In November of 2012 Michel Fiffe was a talented comic’s creator who had done some work on a handful of small press alt comics and moonlighted in comics journalism with writing for the comics journal when he released the debut issue of Copra. Fast forward a little over a year and Fiffe has proven to be one of the most prolific creators in the medium releasing twelve issues of the comic that he wrote, drew, printed and distributed all on his own. Copra became a staple of year end critic polls and a fan favorite that transcended the alt comics readership and scored big with comic book lovers looking for new and exciting super hero stories. Fiffe has since been announced as a writer for Marvels All New Ultimates and plans on continuing with Copra in addition to releasing the first twelve issues in one large collection. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Fiffe about his start in the industry, how he was able to dedicate a year of his life to the comic, his influences and plans for All New Ultimates. Read more after the jump
Michel Fiffe: I actually started out as a cartoonist who was looking around for information about specific cartoonists I really liked and couldn’t find any. I took it upon myself to seek them out personally and I discovered that I could retool my curiosity to fit the interview model. I’ve since interviewed a bunch of folks but I haven’t done so in years. It really was like a hobby at one point that took up a lot of time. Instead of juggling both, I decided to concentrate on putting out my own comics, starting with Zegas.
PH:How long were you thinking about starting Copra and what motivated you to start working on it?
MF: It took me about a month to think up Copra and another month to make the actual comic to see if I could physically do it. I was motivated by the impulse of creating under pressure.
PH: How were you able to dedicate a year of your life to focus solely on writing, drawing, publishing and distributing Copra?
MF: I had to stop taking any outside work and concentrate all of my artistic efforts to it. I had saved up enough money to print the first issue. After that, it was in the hands of the readers.
MF: That title is the direct inspiration for Copra, but I’m not reworking anything too specifically. My other main sources of inspiration were Walt Simonson, Frank Miller, and making rent on time every month.
PH:When I first started reading Copra I could definitely see the influence of silver age/bronze age and 80’s comics on the book but it didn’t feel derivative. How do you balance your sphere of influence with originality?
MF: I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t seem derivative because that possibly the one element that I’m unable to pinpoint with any critical accuracy. I just try to make the comics I want to read, which is something you must hear all the time.
PH: I know you’re planning on going back to Copra in the future. Do you think you will keep doing it DIY or would you be open to using a publisher for the remainder of the series? If I was Darkhorse or Image I feel like I would do everything in my power to reprint and publish the remaining issues.
MF: My self-publishing division, Copra Press exists for a reason. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?
MF: I was given the opportunity to tell stories within Ultimate Universe, a place that is currently in the middle of a major event. My plan is to take the characters of All-New Ultimates and thrown them into a gang war marked by crazy new villains and young lust.
You can find out more about Michel Fiffe at his website here