Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Interview: Thomas Gorence

I present to you my interview with Thomas Gorence, the creator of Time Samplers. Enjoy:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm just a normal guy, who happens to have a completely healthy obsession with conspiracy theories, secret societies, and mind control research.  I've been working professionally as a software engineer and musician for the last 10-15 years, and just trying to combine these skills to break out into other mediums.

What go you interested in time travel?

The biggest influences in my love for time travel can probably be traced back to Bill S. Preston (esquire), Theodore Logan, and Marty McFly.  After that initial spark of interest, my fascination with history and the potential of things like time travel, chaos theory, and multiple dimensions has only gotten bigger.

What is Time Samplers about?

The elevator pitch is that two musicians use psychedelic time travel to research historical conspiracies and corruption.  Of course, it goes much deeper than that.  The two main characters, Lex and Cal, were raised in a top-secret mind control program, funded by the modern-day equivalent of what most people refer to as the "Illuminati."  They are using their skills and technology to travel back to specific moments in time, and confront historical figures - or to just find out the truth for themselves.  All of the technology, character references, places, and conspiracies correlate to actual research.  The true goal of the comic is to spark some interest into real history.

What inspired you to create the comic?

After years of ranting about my research and theories to friends, coworkers, strangers, and puzzled looking studios heads, I realized that the very nature of conspiracy theories make them hard to explain.  Writing theories down can also result in a long and complicated body of work, really only palatable by a very small minority of interested readers.  On the other hand, cartoons, comics, and games seem like much more appropriate ways of reaching outside that small bubble.  The hope is that some very complex (and dark) research can be presented in a light way - essentially being able to boil down hours and hours of long lectures and thousands of pages of tedious research, into an entertaining format (with real history and learning snuck in).

How did you find the Time Samplers team?

 The current team took quite a while to find, just scouring websites like and, and giving lots of different artists a shot.  I worked with quite a few less-than-professional artists along the way, and all sorts of graphic styles.  Also tried working with a few friends and local artists, but as much as I would have liked to - none of them worked out.  It's been important to find writers and artists to collaborate, which really resonate with the subject matter.  As for finding the writers, I've had a bit of luck contacting self-published writers I find on amazon, various blogs, and the forums.  I'm constantly looking for more people to work with, so feel free to contact Paranoid American if any interested artists/writers are reading this now!

What sources were particularly helpful when creating the comic?

This is such a long list, I actually added a special thanks page to the first comic to go over them all.  However, in terms of research - the entire Trine Day catalog has been very helpful - along with lots of rare books I've managed to snag up on eBay.  I also lurk the ATS forums constantly, along with sites like VigilantCitizen, - a popular site run by a friend that I've know for a while through professional music.  In terms of creating the comic, I've needed lots of help and guidance along the way.  Aside from being an avid comic collector, the comic industry is totally foreign to me.  Brandon Perlow of New Paradigm comics (Watson & Holmes, Rockthrower, Nimbus) has been a huge mentor, along with William Wilson and Percy Carey at Arch Enemy Entertainment (F-00 Fighters, Aurora Rose, many others).  They have all been extremely helpful and patient with my seemingly endless amount of questions.  Kris Millegan of Trine Day, Hank Albarelli (writer of Terrible Mistake), and Nick Bryant (writer of The Franklin Scandal) have all been very helpful as well.  I would count all of them as some of the most established professionals in their respective fields, without question.

How many issues of Time Samplers do you plan to publish?

That's a good question - if money were not a factor, I would say 12 per year.  However, doing this all without a big publisher or any real financial backing, more realistically, looking at 2-3 issues per year, and hopefully a 100+ pg trade paperback graphic novel every year or two.  Of course, that's just for Time Samplers.  Also looking to release quite a few other titles and projects along the same lines in the near future, so there will be plenty to look forward to.

Do you plan to use Kickstarter to fund future issues?

Absolutely.  I would have used Kickstarter the first time around, and originally planned to - however, getting all of the rewards together, and explaining what Kickstarter is to the uninitiated... it all just became very overwhelming.  Almost like I would need to put together a Kickstarter campaign in addition to a normal Time Samplers campaign.  Plus, I'd probably have to set a target goal lower than the cost of creating a comic, just to make sure there was a chance of succeeding.  It seems more and more that Kickstarter is being used as a vehicle to "kickstart" pre-sales, rather than starting brand new projects from unknown creators.  Hopefully with Time Samplers #1 out in the wild, any future Kickstarter campaigns will be successful, since I'm proving the hard way with Paranoid American, that these projects will be published no matter what!

Do you have any other projects you are working on?

Yes, lots.  Since I had to setup my own publishing company (Paranoid American, Inc.) to publish Time Samplers, I'm hoping to develop lots of different projects. There is a Time Samplers game in the works (for android and iOS devices) based on the first issue "Escape from Jekyll Island."  The game is an homage to old classic arcade shooters like 1984 and Gun Smoke - except in this game, the enemies are sheeple and other members of the Jekyll Island Club (and the main boss, Alexander Graham Bell).  There will be other games coming out as well.  Also working on a series of prints and posters that illustrate various conspiracy theories - such as Barbara Bush being the daughter of occultist Aleister Crowley, and Walt Disney working for the FBI in exchange for information about his true birth parents.  Not to sound over-ambitious, but there's also a music project in the works, featuring a handful of legends in their own rights.  Can't wait to share more about that next year!

Do you have any advice for writers or artists who want to make a comic?

Absolutely - once you find a good team to work with, make sure you keep them all happy and busy!  On the other side of that coin, stay flexible and make sure not to rely on any one artist/writer/etc. too much.  I feel like I may have more experience dealing with various personalities via the music industry.  Working with writers and artists is very similar.  I would also say that patience is key.  Many other creators and writers are excited to see what I've come up with, and lament about how they've been working on their own project for a few years without much progress.  Truth is, I've been working on this for almost 10 years now, so to me, 3-4 years is just part of the pre-planning and learning phase.  Also, don't expect to make money (or even come close to breaking even) on a comic.  If you can keep all that in mind, there's really not much that will throw you off course.

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For those looking for more information on Time Samplers check out there Facebook page and Twitter profile. You also might enjoy the trailer to Time Samplers:

1 comment:

  1. There really needs more stories and alternate histories incorporating conspiracy.


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