Gridcurrent a journey through space and time
Many people enjoy fooling around with arts, crafts or other forms of expression, just as a creative release.
But some find they eventually need to take a leap of faith and travel levels beyond their earlier wildest dreams.
That’s not to say it’s always an immediate transition. Considerable time can pass from the initial inspiration to the point that the project begs to be produced.
Just that scenario unfolded for Merrill’s Dan Biesel – an artist who currently does graphic designs for East Bay in Wausau and previously owned Ancestral Art and Design tattoo parlor and has created free-lance poster projects.
A germ of an idea for a fantasy comic book may have sprouted for Biesel back in 1998, but he finally held a finished product in his hands in 2014.
“It was pretty amazing,” he said. “I was very nervous because when you order online it’s very hard to tell the quality of it.”
Some would say that procrastination is a fault. Then again, procrastination can pay off. Allowing technology to catch up with his needs has been a blessing for Biesel.
For starters, he was able to reach out for critical financing through the website Kickstarter. Biesel figured $2,500 would get this show on the road, so that’s what he requested. Seventy-three backers came through with $2,637.
“I don’t think 15 years ago this could have happened or it would have been extremely difficult,” Biesel said. “But now with Kickstarter, it gives you funding from sources you normally wouldn’t have access to.”
More than procrastination was at work here, of course. As Biesel explains on his website gridcurrent.com:
“Gridcurrent is the title of the comic book that has been haunting my thoughts and dreams since I made a sketch back in 1998. I have started this comic many, many times and never thought the story or my art would (ever) be strong enough. I’m now older, more confident, and experienced, so Gridcurrent’s time has come!”
A prime stimulus came from the Evercon convention Dan and son Brennan attended in January of 2013.
“I was one of the original members of the D.C. Everest Gaming Club and when I went there it blew my mind,” Dan said. “It definitely re-sparked any interest I had in getting it done. I thought, ‘How cool would it be to be one of the old-school guys and have a comic?’ ”
A completed mock-up emerged from a year of intense work, begging the next step.
“The company that printed it (Ka-Blam) specializes in this sort of thing,” Dan explained. “They can print one issue for you or thousands. Being an independent comic book artist is a lot easier than it used to be.”
Dan’s initial attempt to drum up sales of his completed project focus on the local level.
“I wanted to make sure I took care of the Kickstarter people first,” he said. “I’m working on a couple of different locations, one in Wausau, one in Stevens Point. Nothing is set in stone.”
The limits of that approach are obvious, and a different tack would be to sell himself to one of the major comic companies.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” Biesel said. “I haven’t come up with any plans yet. I do have the concept.
“Images is a company that is a creator-owned place I would pitch to see if it would pick this up as a series. Some of the big names in the 90’s jumped ship from DC and Marvel. If they feel it’s good enough, they’ll pick up stuff. They do Walking Dead and look where that’s gone. It’s still early, yet.”
Issue 1 ended with a classic cliffhanger, leaving the reader dying for resolution.
“There will be more,” Biesel said. “There has to be at least one more (just to tie up loose ends), but it would be great if it became a series. There could be an entire series of characters in this universe, in all time and space. But I do like these characters.
“Once they’re out of the facility, there are endless possibilities. That’s what’s fun about it. I think there are a lot more stories to be told.”