They’re from two very different worlds—Ales Kot is Czech, and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz is from Puerto Rico—but they sync perfectly to create the world of WOLF, a comic about Antoine Wolfe and Anita (who may be the Antichrist) and how they may or may not have started the Apocalypse.
Tell us about the creation of WOLF. Where did the idea come from?
Ales: Ideaspace. Imagination. Where all ideas go to breathe. I also missed an interesting occult detective figure in the comics medium, because there hasn’t been one since Peter Milligan ended Hellblazer. Combine that with contemplating race and racism, the mythical undercurrents of our world, and California, and you get there. Blood and magic.
What can you tell us about what’s in store for Antoine and Anita?
Ales: Anita ran a secret plan. Antoine was the reason why. We’ll find out what happens when the plans works out. And — Antoine is in prison at the beginning of #5. We jump almost five years ahead, so there’s plenty to catch up on.
Ricardo: The curtain will be slowly lifted on the events of the past 5 years and Anita is looking for answers.
Do find that you work well together, or are there creative conflicts that come up from time to time?
Ales: We’re smooth. No creative conflicts. Sometimes we assess a page during the layout stage, talk about it and rework it 2-3 times, but that’s about it. Everything for the story.
Ricardo: It’s probably the smoothest creative relationship(s) I’ve ever had. Everything we do feels organic, even when there’s changes (which has been rare) there’s no pushing or pulling. We just exchange ideas and use what works best for the story.
If you were Antoine Wolfe, how would you handle the situation with Anita? Would you do anything different?
Ales: I can’t be anyone else but myself — if I was, I would be that person, which would mean I would do the same thing they did. Plus, I’ve never dealt with a possible teenage Antichrist. I’ve dealt with babies on planes, though? Like when they start screaming? At first I want to throw them out but then I’m like “you’re still a baby too, and you’re confused and scared often too, so why don’t you give them a break, why not be kind?” so then I go “okay I’ll be kind” so basically kindness seems to be the key for dealing with people. Let’s not confuse kindness with niceness, which I absolutely don’t have time for. I’m all for kindness, clarity, and directness. So if I ever get into a situation where I have to deal with a teenage antichrist…I want shoot for the same three basic traits I utilize when interacting with anyone else.
How is writing comics different from screenwriting or writing for video games?
Ales: It pays significantly less and the industry is significantly less professional. Besides that, there is no standardized format for writing comics, so every collaboration starts, at least for me, with figuring out how I want to write for the artist I’m working with. What’s also different is the speed of it — being able to make a comic and get it released in a few months allows for extraordinary responsiveness to anything happening in the universe. And then, of course, there’s the issue of time, and the control one has over it in regards to comics. This control is not quite the same in any other medium I know. Comics open up imaginations by offering us empty spaces between panels, an emptiness we have to fill out with our own understanding of the story. Film does that with cuts to a certain extent, and so do video games, but comics do it near-constantly and allow us to traverse the story in any given direction — we can read backwards, forwards, anything. Of course, we can also fast-forward or go backwards when watching a video or reloading a saved position in a game, but there is something to the way we can play with time in comics that feels more immediate, more ready for going in directions other than our traditional understanding of time (from the left to right, from past to future) posits.
What is your favorite thing about writing comics?
Ales: The creative high when it works, when the writing and the collaboration is really clicking, and when the comic sells and resonates after. I also really enjoy having written. And meeting new collaborators and people I love.
Where did you train in your art?
Ricardo: I studied Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. After graduating I mostly worked in editorial Illustration and graphic design, I’ve slowly shifted to comics over the last 3-4 years.
This is your first issue as artist for WOLF. What challenges do you face picking up the reigns from Matt Taylor?
Ricardo: Living up to the expectations set up by Matt, he set such high bar throughout the first arc and fans of the book will be expecting nothing less. As long as I can deliver on that while still pushing the limits of comic book story telling, I’ll be happy.
WOLF #5 (Diamond code: NOV150576) hits stores Wednesday, January 20th.