Very recently Eric from Thepullbox got a chance to interview the creative team behind Red 5‘s runaway hit We Kill Monsters. Issue 5 hit comic shops this Wednesday!
We are talking with creative team behind We Kill Monsters: Laura Harkcom (writer), Chris Leone (writer), Brian Churilla (art), and Ronda Pattison (colors).
Eric: From the first issue I really enjoyed We Kill Monsters and look forward to what is coming next. Thanks for talking with ThePullbox. Being a fan of The Lost Room, I know you are not strangers to the more non-traditional science-fiction stories. I believe this is the first comic written by the two of you, where did the idea of WKM come from? Any outside influences?
LAURA: Yeah, it’s the first comic of many, we hope. Funny enough, the idea actually started with the title – not the way we normally work. But it just popped into Chris’ head one day, and it was so fun and funny, we just knew we had to do something with it. So we started developing the idea …
CHRIS: It seemed like a mixture of EVIL DEAD 2 and GHOSTBUSTERS to me, movies I loved when I was 13. Like an 80s movie that nobody ever made. So we made up the story with that in mind.
Eric: How about the art and look of the book? Any inspirations?
BRIAN: Jack Kirby, Mignola, Toth, Wally Wood, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker to name a few comic art inspirations. Other than that, I take a lot of inspiration from horror films, such as the Hammer films and Mario Bava’s work on Black Sabbath, Blood and Black Lace, The Whip and the Body.
RONDA: My coloring style is influenced by the art. In this case, I find Brian’s art to be very simple and clean, and reminiscent of animation, so that was my primary inspiration. I’ve treated the characters in a very simple but effective (I hope!) cut film/cell shaded style that doesn’t compete with the line work. Backgrounds have more subtlety and texture and that contrast helps the characters.
Eric: WKM seems a little bit “lighter” story-wise than you have worked on in the past, did this impact how you approached the final look?
BRIAN: Not really, no. I approached it the same as everything else I do. Lots of black, reflective/two-source lighting, goofy monsters, etc.
Eric: Is the final look of the book what was originally envisioned?
CHRIS: For us, I say yeah. I wanted likeable characters, killer monsters, lots of violence along with some funny parts. So I think this look was exactly right to capture that tone.
LAURA: Chris and I had never worked with Brian, Jeff, or Ronda before this book, so I was basing my expectations on Brian’s work from “The Engineer,” and Ronda and Jeff’s work in “Atomic Robo.” And then just crossing my fingers and hoping it would all come together in a way unique to our story in WKM. It ended up turning out cooler than I ever could have dreamed.
BRIAN: It ended up looking better than I had imagined it would. Ronda is a real wizard, and makes the artwork sing.
RONDA: I feel like I have a pretty clear idea now of how the book should look, but each issue is still a bit of a learning curve as I adapt to Brian’s art style and learn what Chris best responds to visually, etc. That’s just part of learning to work together and know each other as a team. I’m sure we’ll have it nailed by the last issue.
Eric: Being a father, teacher and sci-fi fan, one of the things that really impressed me about WKM is that it can be read and enjoyed by all age groups. Was this by design, or simply a by-product of a quality story / team?
LAURA: At its heart, I think WKM is a story about a relationship between two brothers. So in that respect we were telling a story that I hoped a lot of people could find something to identify with. The “I-love-you-but-you-drive-me-nuts-sometimes” dynamic that exists between Jake and Andrew probably rings true to anyone who has a close relationship with their brother or sister.
CHRIS: I think it goes back to our inspiration. I mean, the kinds of movies and comics I consumed at 13 I still love. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, STAR WARS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, all that stuff I still love. Those kinds of movies don’t seem to get made anymore, which seems to me insane, because there is (I think) a huge appetite for them.
RONDA: The overall tone of the book was decided before I came on board, but part of my job is to contribute to the storytelling where I can by creating mood and atmosphere, and by helping to lead the eye through the page and draw your attention to the right places. If I do that well, then hopefully I’ve contributed to the readers’ understanding and enjoyment of the story.
Eric: I know we are only going on issue #5, but I am already anticipating the disappointment of this not being an ongoing book. Without giving a spoiler, is it possible for the readers to find out if the WKM-verse will continue? Sequel? Ongoing? Atomic Robo cross-over?
CHRIS: Well, we finish the story in issue #6 but we leave the door wiiiide open for more.
LAURA: Ha! Well, I’m a huge fan of “Atomic Robo,” so a cross-over issue would be cool. But if that’s not in the cards, definitely be on the lookout for the WE KILL MONSTERS trade paperback next year.
Eric: Speaking of sequels, and I know this is off topic, but is there anything going to happen with where The Lost Room left off?
CHRIS: You know, what’s interesting is, the fanbase for The Lost Room only seems to be growing. People are still discovering it on DVD and kind of freaking out about it. We have a LOT more Lost Room stories to tell so yeah, we would really love to do more, in one format or another.
Eric: Are any members of the WKM team working with one another on any upcoming projects?
RONDA: Jeff (Jeff Powell, WKM’s letterer) and I work together regularly on “Atomic Robo.”
Eric: Any solo project you want a shameless plug for?
RONDA: Yes! I’m making my first foray into a creator-owned project with Yva, a science fiction/action/adventure title, with my business partner Brian S. Roe. You can check out our preview for the upcoming first issue here: http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2864
BRIAN: I’m doing an ongoing book with Phil Hester for Boom! Studios called The Anchor. It’s a monster-centric book as well. Also, The Engineer collected hardcover comes out in December from Archaia. It’s a fun, pulpy sci-fi book for fans of Dr. Who, Douglas Adams, or anyone who is a fan of immense, steam-powered pipe organs, horrifying crab monsters, pan-dimensional travel, giant bat creatures, undead hordes, witches, reality manipulation, archaic esoteric devices, sentient beings devouring the space time continuum and gigantic stone ticks should pick it up. Okay, I’m done with the shilling.
Thank you so much for your time!