Miso Zivanov, the lead editor of Imagine Incredible, recently sat down with the kind folks of IGN Adria to discuss Lightstep Chronicles and its ongoing Kickstarter campaign. Since Miso spoke at length about a variety of interesting subjects and the interview is available only in Serbian, we thought that our non-Serbian readers should also get a chance to hear what he has to say.
For starters, tell us about your project, Imagine Incredible, and the people behind it.
Miso Zivanov (MZ): Imagine Incredible is a pioneering venture where we come from. This is the first time in Serbia that comic books are produced in a studio – the American way. It is the product of a team of authors, artists and fans that are truly passionate about comic books. Our main goal with Imagine Incredible is to enable local authors to reach their full creative potential, and in their own country, too! We want to provide working conditions for local authors that match those abroad. We are trying to bring together people from different fields of the comic book industry, gaming, and entertainment in general, and then to direct this creative force into a really amazing commercial product.
Your breakout product is Lightstep Chronicles. What can you tell us about it?
MZ: Lightstep Chronicles is a comic book series written and drawn by Milos Slavkovic, a visually and stylistically beautiful space opera in the tone of adventure comic books such as Flash Gordon or John Carter. The story is bustling with riddles, intrigue, space pirates, and power struggles, and in the midst of it all, a young girl renounces her legacy in favor of the freedom to choose her own destiny and the fate of the universe. There is no shortage of action, space battles, time dilation, and of course, a healthy dose of humor.
At the core of the story lies the battle between good and evil, though these concepts are not clearly defined in the beginning, and it is up to the reader to choose the rules by which they will draw conclusions. I could talk about it for hours, but then this would be an epic monologue – instead, I invite you to read more about it on our website or on the Kickstarter campaign page, and to support this comic book as it finds its way to its audience.
Is comic book production all you do?
MZ: Each of our titles is a nucleus of new ideas and possibilities. We like to say that we don’t create comic books – we make entire new universes which can only expand, either by way of new comic books, or through video games, novels, board games and other media. The story of Uncommoner’s Gene, a novel by Ivan Branković, takes place decades before the events from the Lightstep Chronicles comic book, and it is already completed and available as a reward in our Kickstarter campaign. There is also talks of a video game based on the comic book, but this is already the future of a franchise which entirely depends on the success of this Kickstarter campaign.
We wish to offer a whole new world for the audience to step into and experience through various formats. We are lucky enough to work with very talented and multifaceted artists which makes me confident that this is only the beginning of an immense, amazing story.
How did you decide to use Kickstarter as a platform to reach out to your audience?
MZ: We did this for many reasons. Obviously, the main one was to gather enough funds to complete the comic book. We currently have two episodes completed out of a five-episode arc, and we need more resources to finish up the story and tell it like it deserves to be told.
Other than that, Kickstarter provides us with a direct approach to people who are legitimately interested in comic books and art in general, and are willing to support new projects. This platform lets us present ourselves to the worldwide comic book audience, and “test” the quality of our comic book directly.
If the campaign is successful, we will be able to play around with different comic book formats and present the audience with some exclusive content, available only to those who back the campaign.
This is your very first Kickstarter campaign. Did you come across any challenges while creating it?
MZ: Of course, when you do something for the first time, mistakes are bound to happen. We tried to arm ourselves with knowledge and insider tips before we started working on the campaign, but despite it all, we had multiple unexpected situations, most of them related to the logistics and maths of creating a campaign.
However, working on this campaign was a great pleasure – from deciding on the campaign’s tone and the way we would engage the audience to assembling rewards packages. Finally, we had too much fun filming the promo video, and I hope it shows in the final version.
We spent a lot of time and effort creating a project that doesn’t lag behind global standards production-wise, and can measure up to some of the finest comic books today. Sure, this is a serious project, but we also wanted to show how much fun we had making it.
Finally, do you believe a Serbian comic book publisher can compete in the global market?
MZ: I don’t believe that many things can hold a good idea or product back in a modern, digital era. We are only limited by our own abilities, everything else is a matter of hard work and good faith. I am surrounded by enthusiastic, highly motivated, and very capable people who love what they do. Comic books are a creative industry, easy to understand, sending clear messages. We’ve had examples of this since the first commercial comic books – the Smurfs are as recognizable in the United States as Superman is in France, and these characters have been around for 88 and 79 years, respectively. Do you need any more proof that a good idea transcends time and geography?
You can read the original interview (in Serbian) on IGN Adria.