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CHRISTOF BOGACS Discusses the Unsafe Space of REQUIEM

COMIC BOOK YETI: Christof, thanks for making time to discuss Requiem today. How are things going back in Sydney?

CHRISTOF BOGACS: Things are good! It’s winter here so it's a little bit chilly (for Australia, anyway).

CBY: So let’s kick in with an introduction to how your creative team came together. I’m aware of David Hazan’s work on Nottingham, and your team is from all over the world. How did you two meet, and then can you tell us how you connected with Phil Appley as artist, Gonzalo Duarte as colorist, Bram Meehan as letterer, John Bedovian as logo designer, and Chris Sanchez as editor?

CB: So all Australian comic creators know each other… Well, that’s not entirely true but the ones of us working in the US industry tend to know each other or at least know of each other.

I discovered David through Twitter and saw he was doing a book with Mad Cave. At the time, he was living in Sydney so I reached out. We hit it off over dinner and have been inseparable ever since.

Phil was also a Twitter find. David noticed Phil tweeted that he was after a sci-fi horror book to work on, preferably through crowdfunding. Phil immediately connected with Requiem and Kickstarter just felt like the right fit. After that, David brought in Chris and Gonzalo as he had worked with them both through Mad Cave. I brought in Bram from my Scout book, VOLUME.

CBY: The book certainly shows the amount of attention it has received from a broad team - it looks very tidy, and the amount of detail and specificity is noteworthy. What does the work process look like for the team? How much visual content is indicated in the script, and what gets reworked at each stage and refined into (or out of) the pages as they take shape?

CB: Luckily, Dave and I have the opposite writing process. I’m a re-writer. I can get a very rough draft out quickly and then go from there.

Dave, on the other hand, tends to think on stuff for a while but when he does get something on the page it is fully formed. So basically I churn out something rough very quick and then Dave works his magic on it.

In terms of visuals, I tend to be more interested in how I want a panel to ‘feel’ rather than specific details. That said, there were certainly panels in this first issue (and more in the second) where details were important in order to make the ship and the technology all make sense.

CBY: There’s a familiar melange of influences at work in how you’ve put together the world of Requiem. With a premise not unlike genre classics like The Thing (or any number of “whodunit” plots to unravel, from Agatha Christie’s novels to Christopher Nolan’s Memento), what references across comics, film, and literature were most readily at hand while crafting this narrative?

CB: So I mean, to an extent all modern sci-fi horror is in debt to Alien, and Requiem is certainly no exception. David and I were pretty deliberate about borrowing from Alien while also really leaning into the parts that make our story different in order to deliberately play with reader expectations.

Outside of that, Dead Space was a huge influence on the look of the ship and the suits. That game is the perfect blend of hard sci-fi and the supernatural. Other influences include Memento and Event Horizon.

CBY: Ah! I didn't think of Dead Space initially (as I haven't given it a full play-through), but it's clear now that you mention it. Presenting an evolution upon the Cassette Futurism aesthetic of 1970’s practical effect sci-fi/space-related narratives (Alien, Silent Running, The Andromeda Strain, etc.), the mission of the various thematically named fleet also evoked Battlestar Galactica, and both the ship design and armor seem to draw from the world Ralph McQuarrie/Colin Cantwell built for the original Star Wars trilogy, both grandiose and well-worn. Can you speak to the visual reference points that emerged as you discussed the plot and scope of story within the team?

CB: Totally! So initially we thought the Nostromo would be a big visual influence. However, we soon realized that a lot of the key visual areas of that ship were quite ‘clean’ and minimalistic in appearance, which just wasn’t right for Requiem.

Again this is where Dead Space came in. The USG Ishimura is a really ugly, utilitarian ship and that felt way more true to what the Genesis was. It’s a ship built to be functional and survive the harshness of traveling through space. Any concessions for its human crew is an afterthought.

CBY: I absolutely loved Skylar Patridge’s variant cover design - can you elaborate on how you arranged the collaboration with Skylar, and Liana Kangas? (I can guess David brought in Shane Connery Volk from their Nottingham collaboration for his variant cover.) What sort of discussion around the subjects depicted on the cover took place, or was it just left to the discretion of the artists to interpret an image that encapsulated the story?

CB: I know Skye through VOLUME and also just as a great friend. Liana is a close friend of both Dave and myself. So much of comics is just working with people you like!

For Liana’s cover, we told them we wanted it to feature Kali with her plant and then they did the rest. For Skye’s cover, we gave even less direction - we told her which characters to feature and then just said ‘make it sapphic and steamy’. I think we can all agree Skye knocked that brief out of the park!

CBY: On the topic of the story, without giving any spoilers away to our readers, this is clearly the initial installment of a broader narrative, in what seems like a potentially deeply nuanced fictitious world. How far out have you plotted this story in terms of pages/issues? Do you have an idea of when this story arc concludes, and is there room for stories beyond that point?

CB: Dave and I don’t tend to write anything until we have the story arc plotted out either in bullet points, or in the case of Requiem, a full written outline. There’s a lot of moving parts so I don’t think there was any way we could have winged it. We also wanted it all plotted out so Chris could come in and let us know if it was working or not.

In terms of more, at this stage Requiem is plotted to be a 5 issue mini-series. While we would certainly be open to doing more in this world, we really wanted these 5 issues to tell a complete, satisfying story.

CBY: I also thought I’d note the frequent appearance of wide panels, and the overarching evocation of cinematic framing. Have you also considered live action or animated adaptation of Requiem in the storyboarding process, or is it a standalone piece within the comic medium with inspiration clearly sourced heavily from cultural touchstones within the world of film?

CB: So Requiem borrows a lot from films and video games, which I think shows in the way it comes out on the page. I know I tend to lean more toward ‘cinematic’ visuals - lots of big panels, deliberate establishing shots and angle changes.

While we are always open to adapting the work, Requiem is first and foremost a comic so that’s what we keep in mind while writing it. The only thing guaranteed is that it will exist as a comic so we want it to be a really good comic.

CBY: Did you want to give a bit of background on Southbound; what’s the story, how’d you end up in a position where you launched Requiem as a sister campaign, and what does organizing that sort of cross-promotion entail?

CB: Oh yeah! So Jarred (the writer behind Southbound) is a friend of Dave and I, and came up around the same time as us. Given the huge overlap in the campaigns, and the fact that we have a fair bit of overlap in terms of readers, it just made sense to work together. We reached out to Jarred a few weeks before Requiem launched so it was fairly organized compared to cross-promotion we’ve been doing with other campaigns which is far more on the fly.

CBY: I mentioned David's work on Nottingham, but are there other ongoing/concurrent projects by the team members you'd like to make mention of here?

CB: Oh for sure! So Phil has Stone Cop which just wrapped on Kickstarter, Dave has Death Drop over at Scout and Monomyth over at Mad Cave. As for me, my debut graphic novel Under Kingdom came out a few months ago from Dark Horse with the incredible Marie Enger.

CBY: As is customary, we like to provide an opportunity for creators to reveal some of their favorite comics, films, music, literature, art, etc. that is providing enjoyment and catching your interest beyond your own work. What would you recommend our readers check out at the moment?

CB: So recently I have been loving Barry (late to the party but it’s SO GOOD) and Mr. Inbetween which is an incredible Aussie crime drama that was released on FX. Outside of that, I recently started listening to the band’s Chat Pile and King Woman. Both have a really doom and gloom feel which pairs great when reading or writing horror.

CBY: Christof, thanks for taking the time to inform our readers about what Requiem has to offer. Beyond your Kickstarter campaign closing July 13th, what other links would you like us to include below?

Check out the following links below:


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