. Matt love you, buddy. Y’all be good. Love you too. Take it easy. Thanks dude.