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Dan's ToyBox Interviews: B. Lincoln Bransch

Interview with B. Lincoln Bransch

Dan Hickman

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with independent comic book author and owner of “Luckless Hero Presents” publishing, B. Lincoln Bransch. We had an awesome discussion about his upcoming project: “Outlier: Worldforge”, his love of storytelling, what drives him as a creator, his influences, and where he wants to go next. I was also pleased to find out that B. Lincoln and I share a birthday, separated by one single year… which meant we both grew up in the same time frame and had many common references and influences growing up. You can check out Bransch’s upcoming project and support it on his Indiegogo page:

Hickman: “Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I was very excited to talk with you when I was given this assignment. I thought we could take this in kind of an open, free-flowing discussion, with just a few questions here and there, if that’s ok with you?”

Bransch: “Thank you as well, I’ve been looking forward to it since you contacted me. I’m fine with that format.”

Hickman: “ Excellent… well let’s kind of jump right into it then. How long have you been writing and really, what got you started?”

Bransch: “I got my start in the world of graphic design and wrote several articles and developed marketing campaigns, worldwide. I’ve always enjoyed writing and about 15 years ago, on a family vacation, the genesis for this comic book happened. I was thinking to myself… “What if Celestial beings weren’t really gods, but rather immensely powerful grifters and con-artists. I was thinking of the Norse and Incan gods, and what not. The more I thought about it, the more intriguing the idea became. Loki, actually, was the biggest inspiration and the original character I created was named ‘Loki Jones’. He was kind of a private eye on Earth, trying to stay under the radar, so to speak, of the other Celestial beings in the universe. Of course, with the MCU and Loki’s popularity, I ended up having to change the name and the idea evolved. The new protagonist in Outlier is named Rafe Gadara. As a celestial being, he was present at the creation of this world. He’s considered a ‘Concordance’ of creation and has knowledge about this world that is sought after throughout the book. However, the catch is… this Earth, being parallel to ours, having similar histories with minor differences is, to these beings more of a simulation. The best way to describe what I mean would be like this… If the characters in say, Skyrim or World of Warcraft were sentient, they’d believe their world was real, while to us on the other side of the screen, it’s just a simulation. That’s how this earth is to the residents… real to them, but a simulation to the Celestials. Rafe, in an attempt to better understand and connect with humanity decided to start collecting things on this planet. However, in so doing, he’s become more reclusive and more attached to the ‘shiny things’ so to speak. He’s become more of a loner and honestly, when we first meet him, he’s staking out a group of diamond thieves, with the intent to rob them of the diamonds they stole.”

Hickman: “I love it! The concept of cosmic con-men sounds hilarious and intriguing. I think you’ve got a solid idea. I do like how it’s evolved as well, into them being part of the creation of this simulated world. You mentioned that he has knowledge that is sought after, from other Celestials or…?”

Bransch: “Actually the antagonist in the story is a combination of Musk, Bezos, Zuckerberg. Kellen Bergman is a wealthy businessman who, in addition to his business Infinity Dynamics, has created that world’s version of social media platforms. He sees himself as the ‘hero of his own story’ and while his goals are noble, they are set to serve his own purposes. Anyhow, he acquires this artifact with reality altering powers. He essentially does little things here and there to make changes for what he considers to be the better. However, if the powers of this artifact were combined with Rafe’s knowledge, Bergman would have the power to alter all of reality and shape it to his desires. Things really begin to open up for Rafe when multiple Celestials arrive at his door, quite literally blowing it wide open.”

HIckman: “So, he and Rafe will develop into major conflict throughout the storyline. How long will the book be? Are you publishing on a monthly basis, or in a graphic novel format?”

Bransch: “This is going to end up being roughly 180 pages, spaced out over four books at 40-45 pages each. I’d like to eventually publish it in an omnibus as a collected work.”

Hickman: “With the comic medium dominated by the ‘Big 2’ at the moment, I’m really impressed with your desire to go independent and start your own company. What was the impetus for you doing that?.”

Bransch: “I made the choice to do this during the pandemic. I feel that the opportunities for crowdsourcing are so much greater than they used to be, which in turn allows more freedom for writers and artists. The Big 2 have become quite politicized in their storytelling that they’ve forgotten what comic fans want. I can promise you this, all of my work will remain apolitical. I know what I want… and that’s good, story driven comics that pulls the reader in and gives them an escape from the world’s issues today. I have no agenda other than to entertain my readers. I think independent books are going to be the next big wave as it allows more writers to have their own voice and not be grounded by the dictates of agenda driven publishers.”

Hickman: “It definitely sounds like you and I have a lot in common. It’s been a long time since I’ve opened a current comic book. I’d much rather read or re-read stories from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I mean, yes, the media has always been driven pretty much by the events of the day, for example, Harry Osborne’s drug use in Spider-Man, but the writing never felt…’preachy’ the way it does now. Do you think the industry can survive this social justice commentary pushed by the Big 2?”

Bransch: “I believe that comics allow for a big melting pot of talent to come together and that the medium is still loved well enough that as we introduce story-driven, world building books to the public, the industry can make a big swing back to what made it great. I see so many stories today that are basically recycled from twenty, thirty years ago, that it’d almost be better to see the Big 2 publishers start putting out reprints of those old stories.”

Hickman: “I completely agree with you. In fact, one thing that really bothers me when writers today rehash an old story is how they will tweak it enough to entwine their agenda into it. I understand why… relevancy, but it still comes across as being forced thought, rather than thought provoking, the way comic books were meant to be. So, with that all out of the way, I’m very excited to hear about the talent working with you and how you got Bart Sears to draw the cover!”

Bransch: “First and foremost, I can’t say enough about my penciler, Flavio Giron. His art is intense and the layouts are amazing. He can visualize and layout these incredible storyboards and his work is so clean. I was very excited to begin working with him, because he has a style all his own and this book is definitely benefiting from it. He’s a huge asset and I’m happy to have him. Insofar as how I met Bart… honestly, I looked him up on Facebook, sent him a message and we’ve become friends. Bart has been consulting with me on the book, is drawing the cover and promotional art and was great enough to send me some sketches, which just blew me away. In fact, for those people who choose to support the book through our Indiegogo page, we’re offering special perks. The biggest of which are a limited number of autographed copies of Bart’s new book Heads Will Roll, which is a collection of headshots of some of the most famous characters in comic books, drawn by Bart. I am very fortunate to have his help and guidance. I’ve also been blessed to receive some excellent feedback from Mike Baron. After totally shredding my script, he did tell me that the story is ‘gripping.’ His feedback helped the book become what it is now. I will admit too that one artist I’d love to work with is Dave Dorman. I’m a big fan and would love to collaborate with him sometime.”

Hickman: “That’s pretty awesome… just a simple facebook message opened a pretty huge door for you. I love it! Aside from your comic book influences, what would you say was/is your biggest influence as a writer?”

Bransch: “Steven King’s book, On Writing, is a personal favorite, but I would definitely have to say that Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series is a huge influence. Butcher has this incredible talent for world building and this way of taking wacky ideas, which you wouldn’t expect to fit in the story, and making them not only fit, but actually turning them into geek friendly, cool lore in his stories. His style of writing is very impactful on me. I see so many writers that want to jump right into the action and neglect to take the time to make the world that action is set in meaningful to the audience. I believe the best way to tell a story is to not only give the audience the action they want, but to make them care about the surrounding atmosphere as well. Exposition can be lengthy, but when it helps to develop the background and gives the reader some deeper insight, the story becomes more meaningful.”

Hickman: “Absolutely, I think that the two best examples of this would be Tolkein’s Middle Earth and Rowling’s Harry Potter. Both of those writers developed their worlds into living, breathing settings that not only allowed character interaction, but actually interacted WITH the characters. From this discussion, I can tell you that I’m really excited to see this book when it comes out. I can’t wait to see how you build your world and draw us all into it.”

Bransch: “Thank you. I want Outlier to be my magnum opus for 80’s movies fans. There were so many great movies from that decade that are still incredibly popular today due to their storytelling and I believe that my readers will see so many parallels and easter eggs in this. Plus, I always try to incorporate real world locations into my stories. I have a number of actual places in this book that the characters will visit, interact with, and explore. I want people to read this and feel like ‘wow… this could actually happen at a place I’ve seen with my own eyes.’ That’s the world building draw that gives the reader connection to the book.”

Hickman: “Thank you so much for your time, we’ve been on for quite a while and I appreciate your willingness to share yourself with our readers. Before we go, how about a quick synopsis on some upcoming work you are planning?”

Bransch: “The big goal with Outlier is to give me the means to continue moving forward and introducing new stories, characters, and ideas. I do have a sequel to Outlier planned and I’m also working on a superhero story called “Hiro and Sidekick” which is about a half-Asian teenager and his Asian grandfather. The gist is that the kid develops superpowers and, of course, wants to use them his way, but is being trained by his grandfather who isn’t necessarily what he seems to be.”

DTB: “That sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun! Thank you again for taking the time to sit and talk with me this evening. I definitely would like to keep in touch and hear about your progress with Outlier: Worldforge as well as your other projects, moving forward.””

Bransch: “Thank you, I enjoyed this and we can definitely keep in touch. I appreciate your interest in my work and thank you for asking me to be interviewed for the website.”

I have to admit, B. Lincoln Bransch’s enthusiasm for writing and for his projects was super infectious. The fact that his focus is on excellent, story driven writing that is designed to entertain the reader and not be a social evangelist vehicle (his description) is so refreshing today. I asked him where he came up with the name for his company and he said..."I believe things happen from hard work and determination, not luck. So in that way, I consider myself to be "luckless." Please take a moment to check out his Indiegogo page and support this incredible author and his amazing work!

Thanks for checking out the toybox and, until next time… Geek Out!



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