The demonically named publishing company, For Evil Children (or FEC comics as it is otherwise known) is in the business of producing and creating grap hic novels and comics that push the genre in the ever-growing local scene. But while the name suggests publications that subscribe to the devilish kind, their upcoming launch will see a mixture of crafty comic series and one-offs that blends both the intellectual, the obscure and the familiar.
"We're releasing three series," says Steve Sparke, Managing Editor of FEC Comics. "One's actually just a one-off called Cabin Man and it's actually based around a song by a band called Cows, who were around in the late '90s. So it's a comic based around their work. We'll be releasing two issues of a comic called Great Works, which will be a 25-issue series and it's based around Shakespeare's works."
Written by Lee Zachariah and illustrated by tsholl, Great Works follows protagonist Liam as he seeks revenge in a world filled with Shakespearean characters. Here, Macbeth is crossed over with King Lear, Rosencrantz of Hamlet rubs shoulders with Helena of All's Well That Ends Well; it's the early 17th Century and the dialogue is aptly - if not madly - structured in iambic pentameter.
Thirdly, there's Lonely Monsters, a beautifully stencil-style illustrated graphic novel by artist, Matthew Dunn. "It's essentially a zombie story about Melbourne being invaded by zombies and we follow the lead character, Leroy and rather than hiding from the zombies, has become a zombie hunter. It's a bit of a laugh and the artwork is brilliant in it," says Sparke.
If we go back a few years, well before the first comic from FEC was printed, the publishing company, like most start-ups, began as a passion. "When I was four years-old, as a present, I got Spiderman number eight and a Spiderman mask to go with it," he recalls. "In it, Spiderman is in high school and… he ends up fighting the world's smartest robot. It wasn't the best comic looking back, but at the time, I just ate it up."
Like most childhood loves, Sparke momentarily replaced his passion for comics with the norms and distractions of growing up. When he returned to them later on, he discovered a whole new realm in the graphic novel and comic book world.
"When I came back to them [comics], there were so many more out there that weren't superhero comics… suddenly, it was realising it wasn't just superheroes, it's just awesome stories and awesome art, and they go together very well," says Sparke.
From then on, the thought of creating a comic series lingered on his mind; an idea that came into fruition with the help of good friend and filmmaker, Dave Crynes. "He was a writer himself; he had written a lot of films and he enjoyed comics as well," explains Sparke. "He came to me and gave me some ideas to make into comics and he was like, 'Get your shit together!' He just really kicked my arse and made me start taking it seriously and make it more than just an idea… it's a shame that he's not around for the launch - I'm sure he'd be stoked to see all the comics put out."
Sadly, Crynes passed away in 2010, but a testament to his prolific creativity will hopefully be published under FEC Comics some time in the near future. Amongst them is a comic called Deadline, which is a unique take of the zombie-genre.
"It's essentially taken from the angle of someone who's dying of cancer, and it sort of turns the idea on its head of zombies and the walking dead and how the dead rise," says Sparke. Deadline explores the notion of living and death, pivoted on the concepts behind zombies. "It's actually the one that I'm most excited about getting out because I think it's going to go far."
While the launch party, which takes place on March 5, will be a great way to showcase the publishing house's comics, Sparke hopes the event will bring together other aspiring comic book creators.
"What I really hope to see is a lot more people who are interested in making comics," he says. "I really hope they come along and grab me and talk to me because I'll quite happily sit down with them and talk to them about what you need to do, and what can help them… I want more people, more local creators making comics. That's essentially the goal for me for the launch party. It's not just about building FEC, it's about building the comics community."
FEC Comics launches at The Little Mule Company & Café on Saturday March 5. For more info head to feccomics.com.