Harris & Morazzo Cast A Spell In Snowfall [Interview]
February 19, 2016
IMAGE COMICS: Team GREAT PACIFIC is back together again! What is it that keeps you two working with each other, along with editor Shawna Gore and letterer Michael David Thomas? What are Kelly Fitzpatrick and Tom Muller bringing to the team?
JOE HARRIS: I keep tricking Martín into following me! Or he takes pity on me when I ask—I'm not entirely certain. But, in any case, I'm very grateful for his talent, dedication, and collaboration. When I first stumbled onto his work, back when I was looking for a collaborator online that "kinda, sorta drew like Moebius," I knew he was someone I'd want to work with for a long time, on one or multiple series.
Kelly is just a phenomenal colorist and I'm grateful to have her aboard on SNOWFALL (along with another series I'll be launching later this year). And collaborating with Tom adds so much to this series. His logo design and aesthetic sense helps present Martín's work in the best light we can. We're happy we're bringing Shawna and Michael along too!
MARTÍN MORAZZO: Ha ha ha, we all worked so good together that the only thing we could do after finishing GREAT PACIFIC was to do another story! SNOWFALL came up and we've been working on it for a long time now! Kelly is a great reliable colorist and Tom adds exquisite design to both covers and interiors!
IC: GREAT PACIFIC and SNOWFALL both deal with humanity as a threat to the environment and vice versa. SNOWFALL is obviously not a polemic, but do you see it as a comic with a message?
JH: Oh, sure. I mean, I don't think you could really tackle a subject like environmental crisis, or climate change, or whatever related subject, and not broadcast a message. Like GREAT PACIFIC before it, SNOWFALL tackles the idea that humanity has ruined the planet, but on an even greater scale. And even if our protagonist is the scion of big oil industrialists like GREAT PACIFIC's Chas Worthington, or a terrorist and enemy of the state like the White Wizard in SNOWFALL, the material is loaded going in.
MM: The issue of climate change is there, but it's not the main point of the story!
IC: How do you balance the subject matter with being entertaining? Are they mutually exclusive, or is climate change grist for the mill the way drama or action would be?
JH: Well, I always try to complicate things a little. If you're going to tell a genre story about life on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, I dunno...it sounds boring if it's an on-the-nose sort of tale urging people to start recycling. I like telling stories about contrarians and complicated people who aren't always in it for the noblest of reasons. That provides for some tension, I find, which leads to drama. I'd like to think the wild and crazy shit you can pull off when you extrapolate out some of these ideas provides for the action.
IC: There are two characters who appear significant in SNOWFALL #1—the White Wizard and Anthony Farrow. What can you tell us about them going into this first issue? What kind of people are they?
JH: The White Wizard is the most wanted man in these future Cooperative States of America. Ten years before the opening of the book, he mounted a weather-based attack on the government and the Hazeltyne Corporation that was propping it up after the crash. But the attack, while audacious, failed to stop Hazeltyne from completing its takeover of the government, and he's been in hiding ever since. That is, until Anthony Farrow, a young student at a Cooperative-backed university, figures out who the White Wizard was and tries to find him. Another of our featured characters people should pay attention to, I'd say is Inspector Davitika Deal, an "Assessor" chasing down climate crimes against the Cooperative. She's pretty badass.
MM: I'd go with Joe there. We have Davitika, too, and she's also an important character in the story!
IC: By 2045, the United States of America has been replaced by Cooperative America. What series of events led to this change? What's life like for the average citizen now?
JH: The climate finally crashing down was probably the biggest, but not the only, major event to frame the future America SNOWFALL presents. But once we turned our attention to finally trying to fix the damage, we pretty much wrecked the planet's ability to make it snow anymore in the process. And by the time things finally collapsed under the strain, this huge mega-company called the Hazeltyne Corporation was well positioned and ready to maximize its influence by essentially merging with the U.S. government so it wouldn't completely collapse like the climate did. Only this is unchecked corporate culture and control in the year 2045, so you can imagine they're going to be working a little harder for some of the people than others.
Back when the shit was really hitting the fan, and the climate was getting more and more unstable while catastrophes (such as a tsunami sweeping away lower Manhattan) were becoming more and more frequent, Dr. August Reasons, a climate scientist working for Hazeltyne, began experimenting with ways to control the weather. He's determined to make it snow again, only some awful stuff happens to his family, his faith in the Cooperative is shaken, and he ends up stealing his work from the company and becomes this avowed weather terrorist and Enemy of the Cooperative State, the White Wizard. Reasons goes on to take the fight to the Cooperative, like I was saying earlier, only to end up abdicating the field after a failed attack on the Cooperative. He ends up leaving the field and going into a long reclusion for unknown reasons.
In his absence, the Cooperative stabilizes. In "Saved New York City," the Cooperative stronghold, Americans enjoy the fruits of Hazeltyne's efforts to retake control of the ravaged climate. Only things aren't hardly utopian, as these kind of stories often reveal.
IC: Martín, SNOWFALL is set in the near-future, and you've gone with an approach that's mostly similar to today, but with a few high-tech flourishes. What did you look to for inspiration for the look of the book? What kind of mood are you trying to express with your art?
MM: We didn't want to go so far into the future with common technological advances. There wouldn't be flying cars, for example! We have many scenes happening around 2035, only twenty years from now. There will be some synthetic beings, the Cooperative troopers, many characters with implants that help them do some weird stuff, and a guy who controls the weather! We use things we have today for inspiration and try to add, like you said, those high-tech flourishes!
SNOWFALL is a dark story. We have many characters, none of them clearly a hero, doing many questionable things to get their goals achieved!
I'm trying to depict a dark after-climate-crisis world in the pages. The settings look rusty and eroded, except on Saved NYC, there is light, with some dazzling huge towers loom over Manhattan.