Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ssshhhh... There's A Conspiracy Happening in Space, MN....

Small town conspiracies are usually creepy. But they can be such good stories if told adeptly. Red Dot Diva wonders if anyone remembers "American Gothic"??

One such tale of dark schemes called "Space, MN", is currently in the works. It is set to be published by Arcana Comics in the graphic novel medium.

The writer-creator of "Space, MN" is Shawn Depasquale. Red Dot Diva got to know Shawn when he was the letterer for the covert-spy-mage comic series, "Lucid", published by Archaia. She also interviewed him last year for his work in "Lucid". (Do check out the previous interview with Shawn on the sister blog, ZQBiceps!)

From the sneak peaks she saw, "Space, MN" starts off unexpectedly and suspiciously enough with a bloodied cat. Yep, one heard it right - a kitty-cat. That progressed soon enough to a quick introduction of some apparently key characters - a cop, a reporter and a politician.

But Red Dot Diva thinks it's best to let the comic's creator tell us what "Space, MN" is essentially about. Right?

Shawn: "Space, MN" - for a start - is a fictional town in Minnesota, nestled in the northern corner of the state. It's a quiet town where everyone knows your name. The story picks up several months after the Mayor of the town has entered into an agreement with the Multi Associated Global Cosmetics (MAGIC) corporation. It seems like a great deal; the town needs money and the company needs a quiet place to build a research and development center where they can develop their products. Of course, nothing is ever as it seems in the corporate world and the moment MAGIC comes to town strange things begin to happen. Our hero, Officer Duncan Harris (and the rest of the Space Police Department), are caught in the middle of the spiraling chaos, struggling to connect these random events to the company's new presence and stop them before more lives are lost.

Red Dot Diva: How did the story come about?

Shawn: Megacon, Orlando, Fl. I was sitting around with a friend and fellow writer by the name of Matt Doucette, we were just brainstorming and I mentioned what a big fan of the 90's TV series "Picket Fences" I was. For those who don't know, "Picket Fences" was a David E Kelly (Alley McBeal, The Practice, Harry's Law) series about the police department in a small town in Wisconsin. The show mostly focused on the Sheriff balancing his family and his work. What made the show great for me was the colorful cast of characters that populated the town. I always wanted to explore small town life but needed a hook to insure I wasn't just treading the same ground Mr. Kelly had covered in the run of his series. That was when Matt pitched the MAGIC corporation.

Red Dot Diva: Did you draw your inspirations from those conspiracy type, scifi kinda shows, like "The X-Files" and "Fringe"?

Shawn: This project dates back looooooong before "Fringe", so I can't claim that it was an inspiration, although I do love that series and would remind your readers, if they haven't seen it they should. "X-Files", however, was a HUGE influence. The overall conspiracy that they weaved throughout the course of their series run was a definite inspiration for this project. This 90 page graphic novel is only the beginning of the story. I tried to write it in a way that gives closure but the story is far from over in my mind and, hopefully with the support of comic readers, I will have the chance to continue to tell the stories of "Space, MN".

Red Dot Diva: Could you introduce us to the artist of this comic? How did you get to work with him?

Shawn: Oh yes. Bruno Oliveira was given to me by the publisher, Arcana Comics. We have never met in person. He is from Brazil. We don't even speak the same language and yet I could not have asked for a more perfect collaborator on this project.

We did most of our communication via email or video chatting. He would ask for reference if he didn't understand something but overall he "got" this script right away. I would also be remiss if I didn't note that I have *never* worked with an artist as passionate about his work as Bruno. He cared as much about making this book amazing as I do and that makes a writer feel good. :) While we're on the subject, the book is actually in Full Color, with inks and colors by Chandran Ponnusamy who has BLOWN MY MIND with the work he's turned in thus far.

Red Dot Diva: Most of the well-known and wildly popular comics are related to the superheroes genre. What do you think of the niche scene regarding more original or non-superhero type comic stories?

Shawn: I don't see why this is still an issue. Entertainment is entertainment. If the story is good and the characters are strong the medium in which you tell the story shouldn't matter.

Just because it was the superhero genre that people most associate with comics doesn't mean the industry should be locked into only producing superhero material. This is the story I wanted to tell and comics was the format I chose to tell it in. As for non-superhero comics being "niche", I have to disagree. Books like Y-The Last Man, Preacher, Kabuki and so on, paved the way and now I think non-superhero comics are just as viable. In fact I can point you to the new Image book, "27" (written by Charles Soule) as a perfect example of a non-superhero book that not only sold so well they reprinted the first issue thrice but has been greenlit for sequels.

Red Dot Diva: When will "Space, MN" be released?

Shawn: This is the million dollar question. :) This project is over 7 years running.

We have finally made it to the coloring stage and at this point I see no reason to rush Chandran while he does his thing. I would like to promise you that the book will be ready by the end of the summer (lettering is complete, I am literally only waiting to drop the color pages under) but for now I'll just say that as soon as that final page hits my inbox, this book will be out.

While the comic is still being completed, Red Dot Diva is glad to be able to bring her readers a special preview of "Space, MN". 'Coz one already probably knows that she loves it when she can tease. Hehe.

So, here are the first few pages of "Space, MN", courtesy of Shawn DePasquale!

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10

Red Dot Diva hopes those teaser pages were enjoyable.

Feel free to help spread the word, comment or write about your thoughts about the "Space, MN" preview!


Click here for Shawn Depasquale's website. One can also find him on Twitter!
Artist Bruno Oliveira is also available on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I am really looking forward to seeing this work. The teaser is very intriguing. Thanks for the great interview!