The following is a guest post/interview conducted by David Malekar, who regularly contributes content to the WashCo Chronicle. The interviewee, Jamie Sherman, the creator of Voluntaryist. This comic series focuses on the battle for liberty and self governance/independence. You can contact the self proclaimed "Number 1 Libertarian comic universe in print" at his webpage.
|Meet Voluntaryist, the protagonist of the series|
JS: I have always been a fan of comics and general geekdom. I have collected Godzilla figures and movies since I was 5, dressed up in superhero outfits for comic book movie premiers, and have always watched the latest animated cartoons. During the Ron Paul campaign of 2012, I was excited to promote liberty and wanted to see how I could combine my interests in fantasy with my love for liberty. I began writing a movie script, but found it would be too expensive to make a decent production. I decided that I could reasonably make a comic book come to life with the advent of crowd-source fundraising, so I turned my movie thoughts into comic form and ran with an online campaign.
DM: Pulling off such a project requires serious dedication. Is this a project you work on during your free time, or full time?JS: I work on the Voluntaryist comic during my free time. It’s been a long journey that has taken countless hours. I don’t think I could have been successful if I didn’t spend entire weekends at a time reaching out to people to garner support.
DM: What has been your biggest challenge thus far with the project?JS: The hardest part was finding the initial fan base. The Voluntaryist Comic is premised on a philosophy that only a small fraction of the world is privy to. On top of that, those who would be initially interested would also have to enjoy comics as a medium. It took a while to build interest and support but, at this stage, the ideas of liberty have spread so far and wide that it has become easier to break into the mainstream. The acceptance of libertarian Voluntaryism as an ethical philosophy has probably grown 10-fold since I’ve started the comic, which is incredible on its own.
|Voluntaryist during a breakout moment|
DM: You've covered a lot of controversial subjects thus far (such as the NSA surveillance), what are other subjects we can expect from the series?JS: Readers should expect a no-holds-barred approach to all of the hottest issues with government threats: spying, police brutality, martial law, war, taxation, eminent domain, prohibition, regulation, and so on. The next issue will continue with the NSA topic and introduce Julian Assange with Wikileaks.
DM: You plan on covering a vast amount of subjects. Which one stands out to you the most and why?
JS: The one that stands out the most to me is the one that no one else will cover: the nature of government. I think a graphic depiction on how government function is carried out in real-world practice is needed. Too many just accept the process of how government is run through generalized mantras like “social contract,” “uniform justice,” and “public good.” I plan to give readers the exact nature of what the state is: poor service provided at the barrel of a gun.
DM: Can we expect a possible short animated film in the future?JS: That is my dream goal. I want to first get the origins story into a graphic novel format so it can also be used as storyboarding. If I could get the right kind of sponsorship or advertising deal though, I would be happy to make the first ever Voluntaryist 2D animated feature as soon as I possibly can.
DM: Where can interested readers go to purchase digital and paper print copies?JS: We sell the comics through Indyplanet. I recommend using the sidebar at our Website, www.volcomic.com to go to the direct purchase links.
DM: For fans who wish to provide additional support beyond just purchasing copies of Voluntaryist; do you have any other links you would like to provide; Donations or otherwise?
JS: Anyone who wishes to make a non-tax-deductible gift via bitcoin can do so at our Website here: http://volcomic.com/support-
DM: Overall, what do you hope that readers will take away from your series?
JS: I want Voluntaryist to reach out to a diverse audience on multiple levels. For those who never heard of the philosophy, I want this to be an opportunity to engage the ideas in an entertaining way. For those refining their beliefs, I want the comic to be an avenue for critical thought and discourse as a means to synthesize common critiques and misconceptions. For those who already buy into the philosophy, I want the comic to be a fun relief from reality that can be used to share Voluntarism with others who may otherwise be turned off to academic arguments and dry white papers.
|Voluntaryist covers many sensitive subjects of today|
DM: People such as Ron Paul, have been a major influence to the younger generation regarding the subjects of liberty and government, in the recent years. The appeal of your comic follows the ideas of the moment, as you previously stated. In closing, what final thoughts would you like to leave with readers?
JS: My call to action for everyone is to start sharing the virtues of liberty with the world by first providing value to others. Help others solve problems by providing how-tos, reviews, and instructionals, and then seed the message of liberty in. We will grow true peace and prosperity when philosophy and culture combine.
|All photos provided by Jamie Sherman of the Voluntaryist|