You’ve made quite a career producing material that has spoken to generations of fans worldwide, through music with Blink-182 and Angels and Airwaves, fashion with Atticus Clothing and Macbeth Footwear, and film with “Riding in Vans with Boys”, “I Know What I Saw”, and “LOVE”. What made you want to explore animation and comic books?
Tom: I’ve always been an admirer of forms of art that can be communicated in different mediums. One of the greatest things about comic books and animation is that it involves the imagination of illustrators and writers together. When they join forces, it creates something that can transcend either one on their own. It’s a great way to imagine a story with a paintbrush.
The story behind Poet is an extraordinary, exciting trip through a Dream World filled with its own laws, lore, history, and politics. What inspired the ideas behind this parallel universe?
Tom: I saw a documentary on the study of dreams, nightmares and REM sleep. The idea that a journey through the subconscious mind can inspire and affect real world events. That really made me think. And when I start to wonder out loud, it takes the shape of something like Poet Anderson.
The main character, Jonas “Poet” Anderson, starts out as a simple, typical, aimless teen whose eyes are opened to a new world of possibility and responsibility. Are there elements of yourself in Jonas, or elements in his surroundings that you wanted to make familiar for readers?
Tom: To others, there are many elements of Poet the character that may live as an alter ego of myself. I imagine that is true. He sometimes feels like a version of how I see myself. Alone, a bit inventive, and an individual. Someone who is not a part of the pack.
The look of the world and the character design is quite iconic – what was it about the bowler and umbrella that became so signature to the character?
Tom: The bowler hat and umbrella gives it a slight nuance that is classic and vintage, but juxtaposed with something that is beautifully futuristic like the Dream City of Genesis. I have always liked mixing old and new.
The POET comic series is a prequel of sorts to a much larger story you have planned. Can you tell us what fans can look forward to in the months ahead, and what you are most excited for them to take away from the experience?
Tom: I am most excited about how the story unfolds, how the art unfolds, and the beautiful agony that comes along with the wars of light and dark. This is going to be a majestic enterprise, I cannot wait for people to see how we color up the battles of the mind.