Royce Atkins returns to Zoop for his second campaign with his latest title, Outcasts. Two years ago, he launched his own publishing line through Zoop called Stone Harbor Comics, debuting his previous titles Biopunks and The Legend of Althea. Now, he’s gearing up for his comeback with a manga-inspired, sci-fi action story.

The Beat caught up with Adkins over e-mail to discuss his brand-new project and his return to Zoop.

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DIEGO HIGUERA: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Outcasts and what sets it apart from other sci-fi/action stories?

ROYCE ADKINS: Outcasts came from my own life, dealing with asthma while being a massive fan of sci-fi movies and superhero comics. Growing up, asthma was always portrayed as weak or geeky, which I found annoying. Honestly, though, there’s nothing scarier than an asthma attack. It’s a feeling of your lungs tightening as you start to suffocate while your entire body shuts down. But overcoming that as I got older made me stronger. So, I felt that including this same obstacle in a character with enhanced powers offers a cool twist in which he must overcome intense external and internal forces.


FIG TREE: The protagonist, Aaron, faces unique challenges with chronic asthma. How does this aspect of his character influence the story’s development?

ADKINS: Aaron became asthmatic because he was part of a unique government program to create super soldiers. Because of this, he was kicked out of the program. The feeling of not being good enough is his unrelenting motivation to prove the opposite by becoming a vigilante. This causes a ripple effect as his actions become more popular within the city, making people question his origins. This creates concern from higher powers seeking to end Aaron’s mission.

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FIG TREE: The campaign mentions a deep-rooted conspiracy in Aaron’s society. What can readers expect in terms of world-building and intrigue?

ADKINS: Readers will be introduced to a group of fun and unique characters who live in an alternate version of Los Angeles. This falls on the shoulders of characters who’ve been counted out. But it’s for those reasons that they’ll show to be the most powerful. It’s a story with a rich and continuous plot that goes in many directions.

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FIG TREE: Does this comic continue the themes or style established in your previous titles, BioPunks and The Legend of Althea?

ADKINS: Although this comic is called Outcasts, that same title and theme can also be applied to my other stories. As people, we’ve all been told out by someone. We’ve all been told we’re not good enough. All my stories tackle that theme head-on and attempt to throw it on its face.

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FIG TREE: Could you share insights into the creative process behind bringing the manga-inspired elements to life in Outcasts?

ADKINS: My background is in film, so every story I write begins with a screenplay format. in Outcasts‘ case, it went even further, as I had initially made an entire short film about it a few years ago. Although that process was great, I was hit with many restrictions on keeping the story going. Since I already had BioPunks and Legend of AltheaI felt I could also convert Outcasts to the format. I could tell the story I wanted in comic book form without the film’s physical and financial limitations. I linked up with a talented artist named Immanuel Parada, and we got to work on the comic book.

To find out more about Outcasts, visit the campaign page on Zoop!


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