Image Comics: Jon, you've mentioned that there's not necessarily a full script for each issue of RUNLOVEKILL. What's the production process like for this comic?
Jon Tsuei: The original concept for RUNLOVEKILL was to do a short one-shot comic, roughly 48 pages, and for that a full script does exist. I have a tendency to create a lot of backstory and a bunch of unnecessary world-building when I write, so when Eric and I made the decision to turn the story into an 8-issue miniseries instead, there was enough of a foundation to outline the story into eight issues and work from there. The entire series is outlined with all the major plot points and story/emotional beats for each issue, and Eric goes in and creates the pages from that outline. He sends me updates as he progresses, and if there's any problems or disagreements, we talk it out. Hopefully nothing needs to be redrawn. I come in with dialogue after the pages are finished, which we both go over to make sure it's on point with the plan for the story.
IC: Eric, what do you get out of illustrating a story like this? What's the biggest draw for you?
Eric Canete: There was a lot of problem-solving in taking the ideas of the original 48-page script and expanding it into an 8-issue limited series. As it turned out, the act of drawing pages for the book wasn't really the main appeal. While my primary responsibility is still to lay out then illustrate the pages, the main "draw" in this experience was making sure to pay attention to the narratives and how it plays out for the 5 issues we have so far. And then, ultimately how all that set-up will pay off by the end of the series.
IC: RUNLOVEKILL has been described as much a romance tale as an action story. The action is immediately apparent here, but what influence does the romance have on the storytelling?
JT: Yeah, I guess there is a strong romantic element to the story. That ties into the "love" part of RUNLOVEKILL, but it's not just a romantic kind of love. It deals with the kind of love shared between close friends. It also ties into familial love between Rain and her father. But if we were to speak specifically to Deyliad and Rain, I think he's someone who's just trying to do the right thing for someone he cares about, even if he gets in the way a lot. He really means well, but he just doesn't know when to back off. So we try to show that dichotomy between Deyliad and Rain. Dey will give everything for Rain, while Rain has spent so much of her life guarding herself she has a hard time letting anyone in.
IC: What do you enjoy most about Leonardo Olea's coloring?
JT: I think Leo is always willing to take chances even though Eric or I may not agree with the approach, but that's what makes it a collaboration between all of us. Leo isn't just taking direction, he's contributing his own ideas and the results are beautiful. We're very fortunate that Leo has so many great ideas and isn't afraid to offer them up.
EC: Olea challenges convention—both mine and his. In doing so, he opens the conversation of our visual approach for discussion. He's smart and specific about the hows and whys in regards to his color choices. Most importantly, he's always open to asking for feedback.
IC: What influenced the design of the walled city of Prygat, and the technology in RUNLOVEKILL more generally?
JT: I'm going to let Eric tackle most of this question but Eric is a great designer. I honestly think he's one of the great designers in comics today and that's not fluffy rhetoric, I truly believe that. I had ideas for what I thought our world should look like, but nothing I imagined was as stunning as what Eric came up with. I couldn't tell you what goes on in that mind of his, I'm just happy there's a slice of it in our book for the world to see.
EC: Prygat was heavily influenced by a small book I had about folder architecture. In it, they gave a large sheet of paper to notable architects throughout the world and challenged them to make small scale [art] with it just by folding and reconstituting the paper. The results were phenomenal and surprising and inspiring. I tried my best to incorporate some of what I had interpreted as a feasible future city into my own design process—from the panoramic wide shots of the city itself, down to the street level views as our characters live in them.
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