Image Comics just held their sci-fi panel featuring creative teams of Brian K Vaughaun and Fiona Staples, Brian Wood and Mind Doyle, as well as David Hine, Joe Harris, and Glen Brunswick. Though the official title for the panel was “Wondrous Worlds, Fractured Futures: Speculative Fiction and Image Comics”, it really just covered their sci-fi and fantasy books. The creators spoke in depth about their work, and their views on science fiction in comics.
The panel started off by with the creators defining what Science fiction mean to them. Brian Wood said, “Well the way I approach sci fi is not so much a focus on technology, but how that impacts the way we live.” In “Mara”, he mentioned, they are creating a future world that has a heavy obsession with sports and war, and they are linked in a sense by competition. Mara is a very gifted athlete at a young age and has achieved an ultimate level in sports. She starts gaining superpowers unexpectedly. They point of drama comes from the fact that she lives in a world where your worth is defined by how you compete, and she becomes a cheater because of her advanced abilities.
Ming Doyle said, for her, sci-fi was an aesthetic that she draws upon. There is such a vast world, and its freeing as an artist to be able to build these worlds.
Glen Brunsiwck spoke of “Non-Humans” saying, for him sci-fi was looking into the future and trying to find out what actually might happen. Taking this, he likes to see how characters would realistically react to whatever elements are taking place in the future. In Non-Humans, it deals a with disease that targets teenagers, which allows them to bring inanimate objects to life, which creates an issue as the toys start demanding rights. They turn to violence and thus have to be illuminated. A ventriloquist puppet serial killer comes in to the story so it causes more of an issue, and this is the world we find ourselves in.
David Hine spoke of his upcoming book with Image, “Storm Dogs”, which is set far in the future, without much futuristic technology. The book was pitched as CSI but in space. You have a team of invesitgators who are sent to the planet to examine killings. It brings humans who had 24/7 tech connectivity and removes that making them have to relate to one another on a one to one basis. The world has a lot of Western elements to it, the cities are very make-shift and organic. It’s about living in a hostile environment and trying to cope with that. It’s a very character based book, and it’s been such a joy to create. There are a lot of elements of crime fiction, sci-fi, and some horror as well.
Joe Harris said about “Great Pacific” that it is about the great pacific garbage patch that is actually a real issue right now. In the book, it’s a big soupy mess that is a new continent that rose out of tossing stuff in the ocean for so long. It involves the character who settles on the garbage patch, claiming it. It becomes a survival story because he faces so many threats. A mutated Octopus comes in the first issue, and it stalks the boy from below. So no top of the natural elements, and the basic survival he has to deal with the Navy at somepoint and other factors. He’s not a do-gooder, he sees it as an opportunity to claim it for himlsef and once he establishes the settlement, it becomes a question of whether he will fall to corruption.
Fiona Staples said, “Saga is not strictly sci-fi despite all the rockets and laser guns, it’s more of a space opera”. She continued, “We don’t have a certain one look for the technology or the spaceships, its defined by the character or world it belongs to.”
Brian K Vauhgan said that while he was growing up he always loved sci fi and fantasy, but for it’s all fake and make believe. Star Trek or Lord of the Rings, are both make believe. He said, “I wanted to create a world with elements of both, why limit it to one. When I first spoke with Fiona, she said she’s not a big fan of tech so I was like, “well we’re fucked”. But her not drawing tech makes the book feel so different.”
About the world of “Saga,” he said that all the fantasy characters have horns of some sort, all the sci-fi have wings, and all the robots had TV heads it makes it clear which side they are fighting for. Fiona said, “The worst thingI’ve ever had to draw comes in issue #7”.
When asked about optioning “Saga” for a screen adaptation, BKV said “I’m in it for the cash money. But as far as I’m concerned, comics are made to be comics, not just a platform for another medium. I’ve never watched an episode of Breaking Bad and said, “Man, I wish someone made a painting of this!”