I’m a regular listener to the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing podcast and often I keep my ears alert for new books and projects that the Legendarium Media audience might find interesting. On one particular show, I first heard about the World War Kaiju graphic novel by Josh Finney and Patrick McEvoy. I wrote a short article about it some months ago. Patrick is the illustrator of World War Kaiju and Josh is the author. I got a chance to talk with Patrick and this time around we go more in depth about the project. I talk with Patrick about the ideas, the inspirations for the project, the sequel to World War Kaiju and what’s coming up next:
Victoria: I’m guessing that to put this project together you guys have studied a fair bit of history. I love the propaganda style comics and ads in the back of the book. What attracted you to this particular time period – the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s?
Patrick: I’m a big fan of that era in general. Some of my earliest adventures in reading fiction were the Doc Savage novels from the ’30s and ’40s, and Will Eisner’s “Spirit” strips (reprinted of course!) from the ’40’s. And in movies, the lovable giant monster and Kaiju films from the ’50s and ’60s, the Film Noir movies from the ’40’s and ’50s, and jazz-era movies from the war years.
All of this, plus comics from the Silver Age, formed a rich stew of love for that era within me. So obviously, when Josh came to me with a project from those time periods, I was ready to jump in feet-first.
Victoria: I first found out about World War Kaiju while listening to the Adventures in Sci-Fi Podcast. I believe it was a Kickstarter campaign. Do you guys plan to do another Kickstarter campaign?
Patrick: Yes! We plan to do a second volume of WWK in 2015, probably in the summer. Expect some really cool stuff! I’ve already completed the art for several pages from the script, and it’s heading in some fantastic directions.
Victoria: Where did the idea for combining your interest in old Japanese monster films and Cold War politics come from?
Patrick: Josh had the idea that the Kaiju movies of the 1950’s and ’60’s were metaphors for real-world fears of cold war and nuclear destruction (and later on things like the environment, overpopulation, etc). So why not come up with a world in which the metaphor was reality? It gave us a great excuse to postulate an alternate history where the points in time where we as a planet got lucky avoiding major wars all went wrong. And in the second volume you’ll get to see just how wrong they go.
Victoria: At the end of the book readers get a large hint that there’s going to be a sequel. What’s the sequel going to be about? Will we see the same characters? Will new characters be introduced?
Patrick: We’re going to keep going in the same timeline – still bouncing back and forth, but basically picking up right where we left off in the flashback story, going forward from the Formosa crisis of the mid 1950’s. Along the way we’ll be heading into the 1960’s and bringing in a lot of tropes from the “super spy” movies of that era.
Some of my favorite creature designs were not used in the first book, but we’ll be getting to plenty of those in book 2! You can see a lot of them on my Deviantart WWK gallery:http://patrickmcevoy.deviantart.com/gallery/30639956/World-War-Kaiju — I can’t wait to show some of these guys in action!
Victoria: The art work for the story is beautiful. I’ve also noticed what looks like two distinct styles in the book, the old golden age/silver age comic book look and a more sleek, modern graphic novel look. What made you decided to mix these two styles in the same book?
Patrick: Thank you! This seemed like a natural from the beginning, that my “normal” style (the painted look) would be used in the main storytelling sections, and that we’d switch to other styles as the story progressed, to show the passing of eras. Originally, Josh was thinking of bringing in different artists, but I really wanted the chance to do them myself.
You’ll see, among other things, homages to Al Williamson and Wally Wood (the “Jaws” scene), Steranko’s “My Love Story” issue (the Carl Sagan scene), Roger Dean (history of the Kaiju scene), and Joe Shuster (the Werner Von Braun comic strip). There’s even a WWK-universe version of a Picasso print on the wall in one scene, where he’s apparently decided to draw Kaiju instead of Don Quixote.
Victoria: I loved how the Roswell incident, something that has always interested me, was worked seamlessly into the storyline. While reading the story, there were times it reminded me of The X-Files and Fringe. The Martians were really weird, to say the least. What inspired these slick business salesmen Martians? Will the Roswell incident feature later in the series or was this just a small detail in the overall story line?
Patrick: I’m hoping to see more of the Martians in the future – they were a blast to draw with that “huxter” body language. Josh came up with that idea and when I first read the script I was definitely laughing out loud at my drawing table. There will be repercussions from that event, definitely.
Victoria: How did you guys meet and start collaborating together?
Patrick: We were both working with the comics publisher Archaia about five years back – Josh and Kat with their book Titanium Rain, and me (and writer David Rodriguez) working on Starkweather: Immortal. We got to know each other hanging out at the Archaia booths at various conventions. We became good friends and talked about doing projects together in the future.
Josh called when he thought I might be interested in designing some creatures for World War Kaiju; little did he suspect that I would insist on doing all the art! In fact, Josh insists that he had absolutely no hope that I’d want to get on board. So it was nice surprising him.
Victoria: What other projects besides do you guys have in the works besides the World War Kaiju series?
Patrick: Aside from some illustrations I’m doing for 01 Publishing’s Whispers from the Abyss prose anthologies, Josh and I are working on an H.P. Lovecraft-inspired series of stories, the first of which we hope to Kickstart early next year. It’s a horror/noir series that takes place in the post-war 1940’s with a very interesting hard-boiled character we came up with who can fit into a lot of Mythos-related situations.
We’ve finished a number of pages already, and I’m going to do it in a completely different visual style for me. You can see a preview of a two-page sequence here: http://patrickmcevoy.deviantart.com/art/Chase-scene-Pickman-s-Model-485948830
Victoria: I find a lot of great ideas in this story such as Kaiju’s that come from natural spontaneous generation and those that are created from man-made means. Also the Kaiju that was found frozen, a hold-over from the previous ice age. What other concepts or plot lines will be introduced in book two?
Patrick: I’ve already done a bunch of pages for book 2, including a Frank Miller-inspired black & white scene, and a massive sea battle between Tesladon and a Soviet Kaiju. Believe me, there’s a LOT of crazy stuff to come.
Victoria: Where can readers find both of you and your works? Websites? Social media sites? Any new videos or news for the upcoming book in the series to point readers to?
You can purchase the graphic novel World War Kaiju on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/World-War-Kaiju-Josh-Finney/dp/0983923035