Today on Indie Spotlight we interview Jason Horn, creator of Ninjasaur. Ninjasaur is a dinosaur who is also a ninja. Very important to remember that. Jason has been writing the comic for years and is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign. Readers can contribute to the Kickstarter at this link.
Jason discusses ninjas, dinosaurs, the creativity of children and “dead robot luchador”. The interview is as fun as Ninjasaur himself.
Geeks Unleashed: You have made the point before that Ninjasaur is “a dinosaur who is also a ninja”. Why is it important that fans and readers realize this and don’t think Ninjasaur is a ninja who is also a dinosaur? I cant help but think of the Venture Brothers Ghost Pirates arguement when I read this.
Jason Horn: To me Ninjasaur has always been a dinosaur first. He was born a dinosaur. When he was young he was trained as a ninja. So when I was first explaining Ninjasaur to people at comic conventions, I’d always point out that he was a dinosaur who IS a ninja. People thought it was funny that I was specifically saying it that way, so I’ve always made it a sticking point.
Geeks Unleashed: The Kickstarter pledge levels are some of the best I’ve ever seen. For just $15 fans can have digital editions of not only volume one but volume two as well. Most collections aren’t even 15 dollars for just one of them, let alone two. Would you suggest readers pick up volume one in order to be caught up on volume two or is this new collection easy to jump into?
Jason Horn: Ninjasaur: Volume Two is easy for a new reader to jump into. It begins with Ninjasaur in Guatemala fighting a dead robot luchador. That’s about all you really need to know about the character. He’s a dinosaur ninja who fights crazy bad guys. Volume One is a collection of the first few stories that were stand alone narratives, but they planted a lot of seeds that pay off in Volume Two. They are seeds that you don’t have to know about if you haven’t read Volume One, but they mean something more if you have.
Geeks Unleashed: What have you learned from your previous successful Kickstarters that you are applying here in order to make this project not only a success but a seamless one at that?
Jason Horn: I learned to make sure to set the right prices. Far too often I read about creators who get into trouble because they didn’t plan shipping costs just right. The printer I’m using is someone I’ve used before and trust. I know exactly how much everything will cost down to envelopes, printing, and international shipping. This is a baseness for me. I’m not going into this to lose money. And if you know much about the economics of comic books, you know there isn’t a ton of money to be had, at least not for most independent creators like myself.
I’ve also learned the huge weight of importance that social media plays on crowd funding. It’s essentially all that matters. If you don’t already have a built in audience you’ve spent years developing, no one’s going to hear about your project.
Geeks Unleashed: Ninjasaur lives in a world where everything exists at once. This play with all the toys type of comic could seem unfocused but it really opens up the possibilities for Ninjasaur. What are your favorite types of stories to read and how have you tried to work those into the Ninjasaur-verse.
Jason Horn: I like stories where anything can happen. It’s one of the things I really liked about Breaking Bad. As realistic as the show was for the most part, it always felt like just about anything could happen. That’s why Ninjasaur exists in a world where time is broken and everything that could exist DOES exist. And it makes for a lot of fun to draw. If I want to draw a robot driving a bus full of sharks in business suits, that’s something I can do.
I’ve always approached Ninjasaur’s world as being like the bottom of a kid’s toy box. A kid will pull out a Medieval knight and have him fight a space alien and think nothing of it. It’s just something that can happen because it’s awesome. That sense of childlike wonder is always a goal for Ninjasaur.
Geeks Unleashed: In volume two, Ninjasaur “discovers that he is a fictional character who must stop existing in order to preserve the boundaries of reality.” I know its a comic about a dinosaur who is also a ninja but it also breaks the fourth wall in a more serious way than She-Hulk or Deadpool. Is it tough to balance such an over the top idea with these deep ideas of creation?
Jason Horn: It probably seems odd to have such silliness alongside existential struggles, but to me it makes sense. It may seem like a tall order to explore the nature of reality in an all-ages comic book with a dinosaur ninja, but kids love it. They’re minds are way more open to explore the boundaries of reality than you might think. I’ve always tried to not dumb down my comics for kids. They’re smart and ready for anything.
In the story, Ninjasaur discovers that the void that existed before creation is a living thing threatening all reality. Every time something new is created, a little of what’s left of the void is eaten away. The day I created Ninjasaur was the day that the void decided enough was enough, and now it is trying to destroy us all, here in the real world. It’s up to Ninjasaur to save us. You’re welcome, humanity.
Geeks Unleashed: Many Ninjasaur fans are young and most comic fans have limited funds for all of the great books available today. If you were a comic fan on a budget which donation tier would you pick for the most bang for your buck?
Jason Horn: I am certainly among the comic fans with limited funds, so I understand. If you’re new to Ninjasaur and just want to dip your toe in, I’d recommend the PDF Combo Pack for $15. It comes with both Volume One and Two. It’s over 200 pages of digital comics. But if you want to hold a real book, I’d go for the physical copy of Volume Two for $25. There are other options like a Combo Pack with both Volume One and Two for more, but anyone can check out Ninjasaur for free at http://ninjasaur.com. I update each week. Hope to see you there!