June 29, 2016

INTERVIEW: MOD TALES 2

Spy Vibers will probably remember when we spoke with artist Katharine Boyd about her comic book Mod Tales 1. Inspired by her experiences as a Mod and by films like The 10th Victim, Agent K set out to create comic world that pays homage to all things Spy Vibe. I recently worked as the editor for Mod Tales 2 and Katherine and I are now collaborating to create an adult Mod coloring book! She recently visited the Spy Vibe lair to talk about the new Mod Tales, as well as a new series of mini comics. Agent K, welcome back to Spy Vibe!


Let’s start with the mini comics. Tell us a bit about the length and the stories you’ve featured in that format.

I'm keeping the format short no more than two-three pages. I like this because it forces me to get to the point and the atmosphere of each scenario. The first mini-comic story shows a mannequin who witnesses a crime and the second is an uncanny meeting with Death at a pinball arcade. 


In terms of imagery or situations, were you inspired by any particular references from the 1960s?

I seem to keep coming back to the art of Guido Crepax and Jim Steranko. As for situations, these are from various movies I've seen and particular photographs or ads from the 1960's. I just imagine what would the story be behind this image.

The most recent mini sports some really beautiful colors. Do you think you’re getting bolder with color?  

I hope so, I'm trying not to hold back as much and just have fun with different pop colors.

Because I was your editor for Mod Tales #2, I know what a task it is to build a cohesive world and narrative in a full comic. How do find the mini format in regards to those pressures?

I love the mini format just because of my experience with the first two mod-tales. Making a shorter piece makes me work quickly. I think of them as warm up stories. Creating a longer comic takes much longer and because making comics isn't my full-time job, I can lose interest in the overall completion of the work.


Can you introduce readers to Mod Tales #2? How do you describe the story and set pieces?

The story of Mod Tales 2- Night of the Masks, Features Agent K and The Eye from Mod Tales 1. It's a more complicated narrative about time traveling between two major cities: New York City and Paris. Basically, the cliffhanger from Mod Tales 1 is resolved and Agent K moves to a new mission that takes her to the seedy underworld of New York City in the 1960's. It was complicated because of different characters and trying to get the idea of psychedelic time travel.

You worked more closely with Jhalal Drut and me on this issue. Describe the process of collaboration from your perspective.

As usual, J gives me a scenario or some images to think about. I really rely on his rough sketches as they help me understand the story that he has written.  Then I redid a rough draft of the story scene by scene. I then started drawing the pages large scale 18 X 24" and inked them. When I compiled it and showed it to you Jason, and you saw all the gaps of the story and plot lines that needed tidying up. I believe that many writers and artists can't see or don't want to see gaps or confusions when they're in the middle of the messy process of creativity. I recall being on a mission one day to finish all the drawings and did a three-day drawing marathon to finish and you were really pushing me to make the narrative more cohesive. Galine Tumasyan did the cover of Mod Tales 2. She's an amazing artist! 


I think you explored some new visual styles, as well as format. Can you talk about some of the challenges and fun discoveries while making this issue?  

I just kept pushing myself to do what didn't feel comfortable and easy.  J had suggested that we do a European Comic format (landscape) and then I wanted to find a way to differentiate the Paris scenes from the New York scenes and decided to draw these fancy Art Nouveau borders by hand, which now seems a bit ridiculous because they took forever to draw. I also wanted to be better at using some digital coloring formats. It's still very basic, but I wanted a flat Pop Art look and my Photoshop skills did improve a little. I need to learn Illustrator. 

Does the comic pull from any specific pop-culture references?

The fabulous movie The 10th Victim, There is a bit of 60's European comics feel too and a bit of Marvel style.  

You’ve been able to promote the comic at a few events and we’ve been able to be at some together. Tell Spy Vibers a bit about some of the special appearances and convention experiences.

I was very honored to be asked to be at Luma Con in Petaluma, California,  and as a guest artist at the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. It was fun to meet fellow artists and young artists and children and to hear their stories and see their art.

What’s next for Mod Tales? 

Mod Tales 3, more mini comics, and the coloring book! 

Thanks, Katherine. Looking forward to making some more groovy spy projects together! Spy Vibers, please stay tuned for updates. More info at the Mod Tales Facebook page here

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