Recently, I had the chance to interview David Steward II, the phenomenal founder & CEO of Lion Forge, which is the company behind amazing comic books like Rampage Jackson and the recent Joshua Run! According to his official bio, Steward “founded The Lion Forge, LLC, a St. Louis-based, transmedia studio in his hometown. Under his direction, Lion Forge offers a combination of original and licensed titles such as Quincredible, Crystal Cadets, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, Care Bears, Saved by the Bell, and Punky Brewster in both the traditional print and digital marketplaces.”
“Before starting Lion Forge, David founded and operated Photographx.com. Started in 2000, the company grew from a photography solutions provider into a multimedia company providing photography, filmmaking, animation and design to its clients. He also worked as a film producer for a Christian media company based in Los Angeles in December, and later formed and managed The Chi Rho Group, a ‘traditional’ private equity organization focused on making acquisitions in consumer packaged goods, technology, and media & entertainment.”
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Steward is an exceptionally talented man who is the prime example of the slogan “hard work pays off!” Check out my interview with Steward where he talks about Rampage Jackson, whether he thinks paper comics will still be profitable and/or popular down the road, what’s next for him, and more below!
1-Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to do something with comics or anything entertainment/arts related?
Yes, I have always been fascinated by the comic’s world and all the various media based on comics. While growing up, I didn’t have a comic store nearby, so I was mainly exposed to content through TV and movies. As an adult I was able to immerse myself in the books themselves, seeking out stores and getting digital comics on tablets.
2-What were some of your favorite comics growing up?
When I was in middle school I remember the launch of Milestone Comics and was a big fan of Static Shock. As an African American it was the first time I could see myself in the heroes, and it was the first time I saw that some comic creators were African Americans. That definitely impacted me as I saw potential career opportunities as a creator.
3-What are some of your favorite films and/or TV shows based on comic books?
Superman 2 is definitely one of my favorites still today. Terrance Stamp as General Zod is probably my favorite villain performance of all time. As for TV, my two favorites are the 1990s X-Men cartoon and Young Justice.
4-With everything going more and more down the digital route, do you think paper comics will still be as popular or profitable in the future? Why?
I think paper comics will remain viable in the market for quite some time. There is something special about the physical feel of paper and the fact that you can collect it that still resonates with most fans. Digital, though, is the future and it’s a great way for new and casual fans to experience comics.
5-There’s a new Rampage Jackson graphic novel coming out. What can fans expect?
They can expect the unexpected! Rampage Jackson Street Soldier is going to be a wild, action pack adventure series that will be a throwback to old school style comics. Rampage travels the world while using his powers to help everyday people in need. The concept is similar to shows like Kung Fu, A-Team, and Knight Rider, but with a super heroic twist.
6-What is your favorite project (graphic novel, films, etc.) via Lion Forge of course? Why?
It’s hard to pick just one; I feel it’s like choosing your favorite child. Each book has a unique take and feel that appeals to different aspects of my tastes. For example, Rampage’s book is a fun, bombastic superhero adventure, while our upcoming Andre the Giant biography has a serious artistic, literary nature to it. Another book I’m quite proud of, Crystal Cadets, is an awesome project that brought together an all-female creative team to produce a very compelling “Magical Girl” genre book.
7-What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the comic or entertainment/arts business?
If I could give one piece of advice to someone coming into the business it would be to figure out what your passion is in comics. Whether it’s being an artist, writer, colorist, etc., hone your craft and then surround yourself with a great team to help you produce content.
8-What is NEXT for David Steward, II?
Well, one major thing on the horizon is that we’re branching out into the animation world with a project called “Deep Sea 7.” It’s an anime-style project we produced in conjunction with Harmony Gold. It’s a fun adventure series that’s like Robotech underwater.
Photo Credit: Moona Inc./Lion Forge