Meet Lanier Burton, indie comics creator of “From Scratch Comics”
I connected with Lanier Burton after he registered on Indie Comics Zone, and posted his book “Penny Peculiar.” He reached out, and wanted to talk more about the book, and some of his past work along with his current and upcoming projects.
I agreed, and the first thing I asked him was not about indie comic books, but about “Star Trek.” That is, I asked Lanier if he was any relation to actor LeVar Burton, who portrays engineer Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Lanier said that he is not related to LeVar, and he also let me know that he is a “Star Wars” guy, not a “Star Trek” fan. Oh well!
INDIE COMICS ZONE: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
LANIER BURTON: For starters I’m 30 years old outta Milwaukee, Wisc. — home of the Bucks! I am a writer, creator, graphic designer, and musician. I’ve done a lot of creative arts to say the least. I’m on a mission to make it my full-time gig, win a few championship rings along the way. As of writing, I’ve self-published 24 comic books, one novella, and one short story.
I tend to go about a multimedia style for my works that includes making accompanying episodes or soundtracks overall. I love working in this indie space and the freedom it entails — I want to build out my niche; my brand.
INDIE COMICS ZONE: How did you get into comics? What was the first character / series that you go into?
LANIER BURTON: I always use this particular Jay-Z quote “this ain’t the life I chose but rather the life that chose me.” Comics was not in the cards for me. I never thought about it but an idea for a story came to mind during a trip back to Wisconsin from Atlanta, at the time I was thinking of moving there to pursue music full time.
But something kept calling me to try my hand at a comic book at work. I’d have a notebook where I wrote stuff did my storyboards but I never imagined this would happen. I’m blessed to have been chosen, truly divine. The biggest series I got into as a kid was Naruto. I would collect those volumes like crazy, such powerful storytelling. I still see myself in Naruto — the underdog.
INDIE COMICS ZONE: Tell us why you chose to put your comics on Webtoons?
LANIER BURTON: Webtoons was an accessible means to publish my comics when I started in 2019. Back then, I was still figuring out my own website and I knew Webtoons had a sizable reader base I could tap into. I’m all about simplicity and accessibility so Webtoons became my portal.
INDIE COMICS ZONE: Tell us how you came up with the story and characters for “Penny Peculiar?”
LANIER BURTON: “Penny Peculiar” … the title came to me some time ago. I just love alliteration in titles. The story went through a lot of changes — I mean a lot! But then I thought about who Penny was, what are some things she’d struggle with, and also what’s a genre I hadn’t written before. a Romance comic felt like the right idea.
So, it became a romance story not just externally but internally as Penny has to love herself and all the pieces that make her, Penny. But that type of self-love is seldom discussed in a romance comic. I thought — let’s add an element of that.
The illustrator for “Penny” is André Luiz Kurman Merlin, and he does an excellent job capturing the essence of these characters and the story at large. We work incredibly well together, and I cannot imagine another artist doing “Penny Peculiar!”
INDIE COMICS ZONE: Is there a writer / storyteller who inspired you?
LANIER BURTON: I just realized the other day how much Frank Miller’s work impacted me I just love how he told stories. Especially his Daredevil work and Batman, of course. Masashi Kishimoto, as I mentioned earlier, Naruto is such a seminal work and brilliant. I’m fond of Oda as well. “One Piece” is a juggernaut — I mean kudos to him! Junji Ito, Stan Lee, Ed Piskor, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Yoshihiro Togashi, Al Ewing, Akira Toriyama, and Jim Starlin … to name a few.
INDIE COMICS ZONE: I notice you’ve appeared on a few YouTube shows to promote your work. Has that been helpful? Have more people found your book?
LANIER BURTON: I love making appearances talking shop about my work, my journey. I believe they’re more inspiring to people watching them and they can help them navigate through this. Take an alternative route, take risks. But yes — they’ve been great means of getting my name out there. The best part of it all is having my Grandpa say he’s watched them all and he tells anyone who will listen about his grandson — that’s most awesome.
INDIE COMICS ZONE: Tell us what you’re working on next…
LANIER BURTON: I’ve got a slate of comics and eBooks (novellas, short stories) coming exclusively to my site Coolesdolo.com. Each one is an entirely. I like to surprise my audience so I never say much else — but stay tuned!
INDIE COMICS ZONE: Where can people find more information about your new projects?
LANIER BURTON: If you’re looking for the number one spot for all things “From Scratch Comics,” Coolesdolo.com is the place to be!