Did R: IL PERSONA start with you wanting to convey a philosophical idea about how our outward personalities hide who we truly are? Or this it arise from something completely different?
Shaun: R:ILPERSONA originally was a comic book idea that I came up with years ago when I was in high school about a character named Rade: The Assassin. As years went on I just kept tinkering with the character and his story until it became what you see today.
The idea about our exterior personalities masking who we really are is a theme that came about later, based off of things I had learned from a psychology course while I was in college. The main concept of the series from the beginning was about a young man who had no idea who he was, it just so happened that once I was introduced to the theories and works of Freud and Carl Jung, I started expanding the general concept of the series to include the idea of a person's outward personality acting as a mask.
I like how the reader can relate to Rade’s situation from the beginning and learn about what’s going on at the same pace as the character. Was this plot device intentional?
Yep, that plot device was intentional! I wanted the first story arc to basically be a roller coaster ride for the reader by putting you directly into the main character's shoes, to help readers to relate to him and also to make the readers who like to look deeper into a story's themes think a bit more.
When I originally created the idea behind the series I started the story from the beginning, but as time went on I was like "Hm...what would happen if I just skip the obligatory origin and set up and just start right smack dab in the middle of the story?". So after crafting the opening sequence I just ran with telling the story in a non linear narrative.
How would you describe features of R:ILPERSONA which make it a hybrid of manga and western comics?
Shaun: Well, I am a huge manga & anime fan so I'm pretty influenced by mangakas like Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal) & Yoshihiro Togashi ( Yu Yu Hakusho/Hunter X Hunter), among others and I always had envisioned the series' art style to look like an anime in print form, while including certain nuances from anime like having Japanese Hiragana and Katakana symbols appear on the page when characters use their abilities for the first time.
On the western side, well I'm an American writer so my main influences will always be the comics that I read when I was younger such as Spider-Man, Batman, Flash, etc. I guess R:ILPERSONA is a hybrid because I combine everything that I have learned, loved, and have been influenced by from the stories that I've read over the years.
How many volumes do you expect to publish and have you planned for how R:ILPERSONA will end?
I always intended R:ILPERSONA to be a multiple volume series with several different story arcs that will lead to the finale...right now I'd say 23 or 24 volumes in order to tell the complete story.
Crimzee.com asked "Do you expect to launch a Kickstarter to promote R:ILPERSONA and reach a wider audience?"
Shaun, Starlight City Project : "Yes! We'll definitely be doing an initial Kickstarter soon to fund a full color version of Volume 1 and other stretch goals, its actually being worked on as we speak. I'll definitely have more details as the year goes on at my creator blog on ilpersona.com !".