Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Christopher Sebela on Welcome Back

This is probably one of the most interesting new series from Boom Studios (who is actually impressing me immensely this year) to come out this summer. They've found newcomer Christopher Sebela and scooped him up with this awesome new mini series Welcome Back. This story features the war between two characters who are continually reincarnated to fight. Yet they are fighting a war and either one of them really remembers why. I'm very excited to have had the chance to ask him some questions about this exciting new series!

You can expect to see Welcome Back in store on August 19th.

TFQ: I really like the innovative take on reincarnation and this eternal struggle between characters. How did you develop this take on reincarnation for Welcome Back?

Chris: I tend to drift towards ideas that confuse the heck out of me, logistically speaking. I’m not sure where the germ of the idea came from, I think I came up with the phrase “reincarnation assassins” and I got really hung up on that, on exactly how that world work. And I couldn’t. I really wanted it to work but I couldn’t figure it out, so I put it away for a bit and when I came back to it, it wasn’t just about one person, but two, and they’re hunting each other over and over. Figuring out how reincarnation works was hard, because I like to have some foundation of “reality” in place with my ideas, even when reality doesn’t apply. So I did a lot of research on all the different theological takes on reincarnation, just to get a baseline and then I worked it out to where my take sort of gets along with the vague historical take on reincarnation. Except then I put a gun in reincarnation’s hand. Then I met Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and really figured out what it was all about. Stories are jerks like that, they can take forever to make themselves visible.

TFQ: The early images released for the series looks very futuristic. What time period do we begin in and will we ever see flashes of the previous lives lived by the main characters Mali and Tessa?

Chris: We start in the present, but we have eyes on the future and the past at the same time. We kinda have to keep all these plates spinning at once. I’m a real nerd for logic so I’ve made sure to go back and document each previous life that Mali and Tessa have lived, even marking down their birth and death years. Some of these past lives are a lot more shaded in than others, but we’ll definitely be seeing glimpses of when our two main characters have met before and how they got along then. (Spoiler: not well)

The future is kind of a third main character in the book. We never see it, but it’s always hanging over Mali and Tessa’s heads like a storm cloud. They’ve spent all this time growing up, becoming fully-formed individuals who (in Mali’s case) have a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds. Then they get the rug yanked out from under them and find out they’re fated for something much bigger, but much bleaker. They get their futures taken away from them, which is kind of a crappy tradeoff if you’ve just hit the point in your life where you think you might be starting to figure out what you want to do with it.

TFQ: The main characters of this series are female. It always interests me when male writers center their story on females antagonists/protagonists. Do you feel there is any challenge in writing a story from a female perspective?

Chris: No. I mean, the only challenge is the same challenge I face writing any characters, which is trying to make them feel real and human, like someone I want to follow and watch and learn more about. There’s nothing inherently difficult about writing women as opposed to men, anyone who says there is is either lying or just wrong. The hard part for me is writing a person into existence that I give a crap about. And for me, it’s easier to give a crap about someone who doesn’t look like me. I’m a white dude, I’ve been absorbing white dude-centric stories all my life and I have to live with myself 24/7, the last thing I want to do is saddle myself with living with a couple more of them in my fiction too. In a lot of ways, it frees things up for me, makes the creative process more fun and challenging. Looking outside myself prevents me from drifting into autopilot or default mode, which is easy to do sometimes, getting lost in the plot and ignoring your characters. I want to write about lives I haven’t lived and experiences I haven’t had. Otherwise it just feels like treading water to me.

TFQ: In Welcome Back we've got two characters who have been fighting a war with each other so long, they no longer really remember why. Is there any clear "good guy" in this story?

Chris: I think they’re both the good guys in a way. One of the things that helped me find my way into the story was thinking about that phrase that says ‘the villain is always the hero of their own story.’ That sort of tied up all the war stuff in a way I could process. In every war, each side thinks of themselves as the heroes, while the other side does their best to paint the other side as the villains and themselves as the heroes. The war that Mali and Tessa are in, it’s been going on since people were painting on cave walls, so each side believes down to their essence that they’re the good ones and the other side are the bad ones. Mali and Tessa both believe what they’re doing is right and honorable. That’s what they’ve been taught to believe. I think each soldier who signs up for a war does so believing they’re fighting for the side of good, especially since no one is completely privy to all the moving parts that go into a war breaking out. Occasionally there are clear-cut villains, people who relish being the bad guys, but I think most people in life are the good guys in their story, even the ones who lie, cheat, steal and exploit their way through life, they’re justified and heroic in their heads.

TFQ: How did you come to work on this story with Jonathan and what can you tell me about your process?

Chris: My editors at Boom, Eric Harburn and Chris Rosa, suggested Jonathan right away once we started working on the book and I’d already been admiring his stuff on his Black Mask book with Matt Miner, “Critical Hit.” Of course I said yes right away and we started talking pretty soon after that, about what we wanted to do on the book. I had a version of the story in my head, but then we were kicking ideas back and forth and this new version of it came bubbling out and we both got really excited about it. I wrote out character descriptions for Mali and Tessa to give to Jonathan and his character sketches got us excited all over again.

Process-wise, it’s deeply collaborative. We mostly talk on facebook messenger late at night. While I’m scripting, I’ll ask Jonathan what he thinks of this idea or that sequence, and he’ll come back with another idea or he’ll be into it. Then we talk about planning out a big action sequence in the next issue and what bands Mali and Tessa like and eventually it devolves into us sending stickers to each other. When I’m writing, I mostly try to not get in Jonathan’s way. He’s already taken my script pages and turned them into something I never had in mind when I wrote them, so I set the stage without too much micromanagement. Then when Jonathan has the script, I start on the next one, just fill up a couple pages in my notebook with ideas and outlines and overthinking, and I run a lot of that stuff by Jonathan too. Comics works best for me with a lot of collaboration with my co-creator, so I try to keep it a team effort for as much of the process as both of us can manage.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Royal Jelly: July 28th 2015

LOW #8



Special quick mention here of Batgirl Annual #3 illustrated by Bengal!! You best be grabbing it!! Other than that, it's a busy week for me! You might see slow updates from this week ! I shall try my best to get the reviews out! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hugo Broyler Kickstarter Fund!!

Hiya folks. I wanted to mention a Kickstarter that deserves some attention and funding. You know I don't get behind a whole lot of kickstarters, one because I'm poor and two because a lot of them just don't offer your anything for your investment which can typically be very large. Comics however are a worthy investment. Hugo Broyler 104 page graphic novel featuring the talent of various comics book artists including Bengal, Rafael Albuquerque, Djet, Matteo De Longis, Eduardo Risso, German Peralta, Fransisco Ruis Velasco and many more! The story is written by Mike Kennedy who describes the story as a fast-paced, future-noir.

If you're looking to invest in your next comic book kickstarter, as I know this is actually a thing for people, this is one Kickstarter with pledge packages from $1 to $500! Currently, they have met $3, 031 of their $7,500 goal! Of all the kickstarters I see and am asked to publicize, this is actually a really reasonable goal! Some other comic book projects are looking at upwards of ten thousand!

Check out all the details on the Kickstarter page itself RIGHT HERE!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Royal Jelly : July 22nd 2015

Archie vs Sharknado One Shot
E is for Extinction #2
Disciples #2
Hawkeye #4
Wolf #1


Spider-man & the X-Men

A smaller list from me for this week but the titles are none the less special. For first releases we have Wolf #1 from Image Comics. Ales Kott recently known for Material, The Surface and Zero also from Image Comics, is bringing us a new werewolf story! I'm excited to check it out. Should do that tonight actually ;) Review to come.

I fell in love with the first part of E for Extinction and will definitely be grabbing issue two! Get that tomorrow as well! It's a two parter so cherish it while you can. I'm fricken in love with this artwork. Seriously. Awesome.

You should also grab Spider-man & the X-men. I really enjoyed this series and perfect for that special comic loving kid in your life.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Silver Surfer #13 (The Last Days)

So my wonderful and favorite Marvel series has been penetrated by the inevitable touch of Secret Wars. Shhhhh don't worry... it's not terrible. Slott is still writing the story and I find he has a tremendous gentle hand at working in these Marvel crossovers (even if this one does result in the destruction of Marvel universe-as-we-know-it).

If you have been keeping up proper, then you know that the Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood kissed for the first time, at the end of issue 12. Oh calamity and drama has stricken our lovers and flung them into abstract existence as the universe implodes and disappears. You'll have to read the issue to find out but the end is nigh and our Silver Surfer universe will surely change. 

Not much is known to me about the state of Silver Surfer as a series to come. How will it survive the epic tear down of the current Marvel universe? I remember reading some time ago that there were no plans to terminate the series. Yet creators have been echoing that very thing since Secret Wars was announced, loudly proclaiming "my series will not die!!". Jason Latour himself to me that Spider-Gwen will survive the Secret Wars as there was no plans from Marvel to terminate the series. I only beg forgiveness that I have not had the time to reach out to Slott or Allred with the question of what is to become of our dearest Surfer. However if the words of Dawn Greenwood in this issue is any indication (and I feel this is a message from Slott to his fans), the future is alright and everyone will be fine!! 

So I leave you with that. Pick this one up, it's very important and as usual, visually stunning. Five Stars. You know I couldn't give it anything less. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Long Walk to Valhalla

This is author Adam Smith's first full length graphic novel and I hope it isn't his last. To have such a powerful voice in your first publication ? It's the type of book you'd expect from someone with more experience under their belt. I'm so excited to see what he does in the future. You're probably wondering what the hell this book is about? Allow me to give a brief summary from the back of the book:

"There are many things that Rory would like to forget about his childhood growing up in rural Arkansas. Sometimes, he'd even like to forget about Joe, his mentally challenged older brother, both his closet friend and biggest problem. But when a young girl named Sylvia shows up, claiming to be a Valkyrie sent by the Norse god Odin to deliver Rory to Valhalla, he will have to face the past he's tried to lock away. "

That doesn't even begin to describe the type of heart wrenching adventure you're about to get into when you pick up this book. Not to mention the beautiful and fantastical artwork bestowed upon the book from the inner eye of Matthew Fox. The illustrations are done in a black, and colored in tones of blue and a gorgeous royal blue highlighting throughout. Blue is actually associated with the heavens and wisdom so it is really the perfect color for this book.

I tried very hard to compare this book to something but couldn't think of a single graphic novel it reminded me of. It's so unique and so thoughtful in how it combines the mythical with reality and manages to make a story of inner turmoil so profound and up-lifting. When I initially picked it up I thought "well this is probably going to be a downer". After all, I know what Valhalla is. Yet for any sad plot points the overall experience reading the book left you with a very positive and warm feeling. Archaia really picked a gem when they signed up for publishing this one.

Long Walk to Valhalla is out tomorrow. I hope you'll check it out! FIVE STARS!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Royal Jelly: July 15th 2015

Empty Zone #2
The Fiction #2 (of 4)
Island #1
It Will All Hurt #2
Reanimator #4 (of 4)
Silver Surfer #13

The 6 Voyages Lone Sloane Vol 1 (of 3)

So obviously there's a very important book for me out this week. The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane by Phillippe Druillet is being released by Titan. They are releasing it in 3 volumes and of course the first one is out this week. A little background, the book hasn't been published in English since, 1991(I believe) but it was originally written and published in Europe in 1972. Phillippe Druillet is one of the artists responsible for Metal Hurlant (better known in North America as Heavy Metal Magazine) which is started with Moebius.  The only piece by him which I currently own is Lone Slaone Chaos so I'm very excited that Titan is making it possible for me to add the 6 Voyages to my personal collection.

In other news, Silver Surfer if chugging right on through the Secret Wars trauma. Very excited to read this months issue.

There is also a very exciting release from Brandon Graham. He;s teamed up with Pretty Deadly artist Emma Rios and together they are giving us a new magazine which showcases the work of new artists. It said to be an ongoing magazine and each issue will be the length of approximately three average comic book issues. Sounds exciting and as a huge fan of the both of them, I'll be grabbing it.

Last thing I want to mention is that you ensure you grab the last issue of the Reanimator! Super fun mini series about your favorite Mad Scientist. Well, he better be your favorite  :P