28 Words Later
with Declan Shalvey
by David O'Leary
Welcome back to another chat about the BOOM! Studios hit book 28 Days Later with series artist Declan Shalvey. This interview takes place just prior to Declan leaving for HeroesCon in NYC. We get teased about a death next issue; Some news on an ongoing colourist and my explanation as to why Douglas is so annoying. Read on and enjoy...
David O'Leary: Hey Dec, firstly congratulations for getting the nomination for what would be your second win at the Eagle Awards. Surprised?
Declan Shalvey: Very! I was really happy to get a nomination a year or so ago, so the last thing I was expecting was one this year. I *may* have tried to muster support in the previous year, but I didn't do anything of the sort this time around. I feel like the nomination is a little more reputable this year because of that.
DO'L: This is your third consecutive issue with a different colourist with each one. Will William Farmer be hanging around for a bit?
DS: Yeah, I'm happy to report that Bill is the regular colorist from now on. I'm seeing pages for issue 12 come in and they're looking fantastic. I think we're working together quite nicely. It had been a bit confusing seeing three different approaches in such a short space of time, but I really like how it's going.
Issue 11 Cover
DO'L: The thing about your colourists so far is that they have been fairly consistent in keeping the look of the book the same. Are you happy with this issues look?
DS: It was very surprising when I saw the first pages come in. Nick had very dull, murky colours and the new pages were very bright because of the fire in the scene. It was like a kick in the face. Which is exactly what you want with a scene like this. With any new colorist, it takes a few pages to see what they really can do. I'm quite happy with how things are going. In issue 11 especially, I was really happy to see how much Bill used white. White is a very underused colour in comics, and I was delighted to see Bill utilize it.
DO'L: One thing apparent here is that Selena has a reputation that precedes her that is teased with the cliff hanger. You mentioned last talk about a scene next issue which you collaborated with Michael on and it being a highlight of your career to date. Is the mysterious person at the other end of the phone related to the scene next issue?
DS: Yes and no. Not related directly, but the scene in the next issue definitely happens because of that mysterious person's involvement.
A nice memory for Selena
DO'L: One thing I found surprising was Selena being unable to use a gun. She obviously depends too much on her blade. Knowing her personality like we do you know she is kicking herself over that. It's also the first sign of her not being in control that Michael has shown from Selena in a long while. How significant is that or am I reading into it too much?
DS: No I think you're right. Her machete is her weapon of choice, but a gun is something she is not familiar with. She's obviously the badass of the group, but she is still in a group, and we see how resourceful Clint can be in stressful situations.
DO'L: We now have a full view of an enemy that is every bit as cunning as Selena and Clint. Derrick mentions that without questioning from their captors their survival is now in question. Douglas is doing a good job of jeopardizing their safety with his big mouth. They appear to be at a shaky juncture where I can see someone not making it out of this arc alive. All this is evident of a great high tension story line that you must be chomping at to draw each month.
DS: Absolutely. The stakes are so high right now that every page is a pleasure to draw. When I'm unsure whether a character is going to make it out of the story, it means I have to make sure I do the character justice.... while they are still around that is.
DO'L: With the military for example, do you find any difficulties in highlighting their menace when the story doesn't tell us a whole lot about them outside of their aggressive manner?
DS: I think the big f**k-off guns they're carrying are plenty menacing! They are a force, but I feel that having fleshed out the personalities of a couple of the soldiers, it makes it all the more horrific when they are willing to do horrible things.
DO'L: One thing I'm liking is the Infected being reduced to almost background characters and the irony of them being used as ';lab animals' much like the monkeys at the start of the first movie. The best panel of the issue was of the far shot of them being loaded onto cattle trucks highlighting how in control the military are right now. Are the Military now the consistently dominant threat in the book?
DS: No. They play a big part in this arc, but they won't be as much of an obvious force after this arc. Much like the Infected themselves; they will be a constant threat; possibly lurking around the next corner.
DO'L: How long before Douglas bites it? He's kinda annoying!
DS: Why is he annoying?
DO'L: Sometimes, when you read a story and a character is introduced, it can be unintentional, but he just rubs you up the wrong way. And that is what Douglas has done with me. I feel like I care a lot about what happens to the characters and with Douglas now in the group, I see him as being detrimental to their ongoing safety due to his naivety.
DS: He just tells it like it is. I think he adds a nice, cold perspective at times. To answer your question; maybe he dies next issue, maybe he doesn't. I guarantee someone WILL die in the next issue though!
DO'L: Thanks Dec, enjoy NYC and talk soon.
And that wraps another month with 28 Words Later. A little later than scheduled, but that's my own doing. Also, I want to give a shout out to our own Decapitated Dan Royer for helping me out of a jam this one. Technology can be fickle at times. Please join us next month for a talk about the last issue in this arc and of course to reveal who bites the dust.
David has been with CR since June 2008 and started out as a reviewer and has expanded to do a couple of columns for the site also; starting with 28 Words Later with artist Declan Shalvey and later 5 Minutes With... where he talks with the industries best and brightest from Kubert to Moore.
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