AdVantage News | Fred Pollard
The Stache Publishing crew, from left: Drew Rose, Anthony Mathenia, Ryan Lawson, Lauren Ousley, David Tickner, Alice Harvey (not pictured: Jordan Williams).
Need a quick escape from everyday chores? Keep a “stash of Stache’” comics handy…and know chances are the creators are just minutes away.
“We like being able to get out and meet people,” co-owner Anthony Mathenia said. “We also welcome anyone from this area who wants to work on comics with us. One of our goals was to promote sequential art in Illinois and we would love others to come on board.”
Stache Publishing was formed in July of 2012 by a core group of seven young writers and artists, including Drew Rose of Granite City (writing, graphic design), Anthony Mathenia of Wood River (writing, coloring), Ryan Lawson of Bethalto (writing, illustration), Lauren Ousley of Collinsville (writing, illustration), David Tickner of Collinsville (writing, coloring), Alice Harvey of Granite City (illustration, coloring), and Jordan Williams of Staunton (writing, illustration, coloring).
“Drew, who is the manager of the Heroic Adventures comic shop in Edwardsville, started a comic book creator’s club,” Harvey said. “After a few meetings, we decided we wanted to pursue self-publishing.”
With no previous publishing experience, the crew spent nearly a year crafting their stories and illustrations, forming an individualized yet cohesive entity that culminated in the first published work, “Stache Shorts,” in April 2013.
“Since none of us had been involved with comics before, we learned the art and did a lot of writing and drawing exercises,” Mathenia said. “Some of those early exercises ended up in the first anthology.”
The second release, “7 Deadly Sins,” followed in the fall of 2013, building on the surrealistic and underground feel of the first volume while deepening the unified chaos with a theme. The concept came to Ousley on the day “Stache Shorts” was released.
“We had a four-day turnaround,” Mathenia said. “It was one of those times that when you are able to pull it off you feel really good about it. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do a cohesive book and do it with a tight deadline.
“It had to work; if any one of us failed to be done in time, we couldn’t very well have a book called ‘6 Deadly Sins.’”
All partners in the company are now taking time to work on individual projects, many of which will be published through Stache Comics this spring.
“Jordan was the first one to release his own book,” Mathenia said. “’Gunpowder Witch’ is a four-part series and he has published the first one. Lauren, Dave and Drew are collaborating on one, Ryan is working on a fantasy, and I am working on a sci-fi book.”
The young entrepreneurs say they have learned creating art consists of a tightrope walk involving compromise, fun, and just plain hard work.
“The most challenging thing is probably balancing the creative aspect while maintaining a business,” Ousley said. “We are all creative at heart, and yet we have to give equal attention to both sides.
“But it’s been good. We have become like a little family.”
Stache Publishing is open to other writers and artists (both published volumes feature work from outside contributors) and welcomes input from fans during public appearances at events throughout the area, where the books can be purchased.
“You can also buy our stuff online, at Heroic Adventures in Edwardsville, and at Star Clipper in the Delmar Loop,” Mathenia said.
Some of the work by Stache Publishing contains adult themes.
For more information, visit the website at www.stachepublishing.com.