I know about you guys, but I’ve had a blast so far with this interview. Part one can be read right at this link right here. I encourage a quick read of it before starting down this, but regardless, it’s entertaining and insightful. I’m not going to add much more than what I said last time. These guys are passionate individuals. David Dhalia (DD) , Judas (J), Alan Stealth (AS) and the PR Guy are a fun unit to talk to and together produce an amazing comic. I encourage you to all check it out.
Onward to the rest of the interview…
JP: Dhalia – cool you’re from Malta. My family is from there. Whereabouts did you live?
DD: …Marsaskala, it’s a small fishing town on the south of the island. My family returned there in 2008, after I grew up in Leeston, New Zealand. I moved around a lot as a kid… PRGUY: You’re still a kid.
JP: This one is primarily for Judas, (others feel free to contribute as well), what is your reason for your hatred of frames in this comic? Is there a specific reason to this interesting choice of presentation?
J: Hate is a strong word. I understand their importance. And in the right story, they are necessary. I’m just frustrated with how stagnant the much of the story-telling devices used in the industry are. The language is old, and doesn’t seem to be developing, when it has so much potential. A cinema screen has to look like it does, a TV screen the same, words are printed in a novel only one way, but a comic book, or a graphic novel, or sequential art, or whatever you want to dress it as, it has room to move. There are exceptions, but for the most part, books are designed to look like the books the creator has read. For certain books, that is not an issue, but when the story suits, I want to find new ways to put across the information. There’s nothing wrong with the standard, I just don’t want that to be all there is. In 50 years from now, comics still look basically the same as they did 50 years ago, we may as well have been making Happy Meals.
I didn’t come in, demanding the frames be removed. (AS) and I were looking through ‘The Preview Issue’, and some of his draft sketches, when I ended up seeing the art which was being wasted by trying to force it into something he thought a comic book is expected to be. I ended up on some spew about how I want to experiment with the whole format; no panels, size of the page, shape of the page and some other ideas that we’ll keep under wraps. That’s all I did. After that, (AS) took the ball, and he ran. He ran like Tom Cruise in the last act of MI3. He ran like Will Smith in the opening scene of MiB. He ran like Matt Damon did from that chalkboard in the corridor at MIT.
*(AS) (PRGUY) (J) (DD) laugh*
J: ….And he created the style which we’re seeing develop in these opening issues.
JP: What are your influences?
J: Too many to mention. Comic-wise, Will Eisner and Herge. Then Jack Cole and Joe Kubert. It might look like I’m contradicting things I’ve said about pushing the boundaries by listing so many old artists, but they pushed boundaries for their time. Eisner’s is still probably ahead of some of the current product. Currently working though, David Mack gets the idea. Almost anything Matt Fraction writes is incredible. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips never fail. Jean-David Morvan and Phillippe Buchet fail even less. Outside of comics, Aaron Sorkin and Michael Chabon are the big two. Wes Anderson is nearby too. Too many other writers, directors, and cinematographers to list. Everything. And Otis Redding.
DD: I have managed to live the majority of my life ‘under a rock’. I used to read a lot of novels when I was younger, but I was never really into TV and movies. I still can’t really say I enjoy watching films, I get distracted too easily. I discovered a few incredible graphic novels I have enjoyed recently, but didn’t get too into comics when I was younger. So I guess the majority of my influences come from novelists, and real life characters from history also fascinate me. Serial killers, world leaders, and notable characters all have their own story they have created with their lives.
AS: My most notable influences especially so in relation to the storytelling adopted, have come from the stylised methods TV shows have adopted over the last decade or so Genesis has been in production. In terms of comics…
PRGUY: …here we go…
AS: …well, I used to start this with “I don’t like comics”… but I think what is more appropriate is I don’t like the superhero agenda the comic industry is dominated by. I studied Fine Art, achieving my B/a (HONS) before retiring from the self loathing of academic non-achievement. Art whether you like it or not, has continually developed and changed throughout its history. From the height of Neo-Classicism to the often deliberately conceptually ambiguous contemporary works of Post- Modernism, art has seen many conventions shattered with each passing movement. Yet add the word “sequential” in front, and suddenly the history of this subject becomes very small and very narrow. So I would say, my Fine Art background motivates and influences me to ensure Genesis is as aesthetically satisfying throughout, as the story will be when it’s finished.
AS: All three of us have very different influences… but it works. So well. If nothing the past year working with these guys, has encouraged me even more to work with people that have a different approach – but “get” Genesis. It’s invigorating.
JP: Is anyone working on anything else at the moment? Might as well promote everything.
AS: When I’m not working on this, I’m working on sleep, sometimes food. That is all.
J: I’m starting to script two projects. Early days. Looking for artists.
DD: I’m working on a graphic novel titled ‘Enigma’ with Maltese artist, Maria Isabella Grech. I’ve written the story, Maria will do the art and we’ll edit it together, it’s currently due to be released in late 2014 and further information will be available as the project develops.
I also write my own short stories under my ‘Sweet Animosity’ banner, but they’re more of a ‘creative outlet’ away from School of Bitches work. I enjoy going a bit mad from time to time, and writing these stories is a safer option than going out into the real world and …*Expletive Deleted*…
AS: *Expletive Deleted*
PRGUY: That’s not going to press.
JP: Okay, so I’m taking that world building is very important based on the answers I’ve been given. So I guess what I want to know is how many chapters are there going to be? Is the five issues the end will you have multiple stories?
J: It is vast….
AS: …..There’s room for 50 Chapters. That’s what’s planned… as a maximum total moving parts to this story. Not to say we will use necessarily all of those Chapters..to tell the story. We’re following the framework of obviously the more famous works of Genesis.
PRGUY: Depeche Mode…I don’t see it.
AS: ………….The first five issues tells Chapter XVI: Virtue’s Chronicles, this Chapter focuses on James. Issues Six, Seven, Eight tells Chapter XII: Tonight, The City Sleeps focusing on Ant. Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve tells Chapter: One Love…etc. Each introduces different characters that will interact on a much larger scale in the Chapters to come, but if you’re smart, and reading and watching intently, you’ll be able to start seeing the dots join between Chapters.
JP: Why Chapter XVI and not Chapter I?
J: You’ll see.
AS: It’s a non linear narrative, deliberately conceived to withhold certain information from the reader. So it truly is Chapter XVI. Fifteen Chapters that came before will eventually be released. Eventually, you would be able to read the entire story chronologically and it would make sense, albeit a different kind of sense. eg. Chapter 8 is entitled The Event… this chapter details exactly what transpired that led to the birth of the “new world” you’ve caught a glimpse at reading Issue’s One and Two. It would be a very different story if you say knew what happened, before you actually SAW what happened… and truly this is just the tip of the iceberg. At the time you’ll read that Chapter The Event will be so irrelevant…
PRGUY: Irrelevant. I was just thinking about that word.
JP: How have your styles changed? I’m really interested in Alan’s answer here in particular, but hey, everything is a growing process.
AS: My style hasn’t changed dramatically since starting Chapter XVI, but its presentation, its delivery has. Making the jump from no frames meant the original storyboards had to change, the dialogue too, which had both previously been realised in traditional methods. This ‘freedom’ can often be crippling, as frames make it very easy for an artist intent in terms of chronological sequence… but trying out different things, and being encouraged to do so, has really helped me build the confidence in the product you see in Issue Two… this will only continue to develop…
J: …We’re all still learning the language.
AS: Yes. Yes we are… and the ‘language’ will switch completely and deliberately for the next Chapter… so it’s going to be interesting, seeing how people react to that change once finally getting used to the current.
JP: What have each of you learned from doing this?
J: This is what I want to do with my life.
AS: …you have to give everything else up. If you really want it, everything else in your life just gets in the way. I know people that say they want to do stuff. Write books, make comics, do art. That’s typically all they end up doing. Saying they want to do it. It takes sacrifice. I’m not talking about a limb or your daughter. But your time. Sitting in a room, an doing something and not getting a pat on the back for it. For a really long time. Maybe never.
DD: I’ve learnt a lot in terms of writing and artistic styles. The way I vision storytelling and art has developed greatly in the last year by talking to the artists and writers themselves, you see a different perspective than if you just simply saw the piece of art. I’ve learnt a lot more about computers too, something I’m not too happy about. I don’t like computers or technology in general. It’s nothing personal…bring me my pad and a pen.
PRGUY: … Here is wisdom. “I never learn anything new, I only have things I already know confirmed by somebody different.”
JP: What’s coming up in the next issue?
J: Some people walk past some burned out buildings.
PRGUY: I’ve got a feeling they’ll be a lot of that before it’s all said and done.
DD: Well there could be a new character, there could be fighting zombie robots, or there could be cuddly vampire bears…we haven’t quite decided which one will stick around the longest yet.
AS: *sigh* …
AS: A religious man, and an internal email from the (PRGUY).
PRGUY: …What? Take me off speaker.
This was fun. Dhalia’s website currently has a nice festive holiday story available right here for you to check out. I had a hoot reading and think you will too. The gang’s website is http://www.schoolofbitches.co.uk for those of you curious to check them out. I reviewed them in Part one, and really feel you should take a look.
Beyond that, if you got the time feel free to check out The Watcher, written by yours truly and illustrated by Florence Chan at smashwords. Just click here and find out if there is more.
I hope you all have a good holiday. Happy New Year and may it be glorious.