Q&A with Resident Robert Sassone

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To whatever extent you’re comfortable, can you share about your project?

My project is Milton, a fantasy graphic novel about a young wizard who struggles with family issues while simultaneously trying to save the world. While I began by publishing this comic online, I’m hoping to ultimately make a book out of it.

What do you find alluring about your medium? What capacities does it offer that complements your project?

I’ve loved drawing ever since I was small, and began reading comics seriously in my preteen years. Comics are both flexible and accessible; as long as you have an understanding of how the medium works, you can tell any story you want with visual power rivaling that of cinema- without spending millions of dollars on a movie camera. Comics also naturally lend themselves to telling personal stories, which is appealing to any artist. There’s nothing quite like seeing your thoughts drawn out on a page in a way anyone can understand.

In what ways do you hope/expect 212 will help to develop your work?

My hope is that 212 will provide me with the confidence, knowledge, and guidance I need to make the leap from comic hobbyist to comic professional. I have faith in the panel of talented artists and producers who’ve put the program together, and I’m very excited to be working with my experienced and incredibly gifted mentor.

Part of the 212 program is that you are assigned a mentor who will help guide you as you develop your project. What excites you about working with a mentor? Do you have any anxieties about it? How do you imagine it will affect your process?

I’m enthusiastic about being able to work so closely with someone else who understands where I am in my career, and is able to articulate what actions I should take to move forward. It’s always somewhat disconcerting to share your work and expectations with others, but we’re all artists here and we’ve walked the same path. Being able to share with a professional is something that helps me focus and gives me a better sense of direction, which is always vital for the creative process.

Can you share some about the artists that inspire you?

I’ve got an extensive list of artists from all fields whose work inspires me. To limit myself solely to comics, I’d say I’m inspired by Mike Mignola, Jeff Smith, Doug TenNapel, Stan Lee, Neil Gaiman, Geoff Johns, John Buscema, Kurt Busiek, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Gary Frank, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Alex Ross, Lora Innes, Tracy J. Butler, Johane Matte, Vera Brosgol, and David Petersen. That’s just to name a few! There’s many more where that came from.

What about magic and wizardry interests you and inspires you to create? And in what ways does magic interact with the themes in Milton?

I’ve always been a fan of wizards. They always wind up being the coolest characters no matter what story they’re in: everyone loves Gandalf, Harry Potter, and Dr. Strange. I’m writing a story that has wizards, magic and fantastical elements, but the story’s main theme is about family- as far as I’m concerned, the familial theme is the cake and the wizards/magic is the icing. I enjoy reading a thoughtful piece that reflects on real-life situations like father-son relationships and filial strife; I enjoy it more if it has people shooting fireballs from their hands.