Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello, everyone. Welcome to the hundred and 35th episode of the Atlas Society asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. My friends call me Jag. I'm the c e o of the Atlas Society. We are the leading nonprofit organization introducing young people to the ideas of Ein Rand in fun, creative ways, like graphic novels, of course, and animated videos. Uh, before we even begin, I wanna thank our sponsor for this episode, Christian Monk Home. She is a scientist and an author of the book, Atlas Decrypted, which takes readers on a journey through her forensic investigation of Ram's famous novel, sharing key clues and insightful conclusions based on her decades of research and analysis. You'll find more information about our sponsor in the description section of this video and a link to purchase her book. So thank you, Christian. All right. Today we are joined by Rapid and comic book entrepreneur, Eric July.
Speaker 0 00:01:08 Before I even get into introducing our special guest today, I wanna remind all of you who are watching us on Zoom, on Facebook, on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube. Go ahead. Use the comment section to type in your questions. We will get to as many of them as we can. So the main attraction today, Eric d July, he burst onto the comic book, seen launching his own comic book brand, the Rip Averse, which scored an astounding 3 million in, uh, dollars in presales of, of his first book, which I have here. Uh, the book introduces an African American hero fighting for truth, justice, and freedom. Eric is also a rapper and popular YouTube creator, uh, who co co-founded being Libertarian, libertarian, uh, to build community of liberty minded people on a mission to spread liberty, speak out against nonsense, and work towards a more free and prosperous society. I love that mission, Eric. Thank you for joining us.
Speaker 1 00:02:17 Thank you guys so much for, uh, certainly having me here. I'm happy to be here.
Speaker 0 00:02:21 So, uh, we'd love to start with our guest's origin stories, and you have a particularly interesting one. I understand you've, um, had some real challenges including getting swept up early in life and in gangs and even, uh, being shot. Can you talk a little little bit about, uh, growing up some of what happened and how you got away from, from that lifestyle?
Speaker 1 00:02:47 Yeah. Um, it was, uh, I mean, it was so standard. It's crazy to look back at it now. Um, the way that I kind of grew up and how kind of standard it was that even to this day, it's kind of mind boggling that, you know, that was a thing that me of all people were, were certainly in. But to your point, yeah, I was a knucklehead, uh, growing up. Uh, certainly, you know, one of those young, you know, folk that was not just necessarily terrorizing like their own communities, but, you know, I was more so, I wasn't like drugs or anything, uh, it like that I was into, it was more of just, you know, getting into it with rival clicks, uh, and whatnot. And it was such a silly thing to kind of be doing, certainly in my latter half of my high school days.
Speaker 1 00:03:32 But, you know, that stuff started to impact, you know, people around you, you know. Um, and that's when I kind of, the, the wake up call for me, it's one thing for myself to get threatened at school or someone to try to jump me at, at, at school, but, you know, when you get people caught in the crosshairs kind of there or cross fire, uh, I mean, both lit literally in metaphorically speaking, it's one of those things that became kind of a wake up call for me now. I, my ticket out of kind of, which I needed to getting out of Dallas was my legs. I was a track and field athlete, a a very, very good one, and that was my ticket out. I ended up going to the University of Memphis right out of co uh, out of, um, high school, and then of course finishing my collegiate career at Texas a and m, uh, university in Corpus Christi. So it was, um, certainly a long, a long time coming. Um, but it could have went a different way, certainly. And, uh, thankfully with, with sports, that was my ticket out, and I had a, a lot of growth both spiritually, uh, economically, you name it, philosophically, uh, going into, you know, 18, 19, 20, certainly, uh, years of age. And, um, I couldn't be any more opposite of what I was, uh, as a knucklehead growing up in comparison to who I am now,
Speaker 0 00:04:49 Uh, and also politically. Right. Absolutely. You, you entered politics with, uh, more of a far left, uh, perspective. And maybe talk a little bit about that evolution, whether there were any particular writers or people that influenced you in that journey.
Speaker 1 00:05:07 A hundred percent. Like that's, um, you know, I was, again, run of the mill leftist, everybody kind of where I was from, certainly in part of my family. That's just, even if you don't know that's what it is that you are, that's just kind of what you grew up, uh, believing in that, supporting Democrats especially and what have you. And of course, as a college know-it-all. I thought that I knew it all wrongfully assumed that I did. And I remember used to definitely when I was in Memphis, that was really my first big time kind of seeing, uh, so many different cultures, right? And, uh, kind of concentrated in one place. And, you know, I'm gonna be completely honest, what, what got me to learn more about economics and the political kind of end of the spectrum was, uh, being shamed out of my positions.
Speaker 1 00:05:50 And I say that by way of losing arguments, not even joking. You know, oftentimes, and the young people will certainly feel me, me on this, you think that you know everything and, you know, you come across people that are clearly, clearly more equipped than you are to have these sort of conversations. And in order to not feel bad about entering into conversations, having not known what I was talking about, I wanted to get more knowledgeable on some of these, uh, these issues per se. Now, economics was something that was one of the, I guess, subjects that was not, one of, that was certainly the subject that got me into, uh, uh, a different line of thinking, right? But even when I was still in my box growing up, I wanted to learn more about like, Hey, what are the black economists saying? And, um, what are their perspectives?
Speaker 1 00:06:37 Thankfully, I I, I led to the, uh, I, I ran into the likes of, uh, both Dr. Thomas Sole as well as Dr. Walter E. Williams. And it completely changed my life. Like in an instance, it's, uh, definitely reading books like Basic Economics by the great Thomas sole understanding, uh, what, what Walter Williams was trying to, uh, rest in peace was trying to relay with concepts and the, and documentaries, be it the state against blacks and all of that. And that led me into, again, other schools of thought as well, you know, coming from that yet soul and more Chicago stuff that leads into Freed Man. And, and then you, you know, take that and next thing you know, you're reading more Austrian, uh, economics and, uh, the likes of the Roth Bards of the world. And that kind of just, uh, it, it was no turning around from there and just, uh, valuing liberty was something that I, I put first and foremost and everything it is that, that I do. So that was kind of my, my political, uh, uh, growth there. It started certainly with economics.
Speaker 0 00:07:40 Well, you know, I think maybe there's a lesson in there because the Outlaw Society works with a lot of young people, uh, who feel very outnumbered as objectives and as libertarians conservatives on campus. And sometimes it's tempting to despair and say, well, I'm not even going to try to debate. But hey, somebody debated with you. I don't know if it was a fellow student or a teacher. Teacher. It was. And, uh, got you started on a path to become, uh, one of the most successful, um, libertarian graphic novel, uh, artist, comic book artists. And, uh, the, the number of people that you're, you are influencing with your artistic uhura is, uh, is going to be even, uh, more exponential. So don't give up. I guess that's, that would be the message. Um, now, but before you started on your comic book, uh, career, you helped form a band called Backwards in 2014, uh, which has been described as some as the libertarian rage against the machine. So can you tell us a little bit about that, how you got into, um, into music and perhaps a, a bit about the power of using art to help connect people to good ideas?
Speaker 1 00:09:03 That was fir first and foremost. Music has been, and I will just preface about saying this, I would say my greatest vehicle, um, aside from what I'm doing right now with the River verse stuff, my first big kind of, uh, hopping on the scene and really being able to reach people and resonate with them with this message of liberty. It was with music one 1000%. But, you know, I started, I I, I've been a musician for as long as I was, definitely when I was banging, but it was more like, you know, rap stuff basically is what, what it was. And I had, my mother was, you know, she listened to other things and, and, and that was all cool and dandy. And it's not like I never liked metal, or I didn't like, like hardcore rock based, hard rock based music. Oh, I actually loved it.
Speaker 1 00:09:50 It's just that I was never in an environment that I was going to be able to like, perform that and be taken serious. It's just a reality. It wasn't until I got to college, uh, more so when I was an a and m Corpus linking up with, uh, some friends, people that I'm still friends with to this day, which gave me that kind of outlet to express. And that was, you know, we, I was started in like more the metal core scene, and I was back when like metal cor kind of used, everybody used that have keyboarders as like, uh, part of their medical groups. And that's where, that was my kind of ticket in. Cause I could play piano. And that turned into, um, you know, I was like, Hey, I'm a, I'm a solid vocalist as far as a singer. Um, let's give it a shot in, in doing like covers.
Speaker 1 00:10:30 So that was my first kind of, uh, introduction to like performing the art of, of like metal music, yelling at the top of my lungs and doing all that in, in, in front of a audience was with my own individual YouTube. And, you know, I had a lot of growth with that. And that got me discovered by my previous band, uh, fired From The Gods. And once I left that we formed backwards, which obviously that took everything to the next stratosphere, which is hilarious because, you know, if you read for people that, you know, cause obviously that, oh, my old band is still going. But if you remember that, for those of those that that listened to that EP that we had dropped when I was in it, like you see some of the song names like the Capitalist, right? And, and songs Like To Succeed and, and some of these, the, the, the song titles.
Speaker 1 00:11:15 And you listen to what it was that I was saying that was back in like 2011, like, you know, that was, that was pretty early in the 2010s. Uh, I was already doing that, but backwards what it was, it was like, obviously it was, I was, it wasn't like I was entering into a band. It was, I was forming this sort of band and we kind of made it abundantly clear, this is, we are gonna be who we are unapologetically and we're going to have some, uh, pushback because well, we're surrounded by people that are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, but we're gonna do it. And we did it. And the audience responded, obviously that first, you know, album veracity, you know, number one, alternative new artist, number two, heat seeker album on billboards Opposite. We came, came out, we came out swinging.
Speaker 1 00:11:54 And, uh, but, you know, I, I've always, my approach with music has been, look, if I get on stage, it doesn't matter if I'm before I'm in for a hundreds of people, thousand people, 10,000 people, however much I believe that there's something that I can leave with those people. And it may not be a seed that is planted that will grow that at that given moment, but maybe it's, it, it's something that they heard me say, whether it be on the stage in a song or something, and then that manifests itself, uh, into something else and that gets that person thinking maybe differently than what they came, uh, into it, certainly before they were introduced to myself or, or the band. And I would say for sure the, that my greatest vehicle had been that band and been that music as far as touching people, because it's just different from a lecture.
Speaker 1 00:12:41 It's different from that. Oh yes. It, it, it's, it's like your res you're meeting that person where they're at, right? They like, they like the middle cause they like the singing with the mix, with the screaming and all. They like that stuff. And so I've already broken that communicative, like ice barrier with them just by simply playing music. Now granted, we, we have some talented music musicians in our band, so the music itself was good, that was most important. But then when you added what it is that we believed in to it, you know, I, I, if I could plant that seed, which we had, uh, that'd been my vehicle for as long as it had, it still is people are wa are waiting for that second album, and I can't wait to get it to them. But I mean, you'd be just surprised, just, I would argue that in comparison of what I was doing before, like maybe the arguments and the debates and all that stuff, not to say that it wasn't worthwhile absolutely was. But I, I know that I've touched more people, uh, with this message of liberty with music than I had doing anything prior.
Speaker 0 00:13:37 Well, I, I don't know, uh, if you've yet gone on your Ein Rand journey, um, because a bit of what you're talking about reminds me of Howard work in the Fountain Head, which is, first foremost, it's a novel of an artist, of a creator who is independent and isn't, you know, um, looking for the validation, uh, of others. Um, and of course, Iran talked about art as the ideal medium, uh, for the communication of a moral ideal. And she talked about music in particular, uh, as an artistic vehicle for really projecting a certain kind of sense of life. Yeah. Um, you know, whether your sense of life is all about fear and resentment and, uh, you know, victimhood or whether it's about, Hey, the world is open to us, we can create something beautiful, uh, and that we are capable of achieving great things. And, and that I think is the, uh, the kind of sense of life that, um, she found in music that that resonated with with her.
Speaker 0 00:14:51 Now, I wanna remind, uh, those of you who are watching, I see the questions already piling up, so don't delay. Get in there, start, uh, typing in your questions. I am gonna get to them, but of course, I really wanna hear about your, uh, comic book journey and how it got started. Of course, uh, your new comic. I'd like to hear without, you know, any spoiler alerts, maybe getting to a little bit about the story itself, um, and the incredible story of how you funded this enterprise. Um, and, uh, the reaction to it. I mean, I know you're right in the thick of getting mailing out, uh, you know, the, uh, the copies, so take it away.
Speaker 1 00:15:43 Yeah. So obviously the rip reverse was something that I, I did not think that I was gonna be able to pull off at such a, a, a young age, like being completely honest, like I was, you know, I l I like comic books. It's something that people that are kind of comic book guys, you're like, everybody wants to be able to write for the big dogs or do something like that. And I would think that, yeah, maybe I have that chance, but it's not gonna be until I'm willing them my, like, you know, forties that I'm gonna even have even have a shot at doing something like that, because it's gonna take a lot of work. And thanks to the, you know, we go back to the music and everything, the commentary, everything that I did, it allowed me to have stored away a bunch of money, um, so I can make this happen.
Speaker 1 00:16:22 And considering that, let's say American comic books and graphic novels aren't in the best spot right now, uh, <laugh> as, as far as like who leads the charge with the big two, for example, in American, like superhero comic books, it was the, it, it wouldn't have been a better time than right now, just period. It, it would not have been a better time. I had to get out there and go do that, um, and, and make sure that I did it the right way. And I launched the Ripper verse. I funded it, you know, put in like a couple hundred thousand dollars of my own money and getting, uh, the great Cliff Richards and Gabe l Tae to do the artwork, uh, that are part of it. And they, I mean, we just, I wrote everything. So, you know, it's not only the company that I launched, but I did write the actual book.
Speaker 1 00:17:07 And those guys were industry veterans. They had done work for DC and Marvel and those guys were incredible. And to work with them and to be able to make that happen now, yeah, I expected to see some level of success, but no, I did not expect to make 3.7 million. Uh, that was never the expectation. Uh, it just goes to show that the demand was certainly there. And, uh, Isom itself is kind of this brainchild here, because I had had this big universe bible that I was building up. I did all this, and he was one of the first charac, actually the first character that it is that I created. And his design is purposely the way that it is. It's more simple, it's more, uh, uh, sleek and it, you can at least identify it if you are like an old school guy, like comic guy.
Speaker 1 00:17:50 But it has that level of originality that can introduce people that maybe are just wanting to get into this sort of stuff. So I saw him, the story itself, I, we had a, it was difficult because it wasn't just about launching him and the character, it was about launching the entire universe, right? Cuz that's one of our, my main talking points, if you read the River verse code of ethics in that, you know, the whole continuity and its expansive universe. So I wasn't just launching him. I had to launch this universe. I had to introduce other cool characters as well. And I think we found the happy medium. But it's about, of course, ISAM, uh, the character of Avery Selman, who lives out on his own ranch. He used to be an actual superhero, of course, by the name of Isam. And what he had ended up doing, uh, there was a, a tragic event that we will be of course, expanding on later that caused him to kind of hang it up.
Speaker 1 00:18:40 He didn't wanna do that. He lives in his own ranch now, uh, doing this kind of self-sufficient kind of life, uh, of his, but they have a, a, a mutual kind of, let's say, family friend who goes, uh, missing that, of course, the sister of Avery wants him to go check it out because the last that sh of, of her whereabouts was, uh, with, in connection to one of Avery's old, old friends from back in the day. So that kind of sends him on this journey of running into so many different issues, <laugh> running into other characters because he is having to go back into this city. So it's one of those things that if you want to get into a new like comic book universe, well, the creator of it doesn't hate you. Uh, I think the Ripper verse and iso number one is a great starting point.
Speaker 0 00:19:28 Well, we can certainly attest to the high demand for different kind of graphic novel, different kind of comic book at the Atlas Society, where we've now published, uh, two graphic novels, Anthem and Red Paw coming out with, uh, top Secret this year. And, uh, we have distributed seven over 70,000 copies of graphic novels last year at Comic-Cons and at student conferences, and, you know, so I love that, uh, there, that more people are entering into this space. And, um, now previously to launching, uh, the Universe, the Rip Averse, you were doing comic book commentary, is that right? And did you identify, like, what were some of the problems and, you know, what did you hope to kind of offer as an alternative to what you were seeing in the comic book space?
Speaker 1 00:20:26 Yeah, I mean, I was a commentator and I was, man, I mean, talking about having a pool that's reading all of these books every day, uh, or every day doing content on this, on my channel and having a long, extensive pool. This, this was something that was massive and I, everybody saw the problem going into like the, the mid 2010s where you had people that were writing these books that didn't seem to care about the characters at all. They had their own individual personal, like leftist agendas that didn't really seem to fit in the eyes of, uh, uh, like not even fit in the characters, or less about what politics and comics. It was less about that and more. There was zero balance. Um, and you had audiences being beat over the head with these, with these personal agendas that just didn't really fit the stories of these characters.
Speaker 1 00:21:17 So it wasn't just about politics per se. There was canon and continuity issues as well, where you had different versions of characters nobody cared about. It was diffi if a difficult, very difficult to keep up with some of people's favorite characters. So there was just a opening in this market, um, here. And yeah, we knew when we entered, definitely me as a commentator, I knew when I entered I was gonna get as much pushback as anybody probably had, had endured in this industry. And holy snaps, you'd be surprised. I mean, I've, I've look as a commentator, you get people that are gonna argue with you, debate you dispute and all that stuff, but I have not gotten anything that is even remotely close to the level of kickback that I've got starting my own company in comparison to anything that I I've done. And I think it's because of what was on the line, right?
Speaker 1 00:22:07 Because what we did was not just about us making a lot of money, it was also we weren't going through what they deemed as the proper channels, right? So this is a completely, for people that don't know, this is a completely independent project. So not only do we publish our own work, we distributed, right? And, and for those that don't know, you had companies like Diamond, for example, who basically distributes everybody's stuff that kind of changed after 2020, right? Uh, where you had, like, penguin Random House entered into this space as well as Lunar, but for the longest it was just one company that basically distributed everybody's work. Whereas the, we were like, yeah, we're gonna rely on just directly assist us selling retailers, we're gonna sell directly to the customers. Uh, so our, our sales are gonna be a lot more honest because, you know, with the grimmy stuff that kind of happens, and it, let me say this, the numbers with comic books, American comic books, the sales numbers are kind of, eh, iffy because nobody actually knows those into, into the hands of customers oftentimes.
Speaker 1 00:23:12 It's like, well, it was an incentive variant and it's just sitting on the shelf at a retailer. Um, and no, no customer ever actually bought it. So with us, we were like, well, we don't answer to anybody other than our customers, so that's who we're gonna sell to. So it's a lot on the line because it shows people how broken the system is in itself from economic, from an economic standpoint, not just the content. And because I'm one of, they deem folks like myself as one of the enemies, well, you're gonna get a lot of pushback doing what it is that, that we are doing. So that's kind of what it was.
Speaker 0 00:23:47 All right. Well, we've got quite a few questions here, uh, one from our friend Connie Keller asking, uh, how do you traverse the accusations of those who claim you are not black enough? Or what does that even mean? And do you get that?
Speaker 1 00:24:06 Uh, yeah. I mean, anybody that does anything that is remotely not leftist, right? That, let me say this, that is the appropriate position that you are able to have, and your blackness will never be questioned if I was the run of the mill leftist, no, at no point would I ever be questioned in terms of me being a black person. Now, any event that you do what it is that I do, or you have positions, it is that I have, that they deem as antithetical to what it is they believe. Unfortunately, they've tied blackness to that. So yeah, you're gonna get weirdos that call you outta your name, right? They're gonna basically associate your name with things that mean lesser than, lesser than black. You are lesser than black, black person. Um, because unfortunately to them, leftism, I guess is what it means to be black.
Speaker 1 00:24:56 And anything outside of that is a problem. It's not anything that bothers me to, like o other degree that I, I could see, um, you look, man, were you entering any industry like this, and you see a level of success, you have to expect that there's gonna be people that work overtime to try to get you off of your game. Um, but I can handle it. That's my upbringing, kind of, uh, <laugh>, you know, lends itself to that. I'm not worried about it. I'm not worried about it, um, at all. It's just what has to happen, you know what I mean? And it's unfortunate I'm way smarter than these guys that are obviously calling me these names, but I can deal with it. At the end of the day, it's about the what it is that I believe in and who it, who it is that I am. And I know that it's generally just some idiotic goofball that's just saying something being completely silly in the event that they call me outta my name, simply because I, um, you know, I, I I have a
Speaker 0 00:25:52 Position, a proof narrative. Yeah. Well, we may have taken, uh, care of this next question, but I had to fit it in because it's Alex Timmer on Facebook saying that he loves everything that you do, Eric. Uh, and he questions, how do you keep up a positive mindset with all the haters that come after you regarding Isom? And maybe it's just kind of knowing where you came from and being confident. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:26:16 That, that's part of it. Knowing, knowing what I like. I mean, I worked incredibly hard to get where it is that I am. And you know, the, the, the audience response is huge. Okay? Um, I, I, that's what I'm doing it for. I'm doing it for my customers. So, you know, it's, it's very easy for me to just continue to do what it is that I'm doing when I don't answer to these guys, right? Often, the people that are going to call me the ugly names and try to get me off of the game, uh, concern troll, do all the weird stuff to try to suggest that you're not legitimate because you didn't do it the way they would do it if they had the access to, uh, the resources that you did. I'm not doing it for them. I'm doing it for an actual, willing paying customer.
Speaker 1 00:27:00 And they've responded, right? This isn't, we can't even speak in hypothetical anymore because, you know, we sold over 60,000 plus books, uh, and, and, and, and even more so in merchandise to willing paying customers. And the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of them were satisfied. That's all that matters. So I'd rather grow, grow that, continue to grow that as opposed to listening to some weirdos not like me. You know what I'm saying? <laugh>, because, because they think that I'm not doing way, doing things the way that they suggest that I do. And that's my advice, really to anybody that's out there that's gonna enter into any industry. When you see any level of success, you need to be prepared for weirdos to work in over, especially if their odds are against you. Right? People look at, unfortunately, like art and entertainment, you know, as something that leftist people that are on the economic leftist spectrum, they think they own that. Like they think that stairs and you don't have a right to exist in there. So they're going to work overdrive, right? The, they, they're going to work overdrive to, to, to knock what it is that you do. And in some case, they're going to try, going to try to ruin you. And that will be, there'll be ugly things said about you. You gotta stay on your game. Don't allow them to talk you outta that and just get out there and be great. That that's all that is that you have to do.
Speaker 0 00:28:28 Well, I can, I can relate to that. You know, sadly, uh, even within Objectiveism, uh, we are kind of the non-establishment brand of Objectivism where the, the uncola to the Orthodox Cola version of Objectiveism. And the more successful we become, the, the bigger we grow on social media, uh, the, the more young people we attract, unfortunately, also, we, we get the name calling and all of that. But, um, taking a page from your book, I'll take it as a badge of honor. Now, Eric, we seem to have lost your visual, so just take a look. 15 seconds, he said,
Speaker 1 00:29:14 I'm back.
Speaker 0 00:29:15 All right.
Speaker 1 00:29:16 Terrific. Sorry about that, y'all.
Speaker 0 00:29:17 <laugh>, Connie wants to know what's next for you.
Speaker 1 00:29:22 I saw him too, but I got even more stuff, stuff that's in the kind of deal. Cause look, lemme say this, this opened me up to just an entirely new world where I can do stuff that's not just pertaining to comics, right? So,
Speaker 1 00:29:42 I mean, if it's books, novels, maybe I want to enter in that field games, uh, <laugh> statues, toys. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So many ideas that I get excited to talk about that we we're working on right now. So the next biggest thing is Isum two, that's for sure next. And we have some other books with some <laugh>. I think when we announce the names of the people that are tied to the other ones, people are gonna freak out. Let me say that. So that's next. Iso two's next, it'll be part two of this arc, and then we'll go into part three, sometime down the line. But we have two other books that have, that are in various parts of their production. And I can't wait for people. I'm excited because once people see that stuff, I know folks are gonna really like, love what it is that we're doing. So iso to is next for, for us, that should be maybe pre-orders rollout next couple of months. It's hard to say, don't know, but I, I'm excited, I'm stoked.
Speaker 0 00:30:47 Well, we can tell that from all of these questions that a lot of your fans are, uh, super stoked as well. Awesome. My modern ga on joining us on Instagram says, Eric, I don't know if everyone here knows about the counterculture growing against Woke Media, so can you talk about this a bit? And he says, PS Love when you join Friday Night Tights.
Speaker 1 00:31:09 Oh, awesome. Yeah. So, yes, there is there, I mean, I know that some, it's like outta sight outta mind, kind of with some people, but there is, there's this fight that has been kind of happening, battle that has been happening among so many people in like, art in entertainment. It's, it's every industry that you can think of where you're starting to see people say, all right, enough is enough. Right? You're, you've watched people be ostracized. People lost their jobs. You know, I just covered this one story with this gaming company that because they liked, um, some, some like, or followed people, let's say, that are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They, uh, they, it was a snitch campaign that was essentially ran on this young lady, and she lost her job because of it. With the gaming company, people are starting to say, enough is enough.
Speaker 1 00:31:59 And it's a big battle happening in, in, uh, in like the, where there is this kind of new kind of counterculture, uh, movement that a lot of independent creators are giving it a shot and not just giving it a shot, seeing a lot of success, right? So it, it's, it's, and it runs deep, and it's awesome to see, right? To see that growth and to see so many people start to see su success in comic books, for example, is awesome. But I think we're on the brink of like, this cultural kind of renaissance. Let's just, yeah. I, I, I really, I really do believe that because the market is as thirsty as it's ever been, and people are now more willing to try out new things than they have been in the past because of that, when you are a legacy, you can get away with slapping your customers in the face a couple of times, right? <laugh>,
Speaker 1 00:32:49 Like, you could do it a couple of times, but as people, you know, start to like, be like, all right, man, I'm, I'm tired of this. You're not really giving me reasons that I should even be, uh, buying this product, investing in this product. And people are starting to be like, you know what? Enough is enough. And they're looking at alternatives. So that, that gives you the opening right now. That's what the ripple verse was. The ripple verse was us filling a void that was in this industry. And there's so many other people that are, are doing it, not just with comics, but we're starting to see rises, uh, arise in other aspects as well. And I, I think that we're gonna see more in years, years to come. And who knows? Look, I'm talking about parallel, a parallel economy all the time. It may look different, man, uh, entertainment may look completely different than what it is now, but there's so many different problems that I think are being corrected because of it.
Speaker 1 00:33:41 Entertainment right now in the entertainment industries are operating on a very old and archaic economic model that doesn't even make sense really anymore. You know, even like the aspect of like, crowdfunding change the game completely now where people aren't having to depend on like, massive publishers to even get there, get their workout anymore. That's not even, that's a thing of the past for some people. So it's just so many opportunities that's just w it wasn't there. And you're starting to see a, a growing like kind of counterculture of, of, of not just customers, but creatives that are saying, you know what? I'm gonna give the customers what it is they want. And it's very exciting to see.
Speaker 0 00:34:18 All right. On Instagram, the Armstrong asks, when, where do you think that people need to push back the most against Walt culture, comics, tv, movies, music? I guess another way to frame that, maybe where is sort of, uh, the, the gatekeepers, the Walt culture, the intolerance, the worst in these different sectors,
Speaker 1 00:34:41 I would say,
Speaker 0 00:34:42 Because you're in all of
Speaker 1 00:34:43 'em. Yeah, I'm exactly. I would say it's probably the worst when you start entering in the, like, TV and animation stuff, it's probably the worst. Definitely when you start to get into some of these weirdos and the unions and all this stuff. Like, and because of the expense, it's maybe a little more difficult to mm, compete, let's say, if you are even gonna enter into the counterculture. But, you know, we all point to like Gina Carrano as one of the, like, that was one of the more egregious examples. Uh, you know, this person who was Star Wars has been on, I mean, fumes anyway, but they had one decent character that they had introduced that happened to be a, a female character, and they threw it all away because, well, they didn't like where her politics were at, right? And I ha I've had the, uh, you know, I've ate dinner with, uh, Gina Carrano, I've, uh, we, we talked, she's an awesome, lovely person, and obviously she didn't deserve that.
Speaker 1 00:35:40 She's not, let me say it's rough around the edges of somebody like me. Some of the stuff I can handle. I'm like, all right, I deserve it. I talk a lot of mess. That's cool. But with people like that, like, she's the last person that you would think something like that would happen to, but they did it. And we saw her basically be like, almost like sacrificed, uh, and made an example of by the entire industry to say, if you push back and we try to whip you in shape and you don't listen, this is what happens to you. And it's still talking noise. She's doing her own kind of thing right now. Um, you know, she had that new movie that that that came out, and she's doing her own thing, and I commend her efforts. But I would say when you see stuff like that happen, that's, that's probably what makes it worse. And I think it's more pertaining to the, the, again, the legacy stuff. Like it's with comics, we were able to break that. And I think entertainment, or excuse me, TV and like movie that industry needs that as well, where people are just more willing to just consider other things. It also is a little bigger of a expense than like, let's say, making a comic book.
Speaker 0 00:36:38 All right. Uh, Jackson Sinclair, Facebook, I think we answered your question about when Eric began to see his political identification mm-hmm. <affirmative> change from, um, more kind of standard left-wing democrat to, uh, libertarian capitalist mm-hmm. <affirmative> over the time, uh, DM Guardian Twitter. How does it feel to see people already dressing up as characters from your comic before it came out?
Speaker 1 00:37:07 That was, uh, it's something that I don't know if I'm gonna ever be able to get used to, not even joking, <laugh>. I, I don't know if I'm gonna ever be able to get used to it. That was crazy. Um, I went to, and it was right like, it might have been the month before the Ripper verse actually launched. Um, and, or yeah, it was the, it was the month that, I think, the month that it did launch or right before, I can't remember. Uh, but it was very close. And you know, I saw it was two, I was at anime ma series, this big convention for more of the Japanese stuff like, you know, manga and anime. Uh, but there's some American, uh, like superhero stuff that, that goes there. But I was there as a panelist for a couple of different panels, and I had my own booth there.
Speaker 1 00:37:51 Uh, and I first showed up and I saw one when I first walked in of, of Yara, uh, a des uh, someone had, of course, the, both, both of these young ladies dressed up as Yara and Krista, who I know personally was one of them. Uh, I had no idea that she was doing that, though. It was, uh, it was kind of, I was like, what in the world is, and they did phenomenal jobs. It's not like, you know, I had come up with some thing that they could purchase to buy the costume. No, they were making that stuff by hand. Uh, and it was amazing. It made me more appreciate the craft of like, cosplaying, for example. Uh, but it's still something that I just don't know if I'm gonna be able to get, it's cool. Like, I'm saying that in a good way. It's just, uh, you know, you couldn't have asked me even three years ago, like, Hey, man, you're gonna have you gonna create some characters that people are gonna wanna be dressing up ass and stuff like that. And I would've been like, you're full of, you're full of crap. But <laugh>, we see what happened. It was an amazing feeling and a big shout out to both of those young ladies for doing a, a phenomenal job of dressing up at Yara.
Speaker 0 00:38:56 All right, John Mugabe's. Socrates says, I live in Uganda, Africa where music moves and influences, but mostly socialist ideas. I think it will be great to learn more how we can integrate liberty ideas into music back here in Uganda.
Speaker 1 00:39:16 So, yeah, there's, uh, I know that there is, in certain pockets of Af Africa, you do have, uh, indecent people that are like, you know, leading the charge kind of in, in, in theory and, and, and like liberty based, uh, concepts. I know in South Africa, there's a lot of, uh, uh, fellow libertarian. In fact, one of the, one of the people that I work with over there being libertarian, uh, is actually from South Africa. Um, but yeah, it's, um, it, it's, it's, it's, look, sometimes we are in America and we can, we, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that a lot of the issues that we're dealing with, even here, uh, other countries are continents are dealing with the, with the same problem. You know what I mean? And they're just as ne it is often worse, you know, but people that are trying to lead the charge and that change are, first of all, you're brave and bold people, but you're as necessary as we are here, you are there.
Speaker 1 00:40:14 Um, so I certainly would encourage you to, if that is your vehicle music, um, Uganda, uh, if it has a scene there, I would say go for it. Uh, give it a shot. I mean, you'd just be surprised as how you can just convey that message, so, uh, easily as opposed to, yeah, there's certain people where that works, right? You can sit down with certain people and just have a conversation and they'll come outta that conversation thinking a little differently. But it's just different with some people with, you give them the music and they can bob their head to it and, and, and listen to it that way. I mean, it's just, like I said earlier, it's just a communicative vice barrier. So if there are people out there and you Uganda doing their thing, or out in Africa doing their thing, other pockets of Africa doing their thing, I, I would, I love to see it and I would love to put, put even, even a spotlight on it if people are able to use that as their, uh, vehicle for spreading liberty.
Speaker 0 00:41:05 Awesome. Well, yeah, you know, we are discovering that the animated videos, the drama light videos that we do at the Atlas Society, on average, they get about a million views in, uh, the us We started to do foreign translations and adaptations, and a video that will get a million views here gets 7 million, 8 million views in the Middle East with a huge proportion of those views coming from North Africa. Hmm. So sometimes you just gotta experiment and put it out there, and you'll be surprised, uh, what is coming back and where that, that leads so excited to see that we've got people from all over the world watching us today. We're also gonna keep putting that link to, uh, to buy Isom and pre-order iso book two. So, uh, we can, we can keep this going. Uh, John Keel, no question. He just wants to say, Rand said, as I said earlier, art is the indispensable medium for the communication of a moral ideal. Thanks to Eric for getting this done.
Speaker 1 00:42:15 Shout
Speaker 0 00:42:16 Out. All right. Uh, Zach, 1 57 on Instagram asks, was there any fear in the costs you paid upfront? You know, cuz you took a lot of risks.
Speaker 1 00:42:27 Ooh, baby. Uh, yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, it, it was a, it was wasn't a risk. I mean, that is putting it lightly. Um, I saved it, make no mistake. And it was one of those things where, man, I put a, every time I was spending money, I was like, golly, man, this is racking up there. You know, I saved it, but, you know, it is going up there and it could have went the other way. I mean, think about it, for most businesses, that's how it, that's exactly how it goes, right? You know,
Speaker 0 00:42:56 Those small businesses don't succeed.
Speaker 1 00:42:57 Yeah, exactly. So it's, it's, it could have just, you know, got burned. Well, I wouldn't say put on fire, but I could have lost it. I could have lost it. But, you know, I think that's a testament to the, the industry, the, the, the market in itself and certainly to this wonderful team that we have over at Ripper Reverse, uh, publishing that just put out a project that people absolutely wanted. Oh, as well as the, you know, a big part of our, our, our thing was the word of mouth, you know what I mean? That was a hu that was a massive part of our, our, we didn't spend, I didn't spend a dime on marketing. So that was what it was. It was on the backs of people out there making videos, just regular people, you know, maybe they have big channels, maybe they have small ones.
Speaker 1 00:43:37 Of course, the people that you know from someone brought up Friday night tights earlier, of course show big shows like that. Those guys are big time supporters of ourselves, but they're also people that just had small, smaller channels that, you know, we kind of got a little fandom that was getting started. Like, you know, that's what it's about. And it, it's, it's also, we have to give a big thanks to those guys for making something like this happen, because it could not have been, obviously happened without you guys. I thank the customer so much, but it could have went another way. Thankfully it didn't. But man, it was one, it was, I won't wanna say nerve-wracking, maybe that's not the proper term, but again, as I was getting up there in the hundreds of thousands, I'm like, golly, man, every, every payment started to hurt, like every, every one of it. But I believed in this. And, uh, again, thanks to the customers for catching me.
Speaker 0 00:44:26 Did you have people around you that believed in you too, or did you also have people, people that said, you know, this is crazy, you're gonna fail?
Speaker 1 00:44:34 Well, I mean, obviously my haters told me that it would never come out. You know what I mean? And in fact, I remember it was a little bit of both. We had, of course a lot of supporters that were already baked into my audience, uh, that were very stoked for this to happen. Um, and I, this isn't like my first creative project, you know, I am, I've been a musician, I've been a writer, ghost writer for over the years. So I built a rapport with my audience and I've never failed them in anything that I, that I've done, I've delivered on it. That obviously, uh, helped so much. But I remember just in keeping it independent, there were even people that were on my, like our, our general side of it, not not enemies, right? That were like, okay, you shouldn't have done it this way, right?
Speaker 1 00:45:14 Like, as in paying all that money to let's say, have this big book, why did you have more of like the, oh, the 20 page with 15 pa uh, pages of ads, like the big two. Why did you do it like that? Why'd you do it? Like this is what they would, what what they would say. And even, for example, we hosted the entire thing on our own website, you know, the entire thing was on our own website. I didn't go through other, uh, like another company as hosting that. So that was, you know, a lot of money went to the website building and people insisted that that was a bad investment to do it. And like, for example, even in the cr, even though we technically didn't crowdfund per se, because we took the vision of what one looked like, a lot of folks suggested, why don't you just use Kickstarter or any Go-Go, right?
Speaker 1 00:46:03 And now I think after making 3.7 million, I made the right decision cuz they get like a decent percentage of, of those, that's money that I could be using to reinvest. Now if I'd have went through Indiegogo and made, let's say, 3.7 million where they would've had their percentage of money that I just wouldn't have got back. Um, so it was, um, it was a, it was some, um, people, the haters did what they did, but even with some of the people that were not haters, you know what I mean, uh, and maybe they even met meant good. They, they thought what we were doing w was risky and we should, should have maybe won a different route.
Speaker 0 00:46:38 Now you talk about the music and the primary responsibility to create something that people enjoy that gets them moving, that gets them smiling, gets, gets them thinking. Uh, and then also of course, with this product, just something that's a quality product. Something that looks beautiful, something that gets delivered, something that has an exciting kind of page turning story. Um, but like even Ayn Rand, you know, she did that with the Fountain Head and Atlas Shrug. Those are mm-hmm. <affirmative> books, you, you can't quite put down. But they did have themes. And uh, the Fountain Head is about the ideal man, a creator, artistic, uh, creator who won't compromise his vision, uh, for anybody, including for the, the sake of the woman he loves. So it's really about integrity, artistic integrity, uh, and pursuit of excellence versus mediocrity, independence, Atlas shrugged. Uh, also then taking that and projecting it on an even more sort of social and political scale in terms of capitalism, talking about envy, um, and about creative people not, um, allowing themselves to be sacrificed to others or guilted into feeling bad about their accomplishments. So with that said, you know, uh, can you point to any of the themes that you were either consciously, unconsciously, or even in retrospect working with in, in, uh, Easton?
Speaker 1 00:48:14 Yeah, like, so with, with the character of Avery Silman, obviously who is the main character, it's, there's a lot of influence, obviously with my own kind of, uh, what I picked up over the years and, and, and of different like cultures, right? Like, I'm not, it's not a selfer, right? So I don't live on my own, uh, ranch or anything. I'm thinking maybe it'd be cool, but that's not anything that it is that I, that I do. And it, it was just like these concepts of, uh, even like something as family, like simple as like family and like that, that was the driving narrative. If you actually pay attention, um, to it, which I think is important. Like the whole reason why Isam goes, or Avery goes into the city, right? And, and or back into the city that he doesn't even like going back into is because of his sister, right?
Speaker 1 00:49:05 His own sister says, Hey, do this, do me a solid. And he does it. And you see with that the own conflicts that he has just like a regular, uh, a human being would have in terms of he has his own pride that he has to deal with, uh, you know, in the main villa like with Darren Fontano in the book. And he has his own pride, you know, that he's dealing with there. So my whole point was I was trying to have that level of relatability with an individual character that pretty much any walk of life, if you value things that I I deem as universal truths, you could get some from it. I hate that with comic books we do this whole, not us, but you know, this new representation thing where everybody feels like the only way that you can like a character is if they have the same skin tone or gender as you, which is stupid.
Speaker 1 00:49:56 Uh, that's nonsense. And that was the point with Isam in, in how he was constructed as a character. He has flaws, he has other internal things it is that he's dealing with that kind of take him through this narrative of, of this first book. Um, but he's a regular, like, he can be seen as more of a regular person dealing with those si types of issues that maybe you and I, uh, are going to deal with in inter in inner conflicts. So that's what I was trying to make. I, I was having Relay with this character of, of Isam, uh, I, and you can call it conscious, whether it was conscious or unconscious, it was more that was the point, you know, it was to give a character that people could relate to regardless of whatever walk of life, uh, that they come from.
Speaker 0 00:50:42 Well, uh, fantastic. And we're just about nearing the top of the hour. So Eric, uh, I don't know if there was any question you wished I had asked or any other final thoughts or things that, uh, the people should know about you or where they should follow you?
Speaker 1 00:50:59 Well, of course, uh, river verse.com you can still get that, that lovely cover c that you had, uh, over there if you want to get in on it. Um, with ISO one, uh, we we're getting those orders out very fast. So basically as soon as you order, we'll make sure that we get it out. Um, I can't wait for you guys to get it, um, that haven't got in on it. And Isom two will be coming out, we're thinking at the end of this first quarter of the year. Um, we'll see. Um, but I think that's the, that's the deal. So people that, Hey, I wanna be able to support you. It's no longer, Hey, go buy, uh, or go support a Patreon or something like that. Just go get a book. You know what I mean? Yeah. <laugh>, go, go get a book. We have something tangible that's yours. You'll enjoy it, I promise you. And I just appreciate everybody that's out there that has given it a chance, gave the book a chance, uh, because this was a, a lifelong dream. If you've made, you've changed my life. These, all these customers have changed my life, uh, for the better and I'm just so appreciative of, of just everybody and their support. So,
Speaker 0 00:51:59 Well, thank you. And you're, you were changing lives too. So everyone go out there, get, get this book, uh, follow Eric on Twitter, on YouTube and stay tuned because there are gonna be some really great things in store. So thank you and thanks to everyone also who, uh, joined us today. All of the fantastic questions. As always, the Atlas Society is a nonprofit, so if you enjoy our work, if you enjoy these kinds of interviews, uh, go and hit us up with a, uh, tax deductible donation at the Atlas Society and also check out a few of our own graphic novels and then be sure to t tune in next week. Uh, I'm gonna have the week off, and our founder, David Kelly, will interview Atlas Society Senior Scholar Richard Salzman, on a special episode of Scholars Ask Scholars. So thanks everyone.