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Launched in late 2020, iMPOUND Comics was created by Brent “Trayce” Sands, who was developing the character’s backstories and illustration for several years prior. iMPOUND is a comic series based in Brent’s hometown of Sacramento, CA and surrounds the vengeance of superhero and former MMA fighter Anthony “Impound” Endsley. The comic book contains several easter eggs including landmarks, events, and renowned creatives that have come out of the city. Musicians across California like Mozzy, Guapdad 4000, Marmar Oso, and Yelly have all helped promote the brand as iMPOUND introduces culturally relevant ideas to the world of superheroes.
iMPOUND is now rolling out several comic book series surrounding heroes and villains that include — but are not limited to — Seraph, Chris Jones, and Truth amongst others. This year, they’ve launched their first-ever storefront in Sacramento where patrons can purchase merchandise and exclusive material. Down the pipeline, Brent continues to put out more issues as well as an animated series and action figures.
For National Black Business Month, REVOLT had the chance to catch up with iMPOUND’s creator to discuss supporting Black-owned businesses, how technology shifted the way we consume media such as comics, representing Black characters in media, and much more! Read below.
Walk me through iMPOUND Comics. Where did the idea for it stem from and what was the process like bringing it to life?
The idea came from when I went to see Black Panther in 2018. The director, Ryan Coogler, I went to Sacramento State with him. We didn’t really know each other at the time, but I just remember him because there weren’t too many Black people in the film department. When we’re watching the movie, everyone gasped when Mozzy’s “Sleep Walking” came on.
It was such a big moment because two people from Sacramento that I know or have been in the same room with are a part of the most inspirational Black movie of all time. That’s when I knew I needed to get into this. As far as comics go, I’ve always written books and stories, but I’ve never published anything. That was what made me want to get into comics and creating characters.
What were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome amid getting iMPOUND Comics to where it is now?
The biggest obstacle was connecting with the right audience that would love iMPOUND. I hadn’t spent much time being involved in the comic book community, so I was starting at square one.
With the latest issue that you launched, what’s the storyline and how do you want your readers to react?
The last ones that we put out were for Impound #2 and it’s just a continuous journey. The readers still don’t know how he got his powers yet, so it’s taking people through the journey of who he really is. I wanted people to really care about him, so they can understand why when he does get his powers. Impound #3 is coming soon and the next one is going to be a different character named Seraph.
I just hope that people love it the way I did when I was first introduced to comics. It’s one of those that I put my all into, so I really hope they appreciate it the way I did writing it. As long as they like it or as long as it hits home for someone, I don’t really want to overthink it.
Is there particular inspiration behind creating new stories?
There are certain things that might happen in the world that I might implement in the books. Like character names are typically people who are related to me. There’s a lot of real stuff and events that probably only I would know, but I think it makes it more real for the reader.
Social media and technology have changed the way we consume content. In what ways have you all been able to connect with fans via the Internet?
A lot of people still buy comics if they don’t read them because they hold value. Comics are like trading cards. They buy it for the sake of it being worth something and then go read it online. They’ll consume it through a digital version or audiobook but hold onto the physical versions.
In terms of navigating through social media, we’ll find comic book pages and interact with their readers. I also made an Instagram account that people gravitate to and I’ll use it to promote iMPOUND Comics. Influencers and hip hop artists Marmar Oso, Yelly, Guapdad 4000, and Mozzy have all had one of our comics or taken pictures with it. I think my influence coming into it made it a lot easier.
Did your background in music impact the way you carry iMPOUND Comics?
I treat iMPOUND the same way I would treat an artist. It’s books are like albums, the individual illustrations are like photoshoots, and eventually you want to sign them to a major label which is maybe Marvel, DC, or Disney. To me, it’s almost identical because all of the marketing ideas that I’ve gotten from music, I can apply to this too outside of the audience.
August is National Black Business Month. How can consumers support Black-owned businesses such as your own?
Purchasing a book on our website is always the best option, but honestly I just appreciate shares. Just taking the time to help spread the word on your social media is more than enough help for me. You never know who might see it!
How important is it for Black characters to be represented in media?
It’s important for our youth to see heroes that look like them. Growing up as an African American, it almost felt like I had to hide or have a different set of friends to be into comics because it wasn’t the norm for our culture. Kids need to be able to see representations that look like them in different outlets to help expand their minds and show our youth more avenues they can be successful in.
What are a few key things that you would like young creatives to take away from your success?
You don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing. I’m in a lane that I feel like I’m virtually competing with no one but myself. Link outside of the box and do what makes you happy, and other people will love you for it.
What are some other projects that you have coming down the pipeline?
The next step I would say is better merchandising beyond clothes. We want to do action figures, lunch boxes, and other consumables, as well. I would love to collaborate with as many businesses as I can because there isn’t a world that we can’t step in when it comes to age groups. In the long-run, animated series and live action movies. It’s a process that I’m not trying to skip steps on.