While we are waiting for the printer to finish our first book How I Spent My Summer Invasion, I thought I’d sit down with creators of the book, Patrick Rieger and Mark Wilson and ask them about their new book.
Patrick, How I Spent My Summer Invasion is a crazy tale filled with lots of weird creatures. How did you come up with the idea?
PR: I started by thinking about what I most liked to read when I was younger. Calvin and Hobbes was a big inspiration to me growing up, and I wanted to channel the zany humor found in all the “Spaceman Spiff” cartoons. I also wanted a world where the physical limitations on the alien characters could be almost limitless. Having a hotel where various types of alien travelers could come and go seemed like a good fit.
Mark, what did you think when patrick brought you this crazy alien filled comic script?
MW: I always hope in my work I can find good scripts and stories to work off of. Patrick wrote a fantastically clever story which only fuels my desire to be that more creative. I loved it right away. What illustrator doesn’t want to work with weird alien things.
Patrick, tell me the truth is this just an excuse for you to constantly challenge yourself to come up with weirder and weirder aliens?
PR: Darn, you caught me! Actually, I love being in a creative situation where the only limit is my own imagination. It’s so much fun to be able to create a joke based on a piranha-infested gelatinous blob or a tiki-headed alien full of baseball bats. I was also really lucky to work with Mark on this project. There were a lot of moments in the development process where I would give a crazy character description (Victorian Fish Scale Alien Couple With monocle) and he’d sketch out exactly what I had in my head. His style was a perfect fit for this story.
Mark, was there a particular favorite character to design? Was any character really difficult to design?
MW: Other than Russ and Tim, the new main characters, which I loved right off the bat, there are two characters in particular that made me chuckle when i drew them for the first time. Yes. I chuckle at my work when I draw. The Tiki Monster’s ridiculous, constant look of stress on his face and the dopey, free-spirited blob monster on the stairway which was in my head instantly when I read the script. The toughest character to design was clearly Starlei. I wanted to be sure she held something special and different from the other aliens.
Patrick, as you and Mark worked on the project did anything change, did you ever redesign a creature or realize a certain element needed to be moved or remained?
Je’tarl’s abdomen grew longer with each new draft, and the bellhop’s appearance became happier despite his constant pain and suffering. There was also an early draft where Mark drew a panel where an iguana was wearing a sombrero in the desert, but the iguana wasn’t connected to the aliens in the hotel. That brought up an important distinction. Inside the hotel, anything goes, but the outside of the hotel is very much like it is in normal life.
Mark, were there any comics or artists you looked to for inspiration?
MW: When I was too tiny to pick up a pencil I looked to the Peanuts which I was mesmerized by. I wanted to draw like them until i saw my first Mad Magazine, then i wanted to draw like THEM!! Then it was Bloom county and I wanted to draw like THEM!!! Then I hit puberty and it was anything Illustrated in an adult magazine. When my hormones finally decided to simmer i reverted back to Mad magazine again!!! Like i said it just kept changing.
Do either of you have a favorite moment or character that you can’t wait for the fans to see?
MW: Well, I would say yes and go into detail but that would give the story away. I will not be a spoiler but there are some fun characters in this and some surprises to boot!!!! Get your appetite ready for this one. It’s a lot of fun and should only become weirder and more endearing as the story develops and issues unfold and fans get to know this universe of characters.
PR: I’ve shown the script to some of my friends and family, and I noticed that everyone makes a different sound for the alien stomach. I’m very interested to see how many ways our readers can pronounce “Hargablaghablah!”
Thanks Patrick and Mark, do either of you have any final thoughts to share about How I Spent My Summer Invasion?
MW: This is the beginning of something fun and special in the comic book world. Interactive books are on the rise as well and I would only hope, down the line, “HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER INVASION” goes viral and interactive as the possibilities of reader interaction and play would only heighten the excitement for this new universe Patrick and I created.
PR: I want to thank Mark for being a great artist to work with, WE Comics for giving our story the opportunity to be seen, and to all the readers who are willing to take a chance and pick up the first issue. We had a lot of fun putting this story together, and we hope it makes you giggle to yourself when no one else is looking.
Patrick and Mark’s new comic will be out in early may. You can learn more about Patrick’s writing at his website http://www.patrickarieger.com/ and you can see more of Mark’s art at http://markseanwilson.com/illustration.html and as always stay tuned to http://wecomics.com and follow us on twitter @wecomics for all the updates on our books.