28 Words Later
with Declan Shalvey
by David O'Leary
28 Days Later #4 was released this past Wednesday and I spoke with Declan Shalvey about the last issue of this current arc. We discuss important points in the issue so if you haven't read it yet then revert back a bit later. So, without further ado...
David O' Leary: Hey man, first of all, what a first page. It really set the tone of what was coming without a word being said.
Declan Shalvey: Thanks man. Yeah, I really like it when creators let the visuals tell the story and not rely on dialogue, so I was very happy to get a chance to do so in this issue, like in that first page you mentioned and also... (SPOILERS!) when Selena finds Trina.
DO'L: This issue was as graphic than we have seen yet. With the half body of Trina to the damaged eyes of Derrick. This time though it wasn't anything to do with the infected. In fact there wasn't one to be seen in the whole issue. I like this parallel of the group being under constant attack from both sides of the conflict. And the convection of this danger is always evident in your work.
DS: Glad you think so. Not to sound pretentious, but I would like to think my pages have some kind of ';edge' to them and if that leaves the reader with a certain unease (or as you think; an sense of danger), then at least it means my work complements the book somewhat.
True; there are no Infected in this issue and I think its all the better for it. If the Infected were in every issue then they would just become a gimmick. Having your boat blown to bits is pretty scary to me, especially when you're on it at the time! It's funny; although there wasn't much in the way of actual violence in this issue, it is quiet gruesome in places. Which is fun to draw, if I'm being honest.
DO'L: I particularly liked the two-page spread of the boat being blown to pieces. Where did you get the reference to the jet and how long before you were happy after working on it to what the reader eventually saw?
DS: Ah cheers. I spent a while trying to get that double-page spread right. It wasn't actually that taxing to draw the finished image, it was essentially a coastline, an explosion and a jet (I thank the Internet-Gods for the jet reference). What was hard was coming up with a dramatic, graphic, clear and powerful layout. What helped was that it was an actual double page spread, so I was able to lead the reader's eye right across two pages, from left-to-right; the jet being at the very right therefore creating the illusion of movement across the image. I'm pretty happy with the end result. There's a double page spread coming up in issue 6 that was a LOT more work, I can tell yeh!
DO'L: It makes it all the more obvious that this is definitely a man made disaster happening at the moment as the beauty, peace and serenity of the landscape has almost a constant place in the book. From the Norwegian mountains in the first issue to the Fjord at the Orkney's and the Scottish Highlands in this issue it conveys how much this is a human endurance. Was this a conscious effort on your part when pencilling the book?
DS: I'm really just working with the material given to me to be honest so there's no elaborate plan on my part. I do like the ';untouched' aspect of the locales so far. The post-apocalyptic nature of what's happened isn't as obvious yet. It does start to filter-in in future issues though. As regarding the element of human endurance, you're absolutely right, this is a huge task they've undertaken, and it has not gone well for them. When you think about it, they have JUST reached the mainland and it nearly killed them. More than half of them have been wiped out already!
DO'L: I know that this is the end of the first ac and so far the Military presence has been a faceless presence in the first and fourth issue. Are we going to be seeing a more personal presence when the second arc resumes after next month's prequel issue or can you hint at all?
DS: Without giving away any specifics, I can say that there will be a more personal face of threat in the next arc, but not a military one. After what happened in issue 4, I'm sure the military would assume all the passengers on that boat are dead. As far as I know.
DO'L: If it is one thing that the story has no shortage of, then it is the constant throwing of obstacles in the way of Selena and the crew, not that there are many left now anyway. This pressure obviously took its toll when Selena and Clint came to a disagreement culminating in him being struck by her in the Highlands over the decision that will have to be made on his Derrick's continued presence on the journey. When we see the panels in this argument it concludes in a look of great determination on Selena's face. Do you think we have turned a corner with her in terms of her acceptance of the situation?
DS: I think it's very much the opposite. Selena has walked into all this with her eyes wide open. It's actually Clint and his team who haven't realized the situation they were getting themselves into and it's only now he that accepts the situation he is in. Selena has been trying to warn him since issue 1.
DO'L: Now that the first arc is done and all issues so far have gone to reprints, yourself and Michael and Nick must be delighted at the response both critically and in the market.
DS: I think we're all too busy to realize the response to the book! Michael is writing 5 million stories for Boom (last I counted), Nick is a very in-demand colourist, and I'm spending nearly every waking hour drawing this bloody thing (pun intended). Still, people seem to like the book from what I've seen/heard, so that's very encouraging and makes me want to try better with every issue.
DO'L: At this juncture we know you won't be back next month but will be for issue six so with that we will talk with you then.
DS: There is a lot of cool stuff coming up in issue six I must say, but yeah, next month is a stand-alone issue dealing with Clint and Derrick before they meet Selena drawn by Marek Oleksicki (Frankentein's Womb). The art looks great and it's a cracking script. I urge you all to pick it up when it comes out next month. I know I will.
We will leave it there this month and Declan will be taking a break with the next issue, where the book will be focusing on a story from the past so we will be back with the release of issue six to discuss the next instalment of this truly amazing book. Once again as always, many thanks to Dec for his time as I know he is a very busy dude. Also, as this is my last interview before the end of the year, I hope everyone has a great Christmas or Holiday and see you in the New Year. Here's to 2010 on CR!
Name: David O' Leary
Been reading comics: for about 12 years now.
Review Bio: I am a 26-year-old Hotel Manager from the west coast of the Republic of Ireland and think this is a great way to talk to others about this cool medium. I am a husband to one wife and father to one girl (so far).
Favorites: ONI's Whiteout, Vertigo's Scalped and Garth Ennis Preacher and Punisher in Trades. In comic form I am reading a lot of Marvel and a bit of IDW, Dark Horse & WildStorm among others.
Website: Sorry, I don't have one!
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