Inside the Cave with Ryan K Lindsay

Buck around and find out.

Coming this January from Mad Cave Studios is the newest antler-noir miniseries from Ryan K Lindsay and Sami Kivelä, Deer Editor. Colored by Lauren Affe and lettered by Jim Campbell, Deer Editor follows along with the intrepid editor and reporter Bucky as he unravels his town’s greatest conspiracy! There’s only one catch: The editor of the year is a deer.

Mad Cave Studios’ marketing manager, Maya Lopez, sat down with Ryan, author of Deer Editor, to chat about out about his inspirations, his creative process, the making of Deer Editor, and more! Read on for the full interview!

Q: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions today, Ryan! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ryan K Lindsay: I can definitely unravel the basic ingredients to this comic book writing recipe. I’m from Australia and I’ve been writing comics for two decades, and getting them published for about half that time. I started off with comic shorts and one-shots and eventually settled into a groove of miniseries and graphic novels that have let me explore strange ideas through a genre lens and have sometimes won some awards, or just helped me pay some bills.

If you’ve read any of my other work, like the emotionally warped Negative Space with Owen Gieni or the shieldmaiden ghost story Eternal with Eric Zawadzki or the absolutely bombastic Speed Republic with Emanuele Parascandolo, then you are ready for the weird crime and character combo of Deer Editor.

Q: What is your biggest inspiration when it comes to writing comics?

RKL: It’s other creator owned comics. When I see other creators wield this artform like a machete through the scrub, but also a telescope to another world, it makes me want to sit down and get my own script pages set out and start collaborating with this field of amazing artists who have been my copilots on other stories.

Though when it comes to writing my stories, often Sami Kivela himself is a huge inspiration for me. We’ve worked on many stories together over the past decade, and thinking about what masterful stuff he can create next really gets me amped to sit down and make some four colour magic happen. He’s hands-down one of the best artists in comics right now, and having him as a co-pilot and a good friend means the world to me.

Q: In Deer Editor, we follow intrepid newspaper editor Bucky, who just so happens to be a deer. What was your biggest inspiration in writing this story?

RKL: I’ve always loved newsroom stories. I can remember watching and rewatching The Paper, which was this seemingly forgotten newspaper drama from Ron Howard that starred Michael Keaton as this editor in a newsroom, and I loved the intensity and pace and fun of it all. That movie set me on a path of other newsroom dramas like All The President’s Men and His Girl Friday up to Zodiac and The Post. I’m just a sucker when it comes to someone getting a story in by deadline, and was very close to pursuing journalism as a career until I stuck with the initial dream of teaching and have been doing that for twenty years.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your personal connection to Deer Editor?

RKL: This story and world, and Bucky specifically as a character, was one of my first creations that I could see continuing on into the future. The idea came from a chat about typos on Twitter, and was definitely inspired by the amazing Tiger Lawyer comic from Ryan Ferrier, and from there I wrote the first script on my phone while midnighting walking my second child around my neighbourhood in a baby chest carrier. For that reason, Deer Editor is always going to hold a special place in my heart, and on my shelf.

Q: What initially got you into comics?

RKL: Definitely my brothers. Having a house full of 80/90s Marvel comics, and reading G.I. Joe and the Maximum Carnage storyline and MAD Magazine were all fuel for the fire, and I’ve been thankful that each decade brings me a new reason to renew my passion. From discovering EC Horror reprints in the 90s, the The Walking Dead in the 2000s, and so many amazing indie comics over the past 20 years, there’s always something that reignites my passion for the form.

Q: Which character in Deer Editor do you personally connect with the most?

RKL: It would definitely be Bucky, but mostly for his flaws. He’s very head strong, and he’s certain he’s got the answer, and ultimately he needs to learn that sometimes he’s got a lot of learning still to do.

Q: What do you hope for people to take away from Deer Editor?

RKL: A passion for more comics about journalists! And a sense that we’re all trying to work out the mysteries around us, and we should keep on looking and thinking.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about what your writing process looks like?

RKL: For sure, well, it starts at 4am every day. I get up and grab a coffee and head into my office to write whatever is next on my To Do List while the family sleeps. My stories often start from strange places of inspiration [a twitter convo, a random moment appears in my head as a page of comics] and from there I’ll notebook it out repeatedly until I have the story and characters more clear. I find the notebook phase the most fun/infuriating as it is very repetitive, but it helps me discover so much.

From there, it’s all about mapping out how much real estate I think I’ll need, plotting it out in issues/pages, and then just diving into the scripting and trying to make each page pop in a way only comics can. First issues receive a lot of drafting from me as I want every beat and page turn and page balance to feel perfectly weighted.

Q: Who/what are your biggest influences as a creator?

RKL: I try to throw a lot of different stuff into my head and let it all mix around. I’ve found that Ed Brubaker [and all of his collaborations with Sean Phillips] are this perfect base element in my head. The balance between driving plot and flawed characters and beautiful pages is an inspiration every time. Layered all around that is a variety of stuff from the lyrics of Sarah Blasko to the creative heart of The Fabelmans to the wildness in Lonnie Nadler’s writing to the awesome truth in Tara June Winch’s stories and their structures.

Hopefully it all speaks to me, but not too clearly through me; I’d hate to feel like a pastiche of better things you can get elsewhere.

Q: Deer Editor is an all-new antler-noir miniseries following Bucky, an anthropomorphic deer who finds himself in the middle of a grand conspiracy. Do you have any noir recommendations for readers?

RKL: For comics, I always point to Brubaker/Phillips’ Criminal comic, but specifically the ‘Bad Night’ and ‘Last of the Innocent’ storylines – absolute masterpieces. On film, there are many classics, but I really dug a bunch of new wave noir like The Last Seduction and even something like Looper.

Q: What are your favorite stories/artists/genres?

RKL: My favourite genre is the sweet spot where sci fi and crime intersect. I blame a very early viewing of Blade Runner, but it’s this space where you have a flawed lead, chasing down a mystery, but in a world where anything can happen. I’m always a sucker for it.

Whereas my favourite stories usually present something personal. Stephen King’s Hearts In Atlantis is one of the most beautiful things in the way it captures a specific time in someone’s life, whereas The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon covers a lifetime of interconnections, while Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje is all about the swirling tide inside someone that we might never see nor know.

So, if I can find a way to play with that genre mash up, but in a way that’s showing something personal, I feel like I’ve been a conduit between what goes in and what comes out and hopefully the world can be one story better for it.

Q: Any upcoming projects we should know about?

RKL: I want to try some Robert Kirkman-level manifestation here and say, yeah, more Deer Editor at Mad Cave because Sami Kivela and I love this character and are surely going to be telling more stories with him – I can make that my answer, right? :]

Q: Any cons you’ll be attending in the near future?

RKL: A slew of Australian shows in 2024, all kinds of major cities and smaller shows. But, alas, probably still nothing international.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

RKL: Sami and I really hope people dig the unique experience that is Deer Editor. Our absolute heart is on the page with this one and if we end our careers having created one iconic character on the page, we hope it’s Bucky, because he’s more than just the antlers, he’s someone flawed and strange who’s always looking to look and learn and grow. And aren’t we all [hopefully]?

ABOUT RYAN K LINDSAY

Ryan K Lindsay writes comics.

He has partnered with artist Sami Kivelä to create: EVERFROST and BEAUTIFUL CANVAS through Black Mask Studios, CHUM through ComixTribe, and now DEER EDITOR at Mad Cave Studios.

He has partnered with artist Eric Zawadzki to create: ETERNAL through Black Mask Studios, and HEADSPACE, also with Sebastian Piriz, through Monkeybrain Comics/IDW. He partnered again with Sebastian Piriz for BLACK BEACON through Heavy Metal.

His other comics include: Aurealis and Ledger Award winning NEGATIVE SPACE with Owen Gieni through Dark Horse Comics, SHE Vol. 1 with Chris Panda through ComixTribe, SPEED REPUBLIC with Emanuele Parascandolo through Mad Cave Studios, GLOVES with Tommy Lee Edwards in the Vertigo CMYK anthology, as well as EIR with Alfie Gallagher, INK ISLAND with Craig Bruyn, STAIN THE SEAS SCARLET with Alex Cormack, and SKYSCRAPER with Mitchell Collins through Kickstarter for ‘Four Colour Ray Gun.’

SNEAK PEEK!

We’ve got your first look inside the pages of our upcoming antler-noir miniseries, Deer Editor. You can check out the action below!

Deer Editor is now available for pre-order on the official Mad Cave Studios website, and will be available at your favorite bookstore, local comic shop, and digital comic reader on January 10th, 2024!

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