WonderCon has come and gone, but I connected with a handful of promising artists and creators, and I’m excited to feature them in a series of WonderCon Spotlight interviews!
Today I’m spotlighting indie comic creator Andrew Kafoury and his project No’madd: City of Empty Towers. Pacing up and down the small publisher section at WonderCon, I was drawn to the striking art style, and captivated by the Conan-esque storyline. Telling the story of a brave warrior by the name of No’madd seeking to uncover the mysteries beyond a fierce wall of storms, No’madd builds a strong foundation for future stories by capturing the spirit of tribal culture and religion while expertly blending in futuristic city-scapes and technology. Featuring fantastic action scenes, compelling character drama and a well-executed birth of a superhero, No’madd is an impressive and entertaining work.
As such, I was delighted that creator Andrew Kafoury took some time to answer a few of my questions about No’madd. Find his answers below, and make sure to check out his work!
Tell us a little bit about your background: what’s your history with illustration and storytelling, and what are some of your major artistic influences?
I’ve always been a natural storyteller. Unfortunately, growing up I had a lot of learning disabilities and my hand writing was unreadable. Fortunately – I had a word processor and by the time I was twelve years old I had taught myself how to type 90 words per minute. I think overcoming that obstacle is what made me want to pursue storytelling as a profession.
Also – I was born in 1980, so I was addicted to children’s cartoons that were used to sell action figures. Plus – the 1980’s had awesome movies such as The Last Starfighter, Krull, Legend, Secret of Nihm, and The Dark Crystal.
These days – the kind of comics and graphic novels that inspire me are Garth Ennis’ and Goran Parlov’s run on The Punisher. Also – stuff like Moon Knight by Warren Ellis and art by Declan Shalvey. Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi. Rust, by Royden Lepp.
Wandering WonderCon, I was struck by the art style of Nomadd. What led you to this marriage of noir and dystopian fantasy?
I definitely feel that my childhood addiction to 1980’s cartoons, action figures, and movies – combined with the experiences of my life – is what inspired the art direction for No’madd. The plot deals with a tribal warrior who is sent by a wise man to smite mysterious alien intruders that threaten his world. Our hero has a long journey, fights epic battles, performs heroic deeds, and all the while there is a distant love that looms just out of reach which drives him to press onward. The story asks, “How can one endure in spite of loss to rise as the greatest of all time?” I felt that greyscale hand drawn illustrations were the best to capture that level of expression.
In creating Nomadd, what were some of the most challenging aspects?
Stan Lee once said, “The comic book market is the worst market that there is on the face of the earth for creative talent and the reasons are numberless and legion.”
Everything that can go wrong does. All the time. As a writer – nobody in the comic or graphic novel world cares what I have to say – so the art is everything. If it were not for my illustrator – Todd Herman – I would be dead in the water. Todd has over two decades experience drawing professional comics, including John Carpenter’s The Fog for Dark Horse and The Warriors for Dynamite Entertainment. when Todd gets off work he pulls a Jack Kirby and locks himself up in his apartment and draws No’madd. He is the real deal. He is the star of the show – and thanks to him – I’m just along for the ride. There are two other illustrators who have helped draw images for the No’madd world – and they are Chris Faccone and Michael L Peters. I think they are amazing. I think illustrators who can draw at a professional level are worth every dime you spend – and more. It’s just an unbelievably hard thing to draw at that level. I had no idea it was that hard. It’s unreal. It think professional comic illustrators should be subsidized by the industry like the Renaissance painters were subsidized by the church. I kid you not.
What do you think sets Nomadd apart from other comics?
I think it’s a very unique fantasy adventure world – I think there is no other world quite like it. I also strongly feel that in the same way that Stranger Things and Turbo Kid brought the 1980’s back to television – I hope that No’madd can bring back some long overdo 1980’s nostalgia to readers and hopefully No’madd can go up the creative ladder to reach more people in the future via other more lucrative motion art mediums. I should add that I think what makes graphic novels such a great medium for story telling and why graphic novels are so popular is that graphic novels provide an illustrated cinematic experience that uses the writing tool of the novelistic aside to push the story forward. The relationship between the reader and the story is very personal and fast in a graphic novel – because of the illustrated cinematic experience mixed with novelistic asides. No’madd utilizes both tools and I feel readers will have a unique experience that makes them want more.
Will you be showcasing Nomadd at other conventions this year? If so, which ones?
We did Emerald City, Wondercon, C2E2, and will do Rose City Comic Con and Stan Lee Comikazee. I will try to do as many shows as I can.
Any other plugs or comments before we wrap up?
No’madd: City of Empty Towers, is the first book and it is used to introduce our hero and set the stage for a sustainable conflict. Book 2 introduces our villain – a sorceress whose powers stem from the spells of a thousand dimensions. We think our world will have one of the best villains of all time. Seriously – we are going to make her as dynamic as Magneto or Maleficent. I just ask people to give us a shot to reach our goals of no less than three No’madd graphic novels and I think once they experience the full girth of our story they will demand more. Until one day – high level executives at big studios will have no choice but to green light the content so it blasts across movie theaters all over the globe.
Thanks again to Andrew for taking the time to chat with us! We look forward to more installments of the No’madd franchise soon!