Following a fantastic first issue of their Kickstarter book, The Few and Cursed, we caught up with writer Felipe Cagno (see right) and artist Fabiano Neves, (see below) to discuss The Redhead, influences and 321: Fast comics
CC: The Few and Cursed is a very impressive book. How did you two meet up?
Felipe Cagno: We met at a comic con in Brazil back in 2013. I was sharing a hotel room with two other comic book artists and they were really good friends with Fabiano. As creators we immediately connected and it didn’t take long for us to collaborate for the first time on a book I was putting together titled 321: Fast Comics, an anthology of short comic book stories with 3 pages, 2 characters and 1 twist ending.
Fabiano Neves: At this comic con Felipe mentioned was the first time I could take a closer look at the independent comic market and I loved it. I really wanted to participate in this world in some way. It was when Felipe asked me what I would like to draw for 321: Fast Comics and I had no doubt in answer, a western.
CC: What is it that you enjoy about working with each other?
FC: I’m a huge fan of Fabiano’s art, I feel really blessed to be able to work with an artist of his quality. His approach is really cinematic, lots of detail and scene construction, it’s rare to see a panel where there isn’t a background, he really brings my script to life. And as someone with a heavy background in film making, it’s just a joy to get pages back from Fabiano.
FN: It’s easy to work with friends. Felipe is very creative and his work is constantly growing. He is not only a great writer but he still finds time to take care of many other things involving our project , he can do many things at the same time without losing the quality of his work .
CC: Felipe, it seems to me that the “Western” is probably the most used crossover genre, whether it is horror (From Dusk till Dawn) or Sci-fi (Firefly, Westworld.) Why do you think that is?
FC: Westerns are more than a genre; it is a fascinating time period so it’s easy to imagine all sorts of genres happening in that world. It has a really particular sense of honour, duty, morals; it was a time that mashes up romantic fantasy with hard reality like no other. In many ways it reflects our present and take it up a notch. The Few and Cursed could easily happen in any time period, but setting it in the Old West just makes it that much more interesting.
CC: The heroine of the piece looks, at first glance, very familiar. What is it that makes red heads so bad ass? Was it a conscious decision to make her a red-head?
FC: Absolutely. She was a redhead ever since we created her but when she was born she had a name though, she wasn’t The Redhead yet. As we started developing the series and the world more and more, it just seemed a lot more traditional to leave her nameless. Redheads, perhaps because they are not as usual as blondes and brunettes, by nature already have a mystery around them. That’s what makes them so bad ass in my book, they are fiery, passionate, and you never quite know whether they are good or bad, they leave readers on edge.
CC: Fabiano, you have done some work for Dynamite. How did your time on their books have an impact on your work on this book?
FN: Not only my works on Dynamite but all works I have done had an impact on this book. I am always trying to grow as an artist and every experience teaches me something new. Here I had more time to do the work and I was really happy with the final result, although I know I have a lot to improve and grow for the next issues.
CC: Who are your influences, both in and out of the comic book world?
FC: My biggest influences come from outside comics actually. I went to film school in Brazil and then went on to pursue a Masters in film production in California so the big names I like to draw from are actually from movies. Biggest influence is without a doubt Steven Spielberg, my favourite movie is Jurassic Park; my second favourite is Indiana Jones. I’m also really fond of JJ Abrams’ work since he got on my radar with Alias and its awesome seeing him tackle big movies with such ease and domain over the storytelling. As an influence both on and off-screen, I’d have to say Joss Whedon, that’s a guy I look up to and would love to follow in his footsteps. As for comic book writers, I love Brian K. Vaughan and Rick Remender, they just really have natural voices in their dialogues and an absolute masterful approach to the comic language knowing when to use splash pages, pacing a sequence, etc.
FN: My list of influences is really big. For The Few and Cursed in particular many European artists like Moebius, François Boucq, Ralph Meyer, Mastantuono, and Stefano Andreucci. Also there is a lot of great artists that have influenced my work in some way like Marc Silvestri, John Buscema, Lenyl Francis Yu, Travis Charest, Mike Deodato, Lee Weeks , Ivan Reis , Greg Tochini, Roger Ibañez…I could tell easily at least a dozen more here.
CC: What are the challenges in creating a female led book, with the ongoing discussions about diversity in comics in general and specifically how women are portrayed?
FC: Those ongoing discussions are welcome and healthy. More and more young girls are picking up comic books and we have a duty to cater to them as much as male readers. For me, as a writer, my biggest challenge is to respect the differences between genders. That might be obvious to state but women behave a lot differently than men and I’m tired of seeing heroines that go around like their male counterparts, they are basically the same character but without a penis. That’s not good writing, women in comics deserve to be better developed, they are a lot more sensitive than guys, their brain is wired differently, that to me is actually fascinating, guys are so logical and one-noted while women are complex with tons and tons of emotional nuances. It’s just interesting and challenging to try putting that on the page.
CC: How do you both feel that genuine diversity can be achieved in comics, when titles such as Mockingbird get cancelled?
FC: I personally feel that the more female voices we have behind the scenes the better and more genuinely diverse will comics be. We need more female creators, editors, artists, letterers, we need more women working in comics before anything else. As much as I try writing women in my comics, I’m still a guy, I won’t do as good a job as a female writer. Same goes for every other minority, we need them involved from the ground up. We need to give them more space and jobs and opportunities. I’m not a big fan of gender reversal of classic characters and I sincerely don’t think that’s the way to go. It won’t matter much if Thor is a girl these days if you still have a white guy writing that comic.
FN: I agree with Felipe. Would be great to have comics for all styles and genres, there should be a space for all voices. Today we have some great female writers and artists making a fantastic job, something we didn’t see some time ago. Hope to see more and more of that to get to know different voices and ideas.
CC: What comics books are both reading, which really light your fuse, so to speak?
FC: I’m really into creator owned series. I try to read the new stuff along with some classics I missed because all I read growing up were the big two. For instance right now I’m reading Y: The Last Man but before that I read Image’s Chrononauts, Low and Manifest Destiny. Next up though are Oni Press’ Helheim and Sixth Gun and Archaia’s Hacktivist and I’m absolutely in love with the stuff Aftershock is putting out, Animosity has been great
FN: I read recently The Undertaker, Jazz Maynard , and all Hellboy comics. Also I am reading Empress – because I need to see everything Stuart Immonen works on – Seven to Eternity and Low
CC: OK, wish fulfilment time; you both come across a magic lamp, you give it a clean and out pops a genie and offers you the comic book of your choice. Which do you pick and why?
FC: I would go with Marvel’s Runaways. It literally has everything I love all mixed up in a single book. Group of teenagers, road trip, dinosaurs, classic comic book good vs evil and it’s all set in a little corner of the Marvel Universe. Really wish I could tackle that series for a while.
FN: I don’t know, I never had a specific character that I would like to draw. Maybe Iron Fist, because was the first comic book I read and I like a lot of urban heroes. When I was a kid I loved his visual, the dragon tattoo and his powers .
CC: Will there be another 321: Fast Comic this year?
FC: Not this year no but definitely in 2017, I love that series, it’s done so much for my career and I can’t have a series be called 321: Fast Comics and not wrap it up as a trilogy. Only reason I didn’t put out a 321 this year is because I got too busy with two original 72+ page graphic novels and two comic book series, The Few and Cursed and spy thriller Classified.
CC: What’s next for you the Few and Cursed?
FC: Lots of really interesting stuff is coming up for The Few and Cursed, especially for our Kickstarter as we reached our initial goal within 24hrs and can now really get creative with the stretch goals.
This is an exclusive announcement, one of the things we are really looking to do is a series of collectible cards. We are going to have top professional artists do beautiful high-end renderings of the Redhead and then release them as collectible cards with a golden foil signature on the back. Let’s hope we can reach that stretch goal in our campaign before the time is up 🙂
Thanks guys, I really appreciate your time.
For those interested in the book, go check out the review, which can be found in the review section at the top of the page.