Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Andrew MacLean on ApocalyptiGirl !!

So there's been some buzz on the interwebs about Andrew MacLean and his first full original graphic novel. The post apocalyptic adventure is slated to be released in May by Darkhorse (You can currently pre-order online for June 2nd). I kept seeing the cover in various spots over the last few months and decided to contact Andrew because I HAD to read this book. Lovely chap that he is, Andrew let me read the story in full and he even discussed how he brought his vision to life.

Having finished the book I have to say it's put Andrew on my list for future artists/creators who I am keeping a close eye on. I love this book, love the artwork and the vision behind the story. It is a charming twist on the typical apocalyptic story, full of hope and beauty. The story follows Aria and her companion Jelly Beans the cat, on an adventurous mission which involves dangerous locals. She hopes to return home but must complete a specific quest. This is definitely on my list of top books for 2015!

TFQ: This is first, full length original graphic novel, written and illustrated by yourself,. How do you feel about that accomplishment?

Andrew: Feels good! I really like writing for myself and really really liked the freedom of the longer page count. And even though it was a ton of work, coloring it myself was nice too because you get to kind of compete your own vision rather than hand it off to another artist.

TFQ: Can you tell me a bit about the development of ApocalyptiGirl?

Andrew: Like the majority of my story ideas, it started as a simple drawing with no real purpose other than to be something (hopefully) nice to look at. Often when I create a one-off character like that I start to get curious about who they are and wheels start to turn somewhat absently and before long I start to realize I'm on to something I actually want to explore more. From there, I think of the type of world they might be in and what other characters populate it. But really once I get a clear idea of what all that is, the characters have already started to decide what they want to do for themselves. Which is an artsy-fartsy way of saying, I don't really have a clear idea of how it all comes together.

TFQ: So why a cat?!
Andrew: When I lived in New Jersey, just outside of NYC, the area I lived in was home to a sort of "crazy-cat-lady," and all her cats would travel around with her as she walked the street, and many of these cats rode along with her sticking their heads out of a partially zipper up wheeled suitcase. Very happily too! They legitimately seemed to PREFER riding inside a piece of luggage. I just always thought that was really funny, and early on I thought of Aria as a kind of 19 or 20 year crazy cat lady like the one I knew in Jersey. The idea being that Aria had created these relationships with the cats out of loneliness in the solitude of the apocalypse. But eventually I realized a relationship with just one cat would be more charming than a whole bunch. So, just Jelly Beans. - When I named him Jelly Beans, I was literally just eating a bowl of jelly beans. That's all. Nothing special.

TFQ: I feel like your work is strongly influenced by many of my favorite artists. I see a bit of Brandon Graham in your work. Can you tell me a bit about the artists who inspire you?

Andrew: I don't generally site Brandon Graham as an influence, but I think we soak up bits and pieces of things from everywhere and I do like his work so there very well could be some of him in there. But otherwise, I used to site Mike Mignola, Grabiel Ba, Fabio Moon, Toby Cypress, Rafael Grampa, Sam Bosma, but after a time its hard to keep track of what your taking in. I like a lot of things I'm seeing from all the folks in the indy scene, what I refer to as SPX stuff, modern animation is getting real fun, tumblr brings me a ton of European comic artists that are just amazing. But other than that, I wanted ApocalyptiGirl to have a bit of a Manga vibe, so I was looking at a lot of Katsuhiro Otomo and Taiyo Matsumoto at the time.

TFQ: What's next for you after Apocalyptic Girl?!

Andrew: I'm going to do more work on my Head Lopper comics. That's my main focus this year. I hope to finish out the arch I started in 2013-2014. Other than that I have a few odd ball one shots I'm doing with folks and maybe some other things I'm still ironing out.

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