by: Torch Baldwin – Nerd Nation Staff Writer
I’m here today with Everette Hartsoe, the man responsible for London Night Studios and it’s most popular character Razor to talk about his current projects, the decline of the comics print industry, why modern creations will never hit the sales records of the past and where he’s been and why the long absence.
NerdNation – You came into prominence in the heydey rush of a comics explosion on the mainstream. Titles were moving a million units an issue for big splash debut and staying about a half million for individual units on hot titles. Today’s market obviously isn’t doing that even with a ton of flagship properties out there. What’s happened to the industry? Can this all be attributed to the exodus from print media or is a problem with the product and quality of the comic properties themselves?
Everette Hartsoe – “A combination of changes in technology and entertainment appetite of the masses. Video games is the flavor of the day and smart phones and tablets are fast becoming the the venues of reading and watching quick tidbits of news. The quality of comics has never been better especially in the indie scene, but just like the music and movie industry, graphic novelists need to reinvent the way they do business.”
NN -Do you feel that reinvention will lead to more indie creators getting the attention they deserve now?
EH – “With the emergence of crowd funding and digital printing, every indie guy can follow their dream projects to fruition. it’s an exciting time now to be an indie creator.”
NN – We’ve just watched a movie with a talking raccoon and an ambulatory tree hit number 1 in America. As a creator who was ranked in the top-twenty most influential men in comics, how does it feel watching that happen while your character RAZOR has been trapped in development limbo for years.
EH- “I’m very pleased with the awareness Marvel/Disney has made with their comic properties and built in hype, with that being said, yes my own property RAZOR has been in a development Hell for some time and I do think it’s a circumstance of timing and setting the right tone in the script. Female lead action movies are by no means a slam dunk in Hollywood…ie Wonder Woman, Black Widow, any of them should have their own stand alone film, but as you can see, Hollywood tends to be shy. I do feel 2015 will be the year a dark gritty indie film named RAZOR will finally get it’s day in the sun and rewrite the film industry’s perception of a lead female action.”
NN – The fanbase has been crying out for a good female lead for a while now. . How cool would it be to beat the big guys to the first relevant leading lady in the genre?
EH – “That is the goal. I firmly believe the time is ripe for this type of movie.”
NN – Has the severe content matter of RAZOR, with its explicit sexual nature and drug abuse so prevalent been detrimental in getting the project green-lit in Hollywood?
EH – “Her backstory of being a rape victim and her past addiction to prescription meds only serves to update the character with current narrative in today’s news. I write what I feel like writing, Hollywood, takes and leaves what they like…I can’t structure myself around their asses.”
NN – There is a huge debate now about rape culture and the part suggestive roles for females with gratuitous sex and violence mingled together and how such depictions affect the collective zeitgeist. How do you answer critics that claim that Razor’s character and fantasy world perpetuates rape culture in our society?
EH – “How does it perpetuate it? I say it provides an open dialogue for it. Rape is no joke and it shouldn’t be shunned or hidden in a closet. deal with it head on and stomp the s**t out of it. Put fear into those that would even think about causing harm to others.”
NN – Would a Razor movie or series made today reflect the original vision you had for the character or would it have to be softened for today’s cinema? Do you think the sexuality and extreme violence of the series will survive into this version?
EH – “After reading the current script, it’s just about as close to the original source material as I’ve ever seen. Will it remain that, only time will tell. I don’t worry about what the finished movie will look like. I did my part with providing a compelling story that has peaked the interest of producers and directors. Being in the game is part of the battle, now I just need a touchdown pass to win the game.”
NN – You’ve been missing from the comics field for a while now. How do you address criticism from parts of the fan-base claiming you’re no longer relevant in the industry? What do you do as a creator to prove them wrong and show the world the relevance of the London Night brand in today’s market?
EH – “I’ve been proving haterade drinkers wrong since day one. It’s nothing more than a walk in the park to me, but furthermore, when I do a book it’s for me. I have to remain true to myself and see what I have deep-down, and if others like it, then it’s win/win. If some say I’m no longer relevant to the industry. I would say what industry? Comics? I’d say the comics industry is no longer relevant to me. I’m producing , marketing, printing an all new product that will look nothing like it did 20 years ago. I no longer use the tools and formula I did two decades ago. Honestly I’ve passed the “industry” by. The way I view it, there are 2 industries going side by side, one not acknowledging the other. the old school hanging onto the past distribution channel and the new game..the game I’m in… Create it, print it, sell it all by your g**d**n self.”
NN – Do you see the ‘direct-from-creator-to-fans’ model increasing in the business?
EH – “Increase? It already trumps the numbers from all the big 2 characters. I’ve watched unknown creators bring in 6 figures from Kickstarter… numbers that make the top Marvel and DC sellers look like b****es. There is a new paradigm shift in the comics/graphic novel industry that is so ripe for indies, we will never seek the old distribution format or status quo ever again.”
NN – Your personal life has seen a lot of upheaval recently. You’ve moved on from your relationship to being single again while living in Sin City out in Vegas. Has the transition affected your personal outlook as a creator? If so, how is that reflected in your art ?
EH – “My recent divorce has made me have a bigger ‘inward’ look. I turned myself into a positive spiritual guru of sorts and it’s made my creativity increase ten-fold. My time alone was the best decision I ever made and there’s no doubt. Becoming vegan, doing meditation, yoga and normal daily exercise has given me a brand new lease on life.”
NN – Down 45 pounds since the start of the spiritual awakening. I understand you’re doing life training with others now as well. How does the spiritual guru gig work? Can I call you and have you kick my ass into gear for life coaching now?
EH – “I felt I have a way of reaching people in a realistic fundamental style, plus they can see from my own humble past that, we all can accomplish wonders if we have the proper tools set in our mind. I do Skype, phone and live in person. whatever you need to Level up.”
NN – Great hearing from you man. Looking forward to seeing the new projects from the new and improved House of Hartsoe.
Wrapping up with Everette, it seems like big things are on the horizon for the creator, and exciting new content is on the way both on-paper and on-screen. Let’s see if the fans and Hollywood heed the call and jump more into the grittier, indie side of the genre and expand this field we love even further and deeper. Welcome back!