Iceman Blue: Hi Patrick, how are you?
Patrick Fillion: I’m doing great, thanks!
PF: Oh, I know! It’s so exciting! I just love seeing James and Zahn together in the same adventure!
IB: Is this the first project of it's kind for Class Comics?
PF: I’ve received scripts from other creators proposing crossovers in the past. But this is officially the first project of its kind to see completion.
IB: I've always been a fan of heroes from two different companies meeting each other. Are there any intercompany crossovers you've enjoyed?
PF: When I was a kid, I loved the Marvel/DC crossovers. I remember really enjoying the Batman/Hulk crossover book. That was so much fun. And of course, the incredible X-Men/Teen Titans crossover which was absolutely epic. I still have copies of those kicking around. They’re great fun to re-read!
IB: When I first approached you about this project you were hesitant about it, but quickly came around once you learned more about what I had in mind. Was there anything in particular that put your mind at ease?
PF: I really believe in being the main architect of my character’s destinies. I just really have a firm vision in mind, and I like being the one to see it through.
Other creators have written stories for some of my OCs before. You’ve written and illustrated “Camili-Cat: MOUNTED”, which I love… and Logan wrote a Deimos short story for the Deimos Tenth Anniversary Special. You guys did great jobs with those. I think I just need to feel that the proposing creator is going to knock it out of the park.
I only accept to do this sort of thing with creators I feel can do the characters justice, and I tend to have the final “okay” on the matter.
Once you sent me a breakdown of your ideas for “Lost Fantasy Hero V Zahn”, it became really clear that you “understood” Zahn and that you were approaching the character and the story from a direction that felt really respectful and that made sense as a Zahn adventure. It wasn’t some weird off the beaten path concept, and I felt it could work really well – and I think it DID!
IB: You have many artists draw your characters. Do you need to give them a guideline as to how each hero should look?
PF: Absolutely. Each character looks a certain way. Other artists can depict them in their own styles of course, but the characters need to be recognizable as being who they are. I provide character reference to all the artists I work with. Some artists are unfamiliar with the characters, so that’s essential. Other artists know who the characters are and just instinctively know how to draw them.
IB: Speaking of artists, some of my favorites are David Cantero, Jacob Mott, and Butch McLogic. How do you find all these amazing talents?!
PF: Most of the time, I make connections through social media, or a fellow artist makes an introduction and refers someone to me. After 20 years of publishing Gay Comics, many artists know about Class Comics now. We often receive submissions that artists send us themselves.
IB: I've written two stories for Class Comics, Camili-Cat: Mounted and Lost Fantasy Hero v Zahn, and I understand it's very rare to have someone other than yourself or your partner, Robert Fraser, write for the main Class Comics Universe. Would you be open to future collaboration with other writers?
PF: For sure! Like I said, as long as I feel the guest creator understands and respects my characters, I’m more than happy to entertain the idea.
Also, it’s SO MUCH FUN to view my characters through the eyes of other creators. I love the characters I’ve created with all my heart – it’s a rare thing for me to enjoy a completely new story that features them and is absolutely unknown to me. It’s very exciting! That’s certainly how it felt when I read “Lost Fantasy Hero V Zahn” and “Camili-Cat: Mounted” for the first time.
So I say, bring it on! I’m always open to the possibilities!
PF: You never know! Right now, I’m debuting “Camili-Cat & Locus: LOVE LOST” volume #2 on my Patreon page.
The story focuses on the parallel lives that Cam and Locus are leading and how they handle being apart. But I think once that story concludes, I’ll be free to explore more of Cam’s background, and that could absolutely include his father.
Of course… YOU could always pitch me another comic featuring Cam and his Dad! ;)
IB: Btw: I really enjoyed the Class Comics YouTube Channel. Any plans for new content?
PF: Thanks. Yeah, Fraser and I want to get back to making “Class Comics Quickies”. They’re just so time consuming, but ultimately they’re a ton of fun and the fans seem to really enjoy them. I love that we can talk directly to our readers and fill them in on what’s happening at Class Comics. We’d love to start those up again this summer.
PF: My studio is a room in the basement of my home… so, no… no tour! I’m too private a person for that. LOL!
I’ve shown photos of my work-space on Social Media before but I guess I just don’t feel that my studio is all that glamorous! HA HA HA! It really is just a work space for me. I love it, but it’s sorta my very own private space. Fraser hardly even ever comes down here!
IB: Now if I may get a little personal...
How do friends and family react when you disclose what you do?
PF: I’m very open with friends and family about what I do. They’re all used to it by now. Also, most of my family is from Quebec… people from Quebec are very open about sex and sexuality. No one is ever really shocked by any of it, and in fact, I have a number of relatives who collect ALL the books I create. It’s not about the subject matter for them, they’re just proud of their nephew and cousin! LOL!
If someone gives me a hard time for the work I do, then they aren’t friend material. I’m not interested in justifying myself or what I love to draw to anyone. Life is too short for that and I don’t have the energy or the time for that kind of drama.
IB: Are you up front with your career when you meet new people or do you use discretion?
PF: I’m a very private person, like I said. I don’t let just anyone in. With new people, I use discretion, because you never know who you’re talking to and because I’ve learned from past dealings with strangers and new people.
Through conversation, I try to get a sense of how they might react, but sometimes, that doesn’t always work, so I keep it vague. Telling people that you “draw comics for a living”, even if you leave out the “Gay Adult Comics” part, just invites people’s curiosity and questions. If you’re trying to be discrete, that answer never works.
If I don’t get the sense that a person will react well to what I do, I just tell them I’m a graphic designer. It’s not a lie, after all. A large part of my work for Class Comics involves graphic design. I do a ton of it. So I just lead with that and I find that typically satisfies the person asking.
IB: What's your work time soundtrack? TV, Radio, Netflix, YouTube? What are your favorites to listen in the background?
PF: My headphones might as well be glued to my ears! LOL! I listen to a ton of music when I work. I love Pop and Dance – I find they’re great “fuel” when I’m drawing. Lately I'm really enjoying SHURA and TEGAN and SARA, but I listen to tons of other styles as well.
Mainly though, when I can’t find anything “new” to listen to, I always go back to my EURYTHMICS and GARBAGE playlists. They are my absolute fave, GO-TO bands. I know their songs inside out – they’re like old friends, and it’s always real pleasure to listen to them. They really do “fuel” my creativity and I never get bored of listening to them.
I can’t watch Netflix or YouTube when I’m drawing. I find it personally very distracting! I end up wanting to pay too much attention to “what’s on” and that’s just not very productive. LOL!
IB: Well, thank you for answering my probing questions. It's always fun to learn about the creatives who do this amazing work! Anything else you would like to add?
PF: Thank you. I loved answering your questions.
I’d like to invite people to check out “Lost Fantasy Hero V Zahn” because it’s fabulous fun!
And I’d also like to invite people to visit my Patreon page. I’m really enjoying drawing all this new stuff for Patreon and I have some really HOT stuff planned for the coming months.
IB: Thank you again! See you in the funny pages!