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Exclusive: Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy Talk The Wake Issue #2

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Exclusive: Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy Talk The Wake Issue #2 Issue #2 of the sci-fi horror series The Wake releases on June 26th from writer Scott Snyder and artist Sean Murphy. We recently had a chance to talk with the duo about the upcoming release and why horror fans will want to pick it up.

AMANDA DYAR: Hello, guys. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. First off, could I have you both introduce yourselves and just tell our readers a little bit about yourselves.

SCOTT SNYDER: I write comics mostly for DC. In terms of horror comics, I write two series. One is American Vampire I started a few years ago about a new breed of vampires that is born in the American West in the 1980s that has totally different etiology than the Dracula species that we all know. The series I am going to talk about today is brand-new called The Wake, and it is about a discovery made at the bottom of the ocean. A creature is found down there, and it explains a lot of mystery that is evolutionary. It explains a lot of myth and folklore of the sea and is kind of a terrifying beast that has all these implications that once they find it, there are all these terrible things that happen. So it is sort of a haunted house story at the bottom of the ocean.

SEAN MURPHY: My name is Sean Murphy and I live in Brooklyn. I’ve been working professionally in comics for about 10 years. The books I’m most known for are Off Road, Joe the Barbarian, American Vampire, Hellblazer, and of course The Wake. Last year I wrote and drew a graphic novel called Punk Rock Jesus, which I’m probably most proud of.

AMANDA: Issue 2 of 10 of The Wake releases on June 26th. Scott, can you tell us a little bit about that and what inspirations you drew from when writing the series?

SCOTT: Yeah, that is a good question. My inspiration really has to do with that I have always sort of been fascinated by discoveries in the ocean, shipwrecks, and when I was a kid I was sort of obsessed with the Titanic and the finding of that ship. Just everything the sea covers with all of the mysteries down there and there are things that are still vastly unexplored, because it is such a deadly environment at the depths of the ocean. So, it is sort of a place that I have wanted to do a big story about. I wanted to create a horror and science fiction type of story. It really became about kind of creating this creature, this kind of discovery that could be made, and it wouldn’t be a creature like something from the Black Lagoon since we have seen that story. Instead it would be a creature that is found that opens up this entire new set of mysteries about where we came from and what else is down there. All kinds of big story elements come into play. You will see from the opening pages of Issue 1 that it has a whole component that takes place 200 years in the future as well as after this kind of horrifying event. That is part of the mystery of the book, and it has a really broad scope. So, if you like science fiction, then there is a lot of that in here. And if you like movies, like Aliens, The Thing, and The Abyss, then there is a lot of that in its DNA as well.

AMANDA: Sean, how did you go about visualizing the story, and what inspirations did you draw from in the process?

SEAN: What drives the artwork most of all is the script and all the details Scott provides me. I’m a big fan of underwater/deep sea documentaries, so it’s been a blast putting it all onto the page. Whenever I’m out of ideas, I’ll hit Google or Flickr to find even more references that will inspire the art. Scott’s also great at including pictures in his scripts, and that’s probably been the biggest help. I pretty much use whatever he gives me.

AMANDA: Our main character is Lee Archer, who has an almost child-like enthusiasm about the ocean and the mysteries it contains. I wanted to know, Scott, did you base her off anyone in particular, or where did the idea come from for her character?

SCOTT Well, I really love characters who are outsiders. My inspiration for her was that I really wanted to create a character who has a kind of history with the creature that she doesn’t want to talk about. At the same time, that is probably the only person who can understand what it is saying. So she is a marine biologist and specializes in the mythology of aquatic animals and recording and studying vocalizations. The creature that they find is just saying something over and over again. And she goes down there to try and discover what they thing is saying. And in that way, I kind of wanted to have someone that could hold two kind of keys to the mystery of the creature itself. One is personal and has to do with something that happened to her. And the other is scientific and has to do with the actual translation and deciphering of this big mystery that hovers around what this thing is trying to tell us.

AMANDA: Sean, you have stated before that you drew her off an idea of a older version of Emma Watson. Can you tell us a little more about that and why you saw Lee in that way?

SEAN: My wife is a big Harry Potter fan, and something about Emma Watson’s face seemed to fit the character of Lee Archer for me (in the later movies, of course). Big brown eyes, blonde hair, a pretty face but one that’s also a bit dark from time to time. There’s something about her that hides something under the surface, I think. I suggested the idea to Scott and my editor, and without hesitation they both said, “Yes!”

AMANDA: You both collaborate well together, obviously. I got a preview of the upcoming issue, and it is amazing. I know you both work from an outline, but can you give us an example of a time you both came up with something for The Wake series that was just in the moment?

SCOTT: Oh sure, we do that all the time. He is one of the best collaborators to work with, and he is also one of my very close friends. It is really a blast working with him on it. One example would be in Issue 1, when you get to the rig itself at the bottom of the ocean, I was basically saying to him, “This is the part where you go down in a elevator shaft and ride it down. And the elevator shaft gets kind of damaged, and they can’t ride it back up.” And he was basically the one suggesting, “What if they get to this thing, and it’s really a submarine?” And I was like, “Great, man, go for it! That was actually much better than what I had.” So he will come up with things like that, and when he designs the submarine, I will go back and forth, and say, “If it’s a sub, let’s make it look something like an underwater bus.” We go back and forth with everything all the time. He really is a true collaborator, and because we are good friends, we talk almost every two days. It is a joy to get to work with him.

AMANDA: Well, I will admit this right off the bat–I can’t swim in the ocean. I watched way too many Jaws movies as a kid, so I was always terrified of it. The ocean itself is terrifying being that you have no idea of what lurks below. Scott, how did you bring these types of terror to the surface in the series?

SCOTT: I am really scared of the ocean, too. I just went on vacation with my wife to the Bahamas for our one vacation of the year. And I would briefly get in to my knees and that’s it. (laughter) So I have always been really scared of the ocean; I admit it. Part of bringing the terror to the surface was keeping a lot of it concealed. We wanted it to be something where you see the creature and it’s scary, but the stuff that is really scary about it is the stuff you haven’t seen yet. It’s not just the teeth and the claws–the things that could actually get you. Those are pretty scary, but it is actually the stuff we start to reveal in Issue 2 and the ways it can kind of come after us. Also, the kind of secrets it carries. A lot of the time I sort of feel the scariest stuff is the unseen stuff that you kind of withhold until the very end. It is the mystery of not knowing that is the scariest thing.

AMANDA: Sean–I just want to tell you that the water you illustrated is incredible. Was the detail of the water important to you?

SEAN: Thanks! I’m trying hard to make the water into its own character, rather than allowing the colorist to simply fill everything in with blue. Some artists drop the ball when it comes to drawing water (I’m sure I have in the past), so working on The Wake has forced me to work to find a lot of creative solutions on how to draw different kinds of water, whether it’s a smooth, reflective surface or a tidal wave crushing a building. And Matt Hollingsworth is a total pro and bringing it all together.

AMANDA: Well, it is an amazing series. I am assuming y’all have talked about the possibility of going beyond 10 issues?

SCOTT: It just depends; if you guys like it enough, then we would love to return to it someday. It just depends on if people love it as much as we do. It is one of the favorite things I have ever worked on, and I am really proud of it. I am honored to get to work with Sean, and we would get back together to work on it in a heartbeat I am sure. That is, only if people want more of it.

AMANDA: Thank you both for taking the time to talk with us. Do either of you have any last words?

SCOTT: Last words sounds so scary. (laughter) Mostly I would say thanks to everyone who is giving us a try. I know there are a lot of comics that come out nowadays, and for us The Wake is something that is very personal and special to us. I told Sean the idea for the series almost three years ago when we were first becoming friends and working on the other series American Vampire. So it was a project that we held onto together and wanted to do as a team for a long time until we both could do it. It is personal to us. It is a horror and sci-fi series so it has a lot of scary adventure kind of moments, but deep down it is almost about something that is personal to both of us, too. It explores a lot of questions about why we are the way we are and stuff like that, too. We have invested a lot into it in regards to our own personal interest, and we really, really appreciate anyone taking a look at it. It means a lot to us.

To learn more, visit the official DC Comics and Vertigo websites.

Check out a special peek inside The Wake Issue #2 below!

About The Wake Issue #2
They call it the “Ghost Rig.” A secret, underwater oil rig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery. But when things go horribly wrong, this scientific safe haven will turn into a house of horrors at the bottom of the ocean! Part Two of the incredible new series by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy!

The Wake Issue 2

The Wake Issue 2

The Wake Issue 2

The Wake Issue 2

The Wake Issue 2

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Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London

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Graham Humphreys continues to cement his position as one of the top horror artists in the business with his stunning new poster for An American Werewolf in London. This piece was created as a private commission, and fans of John Landis’ 1981 classic are going to love it. You can view the final design of this incredible poster below.

Final design with text.

Graham also provided us with a detailed statement about the creation of the piece, along with a bunch of screen grabs taken throughout the process. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see how the final image looks before the text was added. In case you missed it earlier, you can also check out our extended interview with Graham here.

Exclusive Statement from Graham Humphreys
As a commercial artist and illustrator, there is only limited scope to make a job entirely your own – so with each project you are answering a brief in order to fulfill the needs of a client. Of course, the client may choose to give you free reign, though this is with the understanding that you are acknowledging their needs and thus expected to work within certain unspoken parameters. Mostly, these confines are defined by how a product is to be sold, licensing instructions and an understanding a market. With this in mind, the client is paying and thus nominally always right… though it would be unprofessional not to make them aware that other options might work better for them!

Without these commercial constraints, a private commission can remove the barriers because no market is to be met and there is only the artist and the private client to answer to. Creating a poster for a familiar and heavily licensed title is an entirely different prospect if it is not going to be generating money in the public domain and is thus essentially ‘fan art’. Unlike say, a T-shirt company ripping off someone elses art and charging money for the printed image, or perhaps a poster reproduced without permission by either the license owner or artist, then sold for profit.

Here, Dread Central have asked me to talk through one such commission, ‘An American Werewolf in London’, painted as a private commission for an individual that wishes to own a unique image that they themselves have made happen. NB: All likenesses and specific imagery (including the title and names etc) are subject to license and copyright and not for any use other than as examples of a work in progress (and of course, all rights are reserved!). Just need to make sure that it absolutely clear!

The client had commissioned two previous posters from me (as well as numerous poster designs from fellow artists), so a basic understanding of expectations had already been established.

My work begins by watching the film from beginning to end – to re-establish my own connection to the film (if one already exists). I saw ‘An American Werewolf in London’ (in London!) on it’s first run and the proximity to many of the locations (Tottenham Court Road tube station, Piccadilly Circus, being the obvious ones) made it instantly impressionable for me. Existing posters, in particular the official theatrical versions and various home-entertainment sleeves, focused on a limited image pool. My job was to find new ways of representing the film, free of the past baggage, but also to listen to my clients requirements.

Looking for a fresh perspective means avoiding the familiar stills that have defined the past marketing, this is achieved by making screen grabs from the DVD or blu-ray. As with most commercial jobs, I generally make a selection of about 40 images, then review these reducing the number to about 15 that have the best narrative potential, including a good visual range of actor expressions and reactions. My client required the Werewolf, London references, the moors, David and Jack, a full moon and the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ pub sign… then whatever else I chose to include.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Selected screen grabs.

Selected screen grabs 2.

My first idea involved a portrait of David looking lost and frightened (I felt this was essential to the story), the Werewolf with it’s head bursting through the cinema shutters/signage (the idea of breaking the fourth wall), the decomposing Jack (a perfect metaphor for David’ s own life falling apart), his nightmare of the home invasion (one of the most effective and horrific moments in the film, I felt), plus Brian Glover’s ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ local – a look that defines rednecks and racists the word over when confronted by ‘other’!). I also wanted to add the tube attack victim to open up the carnage. Although Jenny Agutter’s nurse added the romantic dimension for an audience that expects the convention, I wanted to concentrate on David’s story, so chose to only include her face as if she were painted on the shutters, ie. a film poster element.

I was surprised that the client didn’t want the home invasion creatures, nor the reference to the sleazy cinema hordings (which I thought made a good location gag – obviously not!), they also did not want the rotting Jack. It was disappointing to lose these great horror elements, especially as they’d particularly wanted ‘horror’! But a compromise was reached by including the transformation scene at the bottom, and reinstating the moors (which I’d thought unnecessary).

Fortunately, my second sketch was well received and the painting could commence.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Once I have my sketch approved I reintroduced the photographic source material over the sketched parts, so that my layout remains exactly as approved and so that I’ll have the best possible likenesses to trace onto the watercolour paper.

Early sketched elements.

I usually have a basic idea of what colours I’m going to use. In this instance I knew that I wanted a silvery blue moonlight to bathe the entire image, but also the contrast of the orange glow of artificial lighting, the pub and cinema foyer. I knew the big splash of red in the wolf’s jaw would jump out, becoming the focal point. This painting took about three days to complete, the sketch process (including the grabs) about a day upfront.

Composition design.

The final painting was scanned and all the text added in photoshop.

My client will now make a full size poster print, to be framed, from the file I send him. Next up, ‘The Thing’!

Final painting before text was added.

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Syfy Renews Z Nation for a 5th Season; Season 4 Finale Airs Tonight!

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Syfy’s popular zombie series “Z Nation” just keeps shambling on, and tonight the two-episode Season 4 finale, “Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow,” airs. If you’re a fan of the show, we have good news for you… it’s not over yet as David Latt of The Asylum has announced on Twitter the pickup of “Z Nation” for a 5th season! So you can expect lots more adventures with the gang in 2018.

Below is the official word from David along with a brief synopsis of what’s ahead tonight in the finale, which kicks off at 9/8c.

Synopsis:
In the mind-bending two-hour Season 4 finale, Warren and the team must stop Zona from launching operation Black Rainbow, which will cleanse the landscape of both zombies and humans. In Part 2 the secret of Warren’s Black Rainbow dream is unlocked when they reach their final destination. The cast includes Kellita Smith as Roberta Warren, Keith Allan as Murphy, Russell Hodgkinson as Doc, Nat Zang as 10K, Gracie Gillam as Sgt. Lilley, DJ Qualls as Citizen Z, Ramona Young as Kaya, Justin Torrence as President Donald Trump, Michael Berryman as The Founder, Micheal Daks as Mr. Sunshine, Anastasia Baranova as Addy, Sydney Viengluang as Sun Mei, Joseph Gatt as The Man, and Natalie Jongjaroenlarp as Red.

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First Look at Chris Alexander’s Space Vampire

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Who says all vampires have to be all extra-broody or sparkly or take up residence in Transylvania? Certainly not indie filmmaker Chris Alexander, who has just unveiled the first images and posters for his latest foray into film, Space Vampire!

The movie stars Ali Chappell as a beautiful female alien parasite who falls to earth with an intent to drain women of their life forces. As if women don’t have enough problems in this day and age!

Alexander wrote, directed, edited, filmed, and even provided the score for this intergalactic terror tale. Talk about a jack of all trades, eh?

Enough talk! Dig in!

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