@’s by S.M. Vidaurri
Writer of IRON, OR THE WAR AFTER!!!
MAJIN FU (MF): How did the idea for IRON OR, THE WAR AFTER first come about?
S.M. VIDAURRI (SMV): IRON was something I had been fiddling around in my sketchbook with for a long time. I didn't have any real story ideas yet, but drawings of crow and rabbit people kept popping up. I get into these stretches where I draw something over and over. Usually it is a good indication that I could do something with it. A graphic novel is long; you need to enjoy drawing these characters again and again. I still draw Pavel and James Hardin in my sketchbooks, and I think I always will.
MF: Another way of putting it: Why does the story Iron need to be told?
SMV: I was really inspired to write a piece about war, but I wasn't all that interested in creating something about warfare. I wanted to tell a story about what happened to these characters after they fought, once everything was over. How the decisions they made during the war affected their lives, whether or not they would keep promises they'd made, honor loyalties, or stand by their ideologies.
MF: Has the story changed at all from its original concept?
SMV: Quite a bit from when I first started tinkering with it, but the story hasn't changed much from my original pitch idea to Archaia. My editor, Rebecca Taylor, was great with helping me change a few story points that needed to be re-worked, but the main story is still pretty much the same. When you get fifty pages into a graphic novel, you start to see things differently. The characters mean something different to you. If I went back and drew Iron now, it would probably be very different. Sometimes I wish I could, but you have to keep moving forward. I find that's another important thing about making comics.
MF: You dedicated Iron to your grandfather in the opening pages. Does this story have some personal relevance for you?
SMV: Perhaps not in the content of the story, but my grandfather was very encouraging when I started the book. He would always call me and ask for updates, how many pages I'd completed, what I was doing, etc. I always had him in the back of my mind while I was working, knowing that if I slacked off I'd have to tell him I hadn't done anything, which didn't feel very good. It kept me (relatively) on track. He was kind of like my boss, before my book found a publisher.
MF: The animals chosen are well-suited to their characters. Were the anthropomorphic designs always part of the story?
SMV:Yes, it was probably the first thing I came up with. Obviously, animal-like humans are nothing new, but I had a few ideas for some characters that would use that mythology we have concerning animals as a storytelling device.
MF: What made you decide to utilize such designs? Is it linked at all to the story's theme of espionage?
SMV: It helped me present the reader to these characters in the way that I wanted. If there is a tiger in a story, certain ideas come to mind. I wanted to use that as a tool to develop my characters, to inform the reader's initial reactions and play on them in certain circumstances.
MF: The only animal featured prominently without a human body is the cardinal. Does it have any symbolic significance in IRON?
SMV: I thought it was important for the story to have a connection to nature. All of the characters are animals, but none of them are true animals. I thought if I had the cardinal it might work to show the readers the disconnect. I've also always thought of the cardinal as the narrator of the story.
MF: Are there any already existing properties or characters you would like to work on someday or would you rather focus on independent work?
SMV: I wouldn't say I am more interested in independent work. I just want to tell the stories the way that I want to tell them. In independent work, generally, the creator has more power. Archaia was really great about letting me tell my story. They helped me change what I agreed needed to be changed, but they did not force anything on me. I found that to be a very positive experience. I would work anywhere that would let me be me.
MF: After IRON, what's next for S.M. Vidaurri?
SMV: I'm currently working on a new graphic novel project I am hoping to pitch in the beginning of the new year. I'm also developing a web-comic idea for Iron. It would be bi-weekly and take place after the events in Iron. Aside from my personal work I am also going to be the colorist for FIVE GHOSTS, a pulpy supernatural comic that Image Comics just picked up. I am also contributing to "The White Suits," which is featured in December's DARK HORSE PRESENTS. Both of those books are written by my pal Frank Barberie, you should check them out.
MF: I’d just like to thank Mr. Vidaurri again for giving the heads-up on his work, and I look forward to checking out more of his stuff, hopefully in the near future. Majin-Fu, out. IRON OR, THE WAR AFTER is available now from Archaia Entertainment!
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G