I got a chance this week to pose a few Questions to the Luna Brothers, creators of Ultra, Girls and The Sword. Younger brother Joshua has released his first solo work, Whispers, for Image Comics. Whispers #1 is on sale now. On to the interview!
CBNAH: Hey guys! Just want to start out by apologising – I’m always getting the two of you mixed up. When you work together, Joshua, you’re usually the writer and Jonathan, you’re usually the artist, right?
Joshua: Yeah, that’s right.
CBNAH: I want to begin with Whispers. Issue one was a great introduction to the characters and the premise behind the book, and I’m really excited to see where it goes. Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Joshua: That’s a good question. I love grounded, character driven stories that explore the human condition and I also love sci-fi and horror, so I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and ways to combine the two.
CBNAH: The main character, Sam, kinda get’s a little stalky toward the end of the book. Is he going to be a character like Ethan from Girls who we kinda like even though he makes bad choices?
Joshua: Morality and the grey areas of having an ability where you’re literally invisible and can manipulate thoughts are main themes in the book, so Sam will definitely be making difficult choices. Whether they’re bad or good, is up to the reader I guess.
CBNAH: Can you give us a hint as to what’s in store for Sam in the future?
Joshua: Initially, Sam thinks his power is a blessing and simply a way to enjoy flying around as a ghost and maybe “adjusting” his friends and family to make his life better, but he soon discovers a darker side when he discovers that his ability also allows him to see a sinister inhuman entity that the normal human eye can’t. How this being affects Sam and how Sam responds is where things get really interesting.
CBNAH: Joshua, your art is very similar to Jonathan’s. Is that a result of you being brothers, or have you spent so much time collaborating that his style rubbed off on you?
Joshua: Maybe I’m seeing it differently, but personally, I think our art styles are very different.
Jonathan: When you look at all the art out there, I can see how someone might see our two styles being similar. My guess is that we have similar inspirations. I don’t think it’s from looking at each other’s work. This is an interesting question because I haven’t really thought about this.
CBNAH: What was it like working without Jonathan?
Joshua: Well, most comics are done by at least two people, and I’ve never worked with anyone else but my brother, so I don’t have another collaboration to compare it to. So the intense workload of doing everything on a book myself is the main difference.
CBNAH: Will you guys continue to collaborate, or ‘has the band broken up’?
Joshua: I don’t look ahead too far while I’m still focused on a current book, so I can’t say for now.
CBNAH: Jonathan, What’s in your immediate future?
Jonathan: I’m working on a book I haven’t announced yet.
CBNAH: When you guys collaborate, what’s the process?
Jonathan: We came up with the concepts and plots together. Josh wrote the scripts, and once I had a chance to look at it, he made thumbnails for the art. Then I penciled, inked, and coloured the art. Then Josh lettered it.
CBNAH: You’re (collectively) very good at the final page reveal. Is that something you work hard at, or does it come naturally?
Joshua: Everything eventually becomes a little instinctive with time and practice, but the key is to know your story and know where it’s going. When you have that omniscient knowledge, you can play with expectations and tease more effectively.
CBNAH: I’m a big fan of Girls (shameless plug for the website – you can read my review of Girls here: http://bit.ly/wnVmzY) and I’m curious to know if you knew just how divisive the book would be in terms of gender roles?
Joshua: From the beginning, our “elevator pitch” was always “the ultimate battle of the sexes.” We wanted to create a story that would explore relationship dynamics, gender roles and sexual politics by pitting men and women against each other, and the Girls were designed t o do exactly that.
CBNAH: The comics industry is in a funny place right know where comics are driving pop culture, but people aren’t buying them. What do you make of the industry, and what do you think needs to change?
Joshua: I think there are much smarter people than me who can better discuss the industry’s problems, so I can only speak from my experience. I will say I do find it troubling when I talk to average, non-comic-reading people who always, without fail, equate the comic book medium to superheroes and spandex. I just think it’s sad that comics, on a national level, aren’t viewed more like other mediums, like novels or movies, where the genre choice is vast, diverse and for the most part, balanced. I’m not sure how that mindset can change, but as a reader, I do tend to gravitate towards creator-owned books, where I’m more likely to hear individual creative voices, opposed to a franchise.
CBNAH: What comics are each of you reading at the moment?
Joshua: Sadly, I’m a little too swamped to read at the moment, but my to-read pile keeps growing.
Jonathan: At this moment, Habibi by Craig Thompson.
CBNAH: Finish this sentence: Comic book nerds are hot because…
Jonathan: ...comic books are the new black.
CBNAH: Thanks so much for your time!
Go out and buy Whispers #1 now!