At NYCC 2010, I managed to get Erik (@ebrown2112) to help me secure some precious time with the brother and sister comics creating team of Brea Grant and Zane Grant. For "Heroes" fans, you should remember Brea as the cute little speedster Daphne.
The duo has been consistently busy with their creative chops since then and Erik and I worked to get an update interview with Brea and Zane at SDCC this year.
Here's Part 1 of the interview. Over to Erik!
An oppressive cult has achieved global domination, and a band of sexy rebels must fight the power by any means necessary in Suicide Girls, a sci-fi comic based on the popular pin-up site. Super-cool siblings Brea Grant and Zane Grant spun this tale of tyranny, brainwashing, and ass-kicking in a dystopian (and clothing-optional) future. I had the immense pleasure of speaking with Brea and Zane at the IDW booth on the last day of San Diego Comic-Con 2011.
Erik: You were approached to do Suicide Girls?
Brea: Yeah, Chris (Ryall) asked if we were interested and I wrote up a pitch. Steve Niles and Missy Suicide already had some good ideas, so we combined our ideas and ended up with an insane science-fiction comic.
Zane: A sci-fi nudie comic like nobody else is doing. That's the nicest way to put it.
Erik: The comic contains themes such as religious domination of the government and suppression of sexuality.
Brea: Yeah, the idea was the Suicide Girls represent freedom of sexuality, being open about women's bodies. I wanted the bad guys to be more of a mega-corporation, because Suicide Girls is a very independent site; basically, “big porno versus small porno” is what Zane and I kept talking about. But Missy also wanted to include a religious element, because religion has often suppressed sexuality throughout history.
Erik: And the people in charge of this organization, Way of Life, they're the biggest freaks.
Brea: Right. And the idea is that it's not so much mainstream religion today. It's obviously a dystopian future, and they're a cult that has taken over the entire world.
Zane: A lot of it's about visual culture too. There's a whole thing about learning memory through visualization, and they're reprogramming these people's minds so they'll assimilate in this way. And through this visualization the people confuse real-life experiences with things that were forced into their brains. There's a lot of things about ocular centric culture, calling into question experience versus spectator viewing.
Erik: Like “The Parallax View?”
Zane: It's more like “The Manchurian Candidate” meets “Total Recall.” That's what we tried to play with. But for the most part, there's a lot of boobs and decapitations and stuff.
Brea: The decapitation is more our idea, and I think it's the only comic where you will get a note saying “you need to have more boobs.” The notes from our editor and Missy said “don't be shy about the nudity.” Issue Four has more nudity than any comic I could possibly imagine.
Zane: It gets really wild. They're having meetings topless, there's full-frontal fights against robots...
Brea: It gets insane.
Zane: It's sick, it's really sick. I think if you give the Grants a choice between sex and violence, we'll always gonna choose violence.
Brea: It's true. We are brother-sister.
Zane: Not because we're supportive of violence and against nudity, but just because it's the first thing that comes to mind when we see people. That's how you resolve conflicts.
Brea: Yes. [laughs]
Zane: Some people look at the cosplayers here at Comic-Con for sexual reasons. We look at them to see if we could win in a fight.
Erik: Who are your biggest storytelling influences, horror or otherwise?
Zane: That's a tough call. I like Clive Barker and Joe R. Lansdale.
Brea: As far as fiction, I like William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, a lot of sci-fi. And you know Zane and I are horror movie nerds. We love horror movies and we love sci-fi. It depends on the day. One day I'll watch a movie like “Never Let Me Go” and be super-inspired to write something like that. It's weird how whatever you're watching at the moment starts to inspire what you're doing.
Zane: We like dystopian futures and speculative fiction, and we're doing some urban fantasy stuff now. We have a wide range.
Erik: You have some future projects, like “Dead City Kids.”
Zane: Yeah, we're working on “Dead City Kids” with Gavin Smith. We're still pitching that. We have some nice pages so hopefully that will get picked up.
Brea: And we have a project with EricJ called “Let's Play God.” We're hoping that coming to Comic-Con will mean we're going to do another comic.
Jonathan Spies joined Zane and me to discuss their new web comic, “Detective Warlock, Warlock Detective”.
Erik: Let's talk about your new venture.
Zane: Jonathan and I are working on a web comic called “Detective Warlock, Warlock Detective,” about a small-town occult investigator. It's a horror comedy. It's supposed to be funny, he's fighting teen wolves, graveyard hags in skating rinks. In the second issue we have a spoof about “Medieval Times,” the family recreational place. It's haunted and it gets sort of Monty Python-esque.
Jonathan: Zane and I live like six blocks from each other, so he calls me, “Hey, I got this great idea, we're gonna decapitate this person.” I guess we don't have any decapitation. We have a sword that goes through somebody's face, but the head remains.
Erik: That's a little kinder.
Zane: It's really over-the-top. Gory, but a little slap-sticky. It's like Columbo, Marx Brothers, Monty Python. The humor's pretty all over the place, but it's pretty fun.
Erik: That's right up my alley actually. So my question is: he is a Warlock, and his name is Warlock. Coincidence?
Jonathan: I always took it as open to interpretation. His name is Warlock, so if he was a doctor he would be Dr. Warlock regardless of whether he treats warlocks, he'd still be Dr. Warlock. If he was a Ph.D candidate, he would also be Dr. Warlock. But he happens to be a detective named Warlock, and he's also a warlock detective.
Zane: He's also an occult investigator, so the title works many ways. One discussion we were having recently was: Doctor Doom is the ruler of Latveria; why do they still call him “Doctor Doom?” Wouldn't the title “Emperor” supersede the title “Doctor?”
Erik: Emperor Doctor Doom.
Jonathan: Emperor Doom, Ph.D., etc.
Zane: I'd love to write “A Day in the Life of a Latverian Citizen.”
Erik: Is there anything else you'd like to say about Detective Warlock?
Jonathan: Detective Warlock comes out every Wednesday with new scenes at detectivewarlock.com, staying on schedule with brilliance and fun. We're really happy about it.
Come back again to this blog for Part 2 of the interview where we will find out more on what Brea Grant has been up to!
Brea has an official website where you can keep up-to-date with her current and future projects. You can also follow her on Twitter.
Zane has a Twitter account as well, and his own official website.
Zane has a Twitter account as well, and his own official website.
Jonathan Spies is @Det_Warlock on Twitter and you can click here for his sketch blog.
And don't forget to check out the “Detective Warlock, Warlock Detective” website!