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Pronto Presents: Creator Jorel Lonesome

Pronto Presents: Creator Jorel Lonesome
By David Rondinelli

Jorel 3Jorel Lonesome is a veteran member of Pronto Comics. As writer, editor, and manager of his three-issue anthology title, Blackout, Lonesome has become an accurate representation of the “do-it-all” creator. His unique storytelling for Pronto’s line of anthologies has given him an open and fresh approach to creating comics and managing the different art teams that come together under his title. Lonesome imparts what he has learned about story telling and crafting an anthology. Learn more about the Bronx native as he discusses the joys of the comic medium, how he got started, and what we can expect to see from him in the future.

Pronto Presents: As one of the original members of Pronto, how long have you been with the group?

Jorel Lonesome: I’ve been a member of Pronto Comics for over three years.

PP: How did you find Pronto and get involved?

JL: It was an unforgettable time. A team of creators and I attended Andy Schmidt’s Comic Experience Courses, to learn visual storytelling or script writing for comics within six weeks. It was instructed by past editor of DC Comics, Mike Siglain, and senior Marvel editor of X-Men, Nick Lowe. At its end, all students from both classes sat down and discussed developing our first comic book anthology. After a five-month stint of working rigorously together to create something, it was fascinating to watch it become a reality. From then on, we named ourselves “Pronto Comics,” an independent collective of writers and artists with a goal to help burgeoning creators self-publish and thus start their careers.

Blackout #1

Blackout #1

PP: You are the creator and chief coordinator for Blackout. How did you get the idea going?

JL: Blackout became an idea while I was taking a trip to the Bahamas in 2009. The night before I went on vacation, there was a blackout that lasted a few hours. I remember how hot it was and having fewer alternatives to stay cool while packing my luggage for vacation. That summer, New York had a heat wave. During my first day on the trip to the Caribbean islands, I thought to myself and said, “Wait, a blackout?” We realize how important electricity is for our standard of living and safety. This could be a good plot device to use for a story. Or better yet, a few stories! To top that, as many stories a creator could possibly think of. I turned that idea into an anthology of stories involving a blackout that occurs in a town named Vineville. Instead of the blackout happening from a common power outage, this particular one is mystical. Other writers would create their own tales about characters facing different circumstances during Vineville’s blackout. I texted the idea to the Pronto crew.

PP: Who has been involved in the project so far?

JL: If I remember correctly, it was Izzy Laureano, Dominic Sparano, and James Babbo, three great men that I contacted in regards to the idea and asked what they thought about it. I received good responses. I gathered artists and writers, such as the person interviewing me now, David Rondinelli (Horizon Line Comics), who did an excellent job writing a story for the anthology. I took it from there and started writing about it on the boat.

PP: What made writing comics appeal to you as opposed to other forms of writing? What is it about the medium that you enjoy so much?

JL: That’s a good question. It was reading X-Men, Spawn, Blade and Spider-Man comics in the late ’80s and early ’90s. They inspired me to write my own comics as a child using 8×11 computer paper and stapling the pages together. Each page didn’t consist of panels, though. It was one action between two or more characters per page and one or two word balloons. It was a binding of splash pages, you know, that was drawn by a 6-year-old. Later on, I wrote and illustrated my own Blade comic books with actual handmade panel layouts. All of a sudden, Sony released the Playstation in 1995, and I spent just about the rest of my childhood hours on the sticks and watching movies. I wrote a lot more than I drew. Furthermore, my illustrations need much practice ’til this day. What I like about the comic book medium is that it’s an alternative way to tell a story. I may like the style of the artist, the direct collaboration between art and literature, and having a personal unique experience reading a story told on paper. I appreciate the art and the genre.

PP: What’s on your reading list right now?

JL: I’m now reading American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts that Never Made it into the Textbooks, The Adversary, and Psychosis Today, from Atlas Unleashed Comics, as well as X-0 Manowar, Science Fiction Stories and Contexts, Will Eisner’s The Contract with God trilogy, and late ’80s Animal Man: Volume 1, written by Grant Morrison. I read the newspaper often since starting school again. I’m also reading about the history of Africa and really interested in learning more.

PP: What characters or story arcs over the years do you think have influenced your own writing and love of reading?

JL: In all honesty, Frank Miller’s earlier stories about Daredevil, Batman, and his Sin City series had brought me into taking comics even further. It led me into wanting to understand the discipline behind making comics. Miller’s narrative style and gritty visuals connect to me somehow. Maybe growing up in the mean streets of the Bronx here in New York builds a connection to his stories, settings, and characters. I’m 100% sure that the main reason is because he tells great stories. Countless movies also influence my writing as well. They’re a good source for shot references and getting emotion on a page using less text.

Blackout #2

Blackout #2

PP: What are the steps in crafting an anthology?

JL: First I develop an elaborate outline for the project for all the staff on board. I read over the scripts, edit them, then I look for the right artists that can illustrate the mood of the story to make the visuals and narrative match up the best way possible. I oversee each collaborative project by making sure writers and artists are working together and that we are all on the same page. I’m willing to go the extra mile to get a project done. Sometimes artists will be late on deadlines. I’m not as strict as other editors, thus I’ll cut them some slack, but if they fail to progress while other stories are almost at completion, I reserve that project for another day and replace staff because it’s unfair for those who take time out of their busy lives to make deadlines. I don’t like to see unfinished work.

Blackout 3 Cover

PP: Along the same lines, you recently just came out with Blackout #3. What can we expect to see in this new issue?

JL: Blackout’s third issue is much more quirky, bizarre, and slightly dramatic. I specifically aimed in that direction because the main story that ties the concept of this anthology together is comical and less edgy. The previous book took on a much darker tone and seemed interestingly experimental. I’m going back to the similar formula I did for the first book.

PP: What’s coming up for you with future projects? Will be seeing more of Blackout? Do you have any other side projects that you are working on?

JL: Blackout will be on a hiatus for a while and it will eventually be revamped as a monthly or annual miniseries depending on the scheduling and budget. My main focus now is extending my storytelling by learning how to write 22-page stories for full-length comics rather than short stories. I’m also getting involved in filmmaking and scriptwriting.

Blackout can be purchased on Indy Planet:
Blackout Issue 1
Blackout Issue 2
Blackout Issue 3

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1 Comment

  1. Mut Shat Shemsut

     /  January 14, 2014

    What a very fascinating individual Jorel Lonesome appears to be. His responses reveal how serious he is about the work. I have read some of his stories and think they do lend themselves to expansion. The interviewer did a great job of asking questions that paint a picture of a promising scriptwriter.

    Reply

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