Hey guys, remember Fan Fest’s interview with indie comics writer, Ryan Burke, about his hopeful Kickstarter comic Coronary? Well, they met their goal, and “Episode 1: The Dying” was a roaring success! I was lucky enough to catch up with Burke, whose campaign for Episode Two is live as of today. Burke graciously spoke about his journey so far, and what eager readers can expect from his comic, beautifully-drawn by Joel Saavedra with stunning colours by Damian Peñalba. But before we get into the meat and potatoes of the interview, guys, I have to be honest about my thoughts regarding “Episode 1: The Dying.” Coronary‘s start is a fantastic, blow-the-door-off-its-hinges read. It’s shaping up to be a fiercely entertaining masterpiece. Justin is a slime-bucket (but weirdly I’m into it??? Trust, you will be too) and I enjoyed the way Burke delicately threaded in plot points for future episodes. The art and colours are on a whole other level of amazing; to be honest, they do not have the feel of an indie book. This literally, visually, looks like something Image would set its best creators on, it is absolutely stunning, and only serves to highlight the dialogue that much more. Saavedra and Peñalba have shown off talent that is so precise, it could only be described as raw, attention to detail as natural as blinking. All three creators deserve a seat at the table with the fabled Big Dogs: if Image doesn’t want the finished product, Dark Horse will.
Now I bet you want a copy, huh? Check it out!
After modestly brushing aside congratulations at his success, here’s what Ryan Burke had to say regarding the second episode of his strange, twisted saga (questions are in bold).
Inquiring minds want to know: what is episode 2 called?:
Burke: Episode Two is going to be subtitled ‘Puppet Show’. There’s a special prize for finding the quote I use for the end ahead of publication. Maybe.
So for those who haven’t read Coronary yet, in the first episode, “The Dying,” we follow Justin Sharpe, who is a charmingly slimy prick (but I kind of dig it), what sort of mindset do you have to be in when you write him? What is your intention with him?:
Burke: I’m always self-conscious that I could in fact be one, so I always keep on the lookout for that tendency (Please someone tell me I’m not!). You’ve got to forgive yourself to writing a bit of a slimy character, and tell yourself that’s not really you. The way I see it, it’s how the media wants males to act (or feel insecure that they aren’t) which is horseshit, if you don’t mind the language. As for my intentions, I want him to be the base character off which other perspectives can reflect. As with his interactions with Luna, they bump heads on the main issues, and I love acting out that debate through them. Maybe in some voodoo-like sense I’m showing the shooting these ideas down in plain sight, and hopefully having some effect on reality.
We meet Luna right off the bat, albeit briefly, and that first meeting is everything. She is not into what Justin is selling. They’re kind of diametrically-opposed. Which character is more fun for you, as an author, to write?
Burke: Wow, that’s tough. In terms of fun…Luna. She represents all the angry rejection that I’m too cowardly to voice myself. That rawness, that aggressive sympathy is something I would love to embody myself.
The whole concept of Justin’s business is fascinating, in a completely sick way. There are a lot of parallels to the modern, multibillion dollar beauty industry. He is essentially feasting on people’s insecurities, promising that if they pop his pills, they’ll become beautiful. It totally works– but it’s also killing them. Do you think, if Justin were to pop off the page and become a real person, and the right technology was available, that people would actually buy what he is selling? Even with the risk of death? How big of an influence is the concept of vanity and the beauty industry to Coronary?
Burke: Of course, I’m under the impression people would buy anything that makes that internal pain go away. Hell, I would. It reminds me of a fantastic Robert Montgomery piece, where he writes:“The spectacle of advertising creates images of false beauty so suave and so impossible to attain that you will hurt inside and never even know where the hurt comes from, and in all pictures now the famous people have already begun to look lost and lonely.” He hit that nail on the head far perfectly than I ever could. That quote is Coronary’s real backbone I feel. It just cuts through me, even now.
Without giving too much away, the end of the episode (pre-magazine interview) was pretty intense. You’ve done a great job writing a fast-paced, atmospheric comic, and there are a lot of cool “wait-and-see” moments left for future episodes. Can you give us a hint about what to expect? Other than amazing dialogue, art, and colours, of course:
Burke: Thank you. The atmosphere has been very carefully cultivated, while keeping it entertaining. There’s a few figures in the episode that will reappear later in the series, we just don’t know it’s them yet. But there are some figures that have yet to show themselves, and I’m beyond excited for their debut.
So you’ve already been through the Kickstarter process before, and it’s definitely a give-and-take sort of thing. For people who aren’t sure about supporting, can you talk about the perks that come along with episode 2’s campaign?:
Burke: We’ve a ton of early-bird specials on their way. More sticker packs, iron-on badges, sets of mini-prints, signed copies, special thanks, and inclusion in the comic. There were several very special backers who made their appearance in episode one, whom I must thank again.
Honestly, if you check out Coronary, you’ll only be doing yourself a favour. If you want a guaranteed copy, and a whole bunch of other goodies, check out the Kickstarter. Also, with the debut of “Puppet Show,” remember to mosey on back to Fan Fest and take a look at The Coronary Report, which will be, you guessed it, all about the progression of Coronary.