Josh Tierney is relatively new to the medium of comics but has already made his mark. His first major work was on Spera, an all-ages book which incorporated the work of numerous artists. For his second series he headed to space for a different setting to explore. We got a chance to talk with him about his series HaloGen.
Graphic Policy: Where did the idea for the series come from?
Josh Tierney: It began with a sketch of a girl with a tilted halo by Giannis Milonogiannis, which Giannis posted online and which formed the overall world of HaloGen the moment I saw it. From there we added in other characters that Afu Chan, Giannis and I had created independent of each other, forming a delicious sci-fi stew.
GP: Can you tell us a bit more about the religious aspect of this story, as the main character has a halo, and as the story involves the discovery of an ancient space god?
JT: When writing I can take metaphorical figures and turn them into literal ones. The idea of God being real but dead, with His body somewhere out there awaiting discovery, is fascinating to me. In my early childhood I strongly believed in angels, and now I can channel that into Rell.
I’m superstitious. I make wishes on everything that’s traditionally wished upon, and quietly believe in just about everything to some extent. The religious aspects of HaloGen have been built from this.
GP: Are there any challenges to incorporate religious elements into outer space?
JT: As a writer, I can choose what to make real within a story, which makes it easy to incorporate religious elements. Thinking of space as a massive portal to heaven has helped quite a bit.
: Can you talk about the design of the main characters?
: Many of the characters are taken from older illustrations and sketches by Afu and Giannis, so it’s difficult for me to comment on them.
Det being a schoolgirl and the Head of Robotics being a head were my main contributions. I like the idea of God interacting with His creations as a young girl. The Head of Robotics literally being a head is something I find amusing, and easily done with a robot.
I also helped with some ideas for Rell’s holosuit.
GP: A lot of series have bypassed placing the male as the hero in place of a female heroine. Do you think that this is because of a desired shift in demographics, or has the demographic already taken place?
JT: I haven’t been to as many comic conventions as I’d like, but it seems to me that around half the goers are women. When I go to a comic store, there are often more women than men looking around. I imagine publishers must be taking notice of this as well.
: Do you feel any additional challenges as a man writing a female character?
JT: It’s easier for me to identify with a female character in any media, which is partly why most of the protagonists I write are women. I also focus on writing characters as individuals, rather than general “male” or “female” types.
GP: When writing and deciding on a main character, are there ever secondary characters that become more interesting to you than the primary?
JT: Somehow this hasn’t happened yet. There are many characters in HaloGen I consider just as interesting as Rell, though.
GP: Are there any current events or issues which have guided the direction of the story?
JT: None. I take inspiration from creativity, and the art of Afu and Giannis has guided the story more than anything else.