Interview: Righteous Web Comic writer Kevin Sheller

We here at Slack Jaw Punks have one rule: Do the right thing, no matter what. That is a statement we live by and bleed by. We are compelled to do the right thing, sometimes against our will…mostly against our will. Anyway, I sat down with the writer of the hit web comic series Righteous to help promote the exciting happening of Issue #1 coming to printed form! Here he is, Kevin Sheller

Thank for so much for chatting with me Kevin, your webcomic gives you a ton to think about when it comes to doing the right thing!

It is absolutely my pleasure! 

First off, what exactly is Righteous? For those who have never read it or want to read it. This is a story about altruism in a capitalist society. The main character, Daniel, undergoes a supernatural transformation which renders him essentially unable to earn money (in traditional ways) for himself and his family. Instead, he must dedicate all of his efforts to helping others. He does these caring things against his own will, so you’ll see him fighting it early on — but it’s much stronger than he is. 

Where did you come up with the idea of Righteous? Did you wake up one day and start doing the right thing?

I most certainly went through a transformation of my own. I grew up in a very capitalist family. My father was an entrepreneur, my grandfather a master investor… The whole family is very practical and money-conscious. Because my parents cared about my well-being, they stressed the values of earning a good income, investing wisely, and creating a solid nest-egg for retirement. I carried these values through the first 40 years of my life. I bought rental properties, started businesses, and invested in the stock market! But somewhere along the way, I woke up to the realization that while these things are great *for me* — they aren’t necessarily helpful to others. And as I observed all of the problems that our society faces, I began to trace a number of them to the big incentive program that we pledge allegiance to – our financial system. 

But as an entrepreneur myself, I’m an extremely optimistic person. So rather than being mired in the sad reality of this realization, I got excited about it. I started talking to people about it. Everyone I could. And soon I began to formulate a vision for an imaginary society. This society, not dissimilar to the one found in Star Trek, is something that I believe we are fully capable of. And I believe that if we focus on helping others – not just ourselves and our families – we’ll be one step closer to getting there. 

Daniel seems like a pretty interesting choice for a character, he’s not your typical greedy character, how did he come to be your protagonist?

I really wanted a typical businessman-type. Someone identifiable and someone who is successful in his career. He’s got an edge to him, but that helped him get to where he is. He’s got it all put together. The top of his craft. And his like-minded spouse was important as well. They’re a team, and they are on a mission to live the perfect American dream. They’ve bought in, and not only is it in their grasp, but they are already living it!

What can you tell us about the mysterious deity? Is it a God? An Angel? A drug trip?

The being of light who comes and touches Daniel and changes him forever while he’s sleeping? He’s writing the story. He’s the true author. For some reason, he chose me to be his ghost writer. Perhaps because he knew I’d actually follow through with it. I’m definitely not illustrator material, so I hired two excellent artists: Joseba Morales in Spain to illustrate, and Gab Contreras in Peru for colors. They rock!!

But anyway, back to the being of light… to be honest, I still don’t know who he is, (or even if it’s a he) – so hopefully he’ll tell us who he is at the end of the story! I know I’ll be tuning in to find out!

Is there a challenge from making someone go from completely greedy to a do-gooder and still maintain their overall personality?

This is a really cool question. And I think the answer depends on how greedy they are. Does their greed define them? Is that all they truly care about? Then yes, it’s very hard. They go through a complete transformation! 

If they are simply following the American Dream because they think that’s the right thing, then most of their personality is retained. They just have to redirect their focus a little. Everyone tries to do what they think is the right thing. It’s all in how you look at it. 

How is Jen’s and Daniel’s relationship going to evolve? What type of hardship will they go through now that they both do the right thing?

All kinds of hardships. It’s definitely not easy! Already, they have both had major career setbacks, but this is just the beginning. Thankfully, they are kindred in that they both went through this transformation together. So they at least have each other to rely on when things get really tough! 

Can you give us a hint on what will happen in the foreseeable future?

Yes! I will give you some exclusives: As you know, there is already one major supernatural element that is taking place in the story. At the end of issue #3, another major and important aspect to the over-arching element will be revealed. We’ll also see a flashback, a jumper, a conversation with Chuck, a surprise gift, a major declaration, another transformation, and new sleeping arrangements. And that wraps up Issue #4!

I have fully written through issue #7 now. I have to say, it’s always fun to see what the Being of Light wants me to write next!

There you have it, everyone, Kevin Sheller’s Kickstarter is up now and it is located here!:

If you are interested in reading the webcomic you can check it out:

HERE

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  • Thanks so much for the interview! It was such a pleasure! 😀 <3