Monday, August 21, 2017

Kickstart the Week with Amelia Sky #2

By: Nicole D’Andria

We’ve previously showcased the first issue of Amelia Sky. Now, the series about a young girl surviving in a post-alien invaded world continues. I spoke with the writer and artist about their heroine and how they would survive this nightmare of a world.

This sci-fi/horror series stars Amelia, a young girl suffering from amnesia, on an Earth that has become overrun with Shriekers, monstrous creatures who are hungry for energy. She is joined by Eleanor and her dog, Ace, as they look for Amelia’s parents.

The story is written by Jermaine M. Boyd, who has film degrees from Columbia College and the Academy of Art University. The artwork for this issue is done by Gwynn Tavares, whose other talents include sculpting and special effects. The editors for the story are myself (editor/marketing director for Action Lab Entertainment) and Brittany Matter (editor as well as reviewer/interviewer for Image+). Finishing off the creative team is letterer Kuen Tickles.

The women of the apocalypse

The goal for the project is $4,500 and it must be met before September 13, 2017 at 7:08 PM EDT in order for the project to be successful. Rewards include digital copies ($10) and physical copies with a glossy concept photograph ($20) of Amelia Sky #1 and #2 as well as bookmarks, T-shirts, mousepads, variant covers and copies of the prequel series about the Shriekers origins—The Remains #1 and #2. See more of their rewards here.

Enjoy my interview with writer Jermaine Boyd and artist Gwynn Tavares below:

Jermaine Boyd

Me: What do readers who have not read Amelia Sky #1 need to know in order to understand Amelia Sky #2?

Jermaine Boyd: I designed part one and part two of Anti-Aliasing Awakening in such a way where the reader would get a sense of what’s happening no matter where they start. There are certain key things the readers should know however. They should know in issue #1 that Amelia wakes up to this post apocalypse with amnesia. The only thing she has that identifies her is an ID she found in her pocket. The ID leads her on a path to find out who she is and where she comes from. Her journey through this horrifying world is awakening a force inside of her that’s giving her mysterious abilities, superhuman abilities.

Me: Eleanor and Ace have a much more prominent role in this issue. What can you tell us about their dynamic with each other and their importance to the story?

Boyd: They definitely do, Eleanor and Ace serve as Amelia’s forgotten humanity. I was careful to make the dynamic between the two feel very much like family. Because of amnesia, Amelia has lost so many memories, the things that define who we are. The most important memory she lost is the one of her family. Eleanor and Ace are Amelia’s new family. They’ll help her define her humanity like all families do.

Me: You picked some of your favorite illustrator’s to do variant covers this time around. What can you tell us about some of the artists and why you chose them in particular?


Boyd: Sure, Amelia Sky’s story is very much an all-female character driven story. Before I started coming up with concepts and outlines, I took time out to think about the heart of the story. I didn’t want to write something to write something. It had to mean something to someone else and not just me. The search brought me back to when I was a child reading about heroes. I remembered my mother telling me how she never had heroines as a child. This is the heart of Amelia’s story. It’s never too late to find or be a heroine.

I wanted the heart of the story to encompass every facet of its construction. So, I sought to find amazing indie female illustrators to keep that heart as strong as it could be. I found so many extraordinary artists and unfortunately a lot of them didn’t work out due to schedules or cost. But a good portion of them I kept in contact with because their art inspired me and really helped me visualize the world I saw in my head. Each one of the variant cover artists I asked to help represent the many layers of Amelia’s world.

Me: Some of the rewards you mentioned include copies of The Remains #1 and #2. What can you tell us about this series and how it relates to Amelia Sky?

Boyd: Definitely, I love The Remains. It’s been unfortunate that I’ve had to slow down its production in the last months. But now things are back on track with issue #2 starting.

When I first thought of Amelia Sky there were more characters. I had so many strong female characters I wanted to initially install but I eventually settled on focusing in on a few within Amelia’s immediate world. As I mapped Amelia’s story I realized there was a way I could bring in some of these characters. The best way to do it, I thought, would be to capitalize on what happened while Amelia was sleeping at the beginning of issue #1.

What makes The Remains special is that it’s a prequel. But it also interweaves itself into the main plot of Amelia Sky as the story progresses. The Remains tells the story of how the Shriekers invaded the Earth. It’s not only going to show readers in detail how the human race fell, it’s going to show how groups of survivors banded together to take the world back.

Amelia Sky #2 Page 1

Me: If you were in the world of Amelia Sky what would be your survival plan?

Boyd: Oh, that’s a great question and it’s a hard question. The world she lives in is brutal and grisly. Every second is tense; if you’ve managed to survive in this world you’re either running or hiding. My survival plan would be to find a group of people with various skills I definitely lack in order to form a plan to save the world. I know it seems like a very daunting task in a post-apocalyptic world. But this world is a little different from the rest because you can’t run and hide forever. Survivors can’t rebuild society while constantly being hunted. So the only way to live in this world is to stand up and take it back.

Me: What is the number one reason why people should back Amelia Sky #2?

Boyd: I’ve been reading comic books for a very long time. I’ve seen tons of comics that were so inspiring that they’re now timeless pieces of art. Then I’ve seen comics that had potential but were confined to the comic book industries old rules. We’re striving to create something unique. We want to make an art piece just as timeless as the legendary comics we grew up on. This story, the artwork, it’s unusual, it’s eye-catching, and it’s haunting. The way Gwynn interprets the script never ceases to amaze and astonish me. I know our readers will feel the same way.

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?

Boyd: I would say take the time and really search for a team that can really push your project to new, unforeseen levels. Sometimes it may seem like you’re in no man’s land, but you’re not. It’s a really, really big world (and might I add multi-verse). You’re going to find so many artists who are inspired by your dreams and will want to make them into reality. Once you find these people, pick a handful and allow them to inspire you. Allow them to each amplify things that you’re lacking. This will shape your dream into something more than you could’ve ever imagined.

Gwynn Tavares

Me: What has been your favorite page/scene to draw so far in Amelia Sky and why is it your favorite?

Gwynn Tavares: I loved drawing this comic book. I am a sucker for dark snowstorms. If I have to narrow it down, I would have to say page 8. It's just this creepy scene; our characters just got attacked and now are driving on an abandoned freeway towards a darkened rest stop. The only light is coming from their truck. It really embodies the sense of cold, dark looming doom.

Me: Who is your favorite character to draw and why?

Tavares: Amelia. She's just this little kid, with little kid reactions living in a world full of monsters. She looks at a gun with shock and awe but seems to accept that monsters are around every corner because, well, they always have been for her. She took me a while to “get” personality wise. There are some things about her that would make it hard for a normal person to connect with.

Me: How would you describe your art style in Amelia Sky?

Tavares: Gritty sketchy watercolor. I’m not sure if that accurately captures it. I don't like the way pencils feel on paper so I start everything with ballpoint pens and the sketchiness wins over. I really have to plot out my camera angles for the whole page before I start. Once I know how I want the action to look and feel and I have a good variety of shots I draw out everything without panel boarders. My originals of the pages just look like nonsense collages. Then everything gets dumped and sorted out in Photoshop.

Amelia Sky #2 Page 2

Me: The Kickstarter mentions the comic is "color washed." Can you tell us what this means and how it effects the art?

Tavares: We were trying to keep it very black and white with color nuances in order to keep the world looking gritty and lonely, give it that post-apocalyptic feel of a world where the lights have gone out. Right now I try to keep my color pallet minimal: rusty reds, pale yellow and gray blue. Only on occasion do I use colors out of that trio and they are usually centered on Amelia.

Me: If you were in the world of Amelia Sky, what would be your survival plan?

Tavares: Oh man, curl up and die in the snow. No, I should have a plan...

Most likely I would probably go all super crazy, disappear into the mountains, trusting no one, wearing tree bark, living in a beaver dam and then try to create some new weird religion that spreads word that the area I live in is super dangerous and the monster aliens who live there will kill you instantly if you set foot there. And then live out my days in peace with my only friends, the beavers.

Yep. That is exactly what I would do if the delirium from coffee withdrawal doesn't get me killed on day one. But I honestly hope I would happen to meet up with Amelia; there is no better place to hide than behind a looming threat of cataclysmic proportions.

Me: What is the number one reason why people should back Amelia Sky #2?

Tavares: Our little team that created this comic is 100% all hardworking and devoted to this story and I would want someone to back it because our story is just starting and it's a good one. I back Kickstarters because I know I want to be responsible for the art that is in this world. I know the dent I want to make is to create more creators. We all leave behind something in our wake, whether we give a dime to someone playing a violin in a subway or buy a kid a pack of colored pencils. When we do that we start something glorious that ripples into something bigger and more magnificent than we can expect because saying “yes” to art benefits everyone and it makes the world, I think, a better place.

Amelia Sky #2 Page 3

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book artists?

Tavares: Do it. Quit your day job, put all your time and effort into building one thing. Reach out to other artists to give you critiques, many artist love helping novices. Start every day doing figure drawing and every evening studying perspective. Make every minute of your drawing count.

It’s going to suck at first, especially the debt, but hell, everything starts out with debt, just about every business in the world started out in the red. Just like opening a restaurant or someone starting their own deck building or plumbing business, you are doing the same. Also, so many artists live poor. Join us, grab some ramen, thrift store clothing, shoes someone left beside a dumpster and the best art supplies money can buy and draw your brains out because drawing comics is gonna be the hardest art form you will ever choose to devote yourself to. You'll never regret it and when you hit your stride and you start getting paid for what you do, well, the feeling is more amazing than I can describe.

And don't forget to have at least two of the following under your belt: work fast, put forth good work, and be a nice person to work with. If you can do two of those, most people will hire you. If you can be all three, people will come find you. Remember, no matter how many comic books are out there, there is always room for another; entertainment is one craving that never gets satiated, people always want more. And if you don't know how to start, come find me and I will basically talk your ear off in the same manner I am doing now. You only got this one life and most of it is spent sleeping, so use what little time you got doing something you love. Oh, and listen to good music.

Me: Thanks for taking the time to share the details of Amelia’s journey with me. If you’re interested in learning more about Amelia Sky, check out their Kickstarter

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on "Kickstart the Week?" Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website.

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