This week sees the release of the first issue of Snow Blind, a brand new four-part miniseries from award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios.
The creation of writer Ollie Masters (The Kitchen) and artist Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust), the announcement of the series was met with widespread praise, with none other than Warren Ellis calling it “an elevated crime story that feels like it should be the best indie movie of the year.”
Obviously we wanted to know more, and we were fortunate enough to be able to sit down and have a chat with Ollie and Tyler about what readers should expect from his series.
Big Comic Page: Thanks so much for your time, guys. Firstly, let’s start with the basics; for those of our readers who may not be familiar, can you give us the quick ‘elevator pitch’ for SNOW BLIND?
OLLIE MASTERS: SNOW BLIND is about a teenager who finds out his parents are in the Witness Protection program and the story follows him as he tries to find out why.
BCP: How did the idea for this one come about?
MASTERS: I’d been thinking about doing a Witness Protection story for a while and there were two angles I found really interesting.
First, how would witness protection work in the age of Facebook and Twitter? When we’re all posting up information about and images of ourselves online and things go viral all the time, how do you keep your life a secret? Even if you don’t actively engage in social media, everyone around you will and you’ll always be a part of that.
Second, I wanted to look at the secrecy of WitPro and how it would affect a family. Can you have an honest relationship with someone if you’ve had a whole other life that they don’t know about? And how can you trust someone ever again after the truth comes out?
BCP: Tell us a little about the main protagonist Teddy. What’s his life like?
MASTERS: Like most teenagers, he doesn’t get along with his parents; he thinks he’s got it all figured out (at least at the beginning) and wants to move somewhere he thinks is more interesting than his home town. Somewhere there’s more “people like him.” He’s a bit of a loner and prefers films and books to socializing, which puts him in direct conflict with his overly macho Dad (a part of the reason he wants to leave).
BCP: The bonds of family are a pretty powerful theme throughout the first couple of issues, as well as how fragile those bonds can be when it feels like trust has been violated. Was that something you really wanted to dig into?
MASTERS: Yeah, families are interesting. You don’t pick your family but the majority of the time they’re the people you’re closest to. Also, your parents lived a whole other life before you were born and you’ll never really know or understand that life because it’s hard to look past them being your parents.
BCP: The first issue also highlights the dangers of social media in terms of preserving anonymity. What are your thoughts on the world where pretty much everything is ‘out there’ for all to see?
MASTERS: If that’s what people want to do then that’s cool, almost all of of us do it to a certain extent, we just all have different limits to how much we want to share. It’s a part of human expression and it can be a positive thing in people’s lives. I think people just need to be aware that everything lasts forever on the internet so be careful what you put online.
BCP: You’ve chosen a fairly distinctive setting for this story. What was it about Alaska that made you want to set the series there?
MASTERS: I think the bleakness of a snow-filled landscape works in a similar way to the shadows of a city. The shadows show the darkness in people, the snow shows the coldness in people, their numbness to the horrors of the world around them.
BCP: Tyler, you’ve opted to use watercolours for the artwork here, giving the book a really unique aesthetic. What prompted that decision?
TYLER JENKINS: The decision to use watercolour was a direct reaction to the script. I would say more specifically, the decision to use watercolour in this way, is a direct reaction to the script. Watercolour is quite a versatile medium, but the moody swirling blending of colours allows for a moodiness that is very challenging to capture in other mediums. I think, for me, watercolour allows me to bring in a certain amount of ambiguity and subtle vagueness that is perfect for crime stories.
BCP: How has the collaboration on the visual side of the book been between the pair of you?
MASTERS: It’s been great. Tyler just completely understood what I was going for in the script and then brought so much more on top of that.
JENKINS: In my opinion, this was an effortless collaboration. I immediately understood the mood and the direction of Ollie’s script. It took a couple of iterations to get their looks just right, but really, who these characters are comes through very clearly in Ollie’s script.
BCP: Let’s cut to the chase; do either of you guys think you could cut it in witness protection, leaving your lives behind and keeping a low profile?
MASTERS: Nah, I don’t think I could. I can’t keep a secret. I’d get drunk at the pub and tell everyone.
JENKINS: No, honestly. I wouldn’t go into WitPro, regardless of the consequences. The people in my life are what makes it worthwhile.
BCP: What else do you have coming up that our readers should be looking out for?
MASTERS: My Vertigo comic THE KITCHEN just came out in TPB so you should all check that out. Other than that, there’s a few things coming up but nothing I can talk about yet.
JENKINS: A lot of things in the works, but nothing I can talk about yet.
BCP: And finally, if there’s someone out there reading this who still isn’t sure whether they’re going to pick this one up in December, what would you each say to them?
MASTERS: Have you seen Tyler’s art?!? And you’re still not sure?
BCP: Thanks again for your time, gentlemen.
[VARIANT COVER GALLERY – Click to Enlarge]
Snow Blind #1 (of 4) arrives in comic shops on December 9th with a main cover by series artist Tyler Jenkins for the price of $3.99. Also available in a limited quality is a 10 Years incentive cover by Felipe Smith (All-New Ghost Rider), and a retailer incentive cover by Matt Taylor (Wolf).