Ryan K. Lindsay is an Australian writer, who amongst other things has written a book about Daredevil and a My Little Pony one-shot. We at Comic Crusaders caught up with him prior to the release of his new Dark Horse book Negative Space #1
CC: My first question is around inspiration for the book. Where did you get the inspiration for the idea of the Kindred Tower mining negativity?
RKL: It all started with that very first page, actually. A writer, at his suicide note, hitting writer’s block. From there, I stood back, and tried to peel the story apart. I had to know why he had that block and why it mattered. What came tumbling out was this mega-corporation that’s harvesting emotions, and depression specifically, to feed these unknown underwater beasts, the Evorah.
But why emotional manipulation? Hell, I’d say our current world reflects that pretty easily. Our media is quick to build emotive language into their impartial reporting, social media is just a slew of the feels, and I have no doubt people are already harnessing this in certain ways [hell, that Facebook experiment shows they are, and it works].
To take all that and throw it into a PKD blender was just too good to pass up.
CC: Guy, Woody even Rick (I used to work on a call centre, have seen sales types), all the characters seem well rounded real people, are they totally fictitious or do they kind of exist in real life?
RKL: Wow, thanks, mate. That’s really nice to hear. I certainly want these three guys to feel different because they are each really coming from different places. Once I set them up, and their back story and state of mind, they certainly should have different voices.
As for them in real life…no, I don’t think so. Well, actually, Guy miiiight have a few tendencies shared with a mate of mine, but Woody is definitely his own guy, and Rick is just an amalgam of smarm I’ve seen over the years. He’s the most over the top whereas Guy and Woody are meant to represent real people.
CC: what would you say the characters represent or how do they relate to the readers?
RKL: Guy has been identified by many reviews as an everyman, and I enjoy that. For me, he represents depression as I really see it. He’s internal, he’s sad, he’s broken, but he’s still this really great person who still loves the world – his problem is just that he believes it would be better without him. Woody represents hope and sweetness, he’s just this pure thing and sadly by being him he no doubt makes Guy feel worse about himself.
And as I said above. Rick represents all that arrogant corporate number crunching bullshit that feeds the world, or at least the worst parts of it. He’s greed, he’s the biggest things we hate, and there’s actually an in-story reason to explain this which I’m really glad we worked out.
CC: The book has a unique feel, what made Owen Gieni perfect for the role?
His emotion and tone are perfect for this book. He brings the depression to life-like no one else could have. His character designs for Guy, Woody, Rick, Briggs, as well as the Evorah make everything work. You can tell who these people are at first glance from their posture, their shape, their size. That Owen can handle these great silent emotional beats as easily as he can the epic moments of scope and debilitation is wild to me. His art alchemy is the only way this story could have been told properly.
CC: It’s going come up, a Google search on you brings up My Little Pony. How is writing Pony and Negative challenging?
RKL: You know, both stories are about being broken down, finding your place, and fueling your reason to going on. My Rainbow Dash one-shot was about breaking her down and crushing her sense of self-confidence, and then making her find her new reason to go on and still be heroic. This story actually isn’t that far from it, and I don’t think I ever would have realized that. Man, that’s hilarious. Who knew my Dark Horse book would echo sentiments from my foray into the MLP world? I’m certain, beyond that, the books are then wildly different, haha.
RKL: This was always the flick I chose and my editor, Daniel Chabon, even asked me why and I said because it is my favourite romance flick of the past ten years and it would most definitely be one of Guy’s favourites, and that’s because it’s about unending love, that it will always come around, but it will also always crush you. You can’t ride that high without crashing into the low every single time, too. And the end of that flick is perfect because depending on the day I’ve had I might be all, “Yeah, get down on it, Jiggle, ride that carousel again!” or I could be, “Run, Jiggle, don’t go falling for her eyes, man, she’ll be your ruinnnnn!” Haha, because that’s life – situations tainted by experience and personalized context and you make spot decisions and move forward as best you can.
That dichotomy of emotion in life is important, and we can use it, but it can also trash us completely. I felt like that worked for this story better than Guy going to see JAWS or MILLER’S CROSSING or something.
CC: I loved the note that Guy actually did write, and the leap of faith and courage it took. What further challenges (spoilers allowing) await Guy?
RKL: The ongoing challenge for Guy is his suicidal depression. It’s not something we push away from now the story has started moving. It’s not something we cure in the second act. Guy will keep moving because he’s somewhat heroic and he’s certainly reactive, but he’s still dragging this lead ball around inside himself.
Beyond that, he has to suddenly come to grips with his eyes being opened to a much wider scene than he, or anyone else, really knew existed. And knowing that depression can be orchestrated doesn’t change the way you feel, so Guy has some large and dense problems to solve.
CC: Finally, what’s next for yourself?
RKL: I have a slate of creator owned one-shots coming down the pike I can tease. After Kickstarting DEER EDITOR – a crime tale of a newspaper editor who is also a deer – I got the bug to do more self-controlled short stories with rad collaborators and in the coming months you’ll see power corrupting, all ages romps about the monsters in the dark, and intergalactic data espionage. All fun stuff, I promise, and the art teams are amazing.
I also have a beach noir story soon to be announced that’s coming along very pretty.
CC: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, regarding the book. I have to say that I thought the first issue was amazing and look forward to seeing how the story plays out. Good luck with your future books.
Negative Space #1 out in your local comic book shop on 8th July, priced $3.99.
Check out our reviews section for an advance review.