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    Violent Love Mixes Romance and Crime

    Interview with Violent Love creators Frank J Barbiere and Victor Santos

    Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley were two of the most notorious bank robbers in the American Southwest. And then they fell in love. Sometimes you read a description of a new comic book and know a book is going to be something special. In less than 25 words, I was immediately hooked on the premise behind Violent Love, the newest pulp-infused criminal romance series by Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts, The Revisionist) and Victor Santos (The Mice Templar, Polar).

    We had the chance to chat with the Barbiere and Santos in an exclusive interview, and we think that you’ll fall in love with this series too — both creators are throwing their all at Violent Love and their passion comes through in the preview pages that are included below.

    TFAW: Victor, what’s it like going from a series you wrote and drew in Polar to just drawing this series?

    Victor Santos: Even though my career in Spain and France was as a complete author, I’ve worked mainly as artist in the USA. Polar books (and a little collaboration in the Boom! Regular Show series) have been my chance to write again, but they feel a little restricted because my native language is Spanish. I don’t think working with writers is an imposition, it’s a marvelous school for me. I’ve learned from Azzarello, Glass, Oeming, Van Lente, and all the people I’ve collaborated with. There isn’t a rulebook for this, so every writer has their method. I enjoy it. And most important: having another writer forces you to surpass your safe place and improve.

    And there’s something more readers don’t notice. Working with Frank is easy, the story is great and this is important, of course. But the world is full of talented writers, and in the day-by-day you mostly need an effective and generous collaborator. Frank’s vision of the story is so clear and direct, he really quickly evokes great images in my mind…I usually forget I’m reading in another language and believe me: this is an unusual talent!

    Violent Love Comics by Frank J. Barbiere & Victor SantosTFAW: People have likened this series to a Bonnie & Clyde or True Romace comic, would you say that’s a good comparison?

    Frank J. Barbiere: Both of those stories are extremely influential, but while this certainly is a “criminal romance” our story focuses a lot more on our female lead, Daisy Jane. There’s also a pretty unique frame story in play — the story of Daisy and Rock is being told to a young girl many years after it happened — and I think it gives the story a bit of a American folk tale vibe. It also leans into our “inspired by true events” tag line — we know we’re not going to see anything totally out of genre like aliens, monsters, etc., so the whole thing feels very authentic and like the reader is part of something bigger.

    Santos: Of course, this is a noir tradition! I could name Gun Crazy (1950) and Badlands (1973). Romance and crime have been linked often. We love to match the highest and the lowest feelings: true love vs. violence, generosity vs. greed. I’ve read a lot of good noir in comics in the latest years, the genre has been revitalized, but I always missed more romantic elements on it. Maybe all the characters were too amoral, darkly moody (in my own books too, even in the last Polar there is a romance subplot). So I really felt we need to recover these tales of “we’re together against the world, babe.”

    Violent Love is meant to really evoke a feeling of nostalgia and Americana.

    TFAW: You mentioned the tagline. Can you elaborate a bit on this story being inspired by true events?

    Santos: Well, I think I used the “Criminal Romance” title in some “concept art image” because I loved how it sounds…I’ll leave this mystery of true events to Frank (ha, ha).

    Barbiere: When Victor and I began developing Violent Love we both decided we’d love for it to have a “true crime” feel to it — to be a story that you could imagine happening in the real world, despite having exciting genre elements. By telling our readers upfront the story is inspired by true events we offer them an idea that the story has a feel of authenticity and that everything you’re seeing is being recalled — it gives it a very unique and fresh feel that also works in tandem with our frame story. Violent Love is meant to really evoke a feeling of nostalgia and Americana, and our “inspired by true events” tagline is another tool to help. In terms of the specifics…our readers will just have to do some thinking on their own to figure that out.

    Violent Love Preview Page 1TFAW: Can you tell us a little more about the inspiration for Violent Love?

    Santos: The movies we’ve discussed, pulp novels…I love the ambiance of Jim Thompson’s stuff, the spirit of the Wild West. Some ’60 and ’70s comics — I love the ’70s Marvel comics, with people like Gene Colan or Paul Gulacy, with more noir, blaxploitation and kung-fu. And classic romance magazines, with people like Alex Toth or Dan DeCarlo charming the female readers. There is something maybe is not so apparent: I love classic comics but at the same time, I belong to the manga and anime generation, so they have a big influence on my work. I find the expression of the emotions crucial, I put a big part of my efforts on it, and Japanese books play this game terrifically.

    Barbiere: Victor is one of my favorite artists working and I knew I wanted to dive into something with him when we wrapped Black Market at BOOM! Studios. Violent Love is the culmination of all of our interests and genre loves — it really is a dream project, and a very pure vision from us. We wanted to challenge ourselves to tell a love story within the genre as well, to grow and do something new. This book is a labor of love on our end and we’re extremely proud of it — we hope to keep readers on board for a very long time and constantly surprise them.

    Violent Love Preview Page 1TFAW: Victor, I loved the style you put into your Polar series, but it was different than your work on Mice Templar. Violent Love seems to be somehwere between, can you speak a little on that decision?

    Santos: I try to transform myself into the artist that every unique project I work on requires. Maybe it’s not the best decision for my career, maybe I should have a line/style totally unique and never change it…but it’s so boring! I love to change and experiment. Polar is pure styling, high contrasts of black and white, a world where almost superhuman hitmen live. Its storytelling is a exciting artifice and every page is like a jigsaw. Violent Love is more “on the ground,” it’s not completely realistic, but it plays in real places, real starting points, a real age. It needs more texture and a different color approach, with grain and sand.

    TFAW: Anything new on the horzion that we should be keeping an eye out for?

    This book is a labor of love on our end and we’re extremely proud of it.

    Barbiere: Violent Love is going to be a long haul for us so we’ll be promoting it for many months to come! It’s really become my focus — we’re both committed to telling the absolute best story we can, and I’m glad I’ve been able to hunker down and focus on it. I’m also working on a book called The Revisionist at Aftershock Comics that I’d love more people to check out — it’s the story of a time traveling assassin and does a lot of fun stuff with the genre.

    Santos: I just finished the third Polar: No Mercy for Sister Maria, and my plan is to close the trilogy there. Right now I’m also working with Dark Horse on the US edition of one of my Spanish noir graphic novels, Rashomon: A Case of Heigo Kobayashi. As you easily deduce, it’s a noir story set in the Feudal Japan, and it’s inspired by the tales of classical writer Ryonosuke Akutagawa (with a touch of James Ellroy). It will be published next year.

    Violent Love Preview Page 1TFAW: What are you most excited about with Violent Love?

    Barbiere: The chance to tell a story with Victor that we are both extremely passionate about with Image Comics. Image gives us 100% control of the material down to the type of paper we print it on, so this is a completely authentic vision from Victor and I. We really hope readers connect with it and care for these characters — this book encompasses everything we love about comics and genre, so we hope people follow us for many issues to come.

    Santos: I think this is a kind of story you would love if you are a classic noir fan, but at the same time a new reader will enjoy a lot. We have been working on a daring storytelling but accessible. That’s the kind of comics I love because even with the movie references I told you, it has that artisan and care level a movie never will have. This story is told with the resources, technique and heart make comics so fun.

    TFAW: What comics are you enjoying right now?

    Barbiere: I try to keep extremely current with the comic book industry, as well as always diving back and checking out things I’ve missed. I’m really enjoying Steve Orlando’s new Supergirl title and on the creator owned front I’ve been absolutely floored by Kill or be Killed and Black Monday Murders. In terms of prose, I’ve been reading The Fireman by Joe Hill.

    Santos: I love all the stuff from writers like Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Warren Ellis. A lot of creator-owned from publishers like Dark Horse, Image, and Boom.

    I’m not totally connected with what all the big publishers are doing, but I buy all the stuff that artists like Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Javier Rodriguez, Declan Shalvey, Chris Samnee or David Aja are doing in the US mainstream books. I’m superfan of the Panel Syndicate online, too. Outside the U.S., I’m reading books by Osamu Tezuka, Koike/Kojima reprints, or the French hit Lastman — they are some of my favorite books right now, too.

    We want to thank Frank and Victor for taking the time out of their busy schedules to chat with us about this exciting new series!

    ORDER VIOLENT LOVE COMICS NOW

    Have you checked out other books by Barbiere or Santos? Are you as excited about this new series as we are? Join the conversation by posting your thoughts below and use the buttons below to share this article.

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    UXB–A Tale of Survival in Post-Apocalyptic London

    Colin Lorimer's UXB at TFAW.comIf you’ve been reading Dark Horse Presents, you’ve already seen bits and pieces of Colin Lorimer’s UXB–a wildly inventive post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale that will sink its teeth into you and won’t let you go.

    In a shattered future London, three brothers grafted to powerful “lifesuits” squat in Buckingham Palace and load up on movies, video games, and porn. But when the city’s scavengers rise against them, the brothers discover their suits aren’t just for survival. Will they save the future . . . or bollocks it?

    We had the chance to chat with UXB writer/artist Colin Lorimer, and we’re excited to share the fruits of that interview (including six preview pages from the book) with you now.

    UXB Preview Page 1TFAW: Hi Colin, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to talk to us about your new book, UXB.

    Colin Lorimer: You’re very welcome.

    TFAW: First off, what does UXB stand for?

    Lorimer: Well, during the blitz in WWII an unexploded bomb was referred to as a UXB. I thought it was a pretty apt title based on the world I was depicting. Are the boys actually ticking time bombs or perhaps it’s just a metaphor for their explosive angst ridden nature. You’ll have to read to find out…

    TFAW: We’ve seen some glimpses of UXB here and there in the pages of Dark Horse Presents since early last year. The story is really interesting so far. Where does that material fit into the upcoming hardcover graphic novel?

    UXB Preview Page 2Lorimer: As originally planned the three shorts are interspersed and fit quite seamlessly within the main story arc. All in all, they take up only 23 pages of a 133 page story so it’s mainly all new content. The final short left the reader with a major cliffhanger and you’ll finally see how all that plays out. Much violence, profanity and revelations are to be had…

    The shorts were originally planned as a taster and to give a small inkling of the basic plot and the brothers’ predicament. Within the book, I have given time to develop–with the aid of prewar flashbacks–how their survival suits came to be, and how exactly the brothers ended up living in Buckingham palace as the most powerful beings in on the planet. It’s quite the mindfuck and will take the reader for quite a ride…

    TFAW: Your last book, Harvest, also had a sci-fi bent. What do you find about the sci-fi genre most appealing?

    Lorimer: I do have a great love of the sci-fi/horror genre and when you read UXB that will become quite evident with the homages to other films and books that I have weaved into the story. Science-fiction allows you to play with and elaborate on the most outlandish of concepts and ideas and that’s something I always lean towards. With UXB I took the post-apocalypse rather overused story trope and tried to turn it on its head…it really isn’t your typical survival tale.

    UXB Preview Page 3

    TFAW: In addition to the art in the book, you also picked up the pen to write it. What are some of the exciting things that this opens up for you creatively?

    Lorimer: I enjoy the writing as much as the art, possibly even more so as it’s a little more immediate.

    It’s certainly great to have the freedom to write your own scripts and it allowed me to indulge in putting to paper some pretty cool images. However, I was very conscious that it was a comic, a story, and not just a book of pretty illustrations, and in the end I think I found a good balance. If you liked the art on Harvest I think you’re going to really enjoy UXB, as I put an enormous amount of effort into it…and not just coloured it but did the lettering also. It was a real labor of love.

    TFAW: Were there any unique challenges you experienced while writing the script?

    UXB Preview Page 4Lorimer: I had to do quite a bit of research into nanotechnology and other scientific ideas to make their world and their survival life-suits somewhat believeable, but apart from that…it all flowed quite well. It’s a complete story and there was quite a lot of content and world-building to get through. However with the aid of the flashbacks, jumping from past to present and the constant build of tension through hints and revelations within each chapter, it really should keep the reader on the edge of their seat and make for quite the page turner. The ending should come as a big surprise. I guarantee it!

    TFAW: You had self published a one-off issue of UXB back in 2010, so the idea’s been in your head for some time now. What inspired you to create UXB?

    Lorimer: Yes, it’s an idea that has been floating around for quite some time and because of the day job it took me a while to actually find the time to work it up as a strip. Once I self-published, it started to gain some momentum and I just kept going.

    They always say write what you know–and I really just wanted a vehicle to let me ramble on about movies and my disdain for what passes today as popular entertainment. So I created a world were the three main characters were the only ones who could still access and view various media such as video games, music, and movies, and it was their suits that afforded them this luxury. Sort of post-apocalyptic movie critics…

    UXB Preview Page 5So it grew and developed out of that basic concept–however I soon realized I just couldn’t have them sit around watching movies all day and had to find them other things to do.The movie theme as it progressed became less important as I got into the meat of the story.

    I also knew I wanted to do something that was a little different with their suits and purposefully went for a design that looked a little awkward, something almost ridiculous and completely opposed to the usual aesthetically ‘cool’ looking superhero costumes that we are so use to now. With the world being thrown back into the dark ages, why not give them a modern day equivalent of a medieval codpiece?

    TFAW: How has it been working with the folks at Dark Horse Comics?

    Lorimer: It’s been a great experience. I am very appreciative of the fact that Mike Richardson gave me the opportunity to publish UXB through his company. Dark Horse has an amazing history and talent pool so to be part of that is nothing short of fantastic. I have been dealing solely with editor Chris Warner and he has been a complete gent throughout the entire process. He was also the one that opened the doors for me and got the project noticed.

    TFAW: How did you get your first major break in the comics industry?

    UXB Preview Page 6Lorimer: I have been storytelling through various mediums over the years including animation, film and gaming, but comics has always been my first love. I guess it was 2010 in San Diego when it all came together. Chris Warner reviewed a sample comic of UXB that I had put together and really liked it and I also dropped some samples off with some other of the other major publishers who also showed a lot of interest, this also included Radical Publishing, who actually ended up being the first guys to offer me some work on their comic Earp, Saint for Sinners, as a layout/penciller. I started in around the end of issue one and finished up the mini-series. My work was completely painted over so I didn’t feel that I got to leave much of a mark on that one. It was an insane amount of work with a cast of thousands and quite challenging scripts, if anything, it showed that I could hit my deadlines. Thankfully my editor on that one was Renae Geerlings who was a pleasure to work with which made things a little easier…

    TFAW: What other books are you reading right now?

    Lorimer: On the comic front I just recently picked up Jupiter’s Legacy mainly to check out Quitely’s art. Vaughan and Staples’ Saga, and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. I’m also currently rereading the book Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith and the Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James.

    TFAW: For someone who’s still on the fence about UXB, what’s your final pitch for the book?

    Lorimer: A Clockwork Orange meets The Road as written by Clive Barker and directed by Wes Anderson. Weird, violent, darkly funny and at turns, horrific! Like a punch in the gut and a kick to the teeth…but you’ll still find yourself wanting to come back for more!

    If interested your readers can catch me over at http://lubbert-das.blogspot.ca where I will be popping up work-in-progress art and other related UXB material leading up to its release.

    We want to thank Colin Lorimer for taking the time out of his busy schedule for this illuminating interview. Pre-order your copy of UXB today and save 20% off the retail price!

    PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF UXB AND SAVE 20%

    ORDER YOUR COPY OF HARVEST BY COLIN LORIMER AND AJ LIEBERMAN

    What do you think of the UXB preview pages? What would you do if you had one of these “lifesuits?”

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    Cat Staggs Talks About Smallville, Superheroes, and Star Wars

    Cat Staggs rocking her rad Wonder Woman tattoo.

    Cat Staggs is an up-and-coming artist to keep your eye on. She’s worked on projects for Lucasfilm in the past few years, and you’ve seen her breathtaking covers for Smallville Season 11.

    We had the chance to chat with Staggs about her earliest memories of comics, her favorite part about working in comics, and how she came to work on her newest project — the four-issue Phantom Lady miniseries.

    TFAW.com: What are your earliest memories of comics? What was the first comic you read?

    Cat Staggs: My earliest memory of comics were actually storytelling records that I got when I was five . . . Batman and Superman records that came with the comic for you to read along. I absolutely wore them out listening to them over and over and obsessing over the art. I still have them, actually.

    Superman and Batman Book and Recording Sets inspired Cat as a young girl.TFAW.com: What inspired you to become an artist, and when did you first begin to explore that creative outlet?

    Staggs: I don’t remember ever not drawing. I think I may have been born with a pencil in my hand and luckily for me, my parents were always very encouraging. (And my mom survived birthing a pencil-wielding infant unscathed.)

    TFAW.com: How did you break into the comics industry?

    Staggs: I started going to conventions with my little portfolio and passed it around, and I was fortunate enough to get an email asking if I wanted to work on sketch cards for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. That led to me doing more work for Lucasfilm, which then led to other work with other companies.

    My real “pinch me” moment where I thought, “Oh my god, this is really happening,” was very recently, the press release for my first Smallville cover for DC. Even though I had done the cover four months earlier, seeing the press release online finally made it feel real. It was overwhelming.

    Cat's Star Wars Celebration VI PrintTFAW.com: How has your experience been as a female in the industry?

    Staggs: I really haven’t had any problems with it. I’ve never lost any jobs for having boobs. The only thing that has ever happened that made me feel any different as a “female creator” have been the few times that someone has told me, “You don’t draw like a woman,” and meant it as a compliment. I still don’t understand what that means.

    TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part of telling stories in the sequential arts?

    Staggs: I love getting to depict more than just a standard pin-up shot. It’s so much fun to get to play with an entire spectrum of emotions and actions in order to tell a story. Getting to be part of the storytelling process is so much fun. It’s great to be able to even show the “mundane” things that as an artist you normally wouldn’t draw, but then to be able to go through the entire spectrum, from shots of cityscapes to action-packed sequences, is thrilling.

    Cat's beautiful interior work on Phantom Lady.Jason Wright's colors perfectly compliment Cat's dark art in Phantom Lady.

    TFAW.com: What do you think comic book publishers should be doing or have been doing to attract female readers?

    Staggs: Well, there is always, tell good stories . . . which is true for attracting any readers. I actually think that a lot of female readers are already there and they need to remember to acknowledge that they exist. I don’t mean by special catering, we don’t necessarily need more flowers and rainbows and unicorns, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but a lot of women like superhero books and action books.

    TFAW.com: What aspect of comics have you struggled with, as a creator?

    Staggs: I think that the hardest part is getting in the door, convincing someone to give you a shot is always difficult.

    Cat Stagg's Smallville Season 11 #1 coverTFAW.com: What advice can you give aspiring comic book creators?

    Staggs: If you are an illustrator, my advice is: anatomy, anatomy, anatomy. And for everyone else, just keep plugging away. A bit of rejection shouldn’t be enough to stop you. You will only get better with hard work.

    TFAW.com: Who’s work has had an influence in your art?

    Staggs: Norman Rockwell, Drew Struzen, Neil Adams, Alex Ross, Sean Phillips, Bernie Wrightson, oh God I could go on forever, there are a zillion people . . . even Keith Herring and Michelangelo . . . I’d better just stop now.

    TFAW.com: Who’s one woman in comics that you admire?

    Staggs: Collen Doran. Check out A Distant Soil!

    TFAW.com: What was the last comic you read?

    Staggs: Besides my newest pages of Phantom Lady? Legends of the Dark Knight: Letters to Batman by Steve Niles

    TFAW.com: How did you come to work on Phantom Lady?

    Staggs: My editor for Smallville at the time asked me if I would like to do it, and I jumped at the opportunity.

    TFAW.com: Can you tell us about your creative process for this book?

    Staggs: Well, Cully Hammer designed the costumes and did an amazing job. There were a lot of emails back and forth about the look and the costumes, and then came the fun part, which was me getting to take all of that and incorporate it into the storytelling.

    Another one of Cat's amazing Smallville CoversTFAW.com: What projects do you have coming up soon?

    Staggs: For now, Smallville covers and Phantom Lady issues are the main things I am working on. I also have artwork in the new, Star Trek Federation: The first 150 Years that comes out in November and I am doing a print for Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando at the end of August.

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    Our thanks to Cat for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about her experience in the comic book industry. Be sure to keep your eye out for her artwork on the covers of Smallville Season 11 and in the interiors of Phantom Lady.

    Looking forward to Phantom Lady #1? Good news — the first issue hits on August 29th. Post your comments below!

    ORDER YOUR PHANTOM LADY ISSUES NOW

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    Cover Girl Jenny Frison Takes Us Inside Her Creative Process

    Jenny FrisonCover artist Jenny Frison has been getting a lot of work recently, and for good reason. Her gorgeous work has graced covers for books like Angel, Hack/Slash, I, Vampire, and most recently Tim Seeley’s new Revival series from Image Comics (keep reading to get an exclusive first peek of Revival #5).

    We had the chance to chat with Frison about her process, what drew her to comics (see what we did there?), and her trip to the store to purchase the first book with her art on the cover. Enjoy!

    TFAW.com: What are your earliest memories of comics? What was the first comic you read?

    Wonder Woman Cheetah on the ProwlJenny Frison: As a kid, I read a lot of Barbie and Barbie Fashion, which were published by Marvel. But I remember being really affected by a Fisher Price storybook I had called Wonder Woman: Cheetah on the Prowl. It was illustrated by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano. It was pre-Crisis Wonder Woman and it totally doesn’t count because it was a storybook . . . not a comic. But it definitely began a lifelong love of Wonder Woman . . . which directly influenced my future career choices!

    TFAW.com: What inspired you to work in the comic book industry?

    Frison: I drew constantly as a kid. Mostly unicorns and princesses, and I created a comic strip that was a direct ripoff of Calvin and Hobbes, but with a little girl and her dog. And I took lots of park district art classes. But when I got to high school, I pretty much stopped drawing. It wasn’t until my freshman year in college, when I took an art history class about comics, that I realized I wanted to draw. I realized that comics was this creative thing that I had to be a part of somehow. So I started taking art classes and switched to a school with an Illustration program.

    TFAW.com: It seems like we can’t turn our heads without seeing one of your comic book covers. What are some of your favorite gigs so far?

    Frison's Hack/Slash My First Maniac #1 Cover.Frison: My favorites are the ones where I have the most freedom. I was very lucky to get so much flexibility with IDW’s Angel series. Hack/Slash is another of my favorite books to work on. Cassie is such an interesting and complicated character. She is a very gratifying character to draw.

    TFAW.com: How did you break into the comics industry?

    Frison: After my very first cover came out, I went with my sister to the comic store to get copies . . . and then tried to show it to people in other cars as we drove home. Obviously, I was pretty excited. I don’t know if there was a moment where I “broke in.” It was very difficult to get jobs in the beginning. Then it got less and less difficult with each cover. Then I didn’t have to look for work because I always had something coming up. Is that breaking in?

    TFAW.com: How has your experience been as a female creator in the comics industry?

    Frison: I think this is the best and most exciting time to be a lady in comics. I am totally aware that I am a female in a mostly male-centric industry, but it doesn’t make me feel any different. I know it may be a fundamental issue for some people, but I think the best comic fans and industry professionals just like what they like and they don’t care the gender of the person making it (or race or sexual orientation, etc). Those are the people I meet most.

    Frison's Revival #4 cover at TFAW.com.TFAW.com: What’s your dream project?

    Frison: I’m not really sure. Obviously, I have a lifelong love of Wonder Woman, but I think my dream job is just to make covers for a book with really interesting and layered characters in which I have a lot of creative freedom and control over. Something where I can create images and feel like they are mine, not just work for hire.

    TFAW.com: What are three things you think comic book publishers should be doing to attract female readers?

    Frison: I don’t think anyone needs to work to attract female readers. People should just focus on writing interesting stories with complicated characters. Everybody wants to read that . . . females included. However, the real push in the industry needs to be to figure out how to get people that aren’t reading comics (men and women alike) into comic stories (or digital stores . . . wherever comics are sold). I meet a lot of people that say: “I’m not a comic reader.” Meaning: “I’m not the kind of person who would read comics.” That’s crazy! It’s not like saying: “I don’t like horror.” That’s a genre . . . comics is an entire medium! It’s like saying: “I don’t like movies.” Somehow, we need to figure out how to convince those people that there is a comic out there for them . . . and probably many comics. That their lives would be enriched by that comic. And then get it in their hands!

    TFAW.com: What aspect of comics have you struggled with, as an artist?

    Frison: As a cover artist, I have the luxury of working from start to finish on one image. Usually, my main focus is to make the image as affecting as possible–whether it be beautiful or disturbing or inspiring or whatever. And I want it to say something about the comic within. I struggle trying to create an image that stirs the viewer. I want people to notice it on the shelf and want to see what the book is about, but I have to figure out how to do it in one image.

    It is also hard trying to keep each cover unique and as dynamic as possible. Creating movement and keeping it from looking stiff. I don’t always succeed, but I learn something new with each cover.

    TFAW.com: Can you describe your process for us?

    Frison: Every cover I do starts with a sketch. Often it is just a quick layout to get the general idea across to an editor. Once I have my layout approved, I’ll usually tighten my sketch up and then move on to final pencils so that I can focus on movement and keep my line clean. Those pencils act as the final line work for my cover. Next, I often do a tonal drawing on gray-toned paper with copic marker, graphite, and white pastel. I like to do my rendering traditionally so I can get my hands dirty, but without having to be too concerned about what colors to pick. Finally, I color the cover in Photoshop. I can spend as much time as I want adjusting the colors until I’ve got what I’m looking for.

    Revival #5 Layout SketchRevival #5 Final PencilsRevival #5 ToneRevival #5 Colors

    TFAW.com: What advice can you give aspiring comic book creators?

    Frison: Obviously, practice like crazy. Draw all the time. But if you think you are at a level where you are employable and you are trying to figure out how to start getting work, my first advice is always: go to conventions! Meet editors and publishers and other artists. Show your work around. Find out what you need to work on to get work. And know who you want to work for. Different publishers are looking for different things. Try to focus your portfolio towards who you are interested in working for. But don’t be afraid to hand it to everybody!

    Second: Make something to leave behind. Editors will see hundreds of portfolios a day at conventions. Make copies of your work to leave behind with a business card or some kind of contact info and where they can see more of your work.

    Third: Have some kind of online portfolio. I think editors prefer to see a website, but anything that is easy to navigate and view your work. As soon as you think you are employable, make your art as available as possible. You could be the best artist in the world, but if no one sees your work, no one will hire you.

    TFAW.com: Whose work has had an influence in your art?

    Jenny Draws inspiration from other artists like Kevin Nowlan.Frison: I pull a lot of inspiration from everything, from Alphonse Mucha and the entire art nouveau movement, as well as Victorian decorative art. There are some incredible fine artists working in comics. Joao Ruas and James Jean (although, not currently working in comics) are inspirations, for sure. I’ve also always been a big fan of Kevin Nowlan, Adam Hughes, Brian Bolland, and many others.

    TFAW.com: Who’s one woman in comics that you admire?

    Frison: Two of my favorite artists right now are Amy Reeder and Rebekah Isaacs. Everybody on the planet should be checking out every book they do. Totally amazing.

    TFAW.com: What was the last comic you read?

    Frison: It was actually Hoax Hunters #2. Granted, I have a little bit of an insider knowledge about the book because I live with one of the creators, but I still prefer to wait until I read the issues to learn the specifics. Issue #2 was my favorite so far!

    TFAW.com: What projects do you have coming up soon?

    Frison: I’m working on covers for Image’s new series Revival with writer Tim Seeley and (Eisner Award-winning!!) artist Mike Norton. Tim and Mike both live here in Chicago and I share a studio space with them, so I get to work pretty closely with them on the covers. The story is amazing and I’m really enjoying it!

    Frison's Spike #3 cover at TFAW.com.I’m also finishing up covers for IDW’s adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place. And I just finished up covers for Dark Horse’s Spike miniseries. And I have a few other things on the horizon that haven’t been announced yet!

    —————–

    We want to thank Jenny again for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer all of our questions! It was great getting a peek into her process and hearing about her first outing to pick up a comic with her art on it.

    SEE OTHER WORK BY JENNY FRISON AT TFAW

    Are you as big of a Frison fan as we are? One of our favorites of hers is Spike #3, pictured here. What’s your favorite issue featuring her art? Let us know below.

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    Colleen Coover Shares Comic Book Stories With Us

    Colleen Coover at SDCC 2008. Photo by Lori MatsumotoPortland, OR is an embarrassment in riches in terms of talented comic book creators, and one of our very favorites is Colleen Coover. Recently, the Gingerbread Girl creator has had a lot of success with her new series, Bandette, with co-creator Paul Tobin.

    If you’re in the Portland Area, be sure to stop by Colleen’s Bandette Gallery Reception on Friday, August 10th at our Portland Things From Another World shop, but you’ll read more about that later…

    We had the chance to chat with Coover about her introduction to the world of comics, her favorite part about working in the industry, and what we can expect from her soon.

    TFAW.com: What are your earliest memories of comics? What was the first comic you read?

    Batman and Robin. Biff! Pow!Colleen Coover: I honestly can’t remember. My sister is seven years older than me, and our grandmother had already been giving her all the “stripped” coverless comics from the five-and-dime store where she worked. I’ve literally been reading comics since before I knew what the words meant.

    TFAW.com: What inspired you to work in the comic book industry?

    Coover: Again; early, early childhood. I remember “drawing” the characters from the Batman TV show. Batman was a scribble, Robin was a scribble with an R on his chest.

    TFAW.com: How did you break into the comics industry?

    Colleen Coover's Small Favors at TFAW.comCoover: Pretty much when I finished one comics story and did not stop. A successful comics career is not a matter of when you get your first paycheck, but when you put your first story out into the world. Submitting a hundred finished pages of Small Favors to Fantagraphics/Eros was probably the biggest step forward I’ve ever taken.

    TFAW.com: How has your experience been as a female in the industry?

    Coover: As opposed to my experience as a dude? *wink!* I’ve been gratified to have the respect of my peers and colleagues from the word go. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

    TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part of telling stories in the sequential arts?

    Coover: The best is when I draw something that tickles me in some way. It doesn’t have to be overt; once I cracked myself up by signing my name in a scrawl for a mock New Yorker strip. If I’m having fun drawing, that will communicate itself to the readers, and they’ll have fun too.

    TFAW.com: What do you think comic book publishers should be doing or have been doing to attract female readers?

    Coover: Diversification of genre, diversification of target age group, diversification of art and storytelling style. Most of the independent publishers have figured that out already.

    TFAW.com: What aspect of comics have you struggled with, as a creator?

    Coover: I will sometimes lose focus and dawdle on a project if I don’t have a definite deadline. Fortunately, I’ve had great editors and co-creators who help me stay motivated and keep on track!

    TFAW.com: What advice can you give aspiring comic book creators?

    Coover: I kind of hate the word “aspiring.” What’s that line from Rocky Horror? “Don’t Dream It, Be It.” If you are making comics, you aren’t aspiring to be a creator, you’re doing it.

    TFAW.com: Who’s work has had an influence in your art?

    Coover: Short answer: everything I’ve ever read. I’m always confused by artists who can point to a single source of inspiration and say “that’s it; that’s where I come from.” I like to encourage young artists who maybe haven’t grown up with comics the way I did to make an effort to read stuff from before they were born, especially, or if they’ve only read one genre, to make an effort to look out side of that. The more varied influences a person has, the richer that person’s art can be.

    Some of my major influences are: Milton Caniff, Los Bros Hernandez, Alex Toth, Harvey Comics, Jack Kirby, Archie Comics, Hayao Miyazaki, Wendy Pini, Wally Wood, Darwyn Cooke, Peter Arno, and Jack Davis. I could go on.

    TFAW.com: Who’s one woman in comics that you admire?

    Coover: Marie Severin is a giant of American comics. She did it all, in every genre: coloring, art, and production work. Kate Beaton is one of my favorite contemporary cartoonists. She’s so smart and funny, and I love that she’s doing exactly what she enjoys. That’s what makes a person truly successful.

    TFAW.com: What was the last comic you read?

    Coover: I read the web comic Oglaf weekly. It updates on Sundays. [Editor’s Note: Adult themes! Be warned! Enjoy.]

    Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin's Bandette #1 now available digitally through comiXologyTFAW.com: Can you tell us a little about your newest comic, Bandette?

    Coover: Bandette, which is written by my husband Paul Tobin and drawn by me, is one of those dream projects where you get to do anything and everything you want to do. It’s a faux-French crime caper — “faux” in that neither of us is French or knows the language. It takes everything we love about European comics, ’60s spy movies, heist stories, girl detectives, and boy’s adventure stories and mashes it all up. It’s published digitally by Monkeybrain Comics through ComiXology [for just $0.99!, BTW].

    TFAW.com: Later this week, your art gallery opens at our Portland shop. What piece are you most excited to show everybody?

    Coover: I’m showing all 13 pages of the first issue of Bandette, plus two pages from another digital story called Rose’s Heart, which appeared in the Double Feature Horror #3 issue. Rose’s Heart is a story I wrote as an attempt to recreate the marvelously cheesy Gothic Horror-Romance comics from the early ’70s.

    TFAW.com: What projects do you have coming up soon?

    Coover: More Bandette! That’s going to be my focus for some time. I also have some work for a major book publisher starting up soon, and meanwhile I’m noodling away at writing the occasional gay romance prose story.

    —————-

    We want to thank Colleen again for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer all of our questions! If you’re in the Portland area, be sure to come to Colleen’s Bandette Gallery Reception on Friday, August 10. You’ll want to get to our new Portland Things From Another World shop promptly at 7:00, because the first 100 people will get a free Limited Edition Bandette Print, made especially for the show!

    Have you read Bandette #1? Did you love it as much as we did? Let us know below.

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  • , , , ,

    Roger Langridge Talks About Snarked!

    Snarked #0 at TFAW.comAlways on the hunt for a great all-ages title to check out, I was excited to see Snarked! in this month’s new offerings.

    The introductory issue, Snarked #0, features an all-original eight-page story featuring “The Walrus and The Carpenter” from Through the Looking Glass, the same Walrus that inspired the Beatles song “I Am the Walrus.” The issue also includes a full issue’s worth of back matter that dives deep into the world of Snarked! with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the new series.

    We were lucky enough to get the chance to chat about this new Kaboom! title with Harvey Award-winning creator Roger Langridge, who’s both providing the art and writing for the book.

    TFAW.com: Hi Roger! Can you introduce us to Snarked?

    Roger Langridge: Snarked! is a story set in a Lewis Carroll-inspired world, though not directly adapted from any existing Carroll works–it’s more that I’ve got a story of my own which I’m filling with characters I’ve freely plundered from his books.

    The main protagonists are the Walrus and the Carpenter, a couple of charming con-men, and a young Red Queen, Queen Scarlett (who is eight years old in our story) and her little brother Rusty. They’re thrust together very much against their will in order to go on a quest–to rescue Scarlett and Rusty’s missing father, the Red King–in the face of whatever wacky, Carroll-themed obstacle I can throw at them.

    TFAW.com: Why did you choose “The Walrus and the Carpenter” from Through the Looking-Glass?

    Langridge: I love working with those kinds of double-acts–the intelligent, not-entirely-scrupulous one and the dim, guileless sidekick. That dynamic goes right back to my first published characters, Art d’Ecco and the Gump, and on through Doctor Sputnik and Spud. The Walrus and the Carpenter are the latest to follow in that tradition. It’s such great fun to write those character dynamics.

    TFAW.com: How did you handle the challenge of creating an ongoing series from a poem?

    Langridge: Well, as I say, it’s an original story, with characters cherry-picked from the works of Lewis Carroll, so it wasn’t as if the poem was my only starting point–it was one ingredient in a soup of ideas that had been swilling around in my head for a while. Snarked! is more like three distinct concepts that I mashed together and found (to my happy surprise) that they kind of worked better that way.

    Snarked preview pencilsSnarked preview inksSnarked preview inksTFAW.com: What influenced your visual look for these characters, and their world?

    Langridge: I wanted to try and avoid directly riffing off any existing interpretations of Carroll’s characters and make things look as stylistically “Langridge” as I could–which means filtered through my usual influences; old-style comedy, British humour cartooning, old American newspaper strips and so on.

    The nice thing about Carroll’s characters is that they’ve withstood multiple visual interpretations over the decades–from the definitive Sir John Tenniel versions through Arthur Rackham, Walt Disney, Ralph Steadman and all the rest. So I felt pretty free to reinterpret things my own way without feeling that I was compromising the spirit of the characters–those many interpretations are a part of the characters now.

    TFAW.com: In the poem, the Walrus and the Carpenter are master manipulators, charming oysters right into their gullets. Will they be as disreputable in Snarked?

    Langridge: Ooh, yes. Con-men, thieves and scoundrels. Though they may just surprise us every now and then…

    TFAW.com: What can you tell us about Princess Scarlett and Prince Rusty?

    Langridge: Princess Scarlett–who pretty quickly becomes Queen Scarlett–is eight years old. Both she and her young brother Rusty have been trained for monarchy since birth, but Rusty is really too young to grasp what it’s all about; Scarlett, on the other hand, is used to being treated like the royalty she is, and doesn’t mind letting you know about it.

    It’s her steely determination and ability to bend others to her will that are really the engine of the story–she gets the quest off and running. Rusty, a pre-verbal tot, is happy to tag along with his big sister–though his penchant for wandering off and getting into trouble causes complications right from the start.

    TFAW.com: Will there be any other references to Through the Looking-Glass or Alice in Wonderland?

    Langridge: There’ll be other characters from Carroll’s works popping up, yes–not just from the Alice books, but (as the title suggests) from The Hunting of the Snark as well.

    TFAW.com: You’ve been the pen behind several critically acclaimed kid-friendly comics, including The Muppet Show and Thor: The Mighty Avenger. What keeps drawing you to this material?

    Langridge: People keep asking! I guess I’ve found a niche, which I’m happy to occupy–I have two kids myself, one a daughter who’s eight years old and one a son who’s a few years younger. (And people wonder where I get my ideas from!) It feels right at this stage of my career to be creating work that I can share with them.

    Apart from the personal connection, I believe it’s important that comics for every type of reader should exist–it’s vital to the long-term health of the comics medium–and I’m committed to the idea of quality kids’ comics that don’t talk down to their readers. I believe these kinds of comics are important.

    TFAW.com: With Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Chris Samnee took on the art duties. Here, you’re pulling double duty again. Which do you prefer?

    Langridge: They both have their appeal! I do like being responsible for the whole package, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing for other artists. I never expected that I would like it half as much as I did. I see no reason not to continue to have my cake and eat it too.

    TFAW.com: Do you have any other projects in the works for BOOM!’s Kaboom! line?

    Langridge: Not right now, I don’t. My current workload is keeping me working at full capacity. I like to sleep now and again; I’m old-fashioned that way!

    We want to thank Roger for taking time out of his busy work schedule to talk to us about Snarked!. The book sounds (and looks) like loads of fun and you can’t beat a $1.00 introductory price ($0.80 when you pre-order at TFAW.com)!

    ORDER YOUR COPY OF SNARKED! #0 TODAY–JUST $0.80

    SEE ALL UPCOMING BOOM! STUDIOS COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

    What do you think about this exciting all-ages comic book series? I know a certain 2-year-old who will be getting a copy from her dad in August. Post your comments below!

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  • , , , ,

    Keith R.A. DeCandido and Will Sliney Talk About Farscape Comics

    With only a few short days left of BOOM! Month at TFAW, we’re breaking out the big guns and finishing it in style. We tracked down Farscape writer Keith R.A. DeCandido and artist Will Sliney for a frelling awesome interview and the accompanying Farscape Contest. Here’s how it all went down. –Warning, some spoilers below–

    TFAW.com: What was it like, moving from writing the Farscape novels to the comics, Keith?

    Keith R.A. DeCandido: Well, just in general, the transition from prose to comics has been fascinating. In prose, you’re a lone wolf–everything rides entirely upon the writer’s words. But in comics, you’re only part of the storytelling, with the art, the colors, the lettering all playing a big role. Plus the storytelling space is much more proscribed.

    In a novel–even in a short story–you have a certain flexibility of length. But in a comic book, you have to tell the story in 22 pages–no more, no less. That presents all kinds of challenges, as it dictates the pacing and forces you to boil the story down to its essence and its most important elements.

    TFAW.com: As with many sci-fi shows, Farscape has a dense history in terms of plot and lots of regular and recurring characters. What do you focus on, when fleshing out new stories?

    KRAD: Depends on the needs of that particular story. Farscape is a sufficiently broad franchise in the types of stories that can be told and in the sheer volume of interesting characters that the focus changes depending on the needs of the story.

    TFAW.com: What’s the creative process like between you and Rockne O’Bannon? How involved is he now?

    KRAD: Up until the current “The War for the Uncharted Territories” storyline, the process was as follows: Rockne wrote a very detailed plot of each four-issue arc–usually about 20 pages of a PDF–then I’d write a page-by-page breakdown, which might add some details. Rockne and I would go over that, and then I’d write the script, which would go to Rockne, and he’d then give me notes on the script.

    That changed with “TWftUT” arc because Rockne’s situation changed: he became Supervising Producer on the new V television series, and suddenly he no longer had the time to go over so many specifics with me. But Rockne also–very generously–trusts me with the characters, especially after two years of working together, so he wrote an overview of the 12-issue storyline (one that was about as detailed as the four-issue arcs of the past), leaving me to fill in the blanks of the plot and write the scripts. That’s why I have a co-plotting credit on this particular storyline. The broad strokes are Rockne’s, as are some of the details, and the remaining details and the script are mine.

    But Rockne and the Jim Henson Company have final say over everything.

    TFAW.com: How much influence do you have on how the stories develop?

    KRAD: I’ve had more as time goes on. And sometimes I’ll make a suggestion that Rockne will like. As an example, it was my idea to bring Sikozu back. Rockne wanted to bring back Grunchlk, and since he was last seen with Sikozu in The Peacekeeper Wars, it seemed a natural that she be there too. And he liked the dynamic she added to the storyline.

    Preview of Farscape #17
    Farscape #17 page 1 preview

    TFAW.com: Will, has KRAD been pretty hands-on, or have you been given a lot of freedom to leave your mark on the franchise?

    Will Sliney: I’m lucky to have gotten to know KRAD as the series went on. He definitely knows how to write for artists, and at the right time every once in a while I get a note telling me to go crazy on a page, which of course I like. The guy loves Farscape, and if there ever is any specific direction from him on how to do something, then it’s going to be the right way to handle it.

    TFAW.com: Will, you have a lot of Farscape issues under your belt, what have been your favorite moments in the series so far?

    WS: I have a few. Getting to draw the crew on the bridge of Moya for the first time was a special moment for me. Aeryn taking over the Peacekeepers is probably my favourite story moment. I read the plot and got real excited when I knew that moment was coming up, because it’s such a profound moment in Farscape history. As for fun moments, that’s gotta be issue #17 of the ongoing, which stars just Rygel and Scorpius. I love those two guys.

    TFAW.com: Keith, you’ve been writing Farscape comics for years now–what has changed in that time for you, as a comics writer?

    KRAD: I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with the medium. I recently re-read my first comics work, which was way back in 1999–a Star Trek: The Next Generation comic book for WildStorm–and it was painfully awkward. After doing this for almost three years, and with more than 40 Farscape comics under my belt, I’ve settled into a nice rhythm. I think the issues are better paced now and I have a much better sense of what the medium can do and how to write properly within the form. Those old Trek comics read way too much like a prose writer trying comics for the first time . . .

    Preview of Farscape #17
    Farscape #17 page 2 preview

    TFAW.com: Were you a fan of the TV show before you started working on the comic, Will?

    WS: Yep, absolutely. I watched Farscape back when I was in college. My roommate was a huge sci-fi fan and converted me onto it. I had seen a lot of it on the BBC, but that was the first time I got to watch it chronologically. I was just about caught up before the Peacekeepers war hit.

    There is a line in the DVD of the movie which I distinctly remember, where someone at Jim Henson mentions that they hoped Farscape continued in some form some day, so it was great as a fan to be part of that continuation.

    TFAW.com: Keith, there have been some huge changes to the Farscape universe under your pen: Aeryn is now the Commandant of the Peacekeepers, and characters like Kirlix and Sikozu are dead. What have been some of the most controversial developments, in your mind?

    KRAD: Well, besides Aeryn becoming leader of the people who kicked her out, and away from whom she thrived, I’d say the most controversial is having Chiana get together with a killer who’s going after Crichton and Aeryn’s son.

    TFAW.com: How did you come to work on Farscape, Will?

    WS: BOOM! pretty much plucked me from European comics. I had a trial for another series, and thankfully they chose me for this one instead, as it has gotten quite a healthy run.

    TFAW.com: Keith, when we interviewed you at SDCC last year, you had a fan come up who was pretty fired up. Does it surprise you how invested fans are in your work?

    Preview of Farscape #17
    Farscape #17 page 3 preview

    KRAD: No, because I was part of Farscape fandom long before I became involved professionally. I used to post on the old Sci-Fi Channel Boards on their Dominion website back in the mists of prehistory, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and “wireless” was what people used to call radios in the early 20th century.

    I still participate in the discussions on the boards that continue to talk about Farscape to this day. I know exactly how passionate the fans are, because I’m one of them. It’s why a comic book based on a TV show that had been off the air for half a decade has been a success.

    TFAW.com: Do you have any fan stories, Will?

    WS: Yeah I do. I’d get to meet tons of fans at comic cons, and they all seem really happy that Farscape was brought back. Those are definitely the best moments. Some have even gone as far as to send me reference imagery of the Farscape props and original costumes that they own.

    TFAW.com: So the events of Farscape: Scorpius have converged with the regular series, bringing the godlike, villianous Kkore to the Uncharted Territories. Were you excited to have Scorpius to play with?

    KRAD: Amusingly, I was initially against having Scorpius even show up in the first miniseries. I got over that, though. I also wanted to have Rygel condemn him to a dungeon on Hyneria rather than exile him. But after reading what Rockne and my buddy David Alan Mack did with him in the Scorpius series, I was thrilled at the notion of getting him to write for.

    A part of me thought that Scorpius’s story was more or less finished when the Command Carrier blew up at the end of the third season, and I was never entirely comfortable with having him on Moya in the fourth.

    But the Kkore storyline has done a wonderful job of showcasing what makes Scorpius such a fantastic character, and he’s been a joy to write. In fact, my absolute favorite issue of any Farscape comic book to write to date has been issue #17 of the ongoing series, which is basically a Rygel and Scorpius road movie.

    Preview of Farscape #17
    Farscape #17 page 4 preview

    TFAW.com: So far, the Kkore seem unstoppable: they have the technology, the will, and the intelligence to do whatever they wish. Even Scorpius feels they might be his superiors. What is the point of pitting our heroes against an omnipotent force? How can they possibly succeed?

    KRAD: You’ll just have to keep reading . . .

    TFAW.com: It seems that Scorpius doesn’t always agree with the Kkore’s directives–such as destroying peaceful planets–but so far he’s fine with carrying them out. Scorpius knows their power and capabilities, but I can’t picture him not trying to subvert them in the future–am I right?

    KRAD: There’s a comment Scorpius makes: “Reflected glory is no glory at all.” There’s only so long he’s going to serve an agenda that isn’t his own.

    TFAW.com: Sikozu underwent such a journey, as a character. She sacrificed everything for her people, was shunned because of it, and just as she was finding her feet again, she discovers that her people are dead, then sacrifices herself for the greater good. When was this decided, and why did she have to die?

    KRAD: Rockne, our editor Ian Brill, and I all agreed from the outset that this storyline had to have consequences, that characters we knew and cared about had to die in order for this to be effective as a story in the Farscape universe. Trust me, Sikozu’s not the last death we’re going to see . . .

    TFAW.com: We’ve received some answers as to how Deke’s mutation occurred–systematic poisoning of the Peacekeepers’ food supply–but does that mean that there are other children out there who share it? Can they also affect time?

    KRAD: Yes and we don’t know. Yet.

    TFAW.com: Speaking of PK children, Commandant Cleavage (Grayza) and her child have been exiled, much as Aeryn was. When will we see them again?

    KRAD: Good question . . .

    TFAW.com: Deke is still an infant in the comics. Will he experience any rapid aging, as many kids on TV shows do, to move his story forward?

    KRAD: I see no reason to. Honestly, there are plenty of ways to tell Deke’s story without the artificial aging. Besides, right now we’re still in the “past,” as it were, since the comics take place in the first couple of years after PKW, which took place in (roughly) 2003-2004 or so. So all we have to do to age Deke is to jump ahead a few years into the actual present of the second decade of the 21st century . . .

    TFAW.com: All in all, we’ve only read the first part of The War for the Uncharted Territories, which will be a 12-part series. Can you tell give us any hints of what’s ahead?

    KRAD: Lots more death and destruction. Actions having consequences. Rygel and Scorpius together again. And copious uses of the word “frell.”

    Preview of Farscape #17
    Farscape #17 page 5 preview

    TFAW.com: Do you have a favorite character to draw, Will?

    WS: Well, it used to be Crichton, but as the series went on, and because it was a long long time before he came into the ongoing, Scorpius is definitely my favourite.

    TFAW.com: I’m really tickled by Scorpius’s lizard friend, “John.” Is there any significance to his name? Also, could you please assure me that nothing bad will happen to him?

    KRAD: It was Dave Mack’s idea to name him John, and why not? After all, nobody has been a bigger force in Scorpius’s life the past couple of cycles than John Crichton, and while Scorpius isn’t renowned for his sense of humor, he does have one, and I think he derives some satisfaction from naming a helpless creature that he rescued from a frigid wasteland after Crichton.

    And I have no plans to do anything to John, though he will go through quite a bit in issue #17 . . .

    TFAW.com: In “Gone and Back,” in an alternate timeline, John Crichton and Scorpius are friends. What do you think it would take for them to be friends in the original timeline? Is that even a possibility?

    KRAD: I don’t see any way for them to be friends in the mainline timeline because their relationship started with Scorpius torturing Crichton for, y’know, a while. And there’s likely never going to be a circumstance under which Scorpius will ever regret that particular action, nor the many reprehensible actions he’s taken since then (killing a bunch of Banik slaves just to get at Jothee, leaving Crichton with his brain exposed and his language center frelled, threatening Deke).

    It’s possible that some day, Crichton might consider the possibility of forgiving Scorpius, but that’ll be a very very long time from the present, and that still doesn’t mean he’d be willing to befriend him.

    (Scorpius and Crichton are friends in the “Gone and Back” timeline because they didn’t meet on the Gammak Base. They only went there to save Aeryn, after all. Scorpius never tortured Crichton, and they encountered each other later on in the timeline.)

    TFAW.com: What are you most looking forward to in the Farscape universe?

    KRAD: The fan reaction to issue #17, which is the Rygel-Scorpius road movie I was telling you about . . .

    TFAW.com: What other BOOM! books are you digging right now, Will?

    WS: All the books from the Irredeemable universe are pure gold, and I was delighted to see that their Stan Lee superhero books are great too. 28 Days Later is great too, but my favourites are the Mark Waid books.

    Will's Scorpius Sketch
    Win this Scorpius sketch by Will Sliney

    We’re psyched that Will offered up this sketch of Scorpius for our Farscape Contest. All you gotta do to enter is post your favorite Farscape moment (from the comic or the TV show) by March 31, 2011. For complete rules and alternate entry methods, please visit the Farscape Contest page.

    What has your favorite Farscape moment been? Post your comments below to enter to win this sketch!

    FIND OUT HOW TO WIN THE FARSCAPE SKETCH BY WILL SLINEY

    SEE ALL THE HOTTEST FARSCAPE PRODUCTS AT TFAW

    READ BOOM! MONTH INTERVIEWS & MORE

    VISIT OUR BOOM! MONTH PAGE

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    Christopher Monfette Talks About New Hellraiser Comics

    BOOM! Month presses forward today, and we’ve got something very special for you horror fans out there! We’ve got an exclusive interview with Christopher Monfette, who’s teamed with Clive Barker to pen the new Hellraiser comic book series, which kicks off with today’s release of issue #1. Throughout the interview, you’ll find preview pages from the first issue, so be sure to check those out in greater detail by clicking on each image.

    I got the chance to read an advanced preview of the first issue, and I was completely blown away. The whole team knocked it out of the park. I couldn’t be more excited for the story that Barker and Monfette have set up, and Leonardo Manco delivers stunning visuals.

    Before you dig into Monfette’s interview, you’ll want to check out the link below. We’ve got access to an original eight-page Hellraiser story that serves as a prelude to the first issue of the series. It’ll put you in a good place to read the interview.

    Now, on to the main event. Warning, some readers might find the images below disturbing. Not recommended for younger readers.

    Hellraiser #1 Preview Page 1
    Hellraiser #1 Preview pg. 1

    TFAW.com: Can you tell us a little about the new Hellraiser comic book series?

    Christopher Monfette: Despite all that’s come before–the films, the comics, etc.–this series is the true continuation of Clive’s vision as he presented it 25 years ago. This Pinhead is Doug Bradley’s Pinhead; this world is the world of Kirsty Cotton, of the Channard Institute. Our canon is simple: The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser, and Hellraiser II.

    The story finds Pinhead at the height of his melancholy. He’s murdered the masses; he’s solved the riddles of the flesh. And because he secretly clings to the ambitions of his former humanity, he constructs a plan to claw his way up out of Hell.

    He makes a literal deal with the Devil. But that notion requires the unwilling participation of Kirsty Cotton, who’s been busy battling against the Lament Devices alongside the Harrowers since we last saw her in Hellbound. Thus begins a very deadly game of chess as these two characters spiral toward each other . . .

    TFAW.com: So the Harrowers play a pivotal role in the series?

    CM: The Harrowers do, indeed, make an appearance in this series, but not necessarily in the same incarnation as we’ve seen them in past comics. This is a more grounded, realistic ensemble–a group of men and women working together to track down and destroy LeMarchand’s devices. Who they are, and where they’ve come from–not necessarily as comic book heroes, but as damaged human beings–all plugs directly back into Kirsty’s story, Kirsty’s experience. The human toll. So in that sense, we’re using the word “Harrower” as a general term; Hunters of Hell, so to speak. Readers will learn much, much more about them in issue #3.

    Hellraiser #1 Preview Page 2
    Hellraiser #1 Preview pg. 2

    TFAW.com: How did Leonardo Manco come to work on the series?

    CM: Manco’s work had caught Clive’s eye somewhere along the way, and I can only imagine that it was his gritty, stark, brilliantly illustrated realism that made him perfect for the series. My own experience with Manco as writer–and–artist has been a revelation.

    Working with an artist for the first time, you can never be certain whether your visions of the world will be the same, or the degree to which they might pluck a description from the page, an imagined image from your head, and make it rise above.

    Fortunately, Manco’s work has elevated my own and opened up possibilities for me as a writer because of his jaw-dropping ability to communicate these increasingly bizarre and twisted visuals on the page. But that he can do so in a way that makes them feel like they’re appearing in a real world–our world–is what makes him the only choice for this series.

    TFAW.com: What’s been your favorite part about working on the comic so far? Have you been a fan of the Hellraiser series for awhile?

    CM: Long before I ever met Clive–and decades before I got this gig–I grew up with Hellraiser. Of all the horror icons that popped up in the early ’80s, Pinhead was the one figurehead that really spoke to me as a younger, emerging genre fan.

    The design, the mythology; there was a sense of something new, something deeper and more interesting than wholesale slasher villains. And a sizeable part of that–aside from Clive’s contribution as a visionary–was Doug Bradley’s portrayal. The voice he brought to the character, deep and resonating. Moreso than having the opportunity to craft and sustain a Hellraiser narrative, there’s a childish glee I find in scripting Pinhead’s poetic eloquence and passing it through the filter of Doug’s voice.

    If I can’t imagine how Doug would deliver a particular line, I’ll likely change it, and since this story happens within the cinematic world that Clive created, that seems like a both a fitting and necessary tribute.

    TFAW.com: What have been the biggest challenges?

    Hellraiser #1 Preview Page 3
    Hellraiser #1 Preview pg. 3

    CM: The process has been surprisingly organic, but it’s never an easy task to sustain horror within a serialized format. These aren’t simply one-off issues, after all, but rather one continuing narrative, and that comes with a unique set of demands.

    Granted, this is Hellraiser, so it might have been easy to simply toss a few odd visuals and a metric ton of gore onto the page and call it a day, but everything in this series stems first from character. Pinhead, Kirsty, the Harrowers–each of these figures have their own motivations, their own melancholies, their own fears. Demons, literal and figurative. And we, as creators, have a responsibility to deliver our trademark horror alongside actual characters and challenging ideas.

    You do a disservice to the genre when you downplay drama in favor of two-dimensional bloodshed. So delivering upon the demands of terror while offering up substantive characters–with the potential to actually move the reader–all while threading one main story through eight issues–which each must offer something new, something terrifying–is no easy feat . . .

    TFAW.com: Why did you decide to bring Kirsty back?

    CM: In a sense, the series is really a torch-passing, a transition from the Hellraiser that Clive created 25 years ago into a completely new vision of Hell.

    By the time you really get into the series, the themes, the characters, the aesthetic are going to be very, very different from where they first started, but you can’t make that kind of transformation lightly, or abruptly. We’re not rebooting the series; we’re evolving it. And in creating something that would invite new readers into the Hellraiser mythology, it felt somehow appropriate to begin in a place familiar to the fans who’ve been there all along. A mid-point between one circle of Hell and another.

    Consequently, it never seemed to me that Kirsty’s story was complete, and since we were only using The Hellbound Heart and the first two films as our canon–and since we were embracing the actual time that had passed–and since we were exploring Pinhead’s personal melancholy, his desire for a challenge–it seemed fascinating to bring back the one character who’d bested him, to explore the effects that wearing your stepmother’s skin, or falling face-first into to the flayed corpse of your father, or battling demons in Hell, might have had on Kirsty over the years.

    TFAW.com: How did you come to work on the project?

    CM: Clive and I have known each other for about six years, and I’ve scripted feature adaptations of two of his short stories for his production company: “Down, Satan” and “Son of Celluloid.”

    In 2009, we collaborated on a beautifully strange–or strangely beautiful–comic for IDW called Seduth, a surrealistic 3D horror one-off. So when the opportunity came to resurrect Pinhead–Clive’s Pinhead, the ever-real and only Pinhead–on the illustrated page, I got the phone call to come aboard. And that Clive would trust me with this iconic character, and allow me such sprawling, creative space to shape the series, is absolutely an honor.

    TFAW.com: What is it like working with Clive Barker on his beloved story?

    Hellraiser #1 Preview Page 4
    Hellraiser #1 Preview pg. 4

    CM: Clive is a fantastic collaborator not only in that his impulses are furiously creative, but in that he truly listens. Clive’s original thoughts for this series were wildly different from what you’ll see on the page, and when I offered up my own–about Kirsty, about the eventual endgame–he took them in, considered them, and together we developed an arc that combined themes and images and narrative elements that were important to both of us.

    As creator and fan, he’s exceptionally generous and uniquely open to the creative, collaborative process. The ideas that go into the mind-factory don’t exclusively have to be his own, but what comes out the other side will certainly have his artistic fingerprints. As I deliver these scripts, he’ll come back with minor notes, with sketches, that push the weirdness a bit further, that heighten the horror, that challenge the expectations of the reader.

    TFAW.com: Were you worried about joining the franchise?

    CM: Not at all. Largely because I wasn’t going in blind. In fact, I was fully armed with 25 years of ideas and a long, abiding admiration for the series. I knew from having worked with Clive in the past that I’d have a voice in the process. It’s certainly intimidating for a creator to say, “What would you do with my creation?” but the opportunity to shape the fate of an icon isn’t one that allows for much fear. And between Clive and the folks at BOOM!, the landscape was one of confidence and creativity.

    TFAW.com: What characters/elements have you brought to the story? Have any of them wowed Clive?

    CM: Certainly, the collaborative process is organic, but I felt passionately from the beginning that Kirsty needed to be a driving force behind the series. And having watched Pinhead be cinematically abused for nearly two decades on-screen, it felt to me that the tiredness of the character deserved exploration, as well.

    Those two things suggested a story in which Pinhead, having solved the mystery of the flesh–bored with the tortures of Hell, half-remembering his own discarded humanity–must manipulate the puzzle box back into the life of the woman who once escaped him. Not simply to service the diehard fans, but to be the catalyst for a massive transformation that would offer Clive a new Hell to imagine; BOOM! a fresh vision, a continuing series; and readers a little bit of something familiar before charting an entirely new territory. Clive really responded to that creative challenge and offered up particular themes, suggested the Harrowers, etc . . .

    TFAW.com: How would you describe the comic to a new reader? Who’s going to dig this series? What kind of reader are you looking to hook (no pun intended)?

    Hellraiser #1 Preview Page 5
    Hellraiser #1 Preview pg. 5

    CM: How does one describe Hellraiser? That seems like an impossible task! But this series is a character-driven horror tale of tremendous scope that serves as a mid-way point for both new fans and old.

    New readers will meet Kirsty and Pinhead at a pivotal time of change–as if they were new characters with a mysterious, unspoken past–launching them both into an entirely original vision of Hell. Long-time fans, however, will watch these aging nemeses–with so much history between them–expand into a much deeper, more complex mythology than Hellraiser has ever explored. And make no mistake, if this series is successful, this will mark the beginning of a much larger, much stranger, much more terrifying story.

    We want to thank Christopher Monfette for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about Hellraiser.

    We hope you’re as excited about this series as we are. This first issue definitely delivered. What did you think about the prelude and preview pages you saw here? We want to hear what you have to say–post your comments below.

    READ BOOM! MONTH INTERVIEWS & MORE

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    SEE ALL AVAILABLE HELLRAISER COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

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    Michael Alan Nelson & Ale Aragón Talk About 28 Days Later

    We’ve got another fantastic BOOM! Month interview for you today! 28 Days Later has been a big success for BOOM!, and a really popular series at TFAW, so we tracked down writer Michael Alan Nelson and artist Ale Aragón. They’re the creative muscle behind one of my favorite books out there right now. Here’s how it all went down. –Warning, spoilers below–

    TFAW.com: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk with us about 28 Days Later.

    Michael Alan Nelson: My pleasure.

    Alejandro Aragón: Thanks for this interview, I appreciate it.

    TFAW.com: The 28 Days Later comics take place between the events of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, and center around Selena, one of the survivors from the first film. We’re 20 issues in, and the story has had a lot of highs and lows already. Can you bring new readers up to speed on the series?

    MAN: For those who haven’t seen the film, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic Britain following the rampant spread of the Rage Virus. It’s a virus that induces uncontrollable rage and ebola-esque bleeding in those infected. And Infection occurs within 15 to 20 seconds of contact with the virus. The population has been practically wiped out. Those few still alive are most likely Infected.

    Our hero, Selena, escaped the island at the end of the film 28 Days Later. This series that I’m writing is about her return to Britain, acting as a guide for an American journalist. But after the crew sets out, all but three are killed by the time they make the mainland. From there, Selena, Clint, and Derrick struggled to make their way south toward London, where American forces hope to repatriate British citizens exiled due to Infection. They battled Infected, rogue military agents, crazed survivors, and even a king. The journey wasn’t easy, and it ultimately claimed Derrick’s life along the way. Now, it’s just Selena and Clint, the American reporter, who are finally about to reach London.

    TFAW.com: Captain Stiles was a formidable antagonist in the series. With the explosive ending in issue #20, can we expect some breathing room for Selena and Clint?

    MAN: I wouldn’t say breathing room, but they definitely do have a chance to catch their breath. For a moment or two, at least. Selena will finally get a chance to do what she came to London to do (and no, it wasn’t for the money she’d earn as a guide). This will create a different kind of tension for Selena and Clint. The final arc runs parallel to the second film, 28 Weeks Later. So if you’ve seen the sequel, you know that the repatriation of London turns out to be a little less permanent than people had hoped.

    Ale Aragón's SelenaTFAW.com: What are the biggest challenges to bringing 28 Days Later from the screen to the page?

    MAN: There are several challenges, from staying true to the universe and the characters from the film to coming up with storylines that everyone approves of. But the biggest challenge for me is maintaining a level of story quality on par with the film. 28 Days Later is a simply brilliant movie. The chance to have written a series within that universe has been an honor and a treat.

    That said, I’m always nervous about my work not living up the standard of that film. Part of that is just professional pride, obviously, but another part comes from being a big fan of the franchise. I want fans of the film to read my series and enjoy it just as much as they enjoyed the film. The last thing in the world I want is to diminish anyone’s enjoyment of the franchise. It’s my job to maintain a level of quality this franchise deserves. Of course, whether I’ve lived up to that or not is up for my readers to decide.

    TFAW.com: What’s been your favorite moment in 28 Days Later so far, Alejandro?

    AA: Ouch . . . good question. I’ve had luck working with Michael, he is a writer who brings a lot of brilliant moments to work on. I really enjoyed the moment where Selena and Stiles are arriving to the city of Manchester. That was a big event for me. It felt like entering the movie. But I think my favorite moment so far, it is coming soon on issue #22. I can’t talk about it but, I am only going to say it is a fight. Issue #22 is one of the best scripts I have ever read.

    TFAW.com: What are the best parts about working on 28 Days Later for you, Michael?

    MAN: I get to be horribly, horribly cruel to my characters. Having a story in a post-apocalyptic world opens up so many different aspects of humanity that aren’t always realistically available within a story otherwise. People, both good and bad, do some pretty strange and oftentimes horrific things once the veneer of civilization has been stripped away. Those extraordinary actions allow for some interesting ideas.

    Preview of 28 Days Later
    Rough sketch of 28 Days Later #20 page 21

    Captain Stiles is a perfect example. Blaming Selena for Major West’s death and hunting her down across an apocalyptic wasteland for revenge might not seem to make a whole lot of sense. But this is a man, a soldier, who has lost everything. Everything. His job, his family, his friends, his home, his country, his culture, his very way of life. What would that do to someone? Especially someone who has spent their life finding enemies and killing them? For a man of action, all of that loss, all of that rage needs to be directed somewhere. Preferably at an enemy. But how do you fight Infection? You don’t. So he goes after the only enemy he can find: Selena. And he goes after her with such zeal because it’s the only thing he has left.

    Selena’s ultimate reason for agreeing to go back to London is based on a similar mindset. When everything is taken from us, we hold on to the last tenuous piece of that lost world in a death grip. And that grip makes us do things that we might not even consider under normal circumstances. But these aren’t normal circumstances, and I think that having a universe like 28 Days Later allows me to take characters to those extremes that I might not normally be able to in a non-apocalyptic setting. I’m not saying it can’t be done (I’m sure it has been and done well), I’m just saying I personally find it more freeing.

    TFAW.com: Selena’s a really strong, hardened character. She knows what it takes to survive and doesn’t pull any punches. Recent events have shown us a softer side of Selena we haven’t seen too much of. Was it difficult to make these tonal shifts?

    MAN: It’s always difficult trying to make a character well-rounded and relatable. I think the trick to making it work is to do it gradually, so when that softer side finally shows itself, it doesn’t seem completely foreign and out of place. From the start of the series, we see Selena slowly poke her head out of her shell from time to time, but when she does, it’s usually followed by some tragedy. Naturally, she’s going to wall herself off, get harder, get stronger. But everyone has limits. Everyone. If your character, no matter how bad or tough they are, doesn’t have a breaking point, they’re going to come off as pretty two-dimensional.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are some stories where the hardcore hero who can kill anything with his pinky finger is a lot of fun to read. But for a series like 28 Days Later that’s more grounded, I needed to make sure Selena had some vulnerability, even if she did keep it buried too deep for anyone to see. So what we see throughout the series, is Selena’s armor slowly being chipped away by what she has had to suffer. This allows those occasional moments of vulnerability to sneak through.

    TFAW.com: Clint and Selena are getting pretty close–to the point where they embraced after their time apart in issue #20. Was that planned from the beginning, or did the story evolve that way?

    MAN: The relationship between Selena and Clint was planned from the very beginning. It was part of Alex Garland’s original story outline. The hard part, of course, was getting that relationship to come about organically. Though, it makes it easier when you’re dealing with two people who are, for most of the story, the last two people on earth.

    TFAW.com: Do you have any plans to give us any updates on Jim or Hannah?

    MAN: No, the vague mentions from Captain Stiles are all there is. Sorry. I didn’t want to go too deep into those characters, since I have no idea if the franchise has other uses for them or not. Since what I’m writing is considered canon, I didn’t want to hamstring any future projects or come up with something the creators didn’t like. Also, this was a story about Selena and where she is now. We know that Jim and Hannah were basically taken away from her, but that is just one tragedy in a long line of misfortunes she’s had to deal with. They were a part of Selena’s past, but they weren’t the most important. They’re not the part of her history that gets her to take up her machete again.

    Preview of 28 Days Later
    28 Days Later #20 page 21 Inks
    The look and feel of the book is absolutely in keeping with the films. Can you tell us a little about how Alejandro came to be involved with the book and what his work brings to the table?

    MAN: I’ve never been directly involved with choosing artists, and for good reason. I have no idea what I’m looking for. Thankfully, the girls and boys over at BOOM! do know what they’re looking for and are able to find the right people for the job. I do know that Alejandro came on after Declan left around issue #12 or so. Declan really created a mood and a tone for the series, so when he left, I was worried there would be a tonal shift in the art. But Alejandro came in with guns blazing. He’s got the tone down and really does a great job in capturing the emotion of the characters. He does a fantastic job of making me look like a better writer than I really am.

    TFAW.com: How did you come to work on 28 Days Later, Alejandro?

    AA: I always wanted to work with BOOM! Studios (I wanted it really bad ?). I was fan of a lot of books they were publishing like Cthulhu Tales, Fall of Cthulhu, 28 Days Later, Unthinkable and many others. So, I went to BOOM! Studios’ website. I visited their forum and I found there is a section where you can make a post and upload your stuff, experience, and personal information. Ian Brill (my editor right now) contacted me a few weeks later, and since that day, we kept in touch. One day, after five or six months, he emailed me asking if I’d be interested about work on one issue of 28 Days Later and just . . . I couldn’t believe it. I still remember that day like one of the most amazing moment of my life.

    TFAW.com: Were you a fan of the movies before you started working on the book?

    AA: Yeah! I am really fan of both movies, especially 28 Days Later. The truth is, I am a big fan of Danny Boyle’s movies. When I found that he was working on a horror film I couldn’t wait to put my eyes on it. I only had to see Jim walking alone on the empty streets of London, those shots of the buildings, all in complete silence, to know I was in front of a brilliant movie (of course, I never thought I would have the chance to work on the comic about this film some day).

    TFAW.com: You’ve done some really powerful stuff, like Derrick’s goodbye in issue #14. Do you feel affected by your own work after you finish a panel or a page?

    AA: Wow, thanks. I am glad you like it, but I think that was all merit of Michael. Speaking about that scene, I remember I followed the script 100%. Working with him is always an honor.

    And my answer for your question is “Yes.” Not always, of course, but the truth is sometimes it happens. It all depends on how much you identify with a character. I believe in the art like it’s some kind of exorcism, and working on crime noir and horror books is like being getting out the trash every day. Sometimes I ask myself why I enjoy working on crime noir and horror books so much, and to really get to the truth, I think this is the way I have to deal with a lot of things. When you put your heart in your work, and when you work from your heart and give everything you have, there will be always emotions involved.

    Preview of 28 Days Later
    28 Days Later #20 page 21 with color
    TFAW.com: You’re from Argentina, right? What work do you do to capture Britain’s landscapes?

    AA: Yes, I am. When I got my script, the second thing I did (first I read it, of course) is my research. Movies, books and Internet, too. Then I try to focus on those details which make the buildings or landscape looks unique and different respective to other places of the world. Sometimes I got it, sometimes not, but I always try. I will quote a few words of Eduardo Risso which express clearly what I feel. One time he said: “I am not historian, I am comic artist” ? That was really cool and I am agree with that sentence. I work hard so the readers can feels the characters are in Scotland or England, but I am sure, if you seek obsessively, you will find a few mistakes too.

    When I am working on any story, my intention is not get a perfect representation of reality. I feel happy if I can create the right mood and atmosphere, if I can transmit emotions. That is my goal on every page.

    AA: I usually count 30 days since I get the script. Then I have to read it and do my research. I usually spend a couple of days working on the thumbnails, these must be approved by my editor, and then it’s time to start! I can get a few days more or less but, generally, I have between 25 and 28 days to get done the book (penciled and inked).

    TFAW.com: Michael, you got the gig because you wrote a six-page story about Selena, right? Have you incorporated any of that story in the comic?

    MAN: No, that “mini” took place during the original onset of Infection. It was about Selena and Mark, along with a man named David (not Selena’s husband, David) trying to escape a parking garage. I’ve used bits of its tone and similar situations throughout the series, but I never put it in whole cloth anywhere. It was really just a character study on Selena and her ability to survive.

    Preview of 28 Days Later
    28 Days Later #20 page 21 final version
    TFAW.com: Do you have a set ending in mind? Has it changed since you got started on this adventure? Where are we in relation to the ending you have in mind?

    MAN: Yes, in fact I just finished the final rewrite of the last script. This last four-issue arc, “Homecoming,” is all that’s left, and then it will be over. Some of the specifics have changed since I started writing the series two years ago, but we always knew where we were headed and what would happen once we got there. Some of the scenes are different than I originally had anticipated, but the outcome is still the same.

    TFAW.com: You’ve been working with BOOM! since they started back in the day. How has it been to see your books help push the company to the success that they’ve achieved in such a short amount of time?

    MAN: Well, first let me say that as much as my ego would love to say that yes, it was indeed my books that helped propel BOOM! to success, the truth is Ross Richie is the reason BOOM! is where it’s at today. He knew the right people to hire, from creators to editors to marketing managers, and how to shape the vision of his company into a success. I’m just very fortunate that he likes what I do and has let me tag along for the ride. And I’m very proud of the work I do for BOOM! It has been such a joy to see my work in print, not to mention how incredibly thrilling it is to know that people actually read my books.

    TFAW.com: What other BOOM! books are you digging right now? Do you have any other projects on deck?

    MAN: Obviously, anything with Mark Waid’s name on it is a must read. His “I” books are fantastic, but I’m in love with his Potter’s Field and Unknown series as well. For my own projects, I have Insurrection v.3.6 and Malignant Man coming out very soon. As for more Hexed, there is nothing in the world I would love to do more. Hopefully, with the release of the softcover very soon, we can hook some more readers and really get some demand going for Hexed to return. But it all depends on Hexed fans getting the word out. If there’s enough interest in the series, we’ll be able to bring it back. So if anyone out there reading is a fan and wants more Hexed, spread the word far and wide. Shout it from the rooftops. I’d do it, but my neighbors already think I’ve stopped taking my lithium.

    AA: Irredeemable, The Traveler, Dracula: Company of Monsters and I can’t wait for: Hellraiser, Planet of the Apes, and Insurrection (and yes, I am still a big freak comic reader).

    TFAW.com: Anything else you want to let us know about?

    MAN: If you like what I do, I have a huge back catalog of books at BOOM! that you should check out like Dingo and Fall of Cthulhu, just to name a few.

    TFAW.com: Thanks for talking about 28 Days Later with us guys!

    MAN: Any time.

    AA: Thanks!

    We want to thank Michael Alan Nelson and Ale Aragón for taking the time out of their busy schedules to chat with us about 28 Days Later.

    Ale's Selena Sketch
    Win this Selena sketch by Ale Aragón

    We’re also psyched that Ale offered up this sketch of Selena for our 28 Days Later Contest. All you gotta do to enter is post your favorite 28 Days Later moment (from the comic or the films) by March 22, 2011. For complete rules and alternate entry methods, please visit the 28 Days Later Contest page.

    What has your favorite 28 Days Later moment been? Post your comments below to enter to win this sketch!

    FIND OUT HOW TO WIN THE 28 DAYS LATER SKETCH BY ALE ARAGÓN

    READ BOOM! MONTH INTERVIEWS & MORE

    VISIT OUR BOOM! MONTH PAGE

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    Ian Brill and James Silvani Bring Darkwing Duck to Life

    Darkwing DuckOne of my favorite new comic book series of 2010 has been Darkwing Duck, by Ian Brill and James Silvani. I was super-excited to see the return of the Duck Knight after years of his absence and was even more excited to have the success catapult the miniseries into a monthly book. It’s one of a handful of titles I really look forward to each month.

    Sure, us twenty-somethings have nostalgia for the franchise, but Darkwing Duck is also an awesome series for you to pass on to a youngster in your life, and that’s why we’re featuring it during Kids Comics Month at TFAW.

    We had the chance to chat with series writer Ian Brill and artist James Silvani to get their take on the fan response to the series, their favorite parts so far, and where the book is headed.

    TFAW.com: You brought DW back this past summer after about 20 years. What was the most difficult part of resurrecting the franchise?

    Ian Brill: I sit in front of a computer and think of things for a cartoon duck to say, it’s never THAT difficult. But I did spend a lot of time making sure this is a book that all generations can enjoy. Whether that was people who grew up on the show, people who just want a great comic or kids discovering Darkwing for the first time, I wanted to craft stories all people could enjoy.

    James Silvani: Finding viable model sheets. Actually, DW creator Tad Stones and Disney have been great about providing reference. When you watch the videos of the past shows, the animation and characters varied so widely it was tough to capture a definitive look. I really wanted to present the characters and setting the way the readers would remember in their mind’s eye and the reference from the original source was a big help.

    TFAW.com: Did you watch the TV show back in the day? What preparation did you do to step into the roles of writer and artist for an established story like Darkwing Duck?

    Brill: I was a huge fan of it and all of the Disney Afternoon. I would finish my homework right after school so I wouldn’t miss the entire block. 1991-1992 was the highlight for me, because that was DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin and then Darkwing. The best.

    I watched many, many episodes of the show. I still do. I thought a lot about what drew me to the show, what are the elements of these characters that I could mine for good stories. Things like Darkwing’s ego and Goslayn’s perpetual peppiness certainly stood out.

    Silvani: The early ’90s was last great era of TV animation. The Batman Animated series, Duck Tales and DW were all part of my daily routine. It was great to pull out the DVDs to get back into the mode. My goal coming into the book was to make the readers at least visually feel like the cartoon was never gone.

    TFAW.com: Fan response has been pretty amazing, both online and at conventions. Has there been a moment where you stepped back and marveled at it all?

    Continue reading

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