An Interview with “Expiration Date” Artist Lee Wiley

This week we had a chance to talk with Lee Wiley, the artist for the Comic Book ‘Expiration Date.’ For more information on Expiration Date, as well as ways to order print and digital copies, visit www.yourtimeisrunningout.com

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CHECKPOINT: What is Expiration Date about?

LEE WILEY: In the future, your life has an expiration date. Every person born in the US has an implant in their heart that randomly triggers a person’s death during the REM cycle of sleep. This Government sanctioned population-control program encourages you to not focus on the “quantity” of your life, but the “quality” of it. However, Dack Cutter’s time is running out as he is roped into unraveling a conspiracy that has already caused the death of a Presidential Candidate and his friend, Nix, due to their “expiration dates.” How far will he go to stay ahead of the conspirators, protect his teenage brother, his former-girlfriend, and attempt to save his own life is “Expiration Date.”

How did you get involved with Expiration Date?

My Step-Uncle, Robert Zappia is a film and television writer, and he wrote this script over the course of the last decade. It got really good response with studio producers, but they were hesitant because it is a large budget sci-fi film. He was encouraged to seek a Graphic Novel approach to help get the story out there and to help with it being developed as a film. He contacted me in early 2011 about the project and we decided to collaborate to make it happen.

Can you describe the evolution of Expiration Date? When did a Kickstarter campaign become essential? 

Once we knew the scope of the project, we knew that we had to get some financial support to really get it off the ground. We decided that Kickstarter would be a great option to find an audience that would be interested in making it happen. We used the funds to help produce the first issue, attend WonderCon, create merchandise for WonderCon, and of course to reward our amazing Kickstarter Backers.

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You’ve recently attended WonderCon. What did you learn while marketing your book there?

There is a great audience at conventions looking for great comics, you just have to be patient. The first few hours of the Con is a rushing madhouse as people are scoping out the whole territory, they are not buying yet. So give it time and let people soak up the atmosphere. When somebody comes by the table, it’s a great idea to give a pleasant “Hello” and a smile, that will often attract a person to see what you have, get a conversation started, and that will ultimately help them make the decision to purchase the book. It’s also important to have a solid table display, it doesn’t have to be over the top, but it should somehow speak to theme of your product(s) along with a well designed banner, you’ve got a formula for an eye catching display. Most of all, enjoy the experience, the people and artists that you meet will make the convention truly fantastic for you. You never know exactly how much you are going to sell or NOT sell, so stay open to any outcome.

What future plans are there for Expiration Date and do you have any future projects lined up?

We are currently submitting Expiration Date to publishers in hopes to find a wider market and a published home for the book. As well as hoping to find some financing with the publisher to complete the series in a more timely manner. I currently am working on an 8 page comic contribution for an Illopond Anthology entitled 8:IN SPAAACE! (http://www.illopond.com/) This is my 4th contribution to an Illopond Anthology; doing these anthologies has really become a passion of mine, and I really enjoy the experience there. I have many other things that are “in the queue” so to speak, it usually just depends on the time and money that I can invest into making them a reality.

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Any tips to new or aspiring artists?

Dream and create the opportunities to realize your dreams. It may not happen on the scale that you initially hoped, but your passion for creating will never be fulfilled unless you take the initiative. You never know what doors may open or treasures may be found on the journey, so push forward and stay positive.

Anything else you’d like to add?

In the art industry, relationships make a huge difference. Talent alone will not carry you. Seek out opportunities to network and learn from other artists/industry professionals. Find a “Circle of trust” or people that you can lean on to give you sound advice and feedback on your art. These relationships turn into friendships, and friends like to share opportunities with each other, you may have the chance to give or receive such an opportunity.

To order print or digital copies of Expiration Date, visit:

www.yourtimeisrunningout.com

Lee Wiley’s website:

www.wileyillustration.com

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