The day: Saturday, March 5, 2022.
The time: 9 a.m.
I wake up and put on my suit, tie, and mask (and no, not the one you’re thinking of). I make my daily, grueling two-minute walk from my house to the school for FHS’ first annual Genre-Con and I am pumped, if you couldn’t tell by my outfit choice. Derived from the well-known event New York Comic Con, Genre Con hosted multiple guest speakers, writers, authors, and illustrators. The special guests who stood out to me were the talented authors and artists behind Backroom Comics. After the ‘Con, I was in touch with Backroom and learned more about their history and goals.
Backroom Comics officially launched in August 2020, but has been in the works since 2016. The official Backroom team includes FHS alumni Noah Kramer, Brian Benavides, Andrew DiVittorio, Angel Fermaints, Kyle Marchessault, Kris Benavides and Anthony Marino. They all met through school, with some of their friendships dating all the way back to preschool, but they became the big group that makes up Backroom at FHS. Throughout their lives, they’ve all had a passion for storytelling, with some of their inspiration coming from the likes of famous comic book writers and authors such as Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Alex Ross. Looking for a creative outlet during the oh-so infamous and difficult pandemic, they used their time off to launch their company and get the ball rollin’.
I caught up with Backroom’s Social Media and Event Coordinator, Anthony Marino, a few days after the event.
JK: What are Backroom’s short-term goals?
AM: Backroom right now has a strong focus on creation and education. We ourselves love making anything we can whether it be a full issue of a comic or a small three panel comic we post to Instagram. The joy we get in creating is something we want to share with as many people as possible, not only through what we make but by helping others understand how to get their ideas out there as well. So we have also started a strong focus on education through designing workshops and posting “How To’s” or tutorial videos to help people find ways to be creative.
JK: Where do you see the company in the future?
AM: We want to be releasing as many stories as we can and continuing to foster creative environments that will help others find their voice.
JK: Backroom Comics is well on its way releasing their original, digital comics such as Flora and The Intangible Specter, and even having a successful paperback Kickstarter campaign, The Infallible Centurion. That being said, what advice do you have for current FHS students who want to follow the same path?
AM: The hardest step is just doing it. For years we here at Backroom had spoken about something like this, and now we are doing it. You will make mistakes and there will be so much to learn as you dive into what makes you happy. The important part is that you keep learning and improving. With our time together as Backroom we constantly are looking to improve ourselves and the company as a whole. Nothing else really matters if you aren’t passionate. Ultimately the first step is, find what makes you happy, it’s not easy but it’s so, so worth it.
Just like the guys at Backroom, I have a passion for writing comics and to know that they are making their dreams a reality and were in the same position as I am today, looking to create and share their stories, is truly inspiring to me and makes me feel that if they could do it, I could do it too. I chose to write this article in hopes that students would be inspired to pursue their passions as Backroom inspires me to pursue mine.
Thanks for checking out this article, I hope you were able to take some advice and information away from reading it. Make sure to check out Backroom Comics at www.backroomcomics.com where you can find their comics, social media handles, and more about the guys that make up Backroom. Also check out Mustachio comics and animated shorts created by Noah Kramer (current president and illustrator of Backroom Comics and former Paper Lion staff member) on the Paper Lion website at www.paperlion.org. Until next time true believers, excelsior!