On July 16th Image Comics releases the first issue of the new series Dark Engine. This issue blew me away visually and disrupted the natural order of my brain. I had to talk to the artists. So I did. Here is my Q&A with artist John Bivens.
TFQ: How did you meet Ryan Burton and how did you begin to collaborate on this project?
John: Ryan and I have been talking back and forth for years. He had pitched me projects and I have always had things going on, but then he threw three project pitches my way last year. One of those was Dark Engine, and it really felt like something I could flex a bit on.
TFQ: This issue completely reminds me of something I would have seen/read in Heavy Metal Mag when I was growing up! What artwork or artists if any, influenced how your built the world in Dark Engine?
John: I had a decent amount of Heavy Metal magazines growing up, actually. As far as American comics influences, I really love the stable of creators that Mike Mignola has gathered around his properties. I also grew up having snagged a large amount of Creepy and Eerie magazines from my uncles.
A good amount of what I look at consistently is European artists. Moebius, of course... Sergio Toppi, and Serpieri. There are some more current artists from over seas like Igor-Alban Chevalier, Jurion joël, and Claire Wendling as well.
TFQ: Can you tell me a little bit about your process when you begin to design the appearance of characters and their environments?
John: I do a little bit of sketching before I start the book, mostly to loosen up and because Ryan likes seeing some process stuff (it's kind of nice to have something that can be shown in reference to back-matter, too). Most of what I'm creating is being worked out on the page. That can actually bite me in the butt a little bit, since I will occasionally jump around the book and work out of order, but I enjoy discovering details on the page as I'm creating them.
TFQ: I absolutely love your work in this first issue. I get the feeling that this series is going to have quite a bit of violence. Can you tell me if that's accurate? Is there a specific target audience age-wise?
John: We don't intend to hold back on the violence when the story calls for it, and there will be quite a few moments when the story says something to the tune of "This hippo needs to explode!" The book will have a mature readers label, and in comics I believe that generally means age 16 and above... which is fair.
Please ensure you get your issue of Dark Engine on July 16th because you need to read this. To pre-order your copy visit your local comic book retailer and give them Diamond Code MAY140574