Project: Get Known! DETACHED
What occurs on the inside of someone’s mind when they fall into a coma? This unanswerable and limitless subject is tackled in a soon-to-be-released comic, Detached. Through social media, I became aware of these Miami brethren creators and was able to get to interview them in time for their kickstarter campaign. Get to know the creative team behind Detached - writer Adrian Terga & artist Emily Schnall!
Mikey P: Based on your website, Detached is described as an exploration into the “fascinating unknown nature of comas, the significance of it all, and what it means to be in one.” A great elevator pitch, in my opinion. What made you want to delve into this premise?
Adrian: Thank you, man. As far as the premise, I had an itch to write a comic but couldn’t really commit to an idea. Until one night, I had come across a video of someone telling their story about what they remembered from being in a coma and fell down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos of the topic. I knew then that there was something there, that comics would be able to give a visual reference for something that does not have one.
Mikey P: Visualizing a world inside ourselves is a great way to introduce evolving and a variety of environments for the story to take place. What sort of mood or existing art are you channeling to help illustrate your vision to the readers?
Adrian: I really set out to write something I felt was personal, grounded in real emotions, and slightly eerie. The work of Nate Powell (MARCH, Swallow Me Whole) were an influence on the mood I wanted to evoke.
Emily: I had thought a bit about the lights and forms you see when you squeeze your eyes shut after looking at a bright light, that combination of burnt out rods and cones and the shadows cast by the capillaries all nested in darkness. So my coma environment is a bit inspired by that. Those visuals have the sort of fizzy vibe I felt would convey this idea of brain trauma.
Mikey P: How did your creative collaboration come to be?
Adrian: Honestly, I don’t know how I did it. Nick Fury makes it look too easy to assemble a team. Over the course of last summer, I spoke to a ton of illustrators, colorists, and letterers. And between switching I.V. bags of coffee into my body to avoid passing out from juggling work and school, I found Emily Schnall and Nikki She-Ra. For me, the main thing I was looking for was someone who wanted to put the work in and loved what they did.
When I saw Emily’s work, randomly passing through DeviantART, I knew she was it. Mind you, it a lot to hide my inner fan-girl feelings on how perfect her style was for this idea. I succeeded. And luckily, Emily joined. After that came, Nikki Powers. I had seen her work on other indie comics and experience is something you need from a letterer. She was full of energy and ideas on what she wanted to do. Her knowledge about the process helped me feel comfortable knowing that she would be able to deliver, and that she did.
Emily: I got an email out of the blue about working on a comic, I remember I was working on a paper-mache sculpture at the time because I got flour-paste on my keyboard when I opened it up.
Mikey P: Adrian, what style of script do you provide Emily - exact directions or more of a loose flexibility?
Adrian: A bit of both, but there was a good amount of planning before any art was put down. We spent a lot of time dissecting the concepts in this book that by the time she had to use the script, we both knew what worked and what could work better. This made tweaking the script into a seamless and organic process thanks to her understanding of the story and world. At times it felt like she could read my mind.
Emily: I can read minds.
Mikey P: What obstacles did you run into which you didn't expect in getting this comic made?
Adrian: Getting over how my voice sounds in the Kickstarter video. It haunts me. But most people don’t like how they sound. Also, the unholy amount of drafts I’ve done.
Emily: Color is always a difficult element. My ink work can be tricky to jive with stylistically, and working out palettes is never something that has come naturally to me. So color choices take a lot of time and brain power for me to sort out. Developing my different color palettes for Detached was rollercoaster-y even by my standards.
Mikey P: Along with your Kickstarter campaign, what do you hope to accomplish with your work on Detached?
Adrian: More than anything, I hope to put together a narrative that feels true to the subject matter and that, with every issue, the comic evolves with its readers.
Emily: I know we have further places we’d like to take this story, so I can only hope we’ve made something that leaves people eager to join us down that path.
Mikey P: The most interesting thing I find with self made creators is the drive to find the time and discipline to make something with no real monetary reward. How do you schedule your time to make this happen?
Adrian: How I wish I could schedule my time like a royal prince would schedule his teatime, but that is not how this goes. Personally, I am always writing. I have sticky notes with one-line idea pitches, notebooks with short stories or poems, and google docs with all kinds of gibberish in them. What lights a fire under me is having a deadline. Even if I am the one that sets it. It forces me to find the time to write. If I didn’t do that I’d be watching Netflix and playing video games with my free time.
Emily: I follow the flow chart of: Are you asleep? —> If no, then are you eating?—> If no, then you should be working
The trick to this is sometimes arguing to yourself that stupid things are ‘work’
Mikey P: Which creators or titles have inspired you to create your own comics?
Adrian: There are so many influences, but, it all started with a little show by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini in the 90’s called, Batman: The Animated Series. They inadvertently made me a sucker for comics and storytelling.
Emily: Hellblazer: City of Demons illustrated by Sean Murphy is my comic art bible.
Mikey P: What other passions propel you?
Adrian: Been playing guitar for fifteen years? Yeah. Jesus that is long. I promise that I am not that old, I just started young. Blues music was huge for me growing up.
Emily: Too many things. Biology. Paleontology. Professional wrestling. Watching videos of middle aged women reviewing terrible artificially flavored coffees.
Mikey P: Off topic random question time: you get to invite any three people in the world over for dinner, who would it be?
Mikey P: What’s your advice to the other unknowns out there?
Adrian: No one knows you now, so why not take a chance on your idea? You have much more to gain by giving it your all then by waiting for “the right time”.
Emily: Make things and be excited about what your peers are making.
Thank you Emily and Adrian for your time. Maybe I’ll see you around Miami.
Be sure to check out the Detached Kickstarter and follow these accounts below!