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InHiatus Studio’s Kim Moss and Don Aguillo Discuss Winter

A few months ago, I got  a chance to do a review of  the first collection, from the up and coming comics publisher, InHiatus Studios,  which has well of talent from the Bay Area in California, I got a chance to talk to each of the creators, this interview was with Kim Moss and Don Aguillo, who work  together on Winter.

A gritty, raw view of the world in the aftermath of Death’s decision to stop fulfilling her duties. Winter explores mankind’s spiral into an apocalyptic immortality; where the only thing that has died is humanity’s hope for survival.

Kim and Don talk about the book, their start in comics, and what drives them.

Graphic Policy: What was your inspiration behind Winter?

Kim Moss: Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually. I wanted to create a strong female lead that struggled against her responsibilities. I have also been intrigued by humans and their rejection of getting old. I have always found that my mortality keeps me grounded, and that death is all part of the experience.

Don Aguillo: For me the inspiration behind the aesthetics of Winter are drawn mostly from the weirder, more “out-there” artists currently in the field. A limited palette is where I’m playing around with influences from Sin City‘s classic visuals in particular, with big color fields and bolder line-work at the forefront of it’s art profile. A lot of what is showing through is my current obsession with work from Chris Bachalo and Mike DelMundo who are both at once celebrated and criticized for their unorthodox but dynamic and beautiful play on paneling and elements of figure drawing as well as treatment of color.

GP: What can you tell me about the world and characters of Winter?

KM: Winter is a world in chaos. Death has stopped taking souls, and as a result life has stopped creating. Humanity is slowly losing its sanity as it moves farther and farther from the natural order. This world is also beginning to see a string of demons ripping through the desperate souls that can no longer hold on in this world. Winter tries to escape the haunting presence of her last soul taken through booze and sex. Whereas the other 3 horsemen are stuck in limbo because their jobs just aren’t as much fun when their is no final pay off. Enoch is a devout Catholic exorcist. He traps the escaping demons with militaristic precision.

DA: In my perspective, there’s a chicken and the egg situation happening here: a pervasive darkness has emerged obviously from this huge problem where essentially the grim reaper has checked out, and so we begin to understand what’s at stake. But is the world’s dark crisis a result of Winter’s choices, or are her choices a result of a world that wasn’t worth her commitment to duty and responsibility? Perspectives on life and death, ethics and morals, our responsibility to the people in our lives and how we spend our time are all affected here, and explored by these characters and the situations they’re thrown in. Despite how dark and outlandish the themes, they are all still relevant, especially in this country, chock-full of people constantly distracted by our self-inflicted stress factors, an unstable government, and a profound lack of trust in our leaders and our neighbors. There are threads of gothic horror, science-fiction and historical fiction that run as undercurrents in this story, and you’re really going to feel those influences through how we deal with things like various underground organizations either trying to make sense of this world order or change it, religious inspirations on faith or lack thereof, cultural artifacts and supernatural forces at play.

GP: How have you found working together?

KM: Working with Don has been very interesting. It has been a learning experience in how to write for sequential art. What I love most is how he has taken my story and created this unique ethereal world.

DA: My freelance work has me deal with clients all the time, and back-and-forth between a commissioning authority’s and then my own take is a daily dynamic. On top of that, I’ve known Kim for many years, and it’s just a lot of fun to have an already developed world and cast of characters fall on my lap to then mold into my own interpretation. Kim’s really inquisitive and curious about the visual process of graphic novels (as her previous experience is in prose writing) and is so open about supporting the kinds of exploration I ask of her to draw out this world.

GP: Are there any current artists/writers out there you admire and would like to work with? What kind of reception have you had with Shards Volume 1?

KM: People have been really intrigued with Winter. They love the artistic style of the piece, and are excited to see how the world develops.

DA: I think upon first glance, it has really struck people visually with the limited palette and the boldness of color.  It has notes of its influences, but is really starting to come into its own in terms of a distinct style. I myself am both struggling and celebrating in the creation of the shorthand in styling the world and I think they can see the effect of that experimentation.

GP: What do you want our readers to know/or expect from “Winter”?

KM: I want them to expect a world in which people discover meaning, and humanity finds its way back to nature.

DA: I think people should expect an exploration of big questions. The human race is in this constant need to create ways to last longer, be better, have an eternal legacy and are always racing ahead to what’s next, but the book explores a world in which none of that matters anymore. What’s money going to do? Will we believe in a higher power?  If the gates are closed to what we originally thought to be some semblance of an afterlife, and there is no end to our time, then how are we going to spend it? The physical space of that is something the two of us have to invent, but the emotional space is something we all can surely explore and probably have to some extent when we question and face our own mortality and the summation of our actions and achievements in our lives.

GP: When can we expect “Winter”?

KM: The first issue of Winter will be here this winter. You like what we did there? Hahaha.

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