Skyward is Action Lab Entertainment's biggest title right now, it's so big that they upgraded it from a mini-series to an ongoing title. I had the chance to talk to creator/writer/artist (that's a lot of titles!) Jeremy Dale about the series and his experiences thus far. Sit back and check it out. Dustin) Having read all the issues released thus far I have a pretty good handle on what Skyward is about, but in your own words could you describe the series?
Jeremy) It's my love letter to the action fantasy genre, plain and simple. I've loved epic fantasy since I was a kid, whether it was reading comics like Little Nemo, Bone, and Tellos, playing video games like Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda, or watching the amazing Miyazaki animated films like Tortoro or Kiki's Delivery Service. I know that's a lot of things to list all at once, but hey-- it's worlds of inspiration.
Skyward is the tale of Quinn and his dog, Jack as they run headfirst into a conflict and a world that's much larger and stranger than any they'd have imagined. Along the way we meet a myriad of curious characters and creatures, all affected by the events surrounding them and forcing them to take sides.
Dustin) What’s your history with the fantasy genre? Is there something about it that appealed to you while you were creating Skyward?
Jeremy) Absolutely-- I've worked on an endless amount of for-hire and licensing work in recent years. I wanted to do an action fantasy book for many reasons-- first, I've done a lot of superheroes and zombies. I love working on them, but my heart was leaning more towards something else. Imaginative fiction intrigues me, and realizing how well other mediums like books, movies, and especially video games handle it immediately caught my attention. Really, there aren't many comics that are doing this kind of fantasy right now. Why aren't we speaking to that established fanbase? Skyward is me giving my spin on it.
Dustin) What’s your creative process for putting together an issue? Do you write first then thumbnail and illustrate or do you have your own hybrid process?
Jeremy) I do a general plot, with little blurbs of dialogue here and there-- with scenes marked out more than anything. Then I go straight to thumbnailing and drawing the pages, noting key dialogue I definitely want along the way. While the pages are off being colored (by Stephen Downer, who does amazing work), I finish the dialogue and send that and the art to my letterer. It's built out of time constraints, really. I've worked on endless full scripts-- I'm having fun with my "Marvel Method" hybrid.
Exclusive Preview of Skyward #3!
Dustin) How tight of a deadline to you have to keep for yourself in order to write and draw an entire issue within a month and how far out are you on the series?
Jeremy) I'm drawing issue 6 as I write this. 4 is with the colorist, and I'm proofreading 5 in my spare time (what's that?!). I'm keeping the monthly schedule quite well so far, even with the additional Free Comic Book Day issue, the Halloween issue, and my ambitious convention and nationwide signing tour schedule. Uh... stay tuned? hehehe
Dustin) Do you have an end of Skyward in mind, an issue count or just a finale to the story that you’d like to tell? Or is the world you’ve created big enough to tell stories in for years to come?
Jeremy) I know how the story ends, yes. Do I know exactly what issue that would be? No. I know where the story goes and why-- and what I need to do to get there. This is a long-term project, though-- I have many, many more Skyward tales to tell. As long as I can afford to do this book, I will. It's my passion.
Dustin) Originally Skyward was just a mini-series, but after becoming the best-selling series in Action Lab history it was made their first ongoing. How does that feel as the creator?
Jeremy) It's tremendously rewarding, and such a relief! The first miniseries only would have taken us to the end of the first arc, and there's so much more to tell-- I'm glad I have the space to breathe and tell the story the way it deserves to be told. That's just amazing.
Dustin) With the series selling as well as it has, what’s been the fan response that you've received, especially on your comic shop tour?
Jeremy) Unbelievably positive-- in fact, of the first 5 comic shops I've hit so far, only ONE has had copies left of the book WHEN I ARRIVED. It's a good thing I'd ordered some copies myself, or those signings would have been interesting, indeed!
I've rarely had a spare moment to breathe at these-- no breaks, just signing and sketching for up to eight hours at a time. It's great seeing the enthusiasm and all the questions about each fan's favorite character from the series and so on. And don't get me started on the crazy eBay prices people are getting for the first two issues! Stunning!
Honestly, it just fuels the fire to keep working, making drawing the next issue that much easier. Thanks to all the fans and for everyone thinking about picking it up-- we'd love to have you along for the ride!
Dustin) Where can they check you out online?
I'd like to thank Jeremy for his time and wish him the best of luck on the series and tour. I'll be keeping up with the series and hopefully you will as well. I also wanted to thank Action Lab Entertainment for helping set up the interview.