I'm always excited to get my hands on anything by Riley Rossmo. When I caught wind of Rasputin I had to run to Riley and beg to read it. Okay, I didn't really beg... He's a nice guy so I got to read it and ask some questions. This is one of the best debut's I've read in a long time. I didn't know what to expect from the story and it just shocked the hell out of me. It's rage on the page, completely visceral and not for the faint of heart. In these pages, Rasputin becomes this beautiful, complicated character, I think I might have fallen in love with him. Here's my conversation with Riley Rossmo:
TFQ: How was this project initiated?
Riley: Alex and I have talked on and off about doing something for a long time. After Proof he got busy writing novels and I kept making comics. Earlier this year Alex mentioned that he was interested in making comics again and pitched me Rasputin. Alex had been thinking about the story for years he showed me some old drawings he’d done for it and pitched me his idea. I was sold almost instantly.
TFQ: How did you begin to picture Rasputin in your mind and how did you come up with his appearance?
Riley: Rasputin’s often depicted as evil, menacing, or grotesque. We decided a to depict him in a positive light. I wanted our Rasptuin to be attractive, charismatic, and approachable. As the narrative progresses his appearance gets wilder. Our Rasputin is a mix of young Johnny Depp, Nick Cave, and Dr. Strange,
TFQ: What's it like to develop the appearance of a character from youth to adulthood? How do you do it?
Riley: My process developing characters usually starts with a dozen portraits experimenting with different head shapes, noses, hair styles, etc. I choose my favorite of those and do 30-40 little drawings showing the characters expressions. After that I’ll do some figure thumbnails to figure out the characters silhouette. Once I had Rasputin figured out I had to make another version of him that was still recognizable but 20 years younger. I tried to keep his head shape and hair the same and let the story fill in the blanks to connect the young Rasputin the old one.
TFQ: Rasputin is a violent story. Violence is no stranger to comics but how do you feel about telling this story with your art?
way as issues 4 and 5 of
TFQ: Are there other historical characters you'd love to draw?
Riley: Joan of arc, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Jimi Hendrix, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Nicola Tesla, Karl Yung , and Lenora Piper. There is a ton more those are just off the top of my head.
Rasputin #1 hits the shelves on October 29th!