Ashley Neuhaus 13-JUNE-2012 The team up of Fredrik Buer and Benjamin Sawyer brings to you a lead character that rivals that of Rick Deckard from BLADE RUNNER. Sarah Toomey leads their book SUPERLUMINOUS which is a sci-fi noir comic. Toomey teams with a man, Benjamin Peck, to fight the government and greedy corporations as humanity is fleeing to seek refuge among the stars. The two unearth major secrets as they try to save mankind.
The Kickstarter campaign’s goal is $25,000 and ends on June 28. That goal may seem a bit high especially since the story will be released as a webcomic first at two pages a week but a trade paperback of 150 pages will be available hopefully in the summer of 2013. If successful the funds will go to paying Benjamin Sawyer for all his hard work and allowing $5,000-$10,000 for the rewards. Some of those rewards include a poster of the cover art, a SUPERLUMINOUS t-shirt, the trade paperback, original art and your likeness in the story.
I had the pleasure of meeting Benjamin at this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia show. Had I known he was going to be there, I could’ve done his portion of the interview in person!
AN: What about the Sci-fi genre interests you?
FB: Well, it allows for a wide range of freedom within settings that can still be familiar. It also allows for mad technological breakthroughs and speculations. And most importantly it allows me, as the writer, to hold the story up as a mirror to modern-day society. To show us the potential consequences of choices we have yet to make.
AN: What about noir?
FB: Ahh, noir. Probably my favorite genre. In noir, it’s all about the characters. And I’ve always loved stories that are driven by the characters. You get to show them close up, personal. Show the cracks in the facades. The flaws. The insecurities. A big part of what makes us human. And that makes the characters seem all the more real to the audience.
AN: Favorite sci-fi or noir comic? Novel?
FB: I have a weakness for Aaron Conners’ “Under a Killing Moon.” The book, not the game. I had the chance to read it after a good friend of mine donated me a copy. It’s both sci-fi and noir. As for comics, I’d have to say Azzarello and Risso’s “100 Bullets”. Love the dialogue!
BS: My sci-fi tends to lean towards either “Fifth Element” or a book called “Sky Doll”- a graphic, very sexual yet polished and shiny view of the future drawn by two ex-Disney animators. Of course I like the dystopian views too, but the highly commercial polished look like Mass Effect has always grabbed me.
AN: Did you model Sarah’s physical look after anyone you know? Or did Fredrik lay out a pretty detailed description of her character? What about Benjamin Peck?
BS: Sarah does resemble a hard drinking, sailor talkin’, short blonde haired friend of mine. But I’ll leave her name anonymous for her sake. Beyond that I think a detectives hair should be short and I like women with hard features. Tough.
AN: Have you ever been to LA? Or did you depend solely on the Internet for reference pictures?
BS: I’ve been to LA many times for E3 and lived there for three or four months before. I’m quasi familiar.
AN: Do you prefer scripts to be thoroughly detailed or do you prefer when the direction allows you as the artist more room for your interpretation?
BS: There’s almost no such thing as a script with no room for interpretation. Words can only go so far. Inevitably I’m going to be translating words to pictures. If the script writer can honestly hand me a loose script and NOT nitpick my interpretation that would be ideal. Then we both have some creative pull on the story. However I never assume to have that level of power. They can be as specific as they choose and I would be happy.
AN: Did you go to art school or traditional university? Do you think one has an advantage over the other?
BS: I attended a semester of classes at The Academy of Art University in San Fransisco but had to flee due to the high tuition and my lack of financial backing. Education is a good idea for any artist. You can spot a classicly trained artist from a home schooled one very easily, and to the latters detriment.
AN: What conventions are on your schedule?
BS: I’m actually writing this from my booth at the Philly con! But I will be wandering the halls of SDCC as well. I would love to catch the small press show in SF, the show in Austin and the Big Apple Con this year too.
AN: Did you use any particular governmental structure as a basis for the government in SUPERLUMINOUS?
FB: Yes, I actually modelled it on current United States government structures, and merely stripped away the power it wields over corporations. Lobbyism taken too far, if you will.
AN: When you saw Ben’s art, did you know right away that he would be perfect for this story?
FB: Yes. His lines are clean and elegant, and his colors and shading really rounds out his style. I felt drawn to it, if you’ll pardon the pun.
AN: In noir, the females are typically cast in either the damsel in distress or femme fatale role. What made you decide to have Sarah Toomey play the role of hard-drinking private investigator?
FB: Who says Sarah is not a femme fatale? In all seriousness, though, there has never been any reason to keep the hard-drinking private eye role strictly for the menfolk. Aside from perhaps tradition. It’s time a strong, if troubled, woman gets the chance to shine. Also, I think it’ll be fun to develop her as a character. To put her in some of the situations a classic private investigator might encounter. Women do handle some things differently, after all.
AN: Where can people find you on the web?
FB: I have virtually no online presence, actually. I’m a fairly private person. I might have to get something up and running at some point, though.