What He Does: For almost a decade Scott Chitwood has quietly been building an incredible indie comic company, Red 5, and since I first met him at Comicpalooza three years ago I have been endlessly impressed by the work his company and he himself has managed to produce. His latest offering is Haunted, a post-apocalyptic tale about demons from another world arriving on Earth thanks to the Large Hadron Collider. Now the planet is swarmed by ectoplasmatic horrors and humanity's survival is accomplished only with brutal individualism.
It's a great read that Chitwood writes with a gripping frenzy. Chitwood says he was inspired by Bill Murray and the movie Ghostbusters to craft the book. He wondered what the world would have looked like if Gozer had not been stopped by the Busters, and many years later we have Haunted.
Red 5 was started by happenstance on a trip to Skywalker Ranch Chitwood took to be a part of the celebrations surrounding the release of Revenge of the Soth on DVD. His friend Paul Ens was working for Lucasfilm at the time, and over dinner Chitwood mentioned that he had always wanted to start a comic company. One thing led to another, and by 2008 titles like Atomic Robo were being nominated for Eisner Awards and the rights to Afterburn were being purchased by Hollywood. It's a company on the rise, and Houston is happy to have it and its talented founder.
Why He Likes It: "I most love getting the art in based on the scripts that I've written. Each morning is like Christmas as there's a new email waiting in my inbox with new artwork. It's always fun to see the story that has been floating around in your head come to life a little more each day. And it's always interesting to see how the artist interprets your written word. When it's even better than you imagined, it's quite a thrill. And, of course, it's great to see people's positive reaction to the comic. It takes so much time and effort to create, it's really rewarding when people enjoy it."
What Inspires Him: Chitwood is a fact-junkie, an obsessive reader of news and articles that craft new stories in his head. The comic Afterburn was inspired by a documentary on solar flares, and his book Drone came about after reading an article on the United States military's use of satellites to control remote-operated spy and attack vehicles. He's also heavily influenced by the comic and film adventures he saw as a kid. Chitwood prefers Marvel to DC, and Star Wars remains a seminal work in his formation as an artist.
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If Not This, Then What: "Actually, I have a day job in the oil industry as a structural engineer. I get to work on incredible projects, I get to travel the world, and I get to tackle a wide variety of tasks, so it's always interesting. And fortunately it's a job that allows me to follow my love of creating comics in my free time. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably follow my passion for movies and find some way to work in the film industry. I'm a movie reviewer for ComingSoon.Net and Superherohype.com in the rest of my free time, plus we've been able to sell movie rights to some of our Red 5 comics, so it has been fun and inspiring to get a peek into that world."
If Not Here, Then Where: Chitwood is a sixth-generation Houstonian, which is about as good old boy as you can get without being able to list an ancestor as having fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. He does love California because of its connection to both the film and comic industries, as well as ocean, forests, and other beautiful landscapes. That said, he's perfectly happy here.
What's Next: "We are continuing Haunted and actually have a movie deal for it, so I'm hoping something develops on that front. We're also waiting to see if a movie develops from our series Afterburn. On the comics front we are doing sequels to our previous series Drone and Bodie Troll. And with convention season hitting, we'll be doing shows in Dallas, Comicpalooza in Houston, and the San Diego Comic Con in July."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer