Thursday, June 25, 2015

Last Man: The Blog Tour!

The second volume of the Last Man series, The Royal Cup debuted in the US two days ago, and I am proud and fortunate enough to have conducted an e-interview with the books' creators after reading their first book. I hope that you enjoy our exchange below:

1.       I have read a little bit about how you plot out the book in a pretty informal way, but what comes first, the visuals or the words for the story? Does it change depending on the situation?
Haha, sounds like you're interviewing Bob Dylan or Nicky Minaj. "What comes first, the lyrics or the melody?" It's kind of a strange mix. We have the story landmarks settled, the big twists and where the characters have to be, but in between we let ourselves go: it can drawn by the will to suggest a particular scene, an emotion, a feeling, or the inspiration to draw a certain landscape... We pitch the idea or the scene at each other, like if we're telling ourselves stories by the campfire, trying to reach that "this is cool/scary/funny" reaction in the two guys in front of us. This is the cool thing when you've got three authors on this.  When you're on point, you knows this right away, it's a collective gut reaction. And then we just go with a loose description: Balak is shaping the scene and dialogue at the same time he is making the storyboard. The drawing, and actually the storytelling, how panels are flowing, calls for the writing, in the end. And when we have the final drawings, we go back to shape the dialogue some more. That's NOT how this is supposed to be, but that's how we do it, it keeps things fresh and exciting to us, and hopefully the reader.

2.       Are we going to learn more about Mr. Jansen? The guy is a mess!
Jansen is a good example of what we just talked about. In the very beginning, he was meant to be just “Adrian's teacher.” But then, when the scene was developed and drawn, he took a life on his own. Bastien decided: "let's make him madly in love with Marianne." He’s a big loser, the absolute counterpoint of Richard Aldana. And then he became much more than this in later books. It's like when they initially wrote Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was not supposed to be that big of a character, but when they saw James Masters on screen, they decided to give him more screen time, to eventually become everyone's favorite. In the end, the short answer is yes, you will learn more about Jansen. We love that character!

3.       Why does Richard Aldana seem smart about some things and clueless about others? Such as, why does he not remember the rules of the Games?
Richard is not lying when he is saying is not from the neighborhood. He's not from king valley, but  he know about king's valley... all this will be revealed in later books as well as in the TV animated series we're currently doing.

4.       After seeing the video game preview, I wonder will we see more tournament fights later in the series where the opponents are not all magic users?
The video game is a bit special, he is tied to Richard's past. We will see in book four a video game, and this is that video game you can play. Can't say too much without spoiling anything!

5.       What American comics are popular in France, if any?
You have lots of super heroes magazines translated in French, DC and Marvel, in every press shop. But the latest huge success is the Walking Dead comic books, it's a best-seller here. French are big fans of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, too, it's bigger than Peanuts here. You are very fortunate to live in France when you love comics, bande dessinée and manga. We have a lot of comic shops, selling comics from all around the world. That's not the case in all the other European countries.

And thus concludes our interview. Thank you so much, Gina, for setting this up, and also to the creators for their wonderful responses!

You can follow the blog tour by visiting this link.

Michaël Sanlaville
Bastien Vivès
My review of volume 2 will be out soon. The next installment in this exciting series comes out in October!

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