Category Archives: Interviews

We Talk About Wonderland with Manuel Preitano

Graphic Policy:  Grimm Fairy Tales features Calie Liddle as its main character, and unlike many other characters in comics it has looked at her evolution from a younger age to being older.  She has undergone various changes in her appearance, but when taking on the role of the White Queen she evidently changed again.  How do you draw her differently to reflect the fundamental change in the character?

Preitano_Wonderland_pinup1bwManuel Preitano:  I was lucky enough to approach the amazing world of Wonderland gradually: first with the five issues miniseries “Clash of Queens”, which focused on the four queens of Wonderland battling each other; then, the main series, with Wonderland #33-36, which was my first occasion to draw Calie. You’re right about Calie changing a lot, and I think that’s part of the fascination of Wonderland setting. Wonderland is an unstable world that changes the people who fall into it. If you remember, in the original Alice in Wonderland book Alice undergoes a size change as soon as she gets down the rabbit hole, so this is definitely part of the Wonderland mythos. What Calie keeps all the time is her humanity, so I tried to draw her as a human being who suddenly has to deal with a wider world than she ever imagined. I had the occasion to draw her in many outfits, and I really had fun making different versions of her White Queen attire. The winter one in my Wonderland #33-36 run was a special favorite!

GP:  Calie is the queen of a land of fantasy but also based in reality on Earth.  How do you depict the character artistically to make sure that both are believable while also being the same character?

MP:  It’s her continuously changing, but keeping her humanity at the same time. The script (written by Erica Jeanne Heflin) in Wonderland #33-36 made good use of this concept, I think. We had a good variety of real world scenes and fantasy ones. In Wonderland world she commands armies, she has great powers, she faces monsters and slays them with her sword… but in the real world problems are less direct, with the solutions coming from her relationships with other people. She has different approaches to different problems, and my approach as an artist tried to reflect that, with her body language, the way she poses and so on. I hope I did a good job!

GP:  How hard is it to draw Wonderland, the realm of madness?  Do you find yourself challenged to come up with increasingly weird things?  Or is it kind of liberating as you can do whatever you want?

man001MP:  I love to draw the contrast between the real world and Wonderland, as the former tries to explain everything with logic (and this reflects in the visuals) while the latter allows way more freedom and can really contain any setting you could imagine, ready to be drawn. It’s definitely liberating, yes! Erica had me draw some wonderful things (e.g. dragons, ghouls, pixies, etc.) in her story arc, and a big part of the story was set in a huge forest. I could work this contrast between real world cities and their geometrical shapes and fantasy woods with their organic, asymmetric designs. As a huge fan of Swamp Thing, I love drawing woods, swamps, and natural settings.

GP:  Wonderland has become a lot more oriented to big cats in recent issues, with the battle of cats occurring on numerous occasions?  Do you like drawing them?

MP:  Yes! I love cats, and I love drawing cats. It always relaxes me when I have a whole Cheshire Cat sequence to draw. I’m very glad there were plenty of scenes with the character on the Wonderland related comics I worked on! Vincenzo Riccardi did a great job on Wonderland #32, where the story was really, really focused on cats!

RedRabbit_concept1GP:  Wonderland as a series seems to be venturing out from the original books and taking on the fantasy genre.  Do you have any particular inspirations when it comes to this genre?

MP:  I like to study many references before drawing something, and that’s really easy when you love the genre. They come from very different places: many French comics have visually astonishing settings, so I went through them. Among other things, video games are also a good source of inspiration, and I always try to make a mix of contemporary and old school fantasy when drawing Wonderland. Works like Sandman: Overture have been a great inspiration for the unusual settings of Wonderland, as well; I try to follow the flow, checking both classics and more modern fantasy works.

GP:  Are there any characters that stand out from a design standpoint in the Wonderland series?

MP:  I like the White Queen design a lot, but there are so many to choose from. It’s quite a colorful world when it comes to design, as many of the characters have a very distinct style. I have a soft spot for the Queen of Spades in terms of design, as she really represents the archetype of the evil queen, so I hope to see her again at some point!

GP:  The depiction of Violet as the Mad Hatter is kind of similar to that of Harley Quinn, which according to cosplayers is one of the most popular looks from comics.  Why do you think that the female jester image is so appealing?

Torment-Concept1MP:  It connects to that tradition of ambiguous, antihero characters, where you see they’re not completely evil (or they’re just crazy, so not intentionally doing evil), but they’re not good either. Harley Quinn is moved by her mad love for the Joker, and who hasn’t done crazy things for love (but not as crazy as Harley, one hopes)? Back to the Jester figure, in the Middle Ages and Renaissance there were licensed fools, people who were allowed to act crazy and criticize kings or nobles. They were allowed to tell the truth in a world dominated by strict rules and etiquette, so—no surprises here—the truth teller remains a popular figure today. Visually, characters like Mad Hatter Violet and Harley Quinn (referring to her original costume here) have a very solid look and color palette, immediately identifying them in this tradition, and this surely contributes to their popularity. I can pick a Harley Quinn costume out of a crowd of cosplayers, let’s say! The asymmetric design of Harley hints to her madness, so it’s like everything in her look talks about her inner life, which is very important in character design.

GP:  Are there any characters from the Carroll books that you would like to see introduced or reintroduced into the ongoing stories?

MP:  I love to draw monsters, so having the opportunity to draw the good ol’ Jabberwocky would be lot of fun to me!
I’ve been given the opportunity to design some creatures for the ongoing series, like Terror, the Red Rabbit, the Grinner and so on, so I’m eager to see what they’ll make me draw next time!
For the rest, Wonderland is a world with so many possibilities, so I would love to see new writers inventing new crazy concepts for the series, following Carroll’s concepts but adapting them to new times. Wouldn’t that be really fun to see? It’d be a lot of fun to draw!

We Talk About Negative Space with Ryan K. Lindsay

neg001Although relatively new to the medium of comics, Ryan K. Lindsay has already made his mark with writing credits in series such as Oxymoron, Ghost Town and Headspace.  He joined us to talk about his new series called Negative Space which features a writer living in a future that has gone a little wrong.
Graphic Policy:  Getting writer’s block when trying to write a suicide note is one of the most inventive ideas that I have heard in a while.  Where did the idea come from?
Ryan K. Lindsay:  Everyone loves the high concept pitch and I’m just really glad it didn’t stem from a real life incident.
In reality, it was just this moment that flashed to me, no context, no real information, just this tragic gag. But I couldn’t let it go so I started peeling back the layers of it, why was he suicidal? How was he going to push through this? Whenever I break story I always just fill a page asking myself questions, y’know? Why does this matter? Who would benefit most from this? And while doing that, the larger story revealed itself and I fell in love with it.
GP:  One of the concepts which drives this story is that writers are thrown a bit to the whims of others, with an organization that modifies the experiences of writers so that they might write specific material.  Although this is futuristic, is it a reflection of anything in our own modern society?
RKL:  To me, the closest draw for this is social media. The way it affects us, the way it draws us in, the addictive nature of it. There’s something evil about the way we pour ourselves into the world and I know sometimes I look at Facebook or twitter and I just have nothing to say on that day. I’m tired, or I should be writing something else, or I’m just empty. And whenever that happens, I feel weird because I’m a writer, I should always have words, so that feeling is frustrating and weird and ultimately so very goddamn stupid. But our feelings are what they are and it isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about the severity of those feelings.
GP:  You are a writer writing about a a writer.  What do you have to do to make sure that the story doesn’t therefore become too meta- and aware of itself?
RKL:  Thankfully, the lead character is nothing like me. He’s depressed, and suicidal, and yet also strongly heroic. I’m none of those things. So I wasn’t writing myself into the tale. But I’m certain I’m no doubt funnelling some demons into Guy. All writers do that and I can only hope it’s subtle. I don’t usually dig overtly meta stuff, it’s too easy to be cutesy, or lazy, and I can only hope we are neither in this book.
neg002GP:  The monster which is seen on the cover and later in the book is Lovecraftian in design, which makes for a strange mix of influences from different genres.  Do you think that futuristic books use too much inspiration from science-fiction and not enough from other sources?
RKL:  I think flicks like LOOPER and books like SAGA show us that anything can be done however the hell we like in science fiction. It’s kind of why I love writing sci fi, you can make your own rules. So long as they hold internal logic, and you don’t then break them, it’s all good. In our book here we have Guy living a very simple and modernly mundane lifestyle. Then we have Kindred which is all blues, and video screens, and they feel decades apart. For me, we have that disparity in modern culture right now. I facetime my family when I’m out of town, whereas a mate of mine only got a cell phone in the past year, and it’s one of those dirty burners you expect to see snapped in half and tossed in the gutter after one illicit phone call.
We see police in almost sci fi looking riot gear facing up to down trodden protesters who have clearly had enough. I’m sharing documents with my class via Google Drive [accessible from their laptops, portable devices, and even from home] whereas I started my teaching career flashing transparencies via an overhead projector. Technology especially, but also aesthetics change constantly, and it’s rarely rolled out in a uniform and equitable manner.
Whenever I start building the world of a story with an artist [and especially when it’s someone of Owen Gieni’s calibre] I try to nail down the tone. How can Kindred really feel so ubiquitously and omnipresently oppressive, and how can Guy embody depression. When it came to designing the Evorah, they are primal creatures from the deep so we wanted to reflect that abyss of feeling in them, and Owen nailed it.
GP:  Although the characters live in a high-tech world, Guy uses a pen and paper to do his writing, which is a bit of an anachronism even in our own world.  Do you think that technology aids creativity or hinders it?
RKL:  I love technology. I wrote a script once on my phone while walking my neighbourhood streets from midnight to 4am each night because it was the only way to get my baby daughter to stay asleep. I’ll often have a side project script I keep on my iPad so I can tinker with it wherever/whenever I can or want. But I also know I need paper to truly break a story. I need to get a pencil, get messy, scribble stuff out. I find I can’t break story as effectively on technology. Those apps with the sticky notes for building idea webs or something, pfft, man, those are for the birds. I need a big whiteboard, or sheets of paper laid out. I need physical scope.
neg003In the end, your creative process will be your own. I teach kids that all the time, find what works and then do what works. I think the internet is our greatest ally, while also being our biggest tumour. I think typing up our scripts and dropboxing them is a godsend, but the ability to type a tweet and hit send before thinking about it will be our downfall. I think technology, like anything, needs to be used in moderation and always with considered thought.
GP:  What do you do to counter your own writer’s block?
RKL:  Do something else. And it sounds obvious but I know I but heads with that blinking cursor from time to time and I forget my own advice but then I finally yield and go read a comic, or watch a TV show, and as soon as I try to get comfortable, something clicks in my head, and I’m back at the desk. I also find those writer cliches of showers and running and mowing the lawn really work. There’s brain science behind it.
I also found whenever one of my kids would wake, y’see I write in the office from 8pm – 1am most nights, and if a kid wakes I’m on duty. So I hate it when I hear them, because it’s dragging me away from my precious words but then I always find while settling them, I get an idea for the next scene, or dialogue starts clicking, and I just concentrate on remembering it all and dragging it back to the page and then I’m happy I got the break from the desk.
GP:  Can you give us a bit of an idea where the series is heading?
RKL:  Down, man, ha, all the way. Issue #2 gives us more scope and detail from that splash reveal at the end of #1. It pushes Guy into this new weird truth he’s found. #3 tests his resolve, and #4 bring sit all home in dark dark ways. I like writing endings to my stories and everything builds to this very last page. It all matters.

We Talk About The Tomorrows with Curt Pires

the tomorrowsAlthough relatively new to the new field of comics, writer Curt Pires has already made his mark with a variety of titles including Pop and the Fiction.  His newest series looks at life in a dystopian world, but with a distinctive feel of its own.  He joined us to talk about life in a dystopian world and what that tells us about our modern world.

Graphic Policy:  Can you tell us about the inspiration for the series?

Curt Pires:  Countless sources. The world around me. Where I see it headed. Remembering when comics meant and said something: books like Invisibles, Planetary, Transmetropolitan. Thinking why don’t we make comes like this anymore? Deciding to fix the problem by making the book.

GP:  The big three of dystopian stories (1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit) all used a main male character, and this trend seems common enough throughout other works about dystopian worlds.  In this case you have cast a female character, Zoey as the lead.  Can you explain a bit of your choice of her as the protagonist?

CP:  Well the book is an ensemble piece really, with Claudius and Zoey serving as our lead characters but it really rotates. I wanted Zoey to be the focus of the first issue because she basically functions as the reader: someone new entering this strange world, encountering the tomorrows for the first time. The other reason is I just wanted to write a smart, strong female character. Oh, and we didn’t market the book as some sort of “messiah” narrative because we don’t treat our female characters like shit. It’s just good writing.

tom001GP:  A common theme of dystopian worlds is that the people are mind controlled to some degree whether this be with the allegiance to Big Brother in 1984 or the use of soma in Brave New World.  In this case you imply it is social media that is doing the work.  Do you think that we are doing this to ourselves already?

CP:  I think social media is opening our information up to those who seek to obtain and exploit it against us. It’s not opening us to mind control, but it’s opening us to a different kind of control.

GP:  Going back again to the big three again of dystopias, they all used the dystopias as a criticism of some other aspect of human society, whether that be totalitarianism or censorship.  What do you think would define this criticism for the modern day?

CP:  I think all of the three works you mentioned are still relevant to this day. The big issues of the present are: security, surveillance, economic corruption (capitalism) and racism.

GP:  The Vault challenges the Tomorrows concept of reality as a final test before their complete mental freedom.  Do you think that being aware of the reality around us comes from a defining point such as this, or rather from a general progression?

CP:  Well THE VAULT in The Tomorrows is more geared towards self acceptance than defining the parameters of reality. it’s about conquering your own demons, owning yourself, before you set out to liberate others. I don’t believe in consensus reality. Reality is whatever we want it to be and is constantly changing and in flux.

tom002GP:  The main antagonist here is one who is obvious and over-the-top.  Do you think that we can find its villains so easily now with some of the excess that we sometimes observe in our own society?

CP:  Yeah, the antagonist here is an avatar of over consumption and depravity. It’s easy to find villians, sure. But it’s really all based on perspective. Villians to others, are heroes of their own stories. Again, no consensus reality.

GP:  Although it is just hinted at in this first issue, love is also a theme here as two of the main characters have feelings for people that have suffered some tragedy in the past.  How does this fit into the bigger picture of the series?

CP:  Love is everything and everywhere. The Tomorrows reflects it.

GP:  What can we expect to see coming for the remainder of the series?

CP:  The unexpected. There’s no other comic like this one, and that’s the way I like it.

Talking The Omega Men with Tom King

OMEGA_MEN_2_552d64e1ed3095.70430801The Omega Men are back in an all-new series! They’ve murdered White Lantern Kyle Rayner and now, the universe wants them to pay! What do you do after the entire galaxy watches you do when the universe sees such an act? Who are these intergalactic criminals – and is there more to their actions than meets the eye?  murder the White Lantern Kyle Rayner? Run.

Launched as part of the latest initiative by DC Comics, The Omega Men is written by Tom King with fantastic art by Barnaby Bagenda.

We got a chance to talk to King about the series’ influence as well as how his employment history plays a part.

Graphic Policy: Thanks so much for doing this! Lets just dive into the questions. The series launched with the Omega Men beheading Kyle Rayner with a nod to ISIS/Al Qaeda. Why start with that? That’s a pretty shocking real world thing to kick a series off with.

Tom King: My favorite science fiction is the science fiction grounded in real world events. I of The Forever War being a Vietnam metaphor. And this is what we see every day. This is what we’ve been seeing every day for 20 years. This is what my generation think of in their mind when they think of the most horrible violence and I wanted to bring that into a science fiction tale. To do the best things that science fiction does which is stretch normalcy into fiction until it becomes truth.

GP: Sci-fi has an amazing history of reflecting real world politics and society. I can’t think of another genre that does it quite as well. What is it about sci-fi that lends itself to be able to be able to discuss issues that other genres really can’t

TK: I wouldn’t go that far… If you look at Game of Thrones which is a fantasy series, that’s all about our modern paranoia and power sharing. Other genres do that just as well. But, even you an look at romantic stories. Look at Pride and Prejudice, which is a commentary on 18th Century England morals. I do think the genre in general, can confront issues because people don’t want authors to rant and rave about their own political views. I thought that interesting, and what’s science fiction is for. I think what an author’s purpose is, is to reveal the deeper truth which can’t be said explicitly through story from Homer to the Bible, to beyond. That’s the point of fiction, there’s some things you can’t quite get at, and that’s what we’re supposed to do. I think science fiction does that fairly well because it allows you to escape into a different world so you relax a bit.

om001aGP: It really comes out in the second issue that one man’s terrorist is another’s revolutionary. How much of each side are we going to see and exploring that concept as a whole?

TK: I mean, it’s important to know the Omega Men aren’t Al Qaeda, they’re not ISIS, the evil empire we have here, the Citadel, are not America or Britain. But, what we’re doing is using hyperbole, we’re using extremes to get at something. These are rebels, this is the revolution. The American Revolution. The French Resistance. These are resistance fighters around the world. They’re willing to do anything to win because the enemy will also do anything to win. In the latest issue we see something I stole from the what the Nazis did in Yugoslavia. The Omega Men had a victory, they killed 39 soldiers, and the Citadel says “that’s fine, we have a deal if you kill 39 of ours we kill 100 to 1 for each one.” So 3,900 people. That’s asymmetrical warfare, and that’s what the book is about.

GP: Thank you for bringing that up. I read that and it seemed familiar as far as history. I just couldn’t place it.

TK: Heh, oh that horrible thought I never want to think about again… eh, I’ll put it in a book.

GP: You have a fascinating background working with the CIA as part of their counter terrorism unit. How much of your background and experience will we see in the book?

TK: Sure, I was an operations officer in the counter terrorism center for the CIA for about 7 years. I was just one of those guys that after 9/11 I tried to do something. And in terms of what I bring… I can’t and won’t talk about anything operationally relevant, a sources and methods sort of thing. Not only because I don’t want to get in trouble, but I still have friends that are there, and really believe in what I did, and I was really proud of it. I consider it a betrayal. That said, I can bring my experiences of emotional content. Being in a place where religions are clashing, where things seem primarily true to different people, and the idea of being in a situation where things should be black and white, and nothing is.

GP: I too wanted to join the CIA after 9/11. They didn’t want me, so I went to work on the Hill instead.

TK: I was shocked when they accepted me. I was a philosophy major, I don’t know what happened. I kept going up the line, and was like “ok I’ll come to the next meeting.”

GP: The Omega Men have quite a history with DC Comics, how much did you know before?

TK: I read it here and there. Like Alan Moore had written two short stories, I studied those like the Zapruder film they were so amazing. I read the first 13 issues, which are pretty amazing. They’re a fairly obscure property, but were pretty revolutionary too for the time too. That was the early 80s when comics were they realized they could grow with their audience, and The Omega Men was one of the first titles where they realized that they’d show you something a bit more adult. It was a big step for comics at the time.

GP:The group reminds me of peacekeepers where the UN (the Lantern Corps) can’t/won’t go. There’s some vibes I get of Syria right now. Are there events and locations your drawing from as far as inspiration?

TK: Absolutely. Yeah, the Omega Men exist in this world that’s six systems, six different planets. Each is drawn from a metaphor. So far we haven’t seen much of them, but you’ll see more as we move forward. The current is the people are treated as servants and the rich people go and served as the poor people. An obvious metaphor for quite a few locations right now.

GP: That stuck out to me about the second issue. This diplomat shows up and the first thing he’s focused on is tea. Very much an aloof haves/have not aspect of it all.

TK: That’s a main bad guy, a Darth Vader type guy named the Viceroy. He’s based on the worst aspects of myself in that role. There’s a thing when you go overseas, and I don’t mean this badly, you sort of adopt other people’s culture and master it better than they have. I tried to put it into that character. It’s a dangerous feeling, sort of haunted the British Empire, back home you’re a normal person, but when you find yourself in India and find your money can go so far, you have 4,000 servants, you start seeing yourself as a king. That is arrogant for that character.

GP: The covers play off the propaganda aspect, whose idea was that?

TK: That comes from Trevor Hutchinson, an Australian graphic designer. It was an organic thing, I don’t remember who said it first. He’s known for retro propaganda posters, he had done some famous Transformer comics that were amazing. So we said “propaganda” and he came back with this scrawled Omega Men thing, and we said what if the word “Omega Men was illegal” and the concept of putting it on a poster. All the first 12 will be propaganda posters with graffiti on them.

GP: How tied will we see the comic to other series? Is it self contained?

TK: For the first 12 issues, it’s fairly self-contained. It takes place in the DC universe. Stuff in the DC universe can and will have impact on this. But, what we wanted to do was tell one complete story like a novel with a beginning, middle, and end for the first 12 issues. That makes the stakes high, where people can live and die. That has meaning. The next 12 is planned, and a bit wider spread.

GP: There’s a lot with Kyle and his religion in this second issue, he’s reciting prayers, why show that aspect? It’s not something I think of usually for that character.

TK: It’s not a traditional thing, so a little of me putting on it. The character is half Mexican, and Catholic. And he comes from that culture. That’s a culture that prides itself on religious fate. The book is about religion and religious fate. The theme of the second issue is prayer, I thought it’d be interesting that when he’s waking up his first words were an old memory of a Spanish prayer, the Prayer of the Guardian Angel it’s called. And so, it was appropriate for a Green Lantern who are the Guardian Angels of the galaxy. By the end of the issue he says another prayer which comes from his vocation instead of his religion. I wanted to make a contrast between those two moments of what comes to him instinctively versus what he thinks will save him.

GP: In this issue, symbols is also important. You have the cross throughout and then what Kyle does at the end. Is it another theme that plays throughout the series?

TK: That’s a huge theme of the book. The symbol of the Omega… the idea we worship the beginning and ending of life. The idea of the symbols between those and what it means for these characters will run throughout the whole thing. There’s all sorts of hidden Easter eggs related to that. The omega symbol will be powerful throughout. I’ll give you this one, when you take a 52 and scrunch it together, it looks like an omega.

GP: Anything else before we wrap up?

TK: Grayson #9 was out last week, the first trade is out, check it out. It’s the best thing ever.

We Talk About Mary Jane Watson’s Dress with a Couple of Wedding Experts

dress001Marvel recently got inspired by all of the Secret Wars crossovers to release a tie-in with Spider-Man titled “Renew Your Vows” which features a poorer version of the hero as he struggles through married life as a superhero with his wife and daughter. The married life for Peter Parker has been something which has been a factor in the character’s recent history after having his first wedding special in the 1987, which set off a wave of other wedding specials in comics.

The Secret Wars series got a variant cover from J. Scott Campbell, which featured Mary Jane Watson on a presumably alternate universe wedding, in an intricate though maybe too improbable dress. We got together with Jennifer LaVie from Kiss The Bride and Fannie Vavoulis to discuss the dress and comic book weddings.
Graphic Policy: First of all, would you say yes to this dress?

Fannie Vavoulis: YES! If I had a body like that there is no question I would say YES!!

Jennifer LaVie: I’d have to say a big no to this dress.

GP: What are some things that are right about it?

JL: Well, exposed and dramatic backs are really trending and hot right now, so that is definitely something people have their eyes peeled for. The applique detail on the dress straps/sleeves is very nice and in my opinion would appeal to many people.

FV: It shapes her figure really well, very sexy yet still classic in my opinion.

dress002GP: And what did the artist get wrong?

FV: It may be a bit too revealing along the back.

JL: It’s over sexualized and would not appeal to all body types. A “normal” female probably won’t say “that could be me” but likely would be more apt to say “that could never be me”. It takes away from the fantasy when you cannot be a part of it. Plus as a female myself, I have to say it’s almost offensive.

GP: Are there any issues that you can think of that don’t make sense as far as dresses are depicted in art as opposed to the reality? In this case for instance, the dress is supposedly made with spider webs.

JL: I actually like the spider webs, to me that is something that relates to the bride and speaks to her personality, making the dress original and unique to her. The only thing I really can say is that in most cases as I mentioned above things are over sexualized and completely unrealistic to every day people, men and women. Perhaps that is the point of the art, I suppose it would depend.

FV: Well the sleeves in this dress don’t make any sense. I am not sure in reality how they are supposed to stay up around the shoulders. Also – no one could really wear this dress unless you’re Kate Upton. It is so fitting that it would show a LOT of flaws (can you say cottage cheese??) : )

GP: As a real life wedding expert, what are some things that fiction always seems to get wrong about weddings?

FV: I think the most common is the perfection of the day. Most brides will tell you that the day doesn’t always go as planned and hiccups are to be expected. But those minor details are never noticed by the guests – usually just the bride or the person planning it. A lot of things can go wrong – weather issues, time delays, vendors not arriving on time, etc. Stories and comics always depict the day as being perfect – not always the way.

dress003JL: That they are perfect. Nothing is ever perfect. Ever.

GP: It doesn’t happen very often but there are occasionally wedding specials in comics. Do these have any appeal outside of comic book fans?

JL: I think so, if you love weddings you are going to love them in all forms. Cartoons, comics, reality tv etc etc. Weddings appeal to a lot of people!

FV: Wedding specials? Meaning an entire comic book dedicated to a wedding theme?


Many thanks to our two contributors, they took time out of their busy summertime wedding planning schedules to talk with us. Also as an editorial note, it would seem that no one knows about comic book wedding specials other than comic book readers.

We Talk Hexed with Michael Alan Nelson


With a heavy influence on fantasy and horror, Michael Alan Nelson has established himself as a noteworthy comic book writer with such titles as 28 Days Later and Fall of Cthulthu (in addition to a decent amount of superhero stories.)  His most recent series is Hexed which details the life of supernatural thief Lucifer.  We got a chance to talk with him before the final issue of the series to talk about all things Hexed.

hexed001Graphic Policy:  There are obviously a lot of entries in both the supernatural genre as well as stories involving thieves, but not very much of the combined together.  What gave you the idea for the character and the series?

Michael Alan Nelson: When I first came up with the character of Lucifer for the Fall of Cthulhu series, I knew I wanted her to be a thief. But I also wanted her life as a thief to be something that was born out of necessity. She doesn’t steal because she wants to be rich or sees herself as unable to do anything legitimate. She does so because there were no other options for her survival. So I went about developing her as a character first. After I worked out her backstory as a street kid surviving in a Brazilian favela, I then figured out how that life experience brought her into the whole supernatural world she finds herself in. That’s where the most fun comes in for me as a writer. I love taking seemingly unrelated concepts, ideas, or situations and finding a way to piece them together. With Lucifer, it made perfect sense to me that she would use her exceptional thieving skills to make the world a better place. And since she had to become an expert on all things mystical at an early age, it was fitting she’d choose to operate in that world of magic.

GP:  Can you talk about any other inspirations for the main character?

MAN: I certainly can’t speak for all writers, but, I think for most, our characters are all reflections of different aspects of ourselves. Granted, those aspects are magnified to the nth degree, but there always seems to be a little part of the creator in each of these characters. With Lucifer, she’s more the kind of person I wish I was. She’s knowledgeable, capable, takes care of those she cares about most. But she’s still flawed like everyone else. She makes mistakes and quite often her attempts to help makes things worse, not better. But that still doesn’t stop her from trying to make the world better. She has a tenacity I wish I possessed. From day one, the sky opened up and has been raining on her parade ever since, but she still finds a way to smile, crack a joke, have fun. The cruelties of life don’t get her down, they inspire her to do better, to help more. And her brightness of spirit amidst the darkness of the world she inhabits makes her incredibly interesting to me.

GP:  It seems often to be the case that a female lead character is more appealing when it comes to tales of the supernatural.  Do you think that it is true, and is there a reason for it?

MAN: That’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t say that female protagonists are any more or less appealing in any given genre since that’s pretty subjective. Personally, I prefer female protagonists across the board, regardless of genre or medium. But I can only speak for myself. If you were to look at my bookshelf, you would definitely see my bias toward female leads. But I’d be very curious to see some hard numbers on this subject. Has there been an increase in female protagonists over the last ten years? If so, in which genres? Which mediums? Are there genres or mediums that are getting closer to gender parity? Farther away? Why? It’s a subject worth some serious study.

hexed004GP:  Supernatural dimensions such as Hell are often confusing with different planes within the planes, and Lucifer in Hexed has had similar issues of jumping between dimensions.  What do you do to keep the rules straight and the readers not too confused?

MAN: Any time you create a world with magic and dimensions, you have to be very careful when making the rules. It’s very easy to wave a wand or cast a spell to fix everything. So you have to establish the rules early on so that if you use magic in that way, it doesn’t feel like you’re cheating. With multiple dimensions, it’s key to focus on one particular dimension at a time. With Hexed, there are numerous dimensions and planes of existence, but I try to limit the ones the reader sees to keep things from getting confusing. I also try to make travel to those dimensions difficult and accessible only in certain ways. That helps give each dimension a flavor the reader can identify. Every time we see a dimension, I want it to have a certain look and feel. So even if the reader can’t remember the name of a dimension, she’ll recognize it by its appearance. The reader probably won’t remember The Shade, The Denazian Desert, or Quandrin’s Lair,but she’ll hopefully remember the one with the Sisters of Witchdown, the one with the sand that makes you forget, the one that’s only accessible through a corpse, etc.

GP:  It often seems that the idea of the afterlife in comics is based solely off of Judeo-Christian concepts, even though the afterlife is common to most religions.  Is there something more captivating about this inspirations about the others?  Does the Christian devil make for a better enemy?

MAN: Judeo-Christian theology permeates Western culture. And since most of my readership is in the west, it’s an easy shorthand that I trust most of my readers will immediately understand. But I also mine heavily from the Greek pantheon. I put Old World deities inside a generic framework of Western faith that readers will recognize. Then I just work from there.

As for the devil making a better enemy, I would say yes and no. Most readers probably believe the demon summoned at the end of issue 8 to be THE devil even though I never specifically state that it is. I didn’t want to come out and say that this indeed is the Christian devil because so much baggage comes along with that and could easily derail the story. However, I did want to the creature to have that same level of horror. I wanted readers to see the lengths that Lucifer would go to avenge the death of Val. And for me, it wasn’t the demon that shows how far she was willing to go, but the incantation she used to summon the beast. It’s the Catholic Rite of Exorcism spoken backwards. The idea that Lucifer had that in her head, waiting to use it if need be shows just how gently she’s been moving through the world.

hexed003GP:  Issue #9 features an interesting cover, as there are typical demons but also a squid like thing that seems more Lovecraftian.  Do you have a favorite source or inspiration for horror based monsters?

MAN: That is all Dan Mora. His work on this series has been absolutely stellar and his creature designs are just one example of that. The cover to #9 certainly looks to have some Lovecraftian influence which I think is perfect since Lucifer’s story began in my Fall of Cthulhu series. Dan was able to tap into that while still keeping it firmly rooted in the Hexed universe. It is not possible for me to sing his praises enough.

That said, when I do come up with my own creature descriptions, I often use my nightmares. I’ve always been plagued by horrible dreams ever since I was kid. Sometimes the nightmares are more about what isn’t seen than what is, but occasionally when something does rear its gibbering head, I’ll use that as an inspiration. But I often just let Dan play in the sandbox and let him come up with something ten times better than I could have ever hoped.

GP:  Can you give us an idea of what you have planned for the future of this character?

MAN: Well, Lucifer’s story is about to come to a close in issue 12. That’s the final issue of the series. But I can certainly see plenty more stories in the Hexed universe. Whether or not we’ll see any remains to be seen. But at least in this, I was able to tell the story I set out to tell with the very first mini. I couldn’t be happier with the way the series has turned out.

Bastien Vives, Balak, and Michael Sanlaville Discuss The Last Man


Bastien Vivès

Richard Aldana is defeating all challenges in the Games, despite his outlandish refusal to use any magic, and relying solely on martial arts. With young Adrian fighting at his side, he’s beginning to look like a likely contender for the Royal Cup.

But in a breathtaking twist, everything changes: this world is not what you thought it was, and Richard Aldana is certainly not who he claimed.

We’re taking part in the Last Man blog tour courtesy of First Second. That’s two weeks of Q&A with the authors of this all new, action-packed series: Bastien Vives, Michael Sanlaville, and Balak!

Bastien Vives studied illustration and animation at the Ecole des Gobelins. After movie-making classes, he dived into comics, and his first title came out in 2007.



Balak (aka Yves Bigerel) works as a storyboard artist, 2D animator and TV show director in France. He works with Marvel Comics on the new digital Infinite Comics brand, as a storyboard artist (Avengers VS X-men with Mark Waid, Guardians of the Galaxy with Brian M. Bendis, Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted with Jason Aaron and Jason Latour).

Michael Sanlaville graduated from the Emile Cohl school, and later the Gobelins, after which he followed twin careers in animation (at the Xilam studio) and in comics with Casterman Publishers.

Now, on to the questions!

Michaël Sanlaville

Michaël Sanlaville

Graphic Policy: How did you all come together and come up with Last Man?

Team Last Man: Bastien and Balak met on some otaku internet message board ten years ago, They were sharing pictures of ladies with huge breasts and talking about comics and anime, like every well balanced human being should. In 2004  Balak went to the Gobelins animation school in Paris, and one year after that Bastien did the same. That’s where they met Michael Sanlaville, that crazy talented guy who was only interested in car chases and punk rock. Bastien and Michael got along so well, they quit Gobelins before the final year to go make comics on their own, as well as together (Hollywood Jan). Three years ago, Bastien reunited the team to make the comic book we all wanted to read when we first started to draw: something featuring adventure, huge breasts, car chases, and punk rock – along with creating characters you care about.

LastMan-Cover-300rgbGP: I’ve read that Last Man was inspired by Japanese shounen manga, video games, and American pop culture, things you enjoyed as kids. What aspects did the series take from each of those? Any specifics as to the inspirations?

TLM: We often say that Last Man is a love letter to 80s and 90s Hollywood action flicks as much as manga. Bastien watches Back To The Future at least twice a month. Michael has Sylvester Stallones name tattooed on his heart. Balak has three identical copies of Tony Scott’s The Last Boyscout DVD, in three different places, just in case. We loved how these stories are so well told. They’re sometime corny, but you’ve got an genuine, earnest energy in this kind of cinema. And even if it’s not the case, that’s how we consumed them as twelve year old boys. It excited our imaginations. We want our reader to feel what we felt when we were watching that kind of movie. And the manga format is, to us, the best way to take the time to create an universe while staying close to the characters, to watch them grow and evolve. In manga you’ve got that earnest feel, too, they’re not afraid to be cheesy. We can be sometime “tongue in cheek” with our influences, but we want to have that genuine, visceral feel about our characters. They’re not puppets, they’re people we want the reader to love.

LastMan2-300dpi_RGBGP: It’s clear King’s Valley’s fantasy setting might differ from other parts of the world of Last Man. How much of the world has been fleshed out for the 12 volume series? Is there a “Last Man bible” of some sorts?

TLM: We actually made some maps of the different places we have seen (or not yet seen) in Last Man‘s universe, like your average fantasy fanboys. The universe is growing, sometime in unexpected out-of-way places, so maybe when it’s all said and done, we will collect all the extra material in a book. Just like the whole story, we have our landmarks, the big events we planned all along, but how we get there is left to our imagination as we go.

Last Man 3 The Chase RGBGP: The series was originally printed in France. Is there anything that might not translate well for an American audience? Anything you’d have changed for each audience?

TLM: Some little things have been adapted, like the food that made Vlad sick in the beginning of The Stranger: in France he ate “raclette” and it was translated to “seafood gumbo.” That’s about it. Wet try first and foremost to entertain ourselves, not thinking about the reader being French or Chinese or American. We wouldn’t change a thing to appeal to a specific or wider audience.

GP: There’s been mention of an animated show and video game. Where are you with those, and when can we expect them?

TLM: The videogame, Lastfight, is almost finished. It will be out at the end of the year on PC and hopefully game consoles.

We’re working with the video game team very closely, they’ve shared the same studio with us since the very beginning. The animated tv show will be a prequel about Richard’s past.  We finished writing the twenty-six scripts and it’s currently  in production.  The first storyboards are being made as we speak. It will be darker than the comic book, quite violent, but a lot of fun too. It will be broadcast on French tv next year. The comic book and the animation can be enjoyed separately, but fans of the comic book will have some crucial insights into very important mysteries when they watch the tv show, and vice versa. In the end, the animation and the comic book will respond to each other in a cool and original way. At least, that’s what we aim to do!

We Talk About the Grimm Fairy Tales 10th Anniversary Special with Leonardo Paciarotti

With over 60 issues already credited to his name, Leonardo Paciarotti could be considered to already be a comic book veteran.  Although he works for a variety of companies his focus has primarily been for Zenescope, and he joined us to talk a bit about Britney Waters and how to get the colors right inside a comic book.

red006Graphic Policy: We don’t often get to talk to colorists so this is pretty fun.  When we think about the great writers and illustrators several names come up, but are there legends of the coloring world that the random comic fan wouldn’t even know about?

Leonardo Paciarotti: For me it is a pleasure to accept this interview. Here we go!

Of course, yes. There are many legends of color in the comic which I follow in particular. Great colorists, from which I learned a lot would be; Dave Stewart (Conan), Laura Martin (Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan), Giulia Brusco (Scalped) or the incredible Brad Anderson (Batman: Earth One). Other favorites that I follow closely are Tomeu Morey (very realistic, for me, the best), Marte Gracia (very spectacular, very showy) and Justin Ponsor.

I guess there are a lot more, but these are my favorite, and my recommendation.

GP:  Of course you also illustrate as well as to color, so are there any artists who stand out as having influenced either your style or your desire to be an artist?

LP:  Sure, besides being a colorist, I also draw. I am currently inking a collection in another publisher. Besides, I’m always drawing (since I was a child). Artists who influenced me could be; Gil Elvgren, Jack Vettriano, Alphonse Mucha, Drew Struzan, Joaquin Sorolla and of course, Norman Rockwell.

They are all fully pictorial in his style, and that’s what I try to represent in my coloring.

GP:  It strikes me as interesting that so many artists probably got into the medium through a love of superhero or related genres, but then end up for instance in burgeoning areas like with Zenescope and fairy tales.  Did you ever think that you would be so tied to one specific genre?  And how do you like working in stories focused around fairy tales?

red007LP:  I started on Zenescope but I also really like superheroes.  I worked on Batman two years ago at DC Comics and it was also a great experience. Currently in Wonderland or Grimm Fairy Tales, I feel great.

Actually, I’m always experimenting some variation on the technique of applying color to improve. I’m still in search a technique that identifies me 100%.

GP:  Are there challenges to coloring fairy tale stories in particular? And you have have a favorite fairy tale from your childhood that you have worked on or that you would like to work on?

LP:  Each issue is a challenge for me (sorry), EACH PAGE is a challenge for me!. I always try to improve my technique, always.

If I had to choose, I would like to work on Peter Pan and Cinderella (my favorite Fairy Tales from my childhood).

GP:  You have also worked on Wonderland, Grimm Fairy Tale’s realm of madness.  Are there extra challenges for coloring such an environment?

LP:  I think this question is answered with the answer above :)

If I had to add something more, would be that I love explosions, hahaha! Every time I have to color a explosion is a challenge to make it more “BOOOM” than the previous (dirt, fire, flying particles, dust, wind, etc.). Quite a challenge. XD

GP:  What is the process that you go through when you color an issue?

LP:  Usually I read the script first. After, I will look for all of the necessary references (or ask my editors).

Always, I work by scenes. For example, if there is a fighting, and if that fighting lasts 4 pages then I will work on those 4 pages at the same time, to keep the color narrative. The first step if the backgrounds. The environment, on top of the background, is what will give light and shade to the characters. It’s not the same for instance to paint a sunrise on the beach or to paint a dark cave. The light will influence differences in any character.

After, I will color the characters, the clothing, armor, etc, first, and last the hair, skin and faces.

Usually I do not limit myself in color palettes, but I have some colors assigned to hair, clothing, or items that should always have the same colors. Now I change the colors with the colors “bg/ambiance”. For example, if a person who is blonde, will not have the same hair color value and saturation at 1 a.m., that at 1 p.m. All this varies with walking.

red003GP:  It sometimes seems that certain panels are more alive with colors than others.  Is this a conscious decision to highlight certain scenes, or does it just evolve with the story telling?

LP:  Everything I do is always done consciously. Surely, if any action that needs to be highlighted, on the same page, I will highlight it by saturating the colors, creating an edge around the characters, or using complementary colors if it’s necessary.

Always, of course, keeping the story telling flowing.

GP:  In the case of Red Riding Hood/Britney Waters it would seem that by default that you are stuck using a lot of reds in the issue.  In a case like that does it become hard to sort out all of the different hues?  And is a character or group of character that is dependent on one color therefore harder to handle?

LP:  It could be a difficult task if you do not take control of all colors. I refer to a color file that I created, for the issue. Therefore, it is not a problem, it is about have a good organization.

For example, if they had 10 people in the same scene, and those 10 people were dressed in red, and were in a group, I’d take care of assigning a different red tone to each character.

If the characters were dressed in red and wearing the same clothes, there are other ways to separate them, like saturation and values, as I said earlier. (Even painting the ink line).

In the end, everything is a challenge, and I really enjoy it.

Best greetings, and thank you very much for the interview.  :)

We Talk About the Grimm Fairy Tales 10th Anniversary Special with Jeff Massey

Although relatively new to the medium of comics as a writer, Jeff Massey already has an impressive list of writing credits to his name.  He has been responsible for most of the Oz offshoot of Grimm Fairy Tales at Zenescope, and recently had the chance to writer the 10th Anniversary special featuring Britney Waters.  We got a chance to talk to him about the special and what to look forward to at Zenescope.

red004Graphic Policy:  Britney Waters is technically the oldest of the Grimm Fairy Tales characters but she has never made it higher than the secondary role except for the occasional miniseries or story arc.  Do you think that she is ready to break through as a character and maybe some day get her own ongoing series?

Jeff Massey:  Absolutely!  I’d love to see her in the spotlight more often. Brit has lots of fun narrative potential in her internal conflict (psychoanalytic intellect/feral rage) and external hybridity (beauty/beast), and werewolves are just fucking awesome in general, so it’s about time she got more attention. Pat (Shand) and I have talked about a possible team-up with Brit and Robyn, and I have ideas for building Red’s rogues gallery / support team that I think would give her storyline legs.  My pitch: “It’s like Kolchak the Night Stalker meets Karen Sisko meets Moonlighting”: who wouldn’t like a dose of that werewolfy goodness every month?

GP:  This special is a strange opportunity to both look forward and to look back to the beginning of the company’s amazing run on Grimm Fairy Tales.  How did you manage to find the balance between the two?

JM:  In the one-shot, Brit is in transition—between her old life in (evil) Hibocorp and the start of her new life as a “solo” hero—so I think her current narrative reflects the general awareness of the past and future that Zenescope is celebrating.  But “balance” is a good term to keep in mind with Brit and her own transitions!

GP:  I think it is fair enough to say that wolves are often associated with masculine features and also therefore also masculine heroes.  How do you approach the character as what is pretty much the most feminine wolf character in comics?

JM:  Werewolves have been traditionally male, certainly—there are maybe three pre-modern female werewolves in literature—but I loved Wolfsbane back in the old New Mutants series, and when Ginger Snaps hit theaters I realized how much fun werewolves running against gendered expectations could be.  And Terry Pratchett’s Angua is amazing.  So I think Brit should deal with the typically “male” difficulties of lycanthropy—uncontrolled rage, unruly hair, unexpected public nekkidness—but her reactions to these difficulties will likely be unconventional.

GP:  Is it harder to approach a female character as a male writer?

red001JM:  I don’t know: I’ve never been female, so I don’t know how women feel about writing women.  But I do run some ideas past my wife, just in case. But really, I’ve mostly written women and wolves so far at Zenescope (my first assignment was a Toto back-up story, then Dorothy, and now Brit), so it’s hard to make the comparison, I suppose.

GP:  Werewolves are also a pretty common topic these days in popular culture.  How do you approach the story to give a fresh take on it?

JM:  I spent a few years researching werewolves in popular culture as part of my doctoral studies—my dissertation was on medieval lycanthropy—and I’ve been the vice-president of MEARCSTAPA (a society for the study of literary monstrosity), so I know my monster history.  As you say, there are lots of werewolves out nowadays, but I still think there are different werewolf traditions (mechanics of change, psyches, demeanors) that haven’t been tapped yet.  And there’s always a fresh take to reflect our changing culture.  Have you seen Wolfcop?  Awesomesauce!

GP:  The setting for the 10th anniversary special is in Los Angeles.  Is there any particular reason that this setting was chosen?  And are there any difficulties in writing a story based there?

JM:  Joe and Ralph chose the location; I’m not sure what their reasoning may have been, but I like the idea of spatially distancing Brit from Robyn.  The two are besties, sort of, but also very different people, and their geographies reflect that.  Like me and Pat: he lives in CA and writes about Robyn in NYC; I live in NY and write about Red in LA.  It’s all pretty Freaky Friday.  And LA is so…sunny.  It should yield some nice gothic juxtaposition: dark monster themes in Sunnydale.  Oh, wait.  Now I get it!

GP:  The Master of the Hunt is making his debut in this issue.  Is he possibly going to become Britney’s main nemesis?

JM:  I loved creating Rikk.  He’s terribly self-righteous, and I think that makes him a great villain-who-thinks-he’s-a-hero.  If I have my way, he’ll be back.  But I also think previous writers, like Pat Shand, have given Brit a great foil in Ivory.  Ideally, I’d like to see Brit get a rogues gallery of her own, maybe have some two-on-one villain action.  Who says you only get one arch-nemesis?  Plenty of time to make enemies!

GP:  What can we look forward to seeing in the remainder of the 10th anniversary specials?  And will you be involved with any more?

JM:  Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as much as the next guy—this was my one anniversary project for Zenescope.  But (my wife and co-writer) Kristin and I are currently wrapping up scripts for Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen, so if you haven’t checked out the high fantasy shenanigans in the Realm of Hope yet, take a look!

We Talk about the Grimm Fairy Tales’ 10th Anniversary Special with Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson is an accomplished comic book artist, but also one that has been below most people’s radar despite a career spanning almost a decade.  He joined us to talk about working on the most recent Grimm Fairy Tales 10th anniversary special, and how he took on the challenge of drawing a female werewolf.
Graphic Policy:  How did you get involved with the 10th anniversary special?
red001Chris Johnson:  I’d been doing fill ins and one shots for a handful of companies for a while when I met Pat Shand and we’d had a few conversations about doing something with Zenescope. It took a little while for schedules to work out before Pat offered me Red Riding Hood. So I guess it’s all Pat’s fault and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Drawing Brit has been a blast.
GP:  The 10th anniversary special is based in Los Angeles, one of the biggest cities in the world, but also features wolves who are obviously associated with nature.  Is it hard to mix together urban and wild themes artistically?
CJ:  I grew up in Los Angeles so having the book based in LA was another positive aspect for me. It’s a cool city with it’s fair share of ghost stories so I don’t think I had to dig too deep for the fantasy aspect of it all. I love California and Los Angeles in particular.
GP:  On the same note, how do mix fairy tales together with the modern setting, as fairy tales are mostly set in earlier times?
CJ:  Hollywood alone is built of fairy tales and broken dreams so I think the setting is a very natural fit for Red and the strange mythology that follows her. The more wild themes didn’t feel like too much of a stretch. It’s a big city but it’s still got a lot of wilderness. Bears, coyotes and mountain lions are all over so werewolves made sense to me.
red002GP:  Wolves are often more associated with masculine features, so how do you approach a character that is essentially a female wolf to make her more feminine?
CJ:  Having Brit transform into a werewolf was tricky. They’re usually big, hairy and slobbery brutes so I had to downplay some of those aspects but still make her look fierce. I knew how I wanted her to look in my head but getting that out on the page isn’t always easy. It took a few tries before I felt confidant enough to send of the designs for approval.
GP:  Britney Waters is one of the most iconic of the Grimm Fairy Tales characters, having appeared on the cover of Grimm Fairy Tales #1.  She has obviously undergone some changes since then, but what do you with such a character to put your own spin on her?
CJ:  She’s also a character with a solid amount of published history at this point and a fan favorite so you have to respect what’s come before while still giving her a personal touch. I knew early on that she’d be downplaying the werewolf aspects and I wanted her to look like a bounty hunter so I gave her the bulletproof vest. At the time I didn’t know if they’s go for it but other than that I didn’t really mess with the costume. I did try to change up her hairstyles throughout the book. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down, sometimes it’s braided.
GP:  A lot of people don’t really consider the characters in Grimm Fairy Tales to be superheroes despite the fact that they obviously are.  Why do you think that is the case?  And when you draw them do you approach them like superheroes?
red003CJ:  My background is very heavily influenced by superheroes. So if someone has powers in the book, I’m probably going to come at it with that mind set. I know super heroes dominate the comic book scene but I think I’ve done more spy stuff than tights so this was great to go for it with muscles and claws. Everybody has an idea of what a super hero is but I think Red Riding Hood and Robyn Hood easily fit in that category. Much more easily than some of the books coming out from the big two. If they haven’t been seen that way I’d just assume it’s due to people not giving those books a shot.
GP:  It seems like supervillains are often being introduced for characters, and the supervillains just come and go.  You got a chance to draw the Master of the Hunt for the first time.  Did you approach the character as though they might have a more lasting impact on Red’s character?
CJ:  The Master of the Hunt was fun. He has a big enough personality that I could do a lot with his face and how he acts. He’s dangerous but also has a cheesiness to him. I kinda lucked out and nailed his design on the first pass. I knew he had to look a certain way yet still interact with modern day society. No matter what type of character you’re designing, you’ve gotta make them stand out. Hopefully, I did that. Nobody wants to read a book with a bunch of stiff figures who all look interchangeable. That was another good thing about Jeff’s script, Everyone looked different. I loved that.
GP:  Are you getting involved with any other Grimm Fairy Tales 10th anniversary projects or other Grimm Fairy Tales projects in the near future?
CJ:  For now I’m working on a couple of small, creator owned stuff. Nothing I can really get into yet until there’s something worth showing. But I’d like to get a chance to draw Britney and her world again. It was a lot of fun. I hope everyone likes it and if people want to see me draw more of her they should let it be heard.

Anyone curious to see my process shots on the book and what I’m drawing on any given day should check out my instagram or my tumblr!
Thanks a lot for checking out the book!
Check out username chrisjohnsoninfiction on tumblr and instagram for more artwork from Chris 
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