In October of 2014 we published an article featuring Beyond Publishing’s Delvin Howell and his quality comic book ‘Offset’. Because of the quality work these youngsters in Barbados are producing I thought it would be great to kick off the year off by featuring Part II of CitySugarr’s chat with Beyond Publishing with ‘Rob the Robot Boy’s’ Alexandre Haynes. I’m excited about the possibilities for the New Year and take this opportunity to thank you for stopping by and sticking around to see this thing grow.
Mark Jason Welch
How did you come up with the idea for ‘Rob’ and how long have you been working on it?
Rob is a novel about a human boy in a robot body. His is name is Rob and the novel follows his small life within the large world that he lives in.
As he explores the world he discovers the world not only for himself but for the reader as well, a way of indirectly telling a bigger story through many smaller stories. With a whimsical theme many serious concepts about humanity and our place in the world can be explored. For me “Rob” started as an idea I had in school, a bit of how I viewed the world and how persons behaved like machines. The character “Rob” himself was a pretty generic looking design but as I developed the idea I realized I could show a lot of feeling through his shape and actions. The decision to make Rob a child though was a big one, based on a few ideals I wanted him to convey. For one thing he shows the innocence of a child himself caught up in a world created by adults and poses the question, ‘At which point do we become machines?’ Are we machines when we completely conform to the world we are born into or are we machines from the start and is there no hope of getting out? Those are just a few of the concepts I’m exploring with the story right now, I’m working on a second issue which develops the story deeper.
How has the reception been for the comic book? Have you managed to locate an audience outside of the Caribbean?
So far it has been moderate, it’s been picking up pace since I showed with Beyond Publishing in Summer of 2014 at Animekon. They have really helped me a whole lot and for that I am very thankful. I am hoping that readers who would’ve bought the first book would be more excited for the second issue to come. I have not really been able to expand out of Barbados but it’s a work in progress
Has it been difficult to legitimise yourself as a comic book artist (in the Caribbean) and is there room for the art form?
It has not been too easy to establish myself as an artist. To be honest, being an artist on a whole in Barbados is actually quite difficult, but there’s definitely a need for comic artists here and also writers. We have many influences here in the Caribbean in terms of cultures and ideas and people through a history of migration and all these factors create a perfect breeding ground for art…just art on a whole. For persons wanting to dive into the comic book aspect of it, many stories can be realized in visual form solely from the folklore of many territories within the Caribbean coupled with influences from the outside of the region many variations can be created. All we really need are for persons to take the time to realize how much potential there is here and work at bringing it out.
What’s the best way for folks interested in new exciting artists like yourself to purchase your work and keep up with ‘Rob’ and your other works?
The best for persons to purchase my books and to keep up with what we are doing is to visit Beyond Publishing.