Image Comics: Brian, you mentioned how much you loved [this page] on a comic convention panel we shared together, and said that it wasn't what you envisioned, but was exactly what you wanted. Can you break down for us just why you like this page?
Brian Buccellato: The reason it wasn't what I envisioned is because I didn't actually call out in the script that I wanted the impact of that first violent hit to be off-panel. But when I got the page from Toni, I was amazed at how much better it worked showing the blood splatter on the dresser instead of seeing the impact. It feels very cinematic to me...a great job of moving the camera, so to speak.
IC: Toni, the first cover is the first look a lot of fans get at a series. What marks did you absolutely want to hit on this cover? Did you go through many drafts while making it, or did you come in with a firm idea and knock it out of the park?
Toni Infante: It's a character-driven story, so the idea was clear from the beginning. We have to show our main character Travis on the cover, showing his red eye and ambiguous personality. Although the idea came out fast, I had to do some tries before being happy with it. In fact, the current version is the second try; the first one was only used for the Kickstarter.
IC: I like the movement on, the way everything pulls your eye toward the figure in the first panel. Who is this character? How do you hope the readers see him?
BB: That's David Daly kneeling in front of the mirror and speaking to The Devil, who he sees in the reflection staring back at him. And the idea here is that we should feel creeped out by him. He's talking to the mirror and it is talking back...but we can't tell if the devil is real or if David is just crazy and hearing voices in his head. I hope the reader feels unsettled by him and worried for the people that choose to blindly follow him.
TI: It's been a bit hard for me to find the final look of David. And because of that I think he looks a bit different in the last issue than he looks back in the first one. I hope the readers didn't realize that, though. It wasn't intentional. My goal was to make him look kind of creepy, but attractive somehow. He has some kind of magnetism and manages to get a lot of followers around him. If he is crazy or not...that's something that the readers will have to guess in the coming issues.
IC: It's a gimme, but a good one. What do you two enjoy the most about each other's work? What brought you together on this project?
BB: I actually enjoy telling people the story of what brought us together. Not because it's exciting, but because it seems far-fetched to me that I could find someone as talented as Toni from searching online. When SONS was in planning as a Kickstarter, I was looking for the perfect artist for the project. I didn't have anyone lined up and so I went online and started searching Deviant Art. But I couldn't find an artist's style that worked for me.
Then my brother Steve mentioned an international website for artists called "Behance". So, I started looking on that website and stumbled across Toni's portfolio. I thought he was ridiculously talented and just knew that he'd be too busy. But I cold-emailed him anyway, asking his rate and availability.
He replied right away and I guess the rest is history. And honestly, I can't imagine SONS without his art. His ability to move the camera, create moods, and keep the energy with a sketchy style is PERFECT for the book. He also colors the hell out of the pages. And as a guy with 20 years coloring experience, I'm pretty specific in my tastes. He blows me away every page with his art and color choices. I can't say enough good things about him. You kick ass, Toni!
TI: Brian told the full story! After four years working exclusively on childrens books as a colorist, a year and a half ago I decided to change the route and make a living doing other kinds of projects. I did some commissions, covers, and updated my portfolio, and some weeks after that I received an email from Brian.
The idea and the script were like music to my ears, so the decision was so easy to make. After some issues I'm still loving the way he writes the characters, how they act like real people, with their virtues and their miseries. It's not a black & white kind of story, it's full of grays. Also, Brian gives me a lot of freedom to add new ideas or change something, so it's great!!