GERARD RILEY:GRAPHIC NOVEL NEWBIE
We first met Gerard Riley with his father while exhibiting at one of our first Comic Cons. Gerard informed us that he was working on his very own graphic novel and while it was in its early stages, he was confident that his dream of publishing it would become a reality.
Recently Gerard gave us the good news about “Gerard Riley’s Virtue Wars.”
This is your first graphic novel and you have chosen a battle between two culturally powerful countries. Japan and China. Tell us about how you came up with this idea? The idea came to me while I was watching one of the martial arts movies I’ve watch years ago when I was twelve years old and mixed with the idea of a classic love tale theme.
What got you interested in graphic novels and what was it that made you want to create your own?
The day they got me interested in graphic novels while I was was working at Arlington Avenue Library in East New York, Brooklyn during my time in the summer youth program in 2005. After “Avatar:The Last Airbender” and it’s spin-off “The Legend Of Korra”, I disliked some of the episodes that were written and most importantly how the series ended. I also felt there were no other good Anime shows such as “Rurouni Kenshin: The Wandering Samurai”, “Inuyahsa” and “Dragon Ball Z”. Also, I decided to create something of my own because I was inspired by the video games series “Yakuza”.
What are some of your favorite comics and graphic novels that you like to read and why?
1) Calvin And Hobbes: I always enjoy the written humor Bill Watterson brought to his tale of a 10 year old Calvin and his stuffed Tiger Hobbes who comes alive only to him.
2) Batman: Child Of Dreams (Graphic Novel) I enjoyed the story plot of Batman traveling from Gotham City to Japan to investigating and stopping a drug manufacturer. Every time I read it, I imagine hearing the Batman voice over actor “Kevin Conroy” (who voice the character in the 90’s).
3) Essential Spider-Man (Volume 2 & 6): Seeing a collection of Spider-Man comics in black and white along with my favorite Rogue Gallery villains Vulture, Sandman, Scorpion and Doctor Octopus is awesome in that style of artwork. Every time I read the different Spider-Man tales, I imagine hearing my two favorite Spider-Man voice over actors, Christopher Daniel Barnes and Josh Keaton as Spider-Man
4) Essential X-Men (Volume 5): Ever since enjoy watching “X-Men: The Animated Series”. My two favorite X-Men characters are Wolverine and Morph.
5) Superman & Batman World’s Finest #1 World’s Apart: The idea of Lex Luthor heading to Gotham City by gaining control and Joker causing Mayhem in Metropolis is an awesome story plot.
Virtue Wars, it sounds like one's personal character comes into play as a theme. What does virtue mean to you and how does it apply to your novel? Virtue means to me [sic] is act good deeds and must live up to each of them and it’s also a term of fantasy on what would these battles looked like. The main character of the series Kai has the virtue of “Courage”, his sister Sakura has the virtue of “Respect” their parents Taro and Hana have the virtue of “Wisdom” Ayako has the virtue of “Loyalty” and Yoshitaka has the virtue of “Honor.”
Who is your favorite character? Or if there are more than one tell us about them and why this/these characters are your favorite. I have three favorite characters for the series:
1) Kai: He has the desire to gain real duties like his Mother and Father have instead of performing duties that he and his sister don’t seem to enjoy as much as they did before.
2) Ayako: She stays behind the person who she looks up to, defends their actions no matter what anyone else thinks and if someone harms the people she knows and loves, she avenges them.
3) Lijuan: A Chinese servant who accepts a hidden price after being offered a place to stay, but shows an interest in a person who she sees potential in, no matter how that person performs.
From the time you started your graphic novel until completion how long did it take for you to get it to where it is today? To create “Virtue Wars” it took me seven and a half years to come up with the story plot, characters, find the illustrator and obtaining the financing.
Did you come up with all of the art design, and text for the novel? Yes. The characters and place descriptions all came from me but the text for the series came from the artist where my Dad found him (Tarek El).
Did you face any challenges creating your novel? If so, what were the challenges and how did you overcome them? I have indeed faced some challenges along the way to create my novel. I’ve dealt with negativity being told that my book is not going to sell. Character development was also a challenge.
Considering the challenges you faced with creating this first graphic novel, do you plan on creating another novel anytime soon? If so, is there anything that you would do differently? Yes. I have planned to create a four part series from the start, which I have three sequel scripts in mind and one is almost finished. Also I’m in the process of creating a Graphic Novel by telling a modern tale of my favorite bible hero of all time Samson.
Are you self-published or do you have a publisher? As of this moment I’m self-published but as when time goes by if a company loves the graphic novel then I’d be happy to have them published my graphic novel series as long as I have the creative rights to it.
You're also very active in your church. Tell us about your activities and if your faith guides any of your characters, if at all? The one most activity I’m mostly apart of is the “Drama Ministry” which I have been apart of for eighteen years. The three roles I really enjoyed playing throughout my time was Joseph (Husband of Mary) in two of the three productions of “The Nativity” Jesus in a Broadway version of “The Death, Burial And Resurrection of Jesus Christ” and King Herod in the third production of “The Nativity”(a Broadway version). The one thing that all of the characters in the story has given the gift of forgiveness no matter how bad a person treats them, either they accept it or leave it alone.
You are also taking animation voice over acting. Give our readers and idea about what that is like. Is this something you hope to pursue full time? The most incredible thing about animation voice over acting is to see the animated character that you love so much being voiced by you in your own version. It’s something that I would love to do when I don’t have too much to do on my plate. Being apart of various animation studios like Marvel Animation, Disney, Funimation and Warner Brothers would be an apostle honor.
Is there any advice that you could give anyone brand new to graphic novels who is interested in creating their own? My advice to those who are starting on creating their own graphic novel is that always have perseverance and determination, always remember to believe in yourself.
Your advice to others is to always have perseverance, determination and always to believe in yourself. Do you have any advice on how one should start to actually create his/her own graphic novel? Where do you start? A great place to start is to create a story of their own. A person can use their imagination or even pick an animated series or show for inspiration. Once the idea for the story is formed, they must go through with it, protect it like it’s their dream, and nurture it until it becomes a reality.
When and where do you plan to debut your graphic novel?
I will be debuting “Virtue Wars” at the Eternal Con in Bay Shore, Long Island on June 22nd and 23rd, 2019.
Where can someone that wants to get your graphic novel find it? People who want to purchase a copy of “Virtue Wars” can follow us on Instagram and DM us by providing us with their address and Cash App to pay electronically. '
We look forward to hearing more about Gerard Riley’s Virtue Wars and catching up with him in the near future.
Editors note: We decided to leave this article as is in order to maintain as much authenticity as possible while making minor grammatical and spelling changes.