TFQ: Alex, you've been busy! What is it like to work on two stories so drastically different?
Alex: It's actually lovely to work on very different stories. They work different muscles, as it were -- I don't know how some writers stay in the same genre their whole life. I suppose "my" genre is Thriller, but it's nice to break that up with a slasher/comedy like Archie vs Predator. Some of the creator-owned work can be very tiring/demanding. Not that I don't put my all into work for hire, but No Mercy -- I'm juggling about 10 different plot lines / characters. And the spy book I just finished writing, we're doing a lot of very innovative visual storytelling in it. It all looks easy on the page, but you have to work very hard to make it look easy.
TFQ: Is it hard to write in someone else's imagined world with iconic characters like Archie and the Riverdale crew? What kind of challenges did you face?
Alex: A good writer is a chameleon. We do our research, soak up the characters, and then disappear into them. I read about 4,000 pages of Archie comics in prep for this (Archie kindly sent me a whole pile of giant digests) and so by the time I sat down to write the kids, it was pretty easy. I tend to write the zanier, edgier Archie characters of the late 40s and 1950s, they're my favourites. And I can write Betty and Veronica aaaall day.
TFQ: How did you come up with the ideas behind No Mercy? We're there any real life events that inspired this book?
Alex: I've lived outside the US for a large part of my life, and I did a lot of stupid things overseas as a teenager that probably should have gotten me killed, or at least bitchslapped REALLY hard. So much of writing is taking a feeling or an experience and just tweaking it a little more, pulling at a dangling thread a little harder, and saying "what if?" What if I had gotten what I deserved? What if my luck ran out? And now I'm older, and understand more about the nature of tragedy and its after-effects, so I'm stronger at writing it... the little moments, they're the ones that count.
TFQ: I am a die hard fan of Carla Speed. How did you hook up with her on this project and what was the collaboration process like?
Alex: We had worked on a couple projects together, had friends in common, and I thought she drew the greatest teenagers in the world (see: Finder: Voice). So we were hanging out at Baltimore Comicon one year and I was talking about No Mercy and how I couldn't find the right artist for it and there was this pause, and then she just said, "I'll draw it". Obvs I said "sure", then excused myself, went into the bathroom, shut the stall door and happy danced silently for about five minutes straight!
TFQ: Just for fun, what are you reading right now? What are you absolutely in love with from today's current comic trends?
Alex: What I'm reading: The Tale of Genji (Royall Tyler translation). Man Without A Face: the autobiography of Markus Wolf.
Oh! Comic books. I'm afraid I'm not going to surprise anyone -- I read Saga and Wicked/Divine like everyone else. I just finished mainlining all the books of of Gisèle Lagace's Ménage À 3, which is so fun and addictive.
ARCHIE VS PREDATOR #2 IS AVAILABLE MAY 20th!!
NO MERCY #2 IS AVAILABLE MAY 6th!