Pullbox Interviews: the Vyvy & QWERTY team (issue 3 now LIVE on Kickstarter)

Been a fan of this creative team, and Vyvy & QWERTY, since I backed their first issue on Kickstarter. Since then, I’ve followed along on the madcap misadventures of these misfits (Vyvy & QWERTY, not Presnall, Trigo, & company) and had a blast doing it. You say you haven’t read the first two issues and have no idea who I’m talking about? Well… read on.

First off, who are the titular Vyvy & QWERTY?

She’s the daughter of smugglers, abandoned and orphaned. He’s the runaway creation of a cyborg scientist. Together, they’re the most brash and hyperactive team of thieves in the universe. These are… The Space Heists of Vyvy and Qwerty!

Cover #1

Who are the people behind the awesome? Just so happens that I was invited to toss a few questions at the creative minds who have worked to bring a thing into the world… so, Pullbox readers (all ten of you), meet Presnall, Trigo, Valadao, and company…

thePullbox: In the first issue of Vyvy & Qwerty, the tone was pretty light… all quips and banter, with obvious nods to some of the classics. Niall, can you list a couple of the influences that went into that first book, and what inspired that particular attitude?

Niall Presnall: I think just a life lived consuming pop culture influenced me a lot… there was definitely a desire to kind of emulate my favorite things. The most obvious would probably be an homage to Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but there’s also some Guardians of the Galaxy in there.

In terms of how all that fits together, I think the biggest influence might be the Venture Brothers? Not every aspect of that cartoon has aged well, but what it does do a great job of is taking established tropes and turning them upside down and playing with them until they have their own deep lore/universe. They were also unafraid to challenge their own status quo and drastically develop and change their characters and world.

PB: You moved pretty fast to establish the relationship between your title characters. If you had to name names, would there be any real-life or fictional people they share a little DNA with?

Niall: I feel like my best friends are the ones I can riff and quip with, so there’s that influence without naming names… I didn’t realize it until much later in development how much of my own parental issues was going into the main characters.

So that was certainly a Realization.

PB: How tough was it for Carlos Trigo to come up with that distinctive visual style? What are some of the earlier influences that went into it? How close was the collaboration between Carlos and Osmarco Valladão to bring the book’s look together?

Niall: I think that’s just Carlos’ style! It’s very angular and expressive, which is perfect for us. If you look at Carlos’ art in other books vs ours, Osmarco compliments his angular style in a way few else can. They’re really perfect for each other.

Carlos Trigo: I always have used the same style. I like the work of Mignola, Bruce Timm, James Harren, Toriyama and Shirow. Working with Niall and Osmarco is great, they’re committed and communicative!

Osmarco Valladao: I love Carlos’s style, it’s perfect for this comic.

Niall is a great editor. He is very thorough, but his requests and criticisms always improve my work and he is very open to suggestions. I think we work very well together.

Niall: I should point out that while I tend to be very specific and detail oriented when it comes to the art, having another pair of eyes in our editor TJ Shevlin has been invaluable!

PB: Going into the second issue, there’s more emphasis on the notion of family & all the baggage that comes with it. It’s the first real inkling of the deeper story arc, and starts to establish some solid world building. Was it strictly a matter of getting the title out there, to see how it does before deep thought could be given to an ongoing series?

Niall: In a way, yeah. This is my first comic series, and I think as I go on I’ll get better at putting more into first issues.

I think our first issue does a great job at presenting our characters and tone succinctly, but looking back, I’d probably change or add some things. Which I’m sure will always be the case.

I feel, as you said, in the second issue we start to get a better idea of what the theme is.

So in issue three (on Kickstarter now!) our characters, tone and theme are going to collide and impact the story in a major way!

PB: Congratulations of striking an excellent balance with your themes of inclusion & diversity. Concepts of sexual orientation & self-determination were handled as a matter of course, utilized as part of the story and its characters organically as part of the narrative. The idea of inclusion has got to be recognized as an important factor in any form of storytelling. Where did you find the balance between keeping the story about the characters- letting them show themselves through interactions- versus putting labels on everyone and everything and defining their roles?

Niall: Well, thank you, but the truth is it’s something I’m definitely still learning and working on. There are so many ways people exist, it doesn’t make sense to only feature one type of person in a comic that spans galaxies.

I will say that you probably noticed the comics are very dialogue heavy. I use narrative captions sparingly, if at all. This necessitates, at least for me, that the characters are given the opportunity to express themselves, rather than exposit about themselves.

PB: By the end of the second book, you’ve shown a deeper bond between Vyvy & Qwerty as they both confront Fathertron and his unconventional parental style. Where do you plan on taking them with issue three… and beyond?

Niall: Well, without saying too much, they’re going to be dealing with some deadly repercussions for what transpired in the first two issues…

PB: Are there other projects out there that readers might want to keep an out for? For anyone on the team?

Niall: Who is Professor Platypus?

Jay Fabares: We’re just working on The Pale. We’ll be finishing the first story arc with the upcoming chapter 6. 

Jay’s comic, The Pale… hey, I read that! (review here)

So there’s the spiel… and as of the posting of this interview article, Vyvy & QWERTY have 9 days to go and are a little over halfway to their mark. I’m putting my money where my keyboard is as soon as I post this, and I’d invite anyone with a love for quick moving sci fi action with heart to at least take a look and see what they have to offer.

Here’s some pretty pictures to help you decide…

Kickstarter exclusive variant cover by Jay Fabares
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