Ricky Pleasant of Breakaway Comics will discuss his comic book Princess Ziya and the Golden Orchid during our Queen City Black Comix Day virtual comics creators panel at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 31, on the Midwest BSFA YouTube channel!
Midwest BSFA: How did you come up with this concept and why?
Pleasant: During the height of the pandemic, my wife and I were babysitting our niece and nephew, and the activities they really enjoy doing with us is drawing and storytelling. They were coming up with all of these super imaginative characters and backstories, that’s when the concept came to me: tell half of the story and let the kids finish it how they want. So I came up with my own characters and asked them what they thought would happen to them. I hope that the comics from Breakaway Comics not only encourage kids to read more, but spark their imagination and think about how they want the story to end. It’s a great way for families to come together and get their creative juices flowing!
Midwest BSFA: Give me a short synopsis of the comic.
Pleasant: Princess Ziya tries to convince her father, King Garen, and his advisors that an ancient evil is returning to their land and that they must seek out the Golden Orchid in order to defend themselves. After being ridiculed and forced to flee her land, Ziya and her trusted companion, Sir Chibale, journey to find the Orchid to save their people.
Midwest BSFA: Did you grow up reading comics? Who were your favorites?
Pleasant: Absolutely! Some of my favorite comics were The Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, Detective Comics’ Batman, and the Dragonball Z manga.
Midwest BSFA: Who were your favorite comic book characters as a kid?
Pleasant: I’m going to go a little left here and not name some of the main favorites. I really liked Nightcrawler, Ben Reilly Spider-Man, and Dick Tracy. I love all the main heroes and villains, but those three really stuck out to me.
Midwest BSFA: Have you always wanted to write a comic book?
Pleasant: Writing a comic book has always been at the top of my personal to-do-list. I remember in 5th grade, my friends and I would get in trouble for “wasting” loose leaf paper on our comics. We would draw and create stories all the time and share them with each other. I think it was always meant for me to actually create my own comic book.
Midwest BSFA: Who were your favorite comic book writers?
Pleasant: Neil Gaiman, Jack Kirby, and Aaron McGruder. Each of them brings something different to the table. Their styles, I feel, match what I try to go for when I write. Something a little dark and thought provoking, something out of this world and almost unimaginable, and something deeply personal that can resonate with me culturally.
Midwest BSFA: What inspires your writing?
Pleasant: Quiet moments. I believe that when you are quiet and let life happen around you, that your mind is able to take in the energy around you and you can think on a deeper level. Being able to reflect on past events and dream about what’s to come is heightened when your mind is at peace. In those quiet moments I find ideas that I don’t think I would have been able to find any other time.
Midwest BSFA: Anything else you want our readers to know?
Pleasant: We are all placed here for a reason! Stay attentive to the world around you and use it to help find your purpose. Once you’ve found your purpose, go all out!
Queen City Black Comix Day virtual comics creators panel take place at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 31, on the Midwest BSFA YouTube channel.