Kevin Melon, who is not new to the comic industry by any means, has recently come out with with his first big creator-owned publication, Suicide Sisters. He has been involved in many projects; Most notably he has collaborated twice on a graphic novel with Dennis Hopeless and is currently working as a storyboard artist on FX’s hit cartoon, Archer. “Working on Archer has allowed a certain level of stability in that I am not constantly worried about where the money to finance things like Suicide Sisters is going to come from. When Dennis Hopeless and I did Gearhead, I was working at a liquor store and able to get pages drawn on the clock. When we did LoveSTRUCK, I was full-time freelance and was constantly searching for the next gig that would pay me enough to have the time to draw LoveSTRUCK. It became a snake eating its own tail.”
Volume one of Suicide Sisters follows two daughters of a preacher as they tear through Texas in search for the Devil so they may reclaim their souls. Their mission takes them through dusty highways and hole-in-the-wall biker bars where they fight their way through a chain of demons trying to get any information they can. He says he has been developing these characters since before their first drafts in 2008 and decided it was time to stop putting off personal projects in favor of commission work. With a pitch and title in mind he found it easier to move forward creating the comic and says “…that provided a very simple thing to aim for. Anything that wasn’t that, I rejected.”
The comic has a classic gritty design with plenty of gruesome fight scenes. The sisters look intimidatingly capable but the nightmarish demons seem well equipped to test the extent of those capabilities. “I spend a lot of time thinking about and developing the characters in my head, and a lot of time trying to decide if this is a story I want to tell. Not every idea one has is worth developing, and it can often take a bit for me to see where something goes.” The artwork seems to carry as much, if not more of the story as the dialogs does, yet it seems to have been the quickest part of the project to complete. Once nearly all the line art was ready in 2010 Mellon says cold feet in combination with a healthy freelance career kept him from finishing. “Putting it off for a month or two quickly became a year or two without my even realizing it.”
Clearly Kevin had the talent to back his story but he attributes his past hesitation to a lack of confidence. Breaking away from collaboration work seemed to have removed the safety net of others for this project. “I lacked that confidence to be the thing I always wanted to be: Self-Sufficient… I never intended to work with others, and my doing so came out of my lack of confidence in just finishing something and moving on to the next thing.” He says he was able to push forward by using the same encouragement he gave to others, “ Fuck it. Put it out and move on. The next one will be better.” Solid advice.
He has already written volume two and plans to work on the artwork over the next year. He also plans to use the momentum of this publication to develop several other projects he has been mulling over. “I want to keep putting out these things I’ve been working on…The thing about being a slow writer, at least for me, is that when one idea hits a wall, I’ve got a dozen others to bounce to, so over the years that’s made for a healthy backlog of projects.” Whether it be from collaboration work or his own ideas we can hope to see plenty more of Mellon’s work. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, you can pick up your copies of Suicide Sisters from his website.