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The Death-Day Interview: Sam Hiti and Joe Midthun

Joe Midthun and Sam Hiti

When Sam Hiti won the Xeric Grant and self-published Tiempos Finales, Book One in 2004, the comics world took notice. A unique combination of influences from Central and South American art to manga and Jack Kirby came together with Hiti’s own, self-taught style to earn him praise and respect from fans, critics, and fellow cartoonists alike. All of who rubbed their hands together and impatiently waited for him to continue the story with Book Two.

Though Tiempos Finales, Book Two hasn’t appeared, Hiti certainly hasn’t been resting. In between gigs for folks like Nickelodeon (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Lerner (Life in Ancient Civilizations), he’s been steadily producing mini-comics and art books like The Long Dark Train and Ghoulash. And he’s also been working on his current, big project, the webcomic Death-Day, which just saw its first collection last fall. If you’re not familiar with it, there’s a non-spoilery summary in  my review.

What surprised some fans was that after producing so many comics completely by himself, Hiti’s name isn’t the only one on Death-Day. Joseph Midthun is listed as editor and co-creator of the series, so I sat down with both men to talk about the project, their collaboration, what they’ve learned along the way, and yes, the future of Tiempos Finales.

Michael May: Sam, tell me the story behind the title Death-Day.

Sam Hiti: Well, when I was a kid, I remember not knowing what the “D” in D-Day stood for. Instead of asking, I came to the conclusion that it must stand for Death, because of all the dead they showed on the television when they honored the anniversary. Later on in life when I had begun to make comics, I thought if I ever did a war story, Death-Day would make a great title for a book.

May: What was the inspiration for the book?

Hiti: The basic idea started to form after 9/11 and more so with the wars that followed. I had finished my first graphic novel, Tiempos Finales and was working full time on comics.

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