BANZAI RAYGUN is the creation of artist and writer Sean Russell, who creates sci-fi art and stories under the nom de plum Sean Darklord (to avoid confusion with another writer of the same name) Sean, a lifelong fan of sci-fi, started BANZAI RAYGUN as an outlet for his science fiction art, original stories, and humor.
Since childhood, Sean has been creative and artistic. Drawing, making little videos with his friends, and before Photoshop, becoming a master of Windows Paint. Sean grew up in a desert backwater just like Luke Skywalker and could relate to Luke’s desire to leave the farm, or Alex Rogan’s desire to leave the trailer park and be an intergalactic hero in “The Last Starfighter”. To paraphrase Luke, desolate West Texas was just like Tatooine, “If there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re in the town that it’s farthest from.”
The idea that there are so many incredible worlds out there to see, possibilities, and never-ending wonders; definitely drove Sean’s interest in science fiction and his creativity. ” Growing up, Sean watched anything set in space: Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Star Wars, and Star Trek. All of those inspired and drove Sean’s creativity and he spent hours in worlds of his own creation- cities built from cinder blocks and wood, designing starships, and writing about a fictional planet that he invented. In high school, Sean founded a Star Trek fan club, read a ton of Trek novels, and wrote for the fan club’s newsletter.
At the University of Texas at Austin, Sean studied archaeology and art history, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. After graduation, Sean went to Korea to teach English and travel. Korea offered a taste of that exotic and very different experience that Sean had craved, and the experience had a profound effect on him. Sean was determined to go beyond his comfort zone and the familiar. Upon his return to Austin, Sean got a job as a bouncer and went back to school for design.
The next decade was a blur, as Sean worked as a bartender, a hardware tester, and then back to being a bouncer (lay-offs), all while honing his design and storytelling skills in his free time. It was also a dozen or so years of endless nights in dive bars, punishing his liver, as he immersed himself in the underbelly of Austin nightlife. Sean continued to compile his library of experiences and characters, that he would later call on in his writing and art.
After ‘exiling’ himself to the Pacific Northwest for a year, where he purged some of his worse habits and began focusing on creating; Sean created BANZAI RAYGUN as an outlet for his sci-fi passions. Sean returned to what he loved most- building new worlds and creating new universes.