Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q&A with James Harvey on the Image release of Masterplasty

I wanted to get at James Harvey as soon as Image announced that Masterplasty was going to print in October. The story follows one character journey with a strange new surgical technique which changes ones appearance. A new piece of cartilage in the brain has been discovered. By manipulating this cartilage one can change their entire appearance- this has become known as Masterplasty. Yet, can a beautiful exterior really make you happy? This online cult sensation hits the shelves October 1st in an over-sized format!

Here is my exclusive interview with James Harvey.

TFQ: I gotta say I loved Masterplasty but I wonder if I didn't also love the open questions from friends at the end of the story even more. What made you tack these onto the end?

James: I wanted people to feel included on the little community of people who read my work, I guess. And since my work is new to most people, I wanted to tell people how to read my work. I know artists aren't really supposed to do that, but no-one is going to try to solve a rubik's cube if you hand it to them and tell them it's a paperweight, you know?

TFQ: One of the things I like about this story is that it is less focused on celebrity and shows zeros in on the insecurities that hide in the average person, although perhaps caused by media, etc. So many stories focus on criticizing celebrity shallowness where you're talking more about the vanity in all of us. Can you tell me a bit about what led you to make this your focus?

James: I just wrote about the insecurities held by me and the people I knew back then. I didn't really know any celebrities back then so I couldn't really speak to their experience. Of course, now I'm a major hollywood bigshot, all my stories are going to be about the famous and ultra-wealthy getting multiple plastic surgeries and the ending will be 'and everyone thought they looked better and they were happy because of it, the end'. Plastic surgery isn't always a cursed monkey's paw, you know?

Also, while I'm at it, people who take cocaine aren't bad people. This is a good new direction for me. Maybe now I'm rich I'll be the Woody Allen of comic books and write solely about the experiences of the upper-middle classes to the exclusion of all other walks of life.

Actually, in all truth, I'm broke and I live with my parents.

TFQ: In the intro the characters are in a public setting and someone remarks on how people hang out with others of equal attractiveness. Why did you want to open when this?

James: My ex said it one time. I guess we spent a lot of time in bars when I lived in New York, so that's how that came about. The bar they're in is "Led Zeppelin", based on a bar I used to go to a lot in Jeju City, South Korea. The other good bar in Jeju City was called "The Doors".

TFQ: So I saw Bartkira- that was nuts! I'm a huge Akira fan and I noticed so much manga
influence in your illustrations. What's your favorite manga? What's influenced you the most?

James: Akira. Also Toriyama's early stuff like Dr. Slump and the first volume of Dragon Ball, and the short stories of Shintaro Kago."

TFQ: After reading the ending I have to wonder, is Masterplasty ultimately telling us to reject the ideals of what is considered beautiful by modern society?

James: It's ambiguous. I'm not gonna sit here and tell you Angelina Jolie (or Taylor Swift, or whoever is the modern paradigm of contemporary beauty) isn't attractive or that being good-looking isn't going to make you more confident or happy. But that doesn't mean that pursuing beauty above all is a route to happiness, either. The story begins and ends with a question, you know? It's only a short story, but it's a book of questions rather than answers.

Remember to get your copy of Masterplasty in it's exclusive over-sized format on October 1st! Preorder with Diamond Code AUG140555.