NYCC2018: “It All Started With A Joke” – A Conversation With The Family Trade’s Nikki Ryan

by Tito W. James

[*This interview took place this past weekend at New York Comic Con 2018!]

At NYCC 2018 I struck up a funny conversation with comic writer Nikki Ryan. We get pretty silly and talk about traumatizing kid’s films.

Tito W. James: So The Family Trade is now available in trade.

Nikki Ryan: I see what you did there!

TWJ: You co-wrote the book with Justin Jordan. How did this project come about?

NR: It all stared with a joke. My cousin Jessie was in Barcelona and Justin was like “What’s she doing there?” And I was like, “Oh she’s traveling around Europe because she’s an assassin.”

That’s how we developed the world of ocean-punk assassins on an artificial island. In this world, the shadow government is the actual government. The Family Trade is to keep the island afloat and Jessa is the youngest of that family. And it all started as a joke based on my family.

TWJ: Anything you’re working on that you could tease?

NR: I want to do some horror stuff. That would be great. But action-packed is always good.

TWJ: You’ve mentioned action and horror, what are some of your influences as a creator?

NR: Oh god, everything that I read. I can’t possibly list them all.

TWJ: How about something that traumatized you as a kid?

NR: Watership Down. That was really great… Grandma used to let me watch that all the time. Everyone was like “It’s a kid’s movie. It’s got bunnies and it’s animated. How could this be bad?” The Secret of Nimh was also mildly traumatizing.

TWJ: That is a unique horror niche. To discover a film that you though was for children but it’s actually terrifying.

NR: Oh, there was this film called The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. It was the only live action film created by Dr. Seuss during his lifetime. Dr. Seuss wanted it to be for adults, but then executives tried to change the narrative to make it a kid’s movie. It was so traumatizing and poorly produced that Dr. Seuss vowed never to make another live action film.

TWJ: Considering what happened with The Cat in The Hat, I think we should have listened.

NR: [Laughs] Yeah the 5,000 fingers movie is really messed up. It starts with a kid who doesn’t want to play the piano and then his mom gets brainwashed by the villain. It’s not for kids.

TWJ: Fun fact, Dr. Seuss fought alongside Stan Lee during WWII and had a cane with a hidden blade because he got mugged a lot.

NR: What?! Hashtag life goals.


I’d like to thanks Nikki Ryan for having this silly conversation with me. You can pick up The Family Trade right now.

Tito W. James

Tito W. James is a journalist writing for with a focus is on highlighting high quality independent content. His comics draw heavy influence from hand drawn animation and incorporate action and comedy into various genres.

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