Speaking with Raymond Leonard
by Decapitated Dan Royer
Decapitated Dan sits down with fellow Chicago based independent creator Raymond Leonard to talk about his titles AGENT SOLO (which is being lettered by CR's own Brant Fowler), GUYTRON and VIOLET BIRD, as well as his influences, interests and so forth.
Decapitated Dan: Hey, Raymond, thanks for taking time to talk with me about Agent Solo: The One Man Army . First of all, let's talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?
Raymond Leonard: My name is Raymond Leonard [and] I'm from Chicago, IL Southside...GO White Sox! LOL. I'm a writer, creator & artist. I have been in this business 11years...I love creating creator owned comics.
DD: How did you find yourself getting into making comics?
RL: After getting so many rejection letters from Marvel & DC Comics and the big boom of Image & Milestone Comics and working for other indie publishing companies I was motivated and used that as an influence to create my own little sandbox of characters.
DD: So what can you tell me about Agent Solo: The One Man Army?
RL: Agent Solo is about a bionic rogue super soldier named Jackson Brice who thwarts national security threats. It's an action, sci-fi, thriller color webcomic... coming out in 2013.
DD: What's it all about?
RL: Jackson Brice is an ex-covert bionic super soldier that drops out of radar and becomes a vigilante taking down high profile super metahuman terrorists and thugs [using] his way of justice. He has trust issues with the U.S. Government due to losing his best friend and fallen comrades [from] a mission he felt the Government knew about, which lead to him becoming a solo rogue agent. Terrorism is at an all time high. A terrorist organization called "Chaos of Order" who have weapons of mass destruction with threats to launch on America's soil along with a captive C.I.A. undercover agent. It's up to Brice to prevent it from happening.
DD: Who are the main characters?
RL: The hero is Jaskson Brice a.k.a Agent Solo, Agent Roulette; her and Brice where once lovers, [and] they still have there differences. One doesn't trust the government, the other does, Ol'Bird is an F.B.I. agent; he's like the info guy to Agent Solo, Techwire is the guy who has all the cool spy toys for Agent Solo, The Menace Squad is a group of super metahumans who do terrorism acts for hire, Agent Shadow is a general enforcer for Chaos of Order who has real hatred [for] Agent Solo, and Major Chaos is the leader of Chaos of Order, a dictator that has a big secret to reveal - who he really is and why he's so damn angry.
DD: Where did this idea come from?
RL: Besides comics like Captain America, I grew up watching 007 (James Bond), Mission Impossible, Six Million Dollar Man, G.I. Joe and I'm a huge fan of actor and amazing martial artist Michael Jai White.
DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this story?
RL: To understand that the men and women put there lives on the line that are in the US Army, F.B.I., C.I.A and the Navy to protect us from those who wish to harm us and have an open mind [with] what's going on in today's society. Because [there are] always two sides to every story, not just one.
DD: Is this a series that we can expect more from in the future?
RL: Right now it's just this 4-issue webseries. I've got plenty of stories to tell if it's a high demand by the readers. If they want more I'll give them more.
DD: Can we expect more books from you in the future?
RL: Oh yes... I'm always working on creator owned projects. Those who know of me, I have a creator owned comic out called Guytron... which I'm working on a new story arc for. To know what it's all about you can get the first 5 issues at www.indyplanet.com. The last issue is Guytron: First Encounter #3 of 3, which I'm pushing for July. I'm also working on another creator owned heroin webcomic called Violet Bird... I love what I do.
DD: Can you talk a bit about your experiences so far with working in comics?
RL: It takes dedication, a lot of hard work and sleepless nights in working in this business. And it can be very pricey production wise in getting a team together or doing it all yourself. It's an education process in learning the ends and the outs of the entire comic business. And that your comics will not have the success you are looking for over night, but if you love your craft and the love just creating comics... sky's the limit.
DD: Any strange or interesting stories from shows you care to share?
RL: Oh man LOL yes...Wizard World Chicago 2009...myself and my brother along with another artist were apart of the Drunk Duck webcomic booth. I thought I had it easy passing out Guytron preview books and drawing Marvel & DC characters all day until a fan wanted me to draw a Leprechaun in Hell as a damn Elf. LOL He was like "the other artist didn't want to draw it." LOL I'm saying to myself how in the hell will I pull this off? LOL But I came through...you never know what fans want you to draw. LOL
DD: What titles were you into growing up that lead you to want to create a book like this?
RL: Captain America, G.I. Joe, Sgt. Rock, Power Man & Youngblood.
DD: What comics are you currently reading?
RL: Strange Tales of Luther Strode, DC 52 Hawk & Dove, Youngblood, Detective Comics, Thrillbent webcomics, Hero by Night webcomic, Honor Brigade webcomic, Bob Howard: Plumber of the Unknown, Fatale and The Darkness.
DD: So where can readers find out more about this book?
RL: They can visit my blog rayscomics.blogspot.com where I will post when the webcomic is coming out. Up to date news, preview art pages and YouTube videos.
DD: So in summary, give me a quick recap on Agent Solo: The One Man Army and why fans should give it a try.
RL: If you are a fan of G.I. Joe, 007, Captain America, Six Million Dollar Man with some martial arts involved like Michael Jai White movies, you are going to love this webcomic. It's action, thriller with major twist, that will have you wanting to know what's going to happen next.
DD: Thanks so much for your time, Raymond.
"Decapitated" Dan Royer
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