Smash Pages Q&A: Zack Soto kickstarts ‘The Secret Voice’

‘This is me pouring all my love of adventure and fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container.’

Zack Soto has been making and publishing comics for years. People might know him best as the Editor in Chief and Publisher of Study Group Comics, which has published great comics and minicomics from Farel Dalrymple, Aidan Koch, Sam Alden, Jennifer Parks and others. Soto was also one of the co-founders of Linework NW, the comics festival in Portland that ended in 2016.

Soto has also been making his own comics like Power Button, but perhaps his best known work is The Secret Voice. The comic is epic fantasy, but it takes the rough outline of that genre and incorporates elements of superhero and art comics, martial arts, mysticism and psychedelia. The result is both epic fantasy and part of an unclassifiable genre that is familiar to readers of Farel Dalrymple, Michel Fiffe and many other comics creators.

Soto has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish a collection of the first volume of The Secret Voice, and I reached out to ask him about the book and his work.

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Floating World Comics to publish Soto’s ‘The Secret Voice’ collection

The Study Group editor ‘will be hanging up his publishing hat’ to focus on making comics.

Comic book store-turned-publisher Floating World Comics announced this week that they will publish a collection of one of my favorite comics of last year, The Secret Voice, in the spring of 2019. Created by Study Group Comics editor Zack Soto, The Secret Voice is about a warrior monk named Doctor Galapagos and his battles with The Smog Emperor.

The Secret Voice is my own personal version of an epic fantasy saga,” Soto said. “Because I’m me, it’s a trippy, sometimes meandering affair that’s just as focused on the sense of space and atmosphere as it is on the big picture plot stuff. This project is a place for me to pour all my love of adventure & fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container. It’s about a big old fashioned land war driven by the invasion of a despot; it’s about a bunch of weird psychic warrior monks; it’s about wild kung fu magic battles; it’s about monsters and supernatural beings.. But it’s also about someone over their head and not being honest with themselves or the people they love, and figuring out how to own their mistakes.”

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