One of the perks of working with Robot 6 is often getting to see a glimpse at a new project before it is available for purchase. This past week (thanks to the project’s colorist, Rico Renzi) I was able to read the first issue of Loose Ends, a four-issue southern crime romance miniseries by writer Jason Latour and artist Chris Brunner, which goes on sale this Wednesday, July 13. As a native of the South, it is not often I get to read comics set there–so the comics caught my attention purely on that level at first. But then, when I started reading the issue, I realized it reminded me on some level of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal. That’s not to say Latour and company have done a wannabe story, far from it, as the creators have their own distinctive voices/styles, that mesh quite well. If the remaining three issues are as strong as this first one, I expect it will land on a few best of 2011 lists (at least mine, for sure). Latour and I discuss the first issue and other aspects of the series in this email interview. If you want a preview of the miniseries, be sure to enjoy the one CBR posted a couple of months back.
Tim O’Shea: The opening page of the first issue is all art, no narrative boxes or dialogue. Was the script always that way, or was that a creative choice you made after seeing Chris Brunner’s art for that page?
Jason Latour: Well as an artist myself I’ve worked on a few stories where I was dying to stretch a moment or let something play out visually and it just wasn’t possible. So from the start there was always an allowance for some organic growth in this script. The simplest reason for that is because I trust Chris. We’re collaborating. His point of view is equally important as mine is. If I’m doing my job then I’m inspiring him, not fencing him in. The medium itself, the page limit already does that. I tried to give him a script that communicated the tone, the pace and specific details needed to tell the story within that space. From there it’s on us as a team to communicate. If he has an idea, I listen. If he nails a scene and I’m in the way… I try to move. If he needs me to pick him up, hopefully I’m ready and able.
A few weeks back when I heard about Iraq War Stories, Nick Bertozzi’s project with his School of Visual Arts Comic Book Storytelling Workshop students, I wanted to immediately interview him. Here’s the advance write-up that caught my attention: “I’ve been teaching cartooning at The School of Visual Arts for a while now and this past year I asked the students in my Comic Book Storytelling Workshop to adapt stories that take place in Iraq during the War. Most of the students found stories from bloggers on the web, a few adapted stories told to them by friends, and one student, himself a veteran of the Iraq War, wrote and drew a story based on his own experience.
My good friend Dean Haspiel was wise enough to suggest that we put the stories up on the internet for all to see at the internet comics site that I’m part of, ACT-I-VATE.com.
The purpose of this anthology is not to wave a flag for or against the war—though some of the stories certainly have a political bent—instead, I asked the students to give me stories that would give the reader a sense of how the War has affected individuals, both American and Iraqi.”
The anthology series will release its second installment this Sunday.
Tim O’Shea: The anthology series will feature 13 stories ultimately–selected from the Comic Book Storytelling Workshop, how many students in total submitted stories?
Nick Bertozzi: I’m waiting to hear back from two more students who are making very slight tweaks to their comics, so there may be 15 comics when we’re all done.