Hey Kid, Wanna buy an IP?
You may know Jim Lawson from his epic run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Certainly a Legend in the minds of fans and creators alike. What you might not know was after The Turtles were sold to Viacom in 2009, Jim was left to his own creative devices. No longer having the opportunity to work on TMNT Comics Jim turned to his first creator owned release since the sale, DRAGONFLY.
DRAGONFLY was Kickstarted in January of 2013 and was funded within the time period. When the books arrived it was exactly what a fan would have wanted in a Jim Lawson comic. His rugged yet beautiful art style flowed gracefully from panel to panel. The story and characters were fun and lovable, and of course, Dinosaurs!
So you know when he made the announcement that he would be collecting all his DRAGONFLY work into one Volume this past February, I along with many other fans were beyond excited to back this project. But what happened next really blew the minds of a lot of people. One of the rewards for backing the project was, believe it or not, ownership of the DRAGONFLY Property.
I personally was stunned to see that Jim would be offering up the property and especially at what I thought was an extremely low price. It baffled me that it didn’t get picked up instantly, but then, in steps Wes Briggs. A guy who I knew was a major TMNT and Jim Lawson fan, I was relieved, I knew one of my favorite Indie Properties was going to the hands of someone who would do his best to keep it amazing!
I recently had the chance to talk with Wes and get his reaction to being the new owner of DRAGONFLY and what his plans are for the future of the franchise:
CXC: February 19, 2019 you are waiting eagerly like many for Jim Lawson to launch the Kickstarter for DRAGONFLY and HELLRIDE. What is your first reaction when you see he is offering the IP as a reward?
Wes: Actually it’s amazing! I like many others were excited, anticipating Jim Lawson’s Kickstarter. When Jim’s Kickstarter went live I logged in and started looking at the different pledge levels. I wasn’t planning on going big because Ben Bishop’s Kickstarter for the Aggregate book 2 was about to kick off and I wanted to support both campaigns. Initially I never made it all the way down to the pledge level for owning the IP for DRAGONFLY. I actually picked the hand colored cover for HELLRIDE. I was very happy and excited about that pledge. Then 20 minutes later in our Bish Kid chat group someone posted a picture of the “own the IP” pledge. It didn’t take me long to feel good and excited about making the big decision to buy the IP.
CXC: If it wasn’t instantaneous how long did it take you to decide to claim that reward and ownership of DRAGONFLY.
Wes: After finding out about this pledge from the Bish Kids, I logged back in immediately to look at all the details and price for this IP. It took me about 10 minutes for me to make up my mind. I was definitely all in! I knew if I didn’t jump on it right then, someone else would.
CXC: Were you surprised by the price? I myself thought it was a little low for an established property by a well established creator.
Wes: I was very surprised that, one, he was selling DRAGONFLY and second, that I could actually afford it. I love that he made it affordable so that someone like me to could have one of his dreams come true. The fact that it’s from a legend in my opinion only makes it that more special.
CXC: Once the Kickstarter ends and you are awarded the IP, What went down between you and Jim. How was that conversation?
Wes: We actually started messaging each other during the Kickstarter. More then anything we were just trying to get to know one a another. I told him my plans and that I wanted to make him proud. Once the Kickstarter ended we talked about getting the paperwork set up and Jim took the time to write me up a DRAGONFLY Bible about the established world and characters.
CXC: I see you have announced Chris Vance as the artist for the new books going forward, what went into making this decision and why was Chris the right choice?
Wes: This is a easy question. I knew I wanted Chris to draw the new book from the beginning. I love his art style and he deserves a chance to show his talents to the old and new DRAGONFLY fans. I asked him if he’d be interested while the Kickstarter was still going on and with no hesitation, he said yes! I’m so thankful to have so many talented guys and girls around me that want to help see this succeed.
CXC: What is you initial plan for DRAGONFLY? What kind direction do you want to take it in? will you try to keep it in line with the direction Jim was taking it or do you have plans to go your own route?
Wes: My plan is to expand on what Mr. Lawson has started. I want to continue his story but also make it my own by introducing some new characters and expanding the worlds he’s created. I really want to make this a special story that everyone will fall in love with. I take lots of pride in all my work and will do everything in my power to make sure DRAGONFLY succeeds beyond my expectations.
CXC: Did Jim offer you any insight into the direction he may have thought of taking the story past book 3?
Wes: Jim has been great!. He’s letting me truly run with my own ideas. Look I know I own the IP so I could do whatever I wanted. I’m also a very respectful and love any advice or ideas from artists and creators like Jim. He has given me some ideas he thought about using in the series but didn’t for whatever reasons. Lots of exciting stuff to come, that’s for sure. He’s just really excited to see what I create.
CXC: Do you have any plans of taking the franchise outside of the world of comics?
Wes: Yes. One of my goals is to expand DRAGONFLY outside of comics one day. But only if it makes sense. Most importantly I have a lot of hard work in front of me getting these new books out into reader’s hands. Making sure everyone loves it is goal #1. Then, if all goes well I do have ideas and goals for other stuff.
CXC: Whats the most important message you want to get across to DRAGONFLY fans who may be skeptical of a new creative director coming in and taking over the property?
Wes: One thing I love about comics is the support from other comic creators and fans. Without the readers, we wouldn’t be making comics. All I can say is I hope everyone just gives me a chance and supports the new DRAGONFLY books. I know you guys are going to love the new art style from Chris Vance. We both take a lot of pride and want to honor Jim Lawson’s work. I promise to give it everything I’ve got. I’ve been drawing and writing on and off for almost my whole life. I still have one of the first “comics” I made in back in middle school. Maybe I’ll post that one day… This has been a long time dream and I’m not letting it go to waste.
I think that the property is in great hands. I am excited to see where Wes and Chris take it. I expect no where other than the next level! We at CXCBuzz will be sure to keep you updated when there is news regarding the future of the project. But to get the latest in behind the scenes looks as well as sneak peaks into the creative process of the minds of Wes and Chris make sure to follow them on Facebook on the OFFICIAL DRAGONFLY COMIC PAGE.