A comic can be critically acclaimed, sell well, beloved by readers, have a long run, be optioned but can it truly be considered successful until it has an omnibus release. Those wonderful oversized hardcover tomes are the true measure of who has made it in the comic medium (This is obviously just my opinion but I’m not wrong). Recently the Vault Comics sci-fi series, “Wasted Space,” launched its first Kickstarter to level up series to world of the omnibus.
From writer Michael Moreci, artist Hayden Sherman, colorist Jason Wordie, and letterer Jim Campbell “Wasted Spaces” the story follows Billy Bane, “a prophet who got it all wrong, and the galaxy has been burning ever since. All he wants is to waste away in the darkest corner of space with his best pal Dust, a supercharged Fuq bot. But when a new prophet comes calling, Billy is summoned to save the galaxy he’s at least partially responsible for destroying. Too bad he couldn’t care less.”
We were able to speak to co-creators Michael and Hayden about the new Kickstarter campaign, the series and the new 672-page deluxe hardcover edition featuring all 25 issues in oversized format. A big thanks to the guys for taking the time to talk about the project. You can find out discussion below and for more on the “Wasted Space” Deluxe Omnibus Kickstarter you can check out the campaign page here. The project will run until Wed, October 12 2022, 3:01 am EDT.
For a company to take a project to Kickstarter for the first time I would imagine there is tons of thought that goes into which series is a good fit for that decision. As co-creators of the series what does it mean to have Vault feel confident in your work and have it be part of their first foray into Kickstarter? What makes you confident in the series that you feel comfortable in this project as well?
Michael Moreci: It’s a great feeling that Vault is putting this faith in the book, but they’ve had this level of commitment in Wasted Space since the start. We began as a 5-issue mini that expanded to 10 issues then to an ongoing, ultimately deciding to call it quits at the 25-issue mark, which is creatively as far as we wanted to go.
As for my comfort in and confidence in this project, the one thing I’ve always known is that the people who read “Wasted Space” love it. Deeply. It resonates with people in this really meaningful way, and I feel that getting the book into the hands of more readers will only grow that community of people who share deep ties to Wasted Space.
I am a fiend for an omnibus. I want any series more than 20 issues to be collected in an oversized hardcover edition. It is not a format that independent comics often get. Was this a format you had wanted for the series? For fans who may have bought the singles, maybe also bough the tpbs, what would you say to them when they are deciding if they need the omnibus?
MM: We also wanted an omnibus, yes. Every since we knew we were doing 25 issues, and retaining the same creative team on each and every page, we knew this was the goal. Something just feels right about it, having this massive story in one giant tome–672 pages of one creative team who’re all passionate about the story just letting it rip.
Hayden Sherman: Yeah, I remember us all talking about this big collected edition since at least 2019. For anyone who’s already got the whole story in some form or another, I’d say we’re doing everything we can to make this Omnibus the definitive printing of the series. Every little bit of Wasted Space that we’ve made will be represented between two covers, and at a larger scale. That’s a level of convenience that I know I find very appealing, but to each their own! If you’ve already bought the entire series, the most genuine thing I can really say is: Thank you!
When long running series are collected in these type of editions I love that you can also easily track the evolution of the series and changes creators might of made along the way. As writer and artist of the series how do you feel you each have grown in your process from the first to the last issue? What have you seen in each as creative partners?Continued below
MM: I definitely learned to trust my instincts more, so much so that I actually regret not doing it more early in my career. Wasted Space is the first time I really let me voice fly, and I think it’s the best thing I’ve done because of it–and, in letting my voice fly in that way, you can easily trace a straight line to Barbaric, which is the most successful comic I’ve created.
All around me, I found everyone finding their voices, too, especially Hayden. Hayden is such a unique, gifted, and talented individual, and see how they grew over the course of the series–grew and took numerous chances, while constantly pushing their artwork–was one of the most satisfying parts of making this book.
HS: That’s hard to quantify but I think the biggest thing I learned, after looking back at it all, is that I just really enjoy experimenting. And that experimenting in itself can be a whole process. From issues 1-10 I tried to keep the style locked, but after that I just followed my whims where they led me and I think the book really benefited from it.
It’s funny, I was very much figuring things out (I started this book right out of college) but I swear every single other person on it was just at the top of their game from the get-go. Just non-stop, fully consistent, wonderful work. The writing, color, and lettering of issue 1 is all just as high-caliber as everything that Mike, Jason, and Jim would do throughout the following 24 issues. It’s a beautiful thing, working with masters.
Now that this is collecting the larger story of Wasted Space does the way you pitch the series change? I know along the way you have done press for issues or trade releases? How do you pitch the story for people coming to the series fresh as part of the Kickstarter?
MM: I think Wasted Space has always been pretty much the same, in terms of the pitch–it’s the story of a man who ruined his life and the lives of pretty much the entire galaxy, and now he has to kill a god to make it right. What remains the same, the evergreen part of the story, is that the god doesn’t matter so much–not in a literal sense. It’s the god inside your mind–the god telling you to be afraid, to lack confidence, to feel negatively about yourself, whatever–that needs to be slayed.
Also, it’s a journey of discovery, of discovering, as the book itself says, that if nothing in the universe matters, then maybe the opposite can be true, too–maybe everything matters.
Very few companies come close to the quality of design and look of their series than Vault Comics. There appears to be a great deal of time and thought put into the look of issues, logos, trade dress, etc. Is that the same for the layout of this omnibus?
MM: Absolutely. Tim Daniel’s doing his usual top-notch work, and I have no doubt that this omnibus is going to look absolutely gorgeous, cover to cover.
HS: Amen to that. Tim’s on the job, so it’s going to look perfect. The guy can’t miss.
Michael, I always appreciate the character development in your work They are often the driving force of the stories and why I come to your titles. Over the 25 issues who was your favorite to write and did any one change trajectory in your plans as you got farther into the series?
MM: Thank you! I appreciate that a lot. If I had to pick one character, I think Molly was my favorite. I love where she started and where she ended by the time the series was over. She came to be the soul of the story, someone who could look at things and question them with her heart, without cynicism, and take what she learned and grow. At the start of the series, she was maybe a bit naïve, maybe a bit wide-eyed about the world, but the best thing is that she didn’t lose those qualities; she held onto them, and through that, she was not only to gain a deeper understanding of herself, but she was able to help Billy realize that there are things worth fighting for, and while we may exist in a galaxy where there is no plan, no order, no nothing, that doesn’t mean that you can’t fill the void with the things that matter to you.Continued below
Hayden, you layouts and flow in the series were just incredible. Every issue it was like you found a new and different way to break down a scene. What was your approach going in to the series when it came to layouts? Was there anytime you thought I am getting too good at this?
HS: Ha! I dunno. I just had a lot of fun with it. Especially as the book went on. At the beginning I wanted things to read easily. In the middle I wanted things to read kind of odd. And by the end I realized the layouts could be used to reflect, and hopefully further empower, any scene taking place. To me, every page should have at least one core idea to focus on, to structure the page around. That “core” could be anything, but, whatever it is, the paneling design should serve to amplify it. It makes for a nice challenge, which leads to much more enjoyable pages to draw.
Any good Kickstarter has some incentives baked in. Is there anything you can say about the levels or bonuses involved in the campaign? If you could come up with a dream add on or tier what would you include?
MM: We do! There’s some amazing stretch goals that I wish I could talk about, but they’ll be revealed soon (if they haven’t been revealed already). If I could add one tier, it would be the Legion statue tier. See, most people don’t know this, but once upon a time, we almost released a Legion statue, and it was gorgeous. I have a prototype on my writing desk, in fact. Reasons prevented it from happening, but I wish we could get those bad boys into the world. Who doesn’t want a statue of a weird galactic deity?
HS: 100%, yes to the Legion statue! I’ve got one as well and boy oh boy I wish we could get these out there. Maybe one day.
Lastly, for people backing the campaign, what do you ultimately hope they take away from you guys Wasted Space series?
MM: You know, I’ll be totally candid: “Wasted Space” is one of the best things I’ll ever do, with some of the best collaborators I could ever ask for. But, at the same time, I feel like it was under read. And that’s not anyone’s fault. Vault was still a very nascent company and I was, admittedly, in a bit of a professional valley. Now, it’s come to acquire a very loyal readership, and I’m so grateful for that. But to me, this Kickstarter is Wasted Space’s second lease on life, and I think it deserves it–I just want new readers to discover it and old readers to discover it all over again.
HS: There’s a lot I could hope for people to take away from “Wasted Space,” but ultimately I think it comes down to hoping people feel inspired. May sound hokey, but it’s true. The entire time I was drawing “Wasted Space” I was surrounded by a constant stream of stellar creativity, thanks to the amazing collaborators I found myself alongside. Their work encouraged me to push harder and resulted in some of the best things I’ve yet made. It was an inspiring place to be, and I hope that any readers (new or old) can leave feeling something like what I did while making it.