“Goners” follows the Latimers, a family that has protected the Earth from supernatural threats for centuries. When their parents are killed on live television, Zoe and Josiah Latimer are thrown into a fight for their lives, all while trying to carry on the family legacy.
With issue 3 of the Image Comics series coming out this week; Comic Crusaders were able to have a chat with creators Jacob Semahn and Jorge Corona about the book, their influences and plans for the future of the series.
After reading the first couple of issues I am curious to know where the idea for this series came from and what inspired you to write the book?
Jacob Semahn: Inspiration for the book came heavily from watching a collected string out of the JFK assassination collected by the crowd’s various 8 & 16mm cameras. That was the start of the ball rolling in my head: The thought that the world was one way previous to this horrible event and another way after. No one saw it coming and we haven’t been the same way since. Mix that with my love of The Goonies, Monster Squad, Stephen King, and Jonny Quest… and you have Goners.
Picking up on the point of events like the JFK Assassination for example, or say the murder of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand. How do you think that these events affect people especially with how connected the world is now?
JS: I’m not completely sure it would have the same lasting effect as it would in today’s world. We digest and move on from information at an alarming rate. Even the most vile injustices are absorbed in rage for a brief moment, before turning into background noise that gets in the way of celebrity news or cat videos. It’s the connectedness of the world now that almost pushes us further apart. And for that reason, Jorge and I decided to give Goners an atemporal feel… so that these events have weight. These events have people glued to the TV into the wee morning hours just to see how it all plays out. The last time I can remember such an incident occurring for the world was Princess Diana’s death and the tragedy of 9/11.
And following on from that do you think that the untimely deaths of the Latimers would have had a different effect on the world of Goners if say it wasn’t televised as it was in the comic?
JS: Yes. I believe it was the spectacle of this routine occurrence that sends such a shockwave for humanity. For instance, Penn and Teller perform a show-stopping bullet catching routine in their live Vegas show. There’s little doubt that this routine will go wrong, but the danger of it is what entertains us as an audience. Whether you believe it’s magic or just simple sleight of hand, there’s little doubt that you will in actuality witness something tragic.
But what if something went wrong? What if one of them died before your eyes? That moment would haunt you for the rest of your life. You’ll never forget that moment.
Now take that same event and instead of seeing it, you read about it in the paper the following morning. Tragic indeed. But not haunting.
Is there an overarching theme that you wanted to explore in this book?
JS: The main theme that I’ve played out is that you, as an individual, are not where you come from, but who you decide to be… whether hero or villain. It can be seen not only in Josiah and Zoe, but also in Francis.
You mention that this book is about the individual deciding who they want to be and making the choices that lead them to the lives we now see in the present. Have you found yourself shocked at some of the decisions we will see these characters make that lead them to the point in their lives that we now see?
JS: Definitely. There is a shocking turn that one of the Latimer children makes in issue 5 that in turn will affect who they are in this and future arcs. There’s a reason the book is called “Goners”… It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the end.
Jorge Corona: For me, the fun part is that most of the time I’m reading the story as Jake sends me the scripts. We’ve talked through big plot points to come but then I get a new script and see a character’s actions and how those have or will shape them… That’s when I truly see how well Jake has crafted this story in his head.
From my reading the series genre appears to be a blend of pulp serial adventure stories and horror, how accurate is that description and when writing this book do you confine yourselves to one genre?
JS: Nope. This is more about adventure than anything. I understand the need to add labels to these things, but all in all we set out to create a family adventure with an old Spielberg feel. I’ve heard the term “Amblin Horror” used a few times and I kinda dig it. It’s a descriptor I adopt with pride.
Either way I feel a lot of groundwork has been laid in this book and there is plenty to explore, where do you see this book going in the future?
JS: I would like to explore this series with characters that grow older. Not everyone makes it out alive, but I would love to see the ones that do, handle situations that they’re not accustomed to… Situations where this is life now and seeing them live with this hand they were dealt.
Jacob, I can see that you also write for TV as well, do you approach writing a comic script differently to TV script, are there similarities between the mediums?
JS: Oh boy. Yeah… they’re totally two completely different beasts. I learned a lot on the beginning of this series. With an episode you can tell a more complete story that everyone sits down and within thirty minutes to an hour they can get some sort of whole story. Attempting to do that same formula with comics is not at all the same. The audience gets 1/6th of the story from month to month. It was a good growing experience and definitely something that will inform my future work.
Jorge, what inspires your art and what drew you to Goners as a project?
Jorge Corona: Inspiration comes from many different places. The great thing about Goners from the beginning is that most of the things that inspired me visually were things that inspired Jake story-wise. When he first approached me with this story and we started talking about it, we were both on the same page. I think shows like Jonny Quest, Batman: The Animated Series and even the movie Goonies had that wonderful quality of an all age adventure but with visuals that had a darker tone which made the danger and peril feel more real. That was how I wanted to approach Goners; I went back and looked at all my favourite horror comic artists and saw what I could bring to this book, keeping in mind all these other notions of adventure and “grown up” situations.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about regarding Goners?
JS: The front half of Goners sees the Latimers on the defense. A turning point at the end of issue #3 has them taking the offensive starting with #4. And trust me when I say…Jorge, (inker) Steve Wands, and (colorist) Gabriel Cassata crafted some epic action set pieces!
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Jacob and Jorge for their time and for talking to us about the book.
If you are interested in all things “Goners” don’t forget to follow Jacob (@SaxonJacob) and Jorge (@jecorona) on twitter to catch up with all the latest news from the team.
You can also check out Comic Crusaders thoughts on issue 1 &2 by using the following links: