Welcome to Pages and Panels ((Closed Captions On))! This is our attempt at a written interview version of the show to help accommodated more creators and allow us to have more thoughtful and interesting content on the site. On this very first episode we will be taking a look at Curb Stomp #1 and to do so we are joined by the artist, Devaki Neogi.....
Kyle: With the character introductions so important not only to the story but visually, how did you approach introducing each character? With Ryan establishing them verbally and internally, how did you try to establish each character visually?
- Devaki Neogi: I simply followed the script page by page. There was an innate essence of individuality in each of them. We had our character sketches done prior to beginning the interior art, so I just slipped each of them in the given sequences in the pages as it followed introducing each of them
KW: You and Ryan create a great sense of refined brutality. The violence has great weight to it but nothing feels over the top or graphic. It is all very stylized while still carrying importance to it. What was your theory when tackling the action and violence in the comic?
- DN: There was no particular theory but myself and I think may be Ryan too, kept in mind that everything remained in a sensible way fitting to the story. Nothing over the top or jarring. So there was nothing overtly shown to make it more obvious than it should be. Readers would draw the impact more emotionally than visually, although the visuals being a cue to that sort of emotional language -- simply put you would feel the violence, and the tension and the pain and still not be put off by all of it. We wanted it to be still an easy read.
KW: How did you create the world of Curb Stomp? From the punk club to the grungy city in issue one the world has great character on its own.
- DN: Yes sure, the areas are impoverished, economically low lying areas -- I have taken references from building of ghettos, and areas with lot of graffiti scenes. I mentally traveled to these areas through the many variations of such references I found online. I knew in my mind it had to have a rough appeal, sort of grungy, worn out. Also Ryan and me closely discussed time and again on how we wanted the visuals to be.Punk, punk clubs were a great cue to all of it.
KW: What is your process for layouts and working with Ryan? Pages like where Tommy pulls the gun on Betty the grid layout and panels that tilt and add to the tension of the scene. Are these notes from Ryan or are you reading and interpreting his ideas into layouts.
- DN: No, Ryan did not stress on the layouts. These were my interpretations. I just had an instinctive feeling to the scene and experimented slightly with the layout. As most scenes were intense, I kept the layouts, most of it through out the book, simple.
KW: A lot of this first issue involves characters having conversations or scenes like the Mayor, King Charles and Nikola in an important meeting. As the artist how do you bring life to these moments in the comic especially paired with the style and action that accompanies the rest of the issue?
- DN: I like panels with lot of conversations/ dialogues. they bring out the relationship and the uniqueness of the rapport between each of the characters. I build on the same foundation, the relationship between the individuals and the understanding of politics between. Reading the plot time and again, understanding the vibe and the emotional trail between the characters was the process I followed.
KW: The characters in the issue display a great deal of emotion in their faces and mannerisms. Where do you draw that ability from? Do you find yourself connecting with the characters, drawing heavily from the script or even referencing faces?
- DN: Thank you! No, not much of referencing faces but rather understanding the emotions the characters went through. Yes, I tried connecting with each of the characters and I really felt I did!
KW: A few well timed points in the issue a page will lose its borders and be drawn to the edges with panels inset or layered over top. These pages stand out and provide an extra sense of importance to the issue. Are these moments you pick out and feel look better with these layouts or do pages like this come from service of the script?
- DN: Yes, I felt these moments worked better with an open panel and insets, so accordingly approached them. It was instinctive.
KW: Neil’s colors are outstanding. How close do you work with Neil when it comes to coloring the pages? With the unique color palate of the book and characters is it something you take in to account when drawing?
- DN: All kudos and credits to Neil. He has done a fantastic job! It was his approach entirely. We did not work together. It was entirely his sense and sensibilities that he put through the colors that worked so well for the book.
KW: For a story that stars strong female characters how did you approach bringing them to life? They have a great sense of toughness and bad assery to them without being overly sexual or even on the other end and just muscle laden brutes.
- DN: Yes, yes -- Ryan and me have closely worked together across mails. We talked on these characters, Ryan and me, we both wanted to keep their feminism in terms of their visual appeal. They are also fun you know, but unfortunately they are forced into some terrible situations. They were vulnerable a characters, but they were tough too -- they were led by a strong sense of duty and responsibility towards their community and that was also what drives them -- protecting and preserving what little they are left with.
KW: With the issue out and beginning to make its way into people’s hands how are you feeling? Looking back through the first issue how do you feel about it now that it’s completed and you can see it in print?
- DN: Really fantastic! So proud of it as the product it turned out to be. Thanks to BOOM! for making the book a reality. I was also humbled and overwhelmed with the lot of good words/ reviews and reactions that came from the readers. Its great that everyone liked it. Its a very good feeling and gives a hope for the rest of the series to do well.
For more from Devaki check out these links!
Also check out writer, Ryan Ferrier's episode of the regular Pages and Panels on the issue as well here.