As New York Comic Con gets bigger and bigger, it becomes impossible to take it all in, and no matter how well we plan for it, inevitably things don’t work out. Here is our breakdown of one of the fastest going conventions in the United States.
Thursday goals included attending the 88MPH: A Celebration of Back to the Future, a panel about DC Comics imprint Vertigo’s new #1s, attempting to get into the Viz Media/Musashi Kishimoto panel, and finishing out the day at MootCon4 to talk to people about the Game of Theories webseries. While not an entirely adventurous schedule, the sheer amount of people made it impossible to navigate the exhibit hall (or the smaller, craft/creator filled area called The Block) in a timely manner. New York Comic Con was wall to wall cosplayers in different Doc & Marty costumes (and a TON of Rick & Morty costumes as well), some so well done, several double takes were needed to make sure we didn’t accidentally walk by Christopher Lloyd himself. We had to slowly step our way to the Image booth where we met up with comic creator Ivan Brandon for a scheduled interview, before attempting to make headway toward the Funko booth, hoping to get our eyeballs on some of those exclusives! There were many promotional life-size POP! figures to promote the upcoming Smuggler’s Bounty, and it was difficult to tear ourselves away and re-evaluate our plan as the hour grew late. It was here our paths split, with Tushar checking out the Games and Education panel, Kaitlyn calling it a day, and Leia preparing for a long evening of line waiting to spend an hour in the same room as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, before preparing for day two.
As the weekend progressed, we saw the floors even MORE packed than before and our weary correspondents loaded up their schedule with panels. First, however, Kaitlyn and Leia wandered over to the Audible booth to try out the immersive Locke & Key experience via Oculus Rift, before an interview with Sean Lewis and Benjamin Mackey, newbies in the comic industry. Artist Alley was a sight to behold this year, with greedy fingers reaching for art prints on our way to interview Justin Jordan, and get some stuff signed.
Now despite the name “New York Comic Con,” non-comic media, like television, was there in force too. The folks at Adult Swim were up to their old tricks again with roundtables for Venture Bros, Robot Chicken, and the new miniseries airing soon, Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter. (You can check out our preview at Adult Swim at NYCC – Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter). Getting to meet TV personalities like Jon Glaser, Stephanie March, Breckin Meyer and the crazy duo of Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick went exactly as we thought it would go. Antics upon hijinks upon gut busting laughter. It was tough to get through the whole thing without addressing Stephanie March as anything other than “Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot,” but ultimately composure was kept and we found that she, along with the rest of the Adult Swim actor corps, were super cool and friendly people.
TV wasn’t the only non-comic media to make a splash this year. Video games made their presence felt too. If you had (like we did) a bit of trouble getting through the main entrance to the con floor because of a pure sea of concentrated humanity, you were probably going by the Capcom booth. Lining the booth was an army of Street Fighter enthusiasts, and it WAS possible (but not probable) to slither your way in to get a crack at seeing some gameplay from Street Fighter V. The game played faster than its predecessor Street Fighter IV, and you could see some of the classic cast like Karin making their return from the Alpha/Zero series of Street Fighter games. There was a tournament going on as well, so there was always the chance that if you went in to get schooled, it would be public on a lot of large screens.
Square-Enix decided to take the quieter route and had a media suite set up a Shop Studios, just a couple blocks away from the Javits Center. It was nice to get away from the bustle of the con floor for guided demos of their games to small groups of people, and the fact that they fed us definitely did not hurt the experience. Making the rounds through Shop Studios we saw the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (check out our preview here), Hitman, Just Cause 3, and the finale to Life Is Strange with Episode 5. The biggest and friendliest surprise though was that Lara Croft: GO wasn’t the only appearance our girl Lara Croft made that day. The full playable demo of Rise of the Tomb Raider looked and played absolutely great.
The Star Wars franchise decided to take an in between approach, setting up their Star Wars Battle Pods outside of the con floor but still inside the Javits Center, making it easy to get to and a beacon of the force as people entered the building. The battle pods let you take command of a few different vehicles from the Star Wars universe, from going on a Death Star bombing run in an X-Wing to trying to hang on for dear life on a speedbike on Endor. Either way, the ride was complete with vibration and pod shakes that one would presumably feel taking your X-wing out of the hangar.
Our last day was spent tying up loose ends, such as taking photos of the creepiest cosplay we could find, picking up more stuff to give away to you guys, and making our last stop at the phenomenal Women of Marvel panel, before shambling off home.
Be sure to check out our other convention coverage and we hope to see you guys in the future! We can’t wait for next year, and leave you with this awesome cosplay video from our friends, SneakyZebra.
In case you haven’t already, don’t forget that we are giving away a bunch of stuff for those of you who didn’t get to attend! Enter below.
Cosplay is one of the top attractions at any convention, and New York Comic Con is no exception. Since we are in a Halloween sort of mood, we decided to look at all the horrific costumes on the show floor. Check it out!
A classic German film from 1922, Nosferatu is an iconic old school silent film, one that has been granted cult status among horror buffs. Regardless of that, the title character is not one seen often, and it was refreshing to have caught sight of this “Bird of Death” cosplay.
It’s safe to say a number of us grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series, and this particular member of Batman’s rogue gallery can literally scare you to death. His prominence in the Arkham series has only made him more popular, but has retained his love for exploiting his subjects’ fears.
There’s always room for the Joker, and this one is particularly chilling as it brings current Batman artist, Greg Capullo’s work to life.
Have you played The Last of Us? The Clickers are in the third stage of infection, and are called such due to the use of echolocation to locate “prey.” The Cordyceps fungus has grown over both eyes, and Clickers are highly aggressive, adding to their scare factor.
Adam & Barbara
While Beetlejuice isn’t particularly terrifying, the appearance the Maitlands take on to frighten the Deetz’s out of their home is a tiny bit nightmare inducing!
No list would be complete with the apocalypse predicting monster rabbit, known as Frank, who appears to teenager Donnie Darko!!
Last week at New York Comic Con, Square-Enix was one of the major gaming presences in the city. Among the previews and demos they offered was the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Mankind Divided picks up where the story left off, with our favorite augmented human Adam Jensen rocking a few new upgrades from past titles in the series. I will say this – the game looks really good, and adds a new formula for gameplay that makes this the most attractive entry into the series yet.
Eidos Montreal has the player reprise the role of Jensen, following the Aug Incident of 2027, when a malicious signal broadcast by Hugh Darrow to all augmented humans caused them to glitch and go insane, forcing them to violently attack anyone around them. After the death of millions, augmented humans (Augs) are viewed worldwide as a threat to humanity, forcing Augs underground into slums and squalor, while Aug manufacturers shut down around them. This environment – that of repressed Augs in a Apartheid-style world of forced segregation – is where the game begins.
Jensen is still working as a covert operative, whose job it is to help find the people responsible for the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While the series has been known to offer players some choice in gameplay, the options in the new title go beyond that, giving the player complete control over how they want Jensen to act, and thus augmenting how the story unfolds.With his various new upgrades, Jensen can be played a number of different ways. As this is a Deus Ex game, the combat option is there, allowing the player to progress through the game through running, gunning, and dispatching their foes with extreme prejudice. There’s also a non-lethal option, giving players the opportunity to progress through levels without killing – for example choosing to knock someone out with a takedown after sneaking up on them instead of a ferocious aug-based attack. Also available is the ability to stealth through the entire game, forgoing violence altogether and focusing instead on not being seen. This might be a great plus for gamers who love stealth games like Thief Assassin’s Creed.
Of course, then there’s the tech! Jensen’s new upgrades would make any IT department on earth jealous (mine included). New skills include the Icarus Dash and Icarus Ram, some of the skills that are helpful in a non-lethal play option. The coolest upgrade, in my opinion, is the Titan Shield. This baller-as-hell aug upgrade lets Jensen encase himself in a sweet shield, rendering him impervious to damage as he handles business. Also visually probably one of the most satisfying things from the demos.
Mankind Divided also provides an upgraded hacking system as well as smart vision, allowing Jensen to see loot that would normally not be seen by the player’s naked eyes.
But there’s a bit more to it than that. Even though this was a big demo at NYCC, I recall a conversation I had with Stéphane Roy, Executive Producer on the project back at E3 this summer about some major themes in the game. I asked him about some of the details of this separatist society portrayed in the game evoking player emotions, and whether or not there was any social commentary involved in that aspect. His response:
“It’s complex. It’s complex because we work on that type of details for guys like you, you know? We want to make sure that if you play and pay attention you will notice all these small things and you’re going to start really being in this universe. Nothing is black and white in real life so we want to make sure that the subtleties are around you and you truly believe in this. So it’s a lot of work for us because if we decide to change something here there are ripple effects and it could mean that we have to change something in this mission by changing something here. So it’s demanding for the team, but at the same time at the end when everything is like this, I really want to suck you into the story and you’re trapped. And to be able to do that, we have to have this kind of details.”
He went on with some more commentary on choice in games:
“We want to make sure that choices and consequences are really important. I want to make sure when you’re faced with choice, it won’t be easy. ‘What should I do? Who am I? What are my values?’ So like you just said because you saw this guy and think it’s unfair, when it will be time to make a decision, I guarantee it’s going to affect your judgement, and I think this is where the richness of the product will flourish. You can see it.”
Mankind Divided so far looks like way more than than just a shooter or an action game. Eidos Montreal has really used the medium to try to deliver something that’s more than pure basic fun. Want to see what we did at the last couple of shows? Check out the gameplay trailer below complete with commentary.
Look for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to release on February 23, 2016.
Breaking into comics is hard, but publishing your first ever effort at Image, the same home of legends like Robert Kirkman and Jason Aaron, is an accomplishment that may have needed a little divine inspiration. We were incredibly thrilled to be able to talk to the creators of Saints, the brand new book from newcomers to the industry. Writer Sean Lewis and artist Benjamin Mackey proved to us that they were the only team that could have possibly created this book and discuss a newbie’s perspective of the comic industry. Check out the end of the interview to see how you can score a signed copy of Saints #1.
SC: Saints opens back stage at a concert, can you talk a little about the music you both like and how it influences your work?
Ben: For me, I like a lot of bands that deal with religious undertones like Sufjan Stevens or Me Without You. They have these really great pseudo religious narratives where they’re not really clear as to whether or not they have “faith” in their religions. It’s kind of like they’re just constantly questioning things. It’s maybe not so much like there’s a direct influence, but there’s a mentality that this music has of being in this constant state of questioning and pealing back the layers behind religion. That’s something that I like to implement in the book in some way.
Sean: Well I grew up with an uncle who was in a death metal band and we lived in the same house together. I thought he was super cool so I used to go through his record collections all the time. Old school metal has always been something that has been present. I’m also a huge hip hop fan. I usually get drawn to musical styles that have some level of narrative storytelling. A lot of metal has weird Dungeons and Dragons lyrics in it and a lot of the urban lyrics of hip hop music does too. I like a lot of music that changes style and moves around. I listen to a lot of Death Heaven right now and a lot of this rapper named EL-P and Run the Jewels. So things where the dynamic shifts constantly, whether in music or in literature; those are like some of the biggest influences on me. Where you’re watching something where it’s really funny, and then you’re crying, and then it’s dark, and then it’s light. It feels more like life to me, so even the music that I listen to is a lot like that. I would encourage people to get the new Death Heaven; it’s excellent.
SC: My[Kaitlyn] Confirmation name is actually Lucy, which I chose because that is the name of a character in The Chronicles of Narnia. We’re sure that a lot more purposeful decision making went into which saints would be included in your book. Can you talk a little about the research that went into these characters?
Sean: Ha, well my confirmation name is Blaise (the first saint that we meet in the book). The original idea from the book is from Ben. He had been pretty obsessed with the saints.
Ben: So in college I was a painting major and I took a before-1400 art history class, and that got me really interested in western art history, which further solidified into medieval art and early Renaissance history. During those time periods you are just inundated with saints and you can’t escape them because they permeate art for hundreds of years. I studied abroad in Italy for half a year and that was even more full of constant saint exposure. They’ve taken on these iconic super-heroic proportions. I started thinking of about “Oh, what if these saints use their symbols and martyrdoms to inspire their super powers.” So St. Sebastian, for example, was martyred by a hail of arrows, so it became “Oh, what if he can grow these arrows out of his chest and then fire them at people?” Or maybe St. Lucy, because she lost her eyes, maybe she could have this saintly vision and extra-perception that she can tap into.
SC: Seems like a logical path of inspiration to us. We should take a moment to congratulate you both on publishing your first issue of your first comic ever! Issue #1 a solid opening for sure. How did you break into the industry?
Sean: It was kind of crazy and fast. Ben and I only met a year ago and we started talking and this idea came together. Basically we put the book together in about six months and we sent a pdf to Eric Stephenson, the CEO at Image…and he decided to do it.
SC: That’s incredible!
Sean: Ha, I don’t think it’s the typical story. We did a signing with some of the other Image creators the other day who asked how we got in. When I said, “Oh, well we just sent in a pdf,” they were like, “No, seriously, how did you get them to read it?” I don’t know. The timing, I guess, must have been good, but it was very fast. We sent it in, I don’t think expecting-
Ben: It was like our pie-in-the-sky
Sean: Yeah. It was like our reach school for college. You know, we sent off our SATs to reach school and prepared to look at others that we were probably going to be at.
SC: What made you guys choose Image?
Sean: I grew up reading comics but went away for a little bit until I got really obsessed with Jeff Lemire. I read Essex County and that was what brought me back into comics. When I heard that he was writing some books for Image, that brought me over to looking at some of their other work. I started picking up Saga and Southern Bastards. Working on this book, I started reading some more Image books and noticed that they’re doing some really intricate character stories and ours is definitely a weird character story. So then it just seemed like the right fit.
Ben: I didn’t really start reading comics until 6th grade when I started with the typical Marvel and DC books. Then I read Invincible from Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley and that totally switched my view of how you can make comics. It was so different and more real than Marvel and DC ones. That led me into all these other Image titles. Image has been one of my favorite comic book publisher every since then.
SC: We definitely think that once people expand their reading beyond what Marvel and DC has to offer, they realize that comics encompasses a huge world with a lot of variety.
Sean: I’m kind of amazed walking around [at NYCC]. I had no idea the breath of independent publishing and how many companies that there are.
SC: Going back to Saints. Will you be incorporating other beliefs and faiths into your story?
SC: “Yeah” is a perfectly succinct and clear answer.
Sean: Ha, well without going to deeply into it, that’s been a big conversation.
Ben: Even the stranger aspects of Catholic mythology. But we’ll be getting into Zoroastrianism and Gnostic Christianity and occult Christianity.
SC:Have you gotten any backlash from depicting certain aspects of Christianity?
Sean: Well the book only came out two days ago. My grandparents are constantly asking me about it. But in some ways that would be interesting because it would lead to some interesting conversations. Just in the sense, for me at least, religion is this fascinating thing that, whether you are religious or not, is such a huge informant on your life. So many laws and wars that people we know go off and fight are centered around religion. It’s this thing that, whether we want it to be or not, is part of our every day life. I think that there is so much room that if people were to get upset, I’d be like “good, let’s actually talk about it instead of being like ‘Well, I believe it and you don’t’ or ‘I think you’re crazy and you believe in fairy tales so I’m not going to deal with you.'” I’m curious about where you can get those pictures of faiths.
My grandmother is insanely devout and I think sadly thinks that this is going to get taught in Sunday school. Her son is a pretty militant atheist. For me, those are the heavily influences within my house.
SC: So this book is Christmas dinner.
Sean: This book is like every Friday night.
SC: Ha, well moving from family dynamics to your working relationship. Do you provide a really strict script to Ben, or does he have free reign to interpret your words?
Sean: Not too strict. I think we’re learning that not a lot of people create the book the way we do. I come from a fiction and playwriting background. So Ben and I break the story down together. So we discuss that “Oh, Sebastian and Lucy will end up here” and then for each issue I go and write like a 3000 word short story, like a really vivid Flannery O’Connor type short story. I send it to Ben and he adapts it into the panels. Then I don’t start writing language or narration until Ben gives me the panels back. It allows us both to really own the world. I get to give him emotionally where I think the scene was or how things were happening and how the characters live and behave, but then I get to see visually where the camera angles are. So I get to really interact with what he’s drawing.
Ben: It’s been great. Having the short story to work with, I get filled with so much more than what a basic script would give me. I’m filled with these emotions and tones that would seem sort of distant in a script. They inform color pallets and how characters would carry themselves and expressions. A lot of the subtle undertones come through by working with the short story that Sean gives me.
Sean: And vice versa. It does two things. A 3000 word short story would be like a really long comic book. So some of the editing naturally happens. The pacing gets better and tighter from what Ben has done. Some of the angles or panel breakdowns help me realize that “Oh, I only need these things” because it’s so much more clear. It’s been a nice give and take on that way of finding the book in that trade.
SC: What about the character designs? Did you collaborate on those?
Sean: We talked about what we thought they would look like.
Ben: We were always on the same boat. I think that we had the same idea about who a character is. I would come with a sketch and Sean would be like “that’s what I was thinking!”
Ben: Well for Sebastian, his design has a historical precedence. If you look at paintings of St. Sebastian, he looks a lot like that. Over the years he’s turned into this gay icon. That was something that we wanted to reflect in the popular culture that’s been assumed around his precedence and bring that into the comic book world.
SC: Since you are both newcomers to the industry, we’re wondering if you have come across a “club mentality?” Do you feel on the fringe?
Sean: So far people have been really cool. We were just talking about that. Even other companies have been so supportive. The people that we’ve met at Image have been really lovely. To be honest, I haven’t met a ton of other creators yet, but the ones that we have had been really inviting.
I work primarily in theater, which sometimes has a collegiate atmosphere, but there definitely can be some club mentality. I’ve found the comic world a bit more supportive, overall. Just in terms that I’ve been surprised how much other publishers have told us that they hope our book does well.
SC: Leave the competition to DC and Marvel.
Sean: Which seems so smart. There’s been a lot of mentality that, well if you guys do well, we all kind of do well, which is so nice to hear. I’m used to it being like “well, your show is opening against our show, so I hope your show dies.”
SC: As far as the big two are concerned, do you have a dream project that you’d ever do?
Sean: Right now Saints feels like a dream. We met doing a play, so we’d be painting the set while talking about this. So the idea that it went from that to we’re here at Comic Con is insane.
SC: Is this your first convention?
Ben: Oh, yeah.
SC: You guys started big. Have you been able to walk around at all?
Sean: They told us it was big, I didn’t know what that meant I guess. Thursday I was here and able to. Today’s been really overwhelming.
*It should be noted that Ben and Sean were talking to us at the Image booth where Robert Kirkman was doing a signing across from the Marvel stage where, at the same time, the Daredevil cast was trotting out and also next to Viz Media where Naruto dominating the Con . It was the nexus of hell.
Ben: I think right now there’s still a lot of world building that we’re doing. We’re starting to see these dreams in the first issue that are cryptic and mysterious. We’re going to see those starting to have more grounding in what’s going on in the plot. You’re gonna see a lot more growing of the characters and interactions with one another and how they relate.
Sean: Plus the growth of the threat. One of the things that you were asking about with faith, you’ll start to see emissaries of other breakdowns of Christianity first. What they want to use the saints for or what they want to do to the saints starts to become really apparent. That’s coming up really soon and heading toward some big face-offs.
SC: We were really interested in your diverse cast. Blaise is half-Irish/half-Mexican and Sebastian is, as you mentioned, a gay icon.
Sean: It’s funny. I was just talking to some people at another booth and they mentioned the same thing. Maybe it’s coming from theater, but it wasn’t really a choice. It just feels like the world to me. You look around Comic Con right now, and that’s all you’re seeing. I’m glad people are responding to that, but I didn’t expect it to be something that would even be a noticeable entity in the book.
SC: Are you familiar with the #lighten up story by colorist Robert Wimberly concerning editorial notes to lighten the skin tone of a mixed-race character? Welcome to the industry, we guess.
Ben: Yes, I read that story.
Sean: So there’s almost like a literal white-washing of characters. In theater, especially, but I guess this is always a conversation. In comics, is there more of a championing for representation and diversity?
SC: Oh, for sure. You’ve entered the industry at a really interesting time. It’s a really good time for a book like Saints to come out.
Ben: I’m just happy because I’m a nerd about saints and that’s like a weird thing to be. I didn’t think anyone was going to like saints as much as I do.
SC: Ha, well that might be true, but I think you’re getting some of us there.
Ben: Ha, well I think Sean has made it more approachable and getting people to nerd-out about saints.
Sean: It’s been helping me deal with Catholic school in a whole different way.
Me too, Sean. Me too.
We want to thank Ben and Sean for taking the time to talk to us and for signing a copy of Saints #1 for us to give away! For a chance to win, follow @ and send them a tweet to let them know @sub-cultured sent you! Saints #2 will be out November 4th.
Amidst the flurry of panels and people that is New York Comic Con, we carved out time to speak with several creators, including one of our faves, Justin Jordan (John Flood, Dark Gods, Luther Strode). His table was nestled between other notable creators, and littered with merchandise from his Walking Dead meets The Thing title, Spread. I was lucky enough to sneak him away for a few minutes to discuss his projects, and the industry!
SC: Let’s start with the easy ones. What are you currently reading?
JJ: Ah, what am I currently reading? Wicked + Divine…It’s going to look like a whole list of Image stuff. It’s going to be Wicked+Divine, East of West, Bitch Planet, um, I just read Diesel from Boom! or Archaia, I don’t remember which it is, it’s one of them, but it was very cool. I liked that a lot. There was something from Marvel I really liked a lot….oh, it was Weirdworld!
SC: Weirdworld was definitely different, haha. Do you have a character trope you would like to put your own twist on, like for instance, is No (a character from Justin’s creator owned work from Image, Spread) actually a hero on a heroes journey?
JJ: -laughs- No’s journey is not actually a hero’s journey per se. He is a hero, but the journey he is going through is not the Campbellian kind of thing. Like, yeah I mean, I like to do that in general, but there are a lot of characters that I think I could do interesting stuff with like that. Things that’d be good with like, Kingpin from Marvel and stuff and I would like DC to let me do a Bane comic, cause I think there are ideas to do with those characters that I’ve never seen done that are still true to the central core of the character.
SC: Do you think you write better in the mini-series format or on ongoing ventures? Is there more freedom doing ongoing, or…?
JJ: I don’t know about freedom, but there are struggles that go on. One of the few things I am still not happy with me as a writer is that in an ongoing format is making sure the flow is there. When I’m working with just six issues, I can get everything planned out fairly precisely in a way that satisfies me, but the ongoing, it’s a bit softer. I know that probably isn’t bad for the reader, but as a writer it’s not what I’d want it to be.
SC: For those of us who follow you on social media, your comic making, back end/”how the sausage is made” posts have been enjoyable and informative. Have you thought about doing that as a blog?
JJ: I could do that. I don’t know that there’s enough stuff there, you know what I mean? I don’t know how much I can get out of doing it, which is why I just post things. I want to do more of them as I think about them.
SC: They’re interesting! From a retailer’s perspective, we don’t get to see that part of comics, so it’s helpful, even. For instance, your $9.99 trade post in particular, was eye opening.
JJ: I was actually talking to someone earlier about that. That in particular though, the dynamics of pricing and your audience and stuff is something that if I wanted to go into detail about it, I could tell you about it for hours. There’s so many variables, right? It’s hard, because you’re essentially winging it on them [the trades].
SC: What can you tell us about “the comic formerly known as Crawl”?
JJ: Well, I’ve got an art team on it, and we have some of the character stuff. My intention right now, as we are at NYCC, is to …I’ve done a twelve page preview of it, which is also going to serve as the pitch, but what it actually is, is part of the backstory to the actual book itself. It takes place about ten years before what is going on in the book. I’m pretty sure when the book is greenlit, and if I’m allowed to do so, I intend to release that for free online, before the book comes out. By design it is meant to show you what the book is about. It has all the elements, and then, if that happens, it will also run as back matter in the book itself. That way you don’t have to go online to get it.
JJ: I mean yeah, you can probably argue that Luther Strode has some body horror in it, given how grotesquely people explode in that. But…yeah, I like body horror a lot. I am as anybody who has read Spread will probably know, I am a big fan of John Carpenter’s The Thing, but there’s also stuff like in Japan, like Uzumaki, Parasyte, and fucked up 80’s horror movies like Society, I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
SC: NO. Definitely going to add it to my giant list of stuff to watch, though! Is there something you’re terrified to touch, horror wise, or would you consider yourself desensitized?
JJ: I don’t know that I’m desensitized. I do know there’s some stuff harder for me than others…I was going to say it’s a weird fear, but I’ve got a thing for amputation. An amputation phobia, probably because I’m diabetic, so that’s a thing that’s on my mind. Anything with losing limbs tends to get me, but I do still put it in my books, but it is a thing that personally wigs me out. There is stuff in Spread, not necessarily body horror, but in issue 12 which is out in January, it’s Molly’s story. There’s some experiences that she has had that I found genuinely hard to write. It’d get to a point where I was like, alright I need to walk away from this for a moment. Teeth shit also bothers me.
SC: You’ve worked with several artists over and over again, do you tend to give them free reign when they get your scripts? Are you more of a strict outline kind of guy?
JJ: My general policy is … I write full scripts but I rarely, very rarely have a strict panel outline in mind, for instance. I will tell them, these story beats need to happen, but even then if there’s something that doesn’t need to happen, then I’ll have them tell me. If they want to add panels, or change the panel rhythm, that’s all cool cause artists have a better sense of laying out a page visually than I do. That’s the fun part of comics.
SC: Right now, comic diversity is a major thing. Will you be creating a character in the future who doesn’t necessarily fit the mold?
JJ: Well, No is a half Korean gay man, so yes! No, I do and by design, I don’t advertise it, except obviously for this interview. It has to be the right person for the book, but in as much as I can, I work with…I wanted to work with a woman who wasn’t American, who wasn’t white, so for Deep State, I worked with Ariela Kristantina. For Crawl, the art team is all from the Phillipines, and half of them is women. I’m trying to work with a more diverse group of creators. Not just because I think there needs to be more diversity in the industry, but because it ends up with a fresher, better product. As a white whitey white white guy, I think that adds some creativity to something that didn’t have that in the beginning.
Spread is currently out in trade paperback form (it is gory, but fantastic), as is The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, The Legend of Luther Strode, and Deep State! Stay tuned for other interviews from the NYCC floor!