Local company builds reputation in indie comic industry

Low Five Productions has been building up their reputation within both the Calgary and comic community as they try to break into the indie comic industry.

“The main goal in the indie comic industry is to gain [a good] reputation, and from there gain revenue,” said Greg Pilkington, president of Low Five and the writer for the comic Shift.

Currently, Low Five is not bringing in revenue since they’re still building up their reputation, but they hope in the near future they will be able to sell their comics.

“We are working to get more involved in the community and become a face of indie comics.”

Low Five has been a company for two and a half years.

Originally, there were five men who worked at Low Five — Greg Pilkington, Billy Martin, Scott Watmough, Jasreet Singh, and Mathew Carberry.

The company started to take on more artists and writers as the number of comics they created increased.

There are now nine people working at Low Five: four artists, four writers, and Carberry, who both writes and illustrates Iron Hands McGee.

Pilkington had worked with each member individually through school and old comic book projects.

Eventually, the group had an idea for a comic book universe that they wanted to pursue.

They sat in a basement and were trying to decide what they should register as a corporation name, and eventually thought to call it “High Five Comics,” since everybody tends to like receiving high fives.

Unfortunately, they realized the name was taken by a podcast and didn’t want their comics to get confused with the podcast group.

“We then spent the next five hours pitching ideas back and forth, not even getting close to Low Five,” said Pilkington.

“At the five-hour mark I said, ‘why don’t we just go with Low Five Productions?’”

Everyone agreed that worked.

The team has since developed five original comics, Shift, Operator, Iron Hands McGee, Broken Wing, and A Little Off the Top.

Each comic has a different writer and artist teamed up.

Ethan Ror, a SAIT student in the New Media Productions and Design course, is the artist for Shift.

He has been with Low Five for about a year and a half.

Jasreet Singh, also known as Jazz, is the art director of Low Five, making him responsible for critiquing work and helping the artists with what works and what doesn’t.

For Ror, working in the indie comic industry has been fun, but it’s also new to everyone at Low Five.

Everyone is doing it for the first time and trying to do it on their own.

El Presidente: Greg Pilkington is currently president of Low Five Productions. The company was originally formed by five members more than two and a half years ago and has since been working to get their name known in the indie comic industry. (Photo by Jordan Johnston/The Press)
El Presidente: Greg Pilkington is currently president of Low Five Productions. The company was originally formed by five members more than two and a half years ago and has since been working to get their name known in the indie comic industry. (Photo by Jordan Johnston/The Press)

“So there are a lot of growing pains,” said Ror. “One of the first problems we faced was we came out with our first full issues we had a problem with some of the pages for Broken Wing.”

The pages we set to the wrong Dots Per Inch (DPI), making the first 10 pages lower quality than the rest.

“It wasn’t too bad, but it’s one of those things you run into,” said Ror.

After that, the group looked into the top 10 things that people run into when they first join this industry and number one on the list was not using 300 DPI.

Pilkington said the group of guys they have work great together through obstacles that have come along.

“Everyone contributes and brings each other up,” said James Pantuso, also a SAIT New Media Production and Design student and the artist for Broken Wing.

Ror said, “We have disagreements but we all get along.

“We’re like a family.”

About Jordan Johnston 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jordan Johnston worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.