Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the premise of your comic, The Epics of Enkidu, and what inspired you to bring this story to life?
Ahmed Amin: The Epics of Enkidu is a story that follows Enkidu, the second main character in The Epic of Gilgamesh - the oldest story found in human history. He is what mundane people call autistic. He found his way out from what mythology calls “The Underworld,” and he is now in a path to learn who he is in a modern setting.
The story is inspired by my dear nephew who is an awesome autistic kid. He inspired me to create a neuro-diverse character that can carry his spirit. And when I revisited The Epic of Gilgamesh, I saw Enkidu as an outcast of society, and it made me think maybe Enkidu was also neuro-diverse. I wanted to help raise acceptance and awareness about autism through an engaging story with limitless material to go through. Thus, The Epics of Enkidu was born.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in balancing the writing and illustrative duties of the comic, and what have been some of your creative influences?
AA: Well, I have someone to help me balance the project. I am the writer and the colorist, and Moacir Muniz is the one creating the penciling and inking. We are a great team and I like his artistic sense.
As for my influences, where to begin? Writing influences, I would say James Patterson, H. P. Lovecraft, Mark Danielewski…. The list is infinite. Artistic wise, I can tell you who was the one who made me become a comic artist. It was Brooke Burgess. I watched his motion comic, Broken Saints, and I thought it was a masterpiece in storytelling style, and I remember thinking, “This is something I want to do.” That’s when I taught myself how to create motion comics, and, eventually, it led me to become a comic book creator today.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that The Epics of Enkidu’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
AA: On the cover of the comic, you can see Enkidu beset by foes from all sides. This is a metaphor for the challenges the society throws at an autistic person, and I need people to understand that. I also want to inspire people to be more understanding to one another, to be more tolerant when dealing with different kinds of people. I also want to expose the readers to something beautiful from my Iraqi culture, to abolish stereotypes. I want people to see something positive to counteract the negativity many people associate with our country. And if I can get one person to look up Mesopotamian history after they finish my comic, then I have done my job.
BD: Do you have further plans to release additional stories within The Epics of Enkidu or to expand the property into other entertainment mediums?
AA: Of course I wish that. The oldest version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was found around 2100 BC, so I have more than 4000 years of history to play with. I have a lot of diverse characters from different mythologies, and they are already named thanks to the “Become a character” perk which sold out in the first days of my Indiegogo campaign. I do want to expand the property to other entertainment medium, and I believe it can happen if more people showed interest in my universe and talked about it more… fingers crossed.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AA: I am, actually working on many projects as we speak. I previously finished a Lovecraftian horror novella, entitled “Harvest Nights.” It is inspired by Native American myths, and it takes place during Colonial times. And I am starting with my third book in the Psychs series, which was a national best seller back home, it is called “The Shaman King.” As for my future comic works, I already planned the second volume for The Epics Of Enkidu, and it is entitled Jäger, and with each main character from my comic book, I am planning to create different arcs, starting with ‘‘The Epics of Ezra‘‘ who is one of the characters named by the Indiegogo "Become a character“ perk.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Epics of Enkidu?
AA: They can visit the Indiegogo page to learn more about the comic and, hopefully, get involved with creating the sequel to the oldest story in human history.
They can also follow me on Twitter: @HeroAutistic
On Instagram: @Hero_Autistic
And they can check my videos on YouTube where I post a lot of materials about my comic and some stories inspired from my ideas… among other things: