AICN COMICS Q&@: Kletus Cassidy talks with writer David Liss & artist Allen Byrns on the sci fi future of ANGELICA TOMORROW!
@’s by ANGELICA TOMORROW Creative Team
David Liss & Allen Byrns!!!
KLETUS CASSIDY (KC): Hey, how’s it been going since the last time we spoke?
DAVID LISS (DL): I’ve been busy, which is great. I always seem to have one or two more projects in the work than I can comfortably deal with, but I’m not complaining, because they’re all very cool.
KC: Can you tell us what ANGELICA TOMORROW is about?
DL: The elevator pitch is teenage, alcoholic paraplegic meets amnesiac cyborg assassin! A more nuanced description is that this is a slice-of-life/science fiction story about a couple of broken people who are thrown together. I wanted to create something that is tense, deranged, suspenseful, weird and funny.
KC: How did the idea for this comic come to be?
DL: I was in talks with the publisher, 215 Ink, about doing a creator-owned project, and I had a bunch of pitches and concepts to work with. That said, I was doing the dishes and the idea for this story popped into my head, and I loved it. I've always liked teen dramas, and I've always enjoyed science fiction premises. I loved the idea of combining an emotional, character-driven story line with a violent, action oriented plot.
KC: So speaking of teen drama, does the main character's high school experience reflect your own in that it may not have been the most enjoyable time in your life?
DL: I'm pretty sure I summoned some of my own adolescent angst in putting the story together, but it is in no way autobiographical. I don't see George as a reflection of myself, but rather an interesting character who worked nicely in the story I wanted to create. That said, like all writers, I inject a lot of myself in pretty much all the characters I create since I don't really have any experience but my own.
KC: A major theme in a lot of Science Fiction stories is that advanced technology can come back to haunt us, is that a theme you guys wanted to address in this story?
DL: I was not so much interested in machines as people in this story, but now that I think about it, it would not be a stretch to interpret AT that way. I'm sure I bring a lot of cultural baggage to all the stories I write, so that kind of cautionary tale may be embedded in this comic because it's also embedded in science fiction. That said, I really wanted to focus here on how humanity defines us, not how humanity is assaulted by technology.
KC: Is this the first digital comic that you've done? Did you have to adapt you style in order to do a digital comic?
DL: This is my first digital comic, but we didn't plan it that way. To be blunt, Diamond did not want to distribute as a monthly book, so we chose to go digital to trade paperback. It's a different readership to be sure, but given how hard it is to compete for readers in the store, I've come to believe that this is a pretty good way to go.
KC: Are there any plans for Angelica Tomorrow past the digital comic?
DL: At the end of the final issue, the characters and situations are hugely changed from the first issue -- as it should be -- but there is a room for a continuation of the continuity. I love working on this book, and I'd love an excuse to go back to it, so a sequel is always possible.
KC: Are you guys planning on putting out a trade paperback after the digital issues are done?
DL: Yes, there will definitely be a trade paperback.
KC: Would you like to tease any upcoming projects?
DL: My next novel, THE DAY OF ATONEMENT, comes out in September, and I have a middle grade science fiction novel, called RANDOMS, out next summer.
KC: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, I like everything I’ve read of yours so far, so I look forward to whatever you do next.
Next is my interview with the artist of ANGELICA TOMORROW, Allen Byrns who has worked on such books as BROKEN, THE PRINCE, and SCUM OF THE EARTH.
KC: Thanks for taking time to talk to us, how are you doing?
ALLEN BYRNS (AB): I'm doing good, thanks. I'm always happy to do interviews.
KC: You mentioned in your email that english isn’t your first language, where are you from?
AB: I'm from Sherbrooke, Quebec. And that's in Canada for those who wouldn't know. My first language is french, but english is very dominant here, so you have to learn both.
KC: When did you decide you wanted to draw for a living? and how did you get into drawing comic books?
AB: I was fascinated by art for as long as i can remember. First job i ever thought i would want to do when i was a kid, was to work on animated cartoons. I wanted to draw, that's it. I was always into comic books even though there are no comic shop around here. From now and then, i'd get a comic book boxed with an action figure, or a family member would find a comic book at some random store. Growing up, i never thought it would be a possible choice of career. I was into the music scene for a long while, recording, touring and doing a bunch of designs for bands. Then somehow managed to score enough comic book contracts to actually make it my full time job. It's not easy, but it's the first thing i ever wanted to do. I don't know how it happened, really, i'm just lucky to be able to do it.
KC: So, tell us about ANGELICA TOMORROW and how you became the artist for this series.
AB: I was working on a few projects for 215ink. They contacted me to see if i would want to work on a mini-series with writer David Liss. Obviously, i was up for it. I didn't know much of what the project was, but the opportunity was great. Then David and I started exchanging emails. David had a pretty solid idea on where the story was going, which was cool. He was very open about the visuals of the series. My art being sort of dark, i think it fit right in.
KC: Is ANGELICA TOMORROW your first venture into drawing a Science Fiction story?
AB: I don't really have a favorite genre. As long as the story's good, i'm up for it. I mostly worked on horror stuff before. But to me, science fiction is never too far. It doesn't have to be all monsters and gore to be something dark and creepy. Like i said before, with my art being so dark, i think it mixed well with the whole Angelica Tomorrow universe. Even in the down and happy moments, you still have the feeling something bad is creeping in. I enjoyed that. It was a real good contrast.
KC: Once you get a script from a writer what comes next? Do you immediately dive into the script or do you spend a little time getting to know the characters first? Take us through your process.
AB: I don't know how other artists go with this, but me, i sit down and read the whole script. Then i start the drawing right away. I rarely make any sketches, characters designs or layouts. I like to go with the flow. Whatever my brain feels like doing that day, i go with it. It's fun, because looking back at the books, it's almost like something new to me because i haven't spent days working on the same single panel trying to make it too perfect, you know? I also have n "unconventional" drawing process. I attack a page like a painting pretty much. Start with some lines, put on some colors, go back to lines, some textures, etc. Once i'm satisfied with a page, i get the lettering done then send it over to the writer, in this case David. If David likes it, and we're both happy with it, i jump to the next page. Angelica Tomorrow was a pretty smooth process and everything went well. I think both David and I were on the same page, no pun intended.
KC: Do you have any upcoming projects that you are working on that you would like to tell us about?
AB: I have a few. My latest work is a one-shot comic with writer Michael T. Gonzalez titled six:eight. We're shopping it around at the moment. Another big project is being set up, which will be a follow up to my very first comic called THE PRICE. We have huge plans for this, and i can't say how much i love working with Glenn Arseneau. Oh, and here's a little spoiler, David Liss and I, might have another thing going on. Who knows?
KC: Thanks, David and Allen! For more information about ANGELICA TOMORROW check out David Liss' website, Allen Byrns’ website, and on Facebook here. And here's where you can check out ANGELICA TOMORROW itself!
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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