This is the basic form I had originally intended, but I ended up creating two different posts, because I thought it might run a little too long. Also, leaving the two Half-interviews as they are, so that people with those links will not be sent to our 404 page.
ME: I think we should start with the basics. What was your inspiration(s) for this project?
Michalski: I came up with the core concept about twelve years ago. The initial story took on a few different forms, but I was never really satisfied with any of them until Alexander and I began working on it together. I basically had a lot of ideas but I always felt something was missing, until now. Alexander brings a tremendous amount of talent to the table. Once we began working on it, the story immediately fell into place. As far as influences go, I would say the Clash’s first record served as a major influence and inspiration for this comic around the time I came up with the concept. I was also reading Robert Anton Wilson, along with a lot Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan comics, too, so that undoubtedly had a big part in it, as well.
Lagos: When J. first shared the concept with me, I was instantly hooked. My head exploded with ideas and it gelled with what he wanted to do, so we decided to collaborate. I come from a music background, having been in an alternative rock band back in the 90’s, and, I also grew up with a love for comics. So, a comic book adventure with rock music—it was a no-brainer for me.
ME: I've seen a lot of time-travel stories in my time... What do you feel sets this story apart from the others?
Michalski: I think we’re telling more of a coming-of-age story of a teenager we can all relate to, than just a traditional time-travel/adventure story. We just happened to use a time-travel theme as the vehicle to deliver it.
Lagos: Also, the time periods are not so far off that we can’t relate to it. It’s the not-so-distant past and the not-so-distant future, which makes it identifiable and accessible. But, I think what really sets it apart, is the question of: What happens when a time travel device fall into the hands of a teenage girl? For Zoe, it’s meeting the rockstar she’s obsessed with.
ME: Is there any story behind the band name "Rebel Lions"?
Lagos: There was a poetry book that came out in the 80’s by poet Michael McClure called Rebel Lions, and I always loved that book and felt that it would be a cool name for a band. I like that it basically spells ‘rebellions’. It also sounds like a name a band would have used in the late 80’s early 90’s-- just seemed like a perfect fit.
ME: How did you manage to get this amazing team together?
Michalski: We went through about two hundred artists before we found Derlis Santacruz on Digital Webbing. Once we saw his work, we knew we had found our artist. He’s just amazingly talented.
Lagos: Oren Kramek, the colorist, came into the project via my having worked with him previously on another graphic novel series called THE SONS OF LIBERTY. He brings such an incredible sense of detail and light, and his coloring approach is so unique. It literally glows on the page- truly beautiful work.
ME: Where might I be able to find more of your work?
Michalski: This is my first published work, but I do have another project coming up soon.
Lagos: As mentioned above, I wrote a graphic novel series with my brother, Joseph, called THE SONS OF LIBERTY, published by Random House Books. We’ve published two volumes so far with the third coming out soon. I also have two other projects in the works that I hope to announce by early next year.
ME: Comic book adaptations have been multiplying like rabbits in Hollywood. Could you see your story being adapted into a movie? If so... any suggestions for a dream cast?
Michalski: Based on what I saw in Safety Not Guaranteed, I think Aubrey Plaza would play a good Zoe. She has the right attitude and is already familiar with operating a time-travel machine.
Lagos: I would absolutely love to see this adapted into a feature film and feel it lends itself perfectly to that medium. The way J. and I have approached this story has been more cinematic than comic book. As for who could take on these roles…I have no idea-- although the young actor, Logan Lerman, who is currently playing Percy Jackson, might make a good Trent Darrow.
ME: Did you have any misgivings about setting this in the not so distant future?
Michalski: No, not at all. We wanted the music of our generation to still resonate in the future, so having Zoe living one hundred or two hundred years into the future wouldn’t really have worked. Sixty years is a good sweet spot. It’s like one of us going back in time to meet Buddy Holly or Marilyn Monroe.
Lagos: Also, we didn’t want to go too far into the future where we would be required to create a world that is so complicated and fascinating it would overshadow the point of the story. So keeping it simple and relatable allowed us to focus solely on Zoe.
ME: So this is a limited series... are there plans to continue the story after this series is over?
Michalski: No, we don’t have a sequel planned. We feel that once you reach the conclusion of Zoe’s story, you’ll be satisfied with what we have done with it.
Lagos: Exactly. It wraps up very nicely by the end.
ME: What else is on the horizon from you, any interesting projects?
Michalski: There’s another project in the pipeline for me. It’s a little too early to get into any details, but I can at least say that it’s radically different from Zoe.
Lagos: My brother and I are looking forward to the release of the third book in the THE SONS OF LIBERTY series. And I cannot wait to be able to share my other projects. Hopefully an announcement very early 2014!
ME: I notice you went full digital with this book, is this nod toward digital being the future of the medium, or more indicative of the high cost of a physical comic?
Michalski: I think it was a bit of both. We love the digital format, especially the Guided View technology over at Comixology, so it was a no-brainer to get it on there as fast as we could. Amazon also offers a wonderful self-publishing service. We will eventually get the book into print in the near future because, let’s face it, printed comics are still awesome. I don’t think they are going anywhere anytime soon.
ME: In regards to the last question, any plans to release this as a physical book when all is said and done?
Michalski: Yes, we can’t wait to see it fully collected into one volume.
Lagos: If we can see it released in single print issues that would be great. But in the long run, it will read better as one cohesive story if released as a single volume.
ME: And, since I ask this of just about everyone.... Any advice for the future comic book creators of the world?
Michalski: Make sure you find the right people to work with. We have assembled a fantastic group of talent and it made a world of difference.
Lagos: Give up! Cos once you are in deep there’s no going back! Ha ha! But seriously, finish what you start and give it your all. And once you are ready to share it with the world, be proud of it- whether the world loves it, or not, be proud that you did it.