28 Words Later
with Declan Shalvey
by David O'Leary
Last Wednesday saw the release of 28 Days Later #7, the middle issue of the three issue arc which see the continuing trip to southern England by the demoralised trio of protagonists. To catch up with this exceptional character driven trio, I spoke with artist Declan Shalvey about the issues goings on.
David O'Leary: Hey Dec, another great issue. I must say how great it is to see the story and art line up the way it does. I read most of the books from BOOM! right now and 28 Days Later is honestly one of the companies top tier books. The story is one of the best along with Die Hard and Irredeemable and the art trumps that of Do Androids Dream... and Incorruptible. At this stage of the run how pleased are you with everything so far from reaction from fans to the excitement to getting new scripts?
Declan Shalvey: Thanks very much man; I'm really glad you think so. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I really am trying my best to make 28 Days Later one of the best looking/interesting books that BOOM! Studios are bringing out. I'm not saying I'm succeeding at it, but I am still trying nonetheless. The reaction so far has been fantastic. A new script from Michael is the high-point of my month and each one has been better than the last. I think the stories are really getting more weight to them; a lot of the first arc was setting up the world in which the comic existed. Now that we've done that, we're getting to some meaty storytelling.
DO'L: One of the best panels in the issue was the one on page 19 where we see Selena's eyes blacked out as she realises she has been duped by Kate to rescue Douglas. The menace and anger in that panel was radiant. After an issue where we see a growing friendship between Clint and Selena, we are dragged right back to the peril that surrounds them, that they can trust no one. Amazing what a panel can do isn't it?
DS: Well; I hope so! That's cool man; this issue was a lot more character-driven, with a lot more emphasis on emotion and the relationship of the characters. That's why it's laid out in a very simple manner; so you concentrate on the dialogue between the characters. Certain panels, like the one you mention, are really important when it comes to communicate what the character is going through. From your reaction, it seems to be working. I'm glad.
DO'L: In an issue where we saw the story slow to a degree there was a great sense of ';something is coming'. That was only helped along with the narrative telling us the village is full of infected and the art showing us that nothing is there...yet. The use of Nick Filardi's colouring with your art particularly on page 18 moved the tension up tenfold. The first panel has the dusk shot from the alley with a starving infected behind the car bumper and the shutter being closed by Douglas on page 21 gave us the sense of ';it's close'. I know Nick was a colourist you asked for. How do you feel you two work together at this stage. Do you let Nick work away himself or have you instructions for him when he gets your pages?
DS: Yeah, this is definitely a tension-building issue. Not one Infected in it. I really think the issues where no Infected are more important than the ones that do. The threat of something can be far more scary than the actual appearance of it.
I think Nick and myself are a pretty good team, if I may say so. I pretty much let him do what he wants as overall, he seems to ';get' what I'm going for. At times, he's even used the very same colour scheme I had in mind myself. Now and then, I would ask for some specific things, always very minor, but overall he hands in colours that would be what I would like to hand in, were I even remotely as talented as him.
DO'L: This issue more than any previous shows how far Clint and Selena have come in terms of their friendship almost, though they might not admit to it, with the exchange starting from page 11 and page 20 showing their growing respect for each other. In the few days that the story has taken place, they have warmed up to each other in difficult circumstances and if we have learned anything it is that not to expect anyone to survive too long. But a couple of your panels showed Selena particularly, with a warm look on her face when in conversation with Clint. Do you think at this stage with her opening up to Clint like she is, could be going against the grain of her personality and letting her guard down could be dangerous?
DS: Well if anything, I don't think we've really know her personality all that well. From the glimpses we've seen in flashback, she seems to be a very different person. It seems to me, that the more she gets to know Clint, and the more she warms to him, the more we see of the ';real' Selena. However, we do know Selena has her guard up for a reason, and as you say, letting it down may in fact be dangerous.
DO'L: What challenges do you face when you receive a script and it gives you no infected to draw and although the script is full of tension, a lot of it is implied?
DS: Well, my job is to tell a story. Whether or not there are Infected shouldn't matter. If there are Infected, admittedly, the issue will be more fun to draw. Still; an issue with Infected in every issue would make for an ultimately boring storyline. Since there were no Infected in this issue however, my focus was to concentrate on reactions between the characters. I tried to play up Selena's attitude towards Kate, Clint's appeasement, Kate's ignorance, etc. The main thing was to play it straight and then at the end when we meet Douglas and he closes the shutter, I decided to do really dark and messy to create that sense of dread. In a way the whole issue leads up to that ';oh crap' moment.
DO'L: Will we be seeing you on cover duties any time soon?
DS: Actually yes, I've been doing covers for the last while. Really enjoying them. My first cover is the variant for issue 9, I believe. I hope people like ';em.
DO'L: You teased last interview about Selena going shopping and as always the issue ends on a great point. It looks as if the action will amp up with the final issue of the arc. With a fair amount of build up already taken place can you tease us a bit with the pay off?
DS: Heh, yeah, you see I was being vague but still accurate? Hmm. I guess for the next issue all I can say is... Stay away from windows! Issue 8 is a doozy.
DO'L: I will finish with an appearance announcement. You will be appearing at a panel at the Templegate Hotel in Ennis on Sunday 7th of March part of the Ennis Book Festival. I think this is your first local appearance since 28 DL began. You looking forward to it?
DS: Oh most definitely. I enjoy appearing at conventions, festivals and the like, but the fact that I've been asked to appear at a book festival in my home town is wonderful. To come home for that reason is a very rewarding feeling. Can't wait.
Declan, as mentioned above will be making his first local appearance in over a year this Sunday at 12.15pm in Ennis. If anyone is interested in attending tickets are priced at €8 and all those who attend will be treated to a discussion on the Graphic Novel and its impact on the social consciousness over the last number of years. Joining Declan will be author of Blood Upon The Rose, Gerry Hunt, author of Rosemary Herbb and Celtic Knights, Stephen Coffey and editor of Irish language anthology Aidan Courtney. Join us here again next month when we discuss the last issue of the arc and see where it leaves us going into issue nine.
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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