#Newcomicsday is 10/7
Video games are as deep a part of our culture as sports, music, and movies, with enough smash hits and beloved indie titles to fill a lifetime of intense, engaged conversation. Like movies and music, video games have had their effect on comics, from art styles to storytelling approaches. In AXCEND, Shane Davis has created a tale about what happens when a video game crosses over from its world to our own, and the bedlam that follows in its wake.
Image Comics: What's your history with video games? Do you play anything currently, or does work get in the way?
Shane Davis: My history started with the Super Mario Bros./ Duck Hunt combo. That dog always got to me. I haven't had too much time to play games this past year, but [Metal Gear Solid V] hands down has the best soundtrack! If I had to name an all-time favorite game, it would be The Last Of Us, especially the Factions multiplayer mode.
IC: Tell me about working with Michelle Delecki, Morry Hollowell, and Patrick Brosseau. What do they bring to the table for you?
SD: Michelle is cool. She really tightens up my drawing and we work together in the studio. She has been a great help with the script as far as bouncing ideas off of and especially when it comes to Rayne, our female lead. It really helps having a woman's opinion and input when it comes to working with a female lead character. Getting Michelle's responses and input helps me to breathe life and soul into Rayne, making her a strong, independent and confident character. I felt a lot more comfortable taking a woman's perspective with her around. Michelle also edits the scripts. Morry was a great choice on colors. I wanted something vibrant when it came to the overall look of the book. He did a terrific job in grounding a very colorful cast in reality as well as the game world they come from. I can't say enough good things about Pat. I was going to need a specific word balloon type for DOG, AXCEND's A.I. moderator. He really came through with designing the fonts and stylized balloons.
IC: What kind of person is Eric Morn, the main character of AXCEND?
SD: Eric Morn is a surviving twin. We come into Eric's story a year after a tragic car accident that took the life of his identical twin brother. He is struggling to cope with the world for the first time by himself. He will be dealing with depression and trying to cope with his loss. Eric ends up escaping and interacting with people through gaming. This escapism eventually leads us to the omnious A.I. DOG, who approaches Eric to beta test an all-new online game: AXCEND.
IC: What appeals to you most about working in creator-owned comics?
SD: I think creator-owned is a pleasant challenge, but it is also refreshing. One of the things I like about AXCEND in particular is that because it's creator-owned, I can tackle issues like depression, bullying, and substance abuse. Just having the ability to work in some relatable real-world issues into your main cast's lives can really make a story feel rounded out. I instantly like the feeling of taking a blank sheet of paper and creating something...that I own. I know that sounds kinda basic, but that doesn't happen a lot, so for me this a real treat.