BCP Interview – Sean Lewis chats about new Image Comics series THE FEW
Set for release this January, THE FEW is a brand new sci-fi series from writer and playwright Sean Lewis and artist Hayden Sherman.
Set in a dystopian future, the series sees two survivalist brothers stumbling across an unlikely sight – a woman asleep in the woods holding nothing but a gun and a baby wearing a gas mask. And, as they try to help her, they uncover a series of betrayals and secrets as they attempt to fight for what’s left of America.
Naturally, we wanted to find out more, so we were thrilled to be able to sit down and have a chat with series writer Sean Lewis about how the idea came about and just what readers should expect from this series when it goes on sale next year.
BIG COMIC PAGE: Thanks for your time, Sean. Firstly, how did the idea for THE FEW come about?
SEAN LEWIS: Eric at Image had asked if I’d thought of dong a genre book. At the time I was really obsessed with an image I kept thinking of with a woman running through the woods holding a baby wearing a gas mask in her arms.
If that wasn’t going to get me to start writing, nothing was.
I wanted to do something in Sci-Fi I felt like it’s a good place to talk about the world we live in but with some distance and speculation. I also love what you can do with imagining the technology and the weapons. You can really build a huge new world which gets exciting while still talking about things we think about everyday.
BCP: Tell us a little bit about some of the characters readers can expect to meet in the first issue.
SL: The protagonist is Edan Hale. A soldier who has been living with a cult in the badlands of America (imagine the rest of the country just turned its back on the south and midwest). She is a fighter, tough, smart and not too easy to get to know. She needs help- she’s witnessed a massacre and saved a baby and now is ont he run herself- and she meets Peter and Davey. They are two brothers, teenagers, whose parents have trained them to be survivalists. They don’t trust her. but who can say not to a baby in need!
BCP: While it’s ostensibly a “post-apocalyptic sci-fi series”, THE FEW definitely feels like it’s a lot more character driven than world driven. Would that be a fair assessment?
SL: I think so. I think coming from the playwriting world I focus a lot on character. I’m fascinated by the iner working of characters. For the same reason the post apocalyptic world works as a good trope for me because it’s a place we all understand: there’s totalitarian rule, there are rebels, they are fighting… the basics are things we have seen many times which allows me leeway to really investigate the human beings at the center of it.
BCP: One of the things I particularly loved about the first issue is the/ way that you don’t immediately hit the reader with a barrage of exposition to set up the world, letting us discover things gradually. What prompted you to go for that kind of narrative approach?
SL: I like it better. Ha. But, that is true. I like stories I catch up to, that trust me as a reader. Comics are a visual medium and I want the art to move you through the story as well– how can I write something where you are discovering what is happening as the characters are.
Narration/exposition can often give the sense of control- that the narrator controls the story- I feel like that can really take the danger and discovery out of it for me. Again, i think we understand the basics of post apocalypse worlds so I don’t feel as much a need to hammer you with that.
BCP: Aside from writing comics, you’re also quite an accomplished playwright by all accounts. How have the skills you’ve honed in that particular field translated to the world of comic books?
SL: I think it forces me to think about dialogue and action. Plays are really external experiences- you only get an hour or two to tell a whole story an give a whole sense of a person through all the things they do. Also, structurally, telling stories in any medium really helps you hone the idea of first act, second act, third act- and keep in mind what your audience is expecting and what they need.
BCP: What does artist Hayden Sherman bring to the table?
SL: Hayden’s panel and the pace he creates is just fantastic and the raw feel of his line work really gives an atmosphere to the world. That’s what drew me to his portfolio right away, I felt his line work was telling me things about the world as a whole. I think in terms of artists that is what I’m always looking for- energy, atmosphere, originality.
BCP: How much input did you have into the visual side of the book. Did you have a specific aesthetic in mind for the series, or did you just let Hayden do his thing and interpret your script in his own way?
SL: I like to give artists leeway. I figure they can do it better than me. I mean Hayden showed me design ideas and we’d discuss them but in the end I think the best for the books to feel like an equal endeavor. And the truth is I write pretty elaborate treatments I give to the artists, if I can’t invoke a world in that treatment that they can run with than we are in trouble.
BCP: The series is set to run for… six issues, I believe? It feels like the world you’ve created has a huge amount of scope, even if it hasn’t been fully revealed by the end of the first issue. Are there any plans to return to this world at some point in the future?
SL: Yes. Hayden and I think would like to do a run of mini series’. There is a pressure on a month by month book that certain stories collapse under. I mean we are expecting your dollar so I want to make sure every issue is exactly the best we believe it can be and that the whole story you are reading really adds up to something special. So this mini series was meant to give a whole story but Hayden and I would like to live in this world for awhile.
BCP: And finally, what would you say to someone who was undecided about whether to pick up THE FEW to help convince them?
SL: It’s a big book- 50 something pages- with a lot of ideas and amazing artwork- and it’s a book that really respects its readers and wants to give them an experience as they go through it. Like the best of Sci Fi it aims to be an escape from our world while also showing us something new about it. That’s the magic trick!
THE FEW #1 hits shelves and digital devices on January 18th, 2017.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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