Brimstone is an actor, musician, director, producer, author, artist, publisher, gentleman, and fascinating conversationalist. I had the opportunity to meet him recently at the Wizard World Comic Convention in St. Louis, Missouri after he finished his evenings duties of judging the costume contest. We had talked about doing a video interview on Sunday but as luck would have it a blizzard moved into the St Louis area. Both our schedules were disrupted, but he was kind enough to agree to a written interview.
John Collins (JC): It was a pleasure to meet you at Wizard World St Louis, Brimstone! Thanks for agreeing to do a written interview when we found our schedules didn't mesh for doing one in person.
Brimstone (B): The pleasure is all mine. I sincerely apologize for not being able to connect with you more so in St. Louis, but I just seemed to be jam-packed all hours of ever day! Trust me, I’m not complaining… I was totally blown away by the overwhelming response I received in Missouri for myself, Luscious and Hound Comics! However, I’m here now – so let’s get it on!
(JC): Let’s start off with your background in entertainment. You have been around for quite some time. Could you elaborate a little on your history for our readers?
(B): Sure! LoL, yes - I certainly seem to have worn a whole lot of hats over time… I started out my career officially as a child actor on iconic children’s television shows Sesame Street and Romper Room. In elementary school I fell in love with music and began playing the drums. I stuck with music for a long time, eventually touring with a few different bands and making a name for myself. I truly enjoyed the attention and the extreme rush you get from performing in front of a live crowd – I’m pretty sure that was what ignited my drive to become as successful as possible. After years of playing, I became frustrated with the stagnant nature of being in a five-way marriage and parted ways with the music industry to pursue a career in professional wrestling. If it weren’t already assumed or obvious, I adopted the stage name ‘Brimstone’ when seeking for a gimmick that would be memorable and marketable in the wrestling industry. Since I come from an era where having an actual persona was relevant, I put a lot of thought and effort into the background of the character itself – I wanted to actually know who I was going to be… and I’m glad I did! After sixteen years in the business, I felt I wanted to begin branching out and start heavily branding the Brimstone name. Since I always had a passion for comic books and comic style art (a little known fact is that I CAN draw too); I thought it would be a natural progression to try branching into that market – the character itself has a lot to offer and wrestlers in general are meant to be “larger than life” similar to the epic superhero. It made sense to me – so I went with it! After linking up with my partners and now VP’s of Hound Comics, Inc. (Hound Entertainment Group), Marcello Carnevali and Sajad Shah – ‘Brimstone and The Borderhounds’ was born and finally reared its head in 2010. Since the release, it has been a whirlwind that has added ‘President and CEO’ to my LinkedIn resume!
(JC): How did you go from releasing one title to becoming a full-fledged publisher?
(B): Funny enough it kind of fell into our laps… originally we planned on building just our flagship brand Brimstone and The Borderhounds. We were pretty bold with our launch as well; we released the title in Borders Books October 31, 2010 and when Borders went out of business shortly after, we re-released in Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Directly following the launching of the books, we embarked on the tour trail to support the new product. We began seeking opportunities to expand the brand including action figures (which has not come to fruition yet) and an animated series (currently in production). I was approached by friends of mine who had been impressed with what we’d accomplished and asked me if we’d publish their children’s books. After giving it no thought, we agreed to begin expanding our line and incorporated Hound Comics to become Hound Comics, Inc. (Hound Entertainment Group). We quickly began building Hound Kids along with Hound Comics; then came Food Hound: Tidbits and Hound Publishing. Hound has now spawned well over twenty creator-owned titles which are available worldwide. We produce fiction and non-fiction books, children’s books (including the Border-Pups Series), a handful of popular web comics and mini-games found directly on our official website which currently receives over 2.5 million unique visitors a month and a plethora of products including backpacks, handbags, guitar cases, hot sauces, seasonings, gourmet sauces and more! Hopefully your readers will check us out at www.HoundComics.com
(JC): You mentioned you had a few things that you were working on moving into 2013; could you tell us about some of your current projects.
(B): I do have a ton of current projects in motion. I’m looking to continue building the Hound brand in as many directions as possible – the goal is to essentially become a household name! That being said, we are in the process of expanding the Food Hound: Tidbits line of products as well as the Brimstone and Luscious food brands which will include chocolate bars and margarita mix launching this year. Hound also handles the licensing for a few of my friends including Bumblefoot (Guns ‘N Roses), Jene Luciani (Bravo!, Good Morning America, Good Day NY, ‘The Bra Book’), Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka (WWE), Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake (WWE) and more. So, we are currently working on projects for each of them as well under the Hound label including everything from bra/lingerie lines to cologne/perfumes and continuing our relationships with our partners Eastsport, Inc., Bodhi, Bijoux International and CaJohn’s Fiery Foods by expanding our celebrity based product lines. We are also in talks to release a couple of cookbooks in the near future with a few friends from Food Network programming. I can tell you that there is a very good chance that Hound will be working with a very well-known character license towards the end of this year; but I cannot say who at this time. We’ll also be releasing Rob Van Dam’s (WWE, TNA, ECW) trade paperback RVD’s Twisted Perception - Soldiers of Karma within the next couple of weeks and the preview can be found HERE. Hound is also currently seeking creator owned licenses to sign on to our ever growing family including more web comics, comics and books… growth is key!
(JC): Where do you plan to go from here (plans, dreams, and aspirations)?
(B): As a general rule, I try not to forecast what’s going to happen with my personal career; but I can tell you that I do have plans of continued growth for myself and Hound. I aspire to be the best leader possible, to never conform to the status quo, and to eventually dominate for my charity of choice, Project Meridian Foundation on the Celebrity Apprentice at some point. As far as my dreams are concerned - I’ve accomplished more in my years than most people do in a lifetime, I have an amazing family, great friends, a killer corporation… Hell, just about all my dreams have already come true!
(JC): I also write for my website The Weird Review and like to close my interviews with inviting my interviewees to tell something weird and wonderful about themselves.
(B): Hmm… I suppose it would be considered ‘weird’ that I am a serious Disney head! I can belt out a pretty good portion of the tracks from Lion King, Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast; however I can recite at least 75% of the Aladdin film (I used to be able to do the whole thing). I’ve loved Disney in general since I was a kid watching Three Caballeros, Lady and the Tramp and more on reel to reel. For years I have enjoyed sharing the classics with my children, most of the time singing over the movie until my wife either yells at me or raises the volume! I try to make it to the Florida theme parks at least once a year (although the last couple of years I’ve just been way too busy with touring and Hound business) and my favorite character is Figment from Epcot. I’m also a roller coaster junkie… give me the biggest, baddest and nastiest coaster and I’m on it. LoL, simply put – I’m a bad ass speed freak that can belt out Hakuna Matata in key!
(JC): That's awesome! I am also a Disney fan (who isn't?) though I had a gal break up with me awhile back for singing Hakuna Matata in the Disney store. She was 10 years younger than me and said I made her feel old. *sigh* Thanks again for the interview, Brimstone!
More about John Collins: