Review Fix chats with Isolation co-writer and YouTuber Regie “Collects” Simmons, who discusses his new series, “Isolation.”
Review Fix: When did you fall in love with comics?
Regie Simmons: Which time? Like a lot of people, I have been in and out of comics for most of my life. I first fell in love with comics back in 1990 when characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Deathlok, Punisher and Darkhawk were making crossover appearances left and right. I was out of comics by 1994 but returned in 2005 for about a year. Due to life circumstances, I didn’t make a return until 2017 when I stopped competing as a professional bodybuilder. I would say that my current engagement with comics has been the most enriching and fulfilling of my entire life.
Review Fix: How do you think collecting makes you a better creator?
Simmons: That’s an interesting question. In my mind, collecting has allowed me to BE a creator. Think about that for a second. I was not blessed with the ability to draw or paint, so I could never cut it as an artist. I can write but I am more of a journalist than fictional writer.
With that said, my time spent as a comic book collector and member of the community has given me an opportunity to create. To create content for other collectors to enjoy. Heck, I managed to even parlay that into publishing my own comic book called Isolation.
Review Fix: What inspired this comic?
Simmons: Boom Studios! AWA Studios. Scout Comics. These indie publishers are putting out some amazing content that surpasses what is being released from Marvel and DC. I only mentioned three but the list of great indie publishers that have come on the scene is pretty impressive. You also have to factor in Image Comics. I do not consider Image and indie, so I needed to carve them out from the others.
Watching how these indie publishers are moving is inspirational. We used that inspiration to successfully release, the Guide to SMART Comic Collecting in Q4 2021 and this year we pulled the trigger on Isolation.
Isolation is the brainchild of my co-writer and friend, Doug Bratton. Doug pitched Isolation on the heels of the Guide successfully being released and ultimately selling out.
Review Fix: What makes these characters unique?
Simmons: The characters are unique because we are not beholden to canon. We also are not being diverse for the sake of diversity. Doug is telling a fresh story that has a lot of layers. Over the course of the issues, more and more of the mystery will be revealed through wonderful storytelling and stunning artwork.
What also makes the book unique is our focus on making sure that something happens in each issue to move the reader along. I want Swoldier Publishing to have an old school feeling in the sense that we avoid filler issues. It is vital that we take our best shot on goal every single time that an issue is released.
Review Fix: What has the creation process been like?
Simmons: A lot of learning. Even though I have read comics off and on my entire life, I have never created one. Doing something for the first time is almost always a challenge. We have made some mistakes and hit some walls, but I could not be prouder of the team. We delivered a great book, on time and people are loving it.The team and I will be working to improve our processes, so that things are easier the next time around.
Review Fix: How did you feel when it started coming together?
Simmons: There is always a general sense of accomplishment as you go from idea to finished product. That sense of accomplishment is quickly replaced with dread as you face the next mountain. For me, that dread came in the form of more than 400 individual orders for Isolation—not including exclusives and LCS orders. Talk about first world problems.
Seriously, there is nothing better than seeing the fruits of your labor come together.
Review Fix: What are your goals for this comic?
Simmons: The goal is to sell out of issue #1 in preparation for issue 2, which we hope to release by end of year. I plan to launch my first Kickstarter to make it a little easier for us to get over that next mountain. The pandemic is still impacting the availability and cost of paper and as a result our printing costs were $4000 higher than anticipated—and they were already high. My hope is to leverage Kickstarter to absorb some, if not all, of the printing costs for issue 2.
Hopefully, folks will check out the Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/swoldierpublishing/isolation-2-0.
I was definitely inspired by all of the various comic book related Kickstarter campaigns that were funded over the last two years. And, you have to take note of what Eric July has done with his Rippaverse. Eric is a controversial person, but you can’t knock the hustle.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Simmons: We hope to drop issue 2 before year’s end, along with the Guide to SMART Comic Collecting, Vol 2. Stay tuned to the channel and social media for more.