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COLLABORATION IS KING: AN INTERVIEW WITH 'DB' ANDRY & SKYLAR PATRIDGE

Fresh from Emerald City Comic Con, Comic Book Yeti contributor Alex Breen corresponded on the convention floor with 'DB' Andry, writer of Resonant & Morningstar, and Skylar Patridge, co-writer and artist of the NSFW Spy Thriller Our Sins are Scarlet. Note: Skylar Patridge was a last minute addition to the interview. What followed was a loose discussion about the the joys of collaborating in comics, gushing about Becky Cloonan comics and a special spotlight on Second Rocket Comics. For those who missed out on this year's ECCC, 'DB' & Skylar have got you covered, here on Comic Book Yeti!


Pre-Order Issue One of Morningstar HERE.

Back the Our Sins are Scarlet Kickstarter HERE.

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: Okay. So I'm here today with DB Andry and special guest, Skylar Patridge. Thank you so much for joining me, guys. A question I've been asking everyone this weekend is, when were you first introduced to comics, and which comic was your first, if you happen to remember it?



SKYLAR PATRIDGE: Comics, I was pretty young actually. I had an older brother who read comics and so I would say probably in the five to six age bracket because he was reading a lot of comics, especially like X-Men, Superman, the Cape stories. And so I was very interested in whatever he was doing at the time. So naturally, I just kind of got excited about it and interested in it from there.


And also, I'm a '90s kid, so you had X-Men: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series. Those were also big gateway drugs into comics. I've been a lifer ever since. I've kind of ebbed and flowed into it, but it wasn't until probably about high school that I got interested in trying to make them. So it's been kind of a long on-and-off-again journey to get here.


'DB' ANDRY: Yeah, I mean, I'm much older. And so I started with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the '80s, the black and white indie comics, and I think that not only started my love for comics, but started my love for indie comics. And I think the summer after I read that, I spent every day that summer trying to make my own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ripoff comic. It was called the Assorted Animal Assassins and it was awful because I can't draw. And yes, ever since then I just wanted to make my own comics.



CBY: Are there a particular set of creators or stories that you see in the DNA of your work?



DBA: I think for me, definitely Brian K. Vaughan, especially something like Saga that has a lot of family interaction, but like a sci-fi or some kind of other element. I feel like that's kind of, if not something I subconsciously at least, or consciously, try to get into, I think I'm definitely drawn to that sort of story and that sort of writer.


SP: Yeah, and for me, I think I've always been sort of really interested in noir stories, spy stories, crime, and so I tend to gravitate and have gravitated toward Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, and Joëlle Jones, who is a big inspiration for me as far as like Lady Killer was huge... and a lot of stuff by Becky Cloonan. So sort of dark, noir-ish, erotic stories are usually kind of where my attention gets drawn to, and provocative stories.


"...I think it's why comics are so awesome is that you can collaborate with a co-writer, you collaborate with the artist, you collaborate with the colorist, you collaborate with the letterer and the editor and the publisher, and it's all collaboration."

CBY: Absolutely. You can't go wrong with Becky Cloonan



SP: Not at all.


DBA: Yeah, I love-


SP: She's here today and I have to go meet-


DBA: Is she?


SP: Yeah. I'm very excited to go meet her.



CBY: Yeah, I've got to try and not burn my entire bank account when going to her booth.



SP: Oh my God, yeah. She's so nice, too. Her book Wolves, which was a small little ashcan that she did years ago was one of the big things that made me want to start making comics again as an adult. So yeah, I got to shout her out here.



CBY: So going into your respective projects, 'DB', can you give us the premise for Morning Star first?



DBA: Oh, yeah. Morning Star is kind of a 1950s Amblin-style kind of family/horror/sci-fi/mystery. Following the death of Nathan Garrett, his family, his widow, and their two children go out to the Morning Star lookout station for a camping trip to spread his ashes. And then, I like to say spooky stuff starts to happen. They get some unusual events and we go from there, without giving too much away.



CBY: And Skylar, how about your comic?



SP: Yeah, we actually just launched our Kickstarter recently called Our Sins Are Scarlet, and we're calling it an erotic spy thriller. And it's sort of an enemies-to-lovers situation. A rookie handler in a kind of underground government agency is finding herself in charge of one of their deadliest assassins and they start developing a relationship, a working relationship, and realizing that their ideals are seemingly very opposed at the beginning, but as they get to know each other a little bit better, that they may be a little more aligned than they thought. It's a provocative story, just like kind of what I was talking about earlier and just sort of that developing relationship within very dangerous circumstances.



CBY: And who's the full creative team behind the book?



SP: Yeah, I'm co-writing it with my friend Jordan Alsaqa. The colorist is Kelly Fitzpatrick and our letterer is Bram Meehan and I've been really, really blessed with everybody working on this.



CBY: Excellent. I appreciate you clarifying that just because I didn't have the full team up to memory like with Morning Star.



SP: Absolutely, yeah, yeah.



CBY: So, back to Morning Star. 'DB', so you had Marco Finnegan as the artist. And obviously he's an incredible storyteller in his own right. Can you describe what your collaborative process was like together and how you came to work with him?



DBA: Well, Marco and Tim, Tim Daniel actually developed Morning Star about 10 years ago. And this is actually the second life of Morning Star. It's the comic that would not be killed, and they actually did a whole first issue before I ever came on board. And so this was always Marco and Tim's kind of creation. And if you look at Marco's art style, very much matches the time period of the story.


So yeah, I came on later trying to kind of resurrect it and add what I could to the story and to the family connections and things like that after Tim and I started working together as co-writers. So Marco was always part of Morning Star, it was developed with him in mind. So yeah, he was there way before me.



CBY: Oh, excellent. And then Skylar, for Our Sins Are Scarlet, what was the origin story behind that project?



SP: The origin story of that, we always like to say it started with Wonder Woman of all things. Which is not at all the story, but back in 2017 when Wonder Woman came out, the villain in that story was Dr. Poison. And so Jordan and I, we sort of met on Twitter and I had posted some fan art about Dr. Poison and saying, "I really wish that we'd gotten more of this character, I though that she's really interesting." And Jordan was like, "what if we did something and made that character, flesh that character out, told a different story?"


And so it sort of came out of fan art from Wonder Woman. It was really the root of the book. Then it took on a life of its own over six years of just kind going back and forth and figuring out what kind of story we wanted to tell.



CBY: Sounds like both of these projects were very much in the oven for a while before it even came to the scripting stage.



SP: Yup.



CBY: So, were both of these done a lot over email? Was it like a call for these stories for both of you guys?



DBA: Yeah, no, I mean I think Skylar and I probably had a pretty similar process with the writing itself because Tim and I spend hours on the telephone fleshing out stories. Like I said, he already had a big chunk of Morning Star done and I kind of just saw where I could fit myself into the story.


I have to have a personal connection to something that I'm writing. So I wanted to find where I could fit in. And so I found themes that worked for me and I wanted to flesh those out and work with characters. And so we talked through this stuff a lot and then I went through and rewrote that first issue that they had already worked on, just making small alterations where I needed to move the story in the direction that I wanted to enhance.


And then Tim and I kind of have the same process for everything. We talk it out and then I'll do a draft and send him the draft and then I'll do, after his take, I'll do a script and then send it to him and he'll do his pass on the script and it just kind of ping-pongs back like that.

And so it was really easy. I mean, I had so much to work with already that it was a really easy process, cause this thing had been firmly in Tim's mind for 10 years and I just had to find where I could get myself into the story.


SP: I feel like you do such a good job with family dynamics too. That's a very good theme for 'DB'.


DBA: Yeah, I think Tim and I had that in common. We both have a lot of family stuff we want to work out, so like- (laughs)


SP: (laughs) This is therapy.



DBA: Yeah, like Tim's book, The Plot is family trauma. You know, Resonant is family dynamics, Morning Star is family dynamics.


SP: Denizen.


DBA: (Laughs) Denizen is definitely family dynamics. So yeah, if I have a niche, that's probably it.


SP: Yeah, you do such a good job. I feel like every time, every story you tell with that theme, it's always a different version of it, so it's good.


DBA: Oh yeah, I've got tons of different trauma to work out. (laughs)



CBY: And that all sounds like a healthy collaboration too, because with collaboration sometimes there can be that sense of ego or trying to get my idea over on someone else.


DBA: Right



CBY: That doesn't sound like that has anything to do with it there.



DBA: Well, imagine you held onto something for 10 years and gave it to somebody and they mushed around with it and changed it. That is very hard, I think, for many creatives to take. And Tim did it without blinking an eye. And so he's really, really probably way better than me at removing ego in the writing process.


And I think it's a credit to him, but it also a credit to how imaginative and how fast his brain works that if he sees it as like, oh, that's a good idea, he can let other ideas go really quickly. And so that's something that I work on with him too is like, okay, I can see the better idea forming and it doesn't matter who comes up with it because, I'm going to forget if it was me or him within a week.


I'm like, "I don't know who came up with this, but I really like this idea." And he's like, "it was you, dummy." (Laughs) I'm like, "oh okay, well, I like my idea then."


But yeah, he's really good at not having any ego at all. That's why you see Tim almost always co-writing and co-creating with somebody because he loves the collaborative process and he's a very open and willing collaborator, and so it's really easy to work with him and it's very low stress. It is actually 10 times easier than writing by myself. It's because I have someone who has a ton of ideas, is willing to give them all to me, and whichever one I decide to go with, he's happy. You know?



CBY: Yeah, and this is kind of a question based off of that for both of you guys, but is there a feeling or something you're looking for with your collaborators that makes you want to revisit or rework with them again on something else? Or is purely just gut instinct?



SP: I think it's probably a little bit of both. You know, I think it's maybe a gut instinct when you first start interacting with somebody, but what 'DB' said is once you get into the thick of it and you're starting to throw around ideas and you sort of get a sense for what each other is after and what you want out of it, I think that openness to each other's ideas is really pivotal. Because you're going to run into certain things where you're really married to an idea, but finding people who want to work with you, who value and respect your input, but also are bringing their own to it, I think being able to have that push-pull with one another and not have the ego, not get defensive about it, being able to work with one another smoothly.


DBA: Well yeah, and especially working with Skylar on Resonant, I benefit so much from her genius that it's going to make me look good. Why would I not take all of her great ideas? And I could write a very simple script and say, "Hey, Skylar, make this cool," and she's going to do it. Or with what she's already mentioned in the interview, say, "Hey, Skylar, this is the sexy part. You do that part, okay? and I'll not have to worry about it." (Laughs)


SP: (Laughs) For sure, yeah.


DBA: Because it's definitely not my strength. And a lot of times with Skylar too, I would say, this is the fight scene and she's great with blocking out the fights and making it look visceral and real and have impact. So I'm not going to step on her toes at all. So you just want someone that is going be fun to work with, be open, going to make you look good. Why would I complain about somebody who's going to make me look better?


SP: Yeah, I don't know, I think it's... Ego does come into it, you know? With anything where you're creating something new, you get attached to your characters, you get attached to your ideas. And so finding people who are willing to, who also are excited about your ideas, but also have their own, that's really the middle ground you want to strike and find.



CBY: Kind of like the, "yes and..." type?



SP: Yes, exactly.


DBA: Absolutely.


SP: We need our spontaneous riffing.


DBA: Yes. Yeah, and for me and Tim, we've been friends for 10 years before we started working together, and the friendship always comes first and the work comes second, and we just want to make good books.


I think similar philosophies when it comes to comic book making. We're trying to do the same thing where we're basically rowing in the same direction. He's not trying to flip this into a movie or TV script. He's trying to make a really good comic, and all I'm trying to do is make a really good comic. And if you have the same goals and you're rowing in the same direction and you're open to the other person, I think it's...


I really didn't know how co-writing was going to go. I thought I would be a real big pain in the ass and very ego driven because yeah, I think my ideas are really good. And it really was very nice to just start working with somebody and go... "oh, you have great ideas." (Laughs) Why don't we use some of those?


And so if you go into just having an open mindset and coming from a place of respect, I think it's really been a fun experience. I think it's why comics are so awesome is that you can collaborate with a co-writer, you collaborate with the artist, you collaborate with the colorist, you collaborate with the letterer and the editor and the publisher, and it's all collaboration. So if you're not willing to do that, I mean, go write a novel or something. I don't know. Comics is not right for you.


CBY: Agreed. So for Morning Star, when is that coming out or is it already out?



DBA: No, March 27th. We have an exclusive con variant that we're selling at the table here and Mad Cave has at their table. But yeah, it doesn't come out until March 27th, and then basically monthly after that, five issues.



CBY: Okay. And then for Resonant, that's already available for people to pick up?



DBA: Yes. And the Resonant, the complete edition, so it'll have all 10 issues, that's coming out April 2nd in comic book shops and bookshops, stuff like that.



CBY: And Skylar, Our Sins Are Scarlet is available on Kickstarter now. Are there any reward tiers you'd like to mention for that?



SP: Well, right now, we just launched yesterday (3/01/24), so we've still got some time, but we've got the book itself. We've got some great covers. Tula Lotay contributed a cover for us, which we're really excited about. Lauren Knight also contributed a cover for us. The sketch covers sold out, so those aren't available anymore, but we do still have some cool stuff available. We've got some original art, we've got digital packets, various previous works from the creative team, and we've also got some cameo appearances. There's two cameo appearances left, one where you can get killed by one of our leads and one where you can talk with one of the leads.


DBA: Do you get sexy killed or regular killed?


SP: We'll see what happens. Yeah. (Laughs)



CBY: Excellent. 'DB', I did have a couple of Second Rocket questions I'd like to throw your way too.



DBA: Oh yeah, hit us with the Second Rocket questions.


CBY: So first thing first, what was the initial inspiration behind starting up Second Rocket?


DBA: You know, that mostly was Tim, because Tim does logo design and book design for everybody. And he, of course, was a partner at Vault and helped design all their books. But he was doing that for Skybound and for Image and for every company out there before that. And so it's his way to start packaging that sort of service, not just to other companies, but to indie creators.


So kind of the goal eventually with Second Rocket is to be a one-stop shop for the indie creator who maybe doesn't know how to prep a book for printing or create a logo or come up with assets for a Kickstarter and maybe doesn't have an editor or wants a pitch packet created for a Netflix pitch meeting. So basically, it should be a place where indie creators can stop and have the full services that a comic book company would have as far as art production, editorial and feedback on scripts and things like that.


SP: I will add in Tim Daniel actually, he designed our logo for Our Sins Are Scarlet, so there's a little crossover there.


DBA: Yeah. If you look at a book in the comic shop anywhere. There's probably like a 75 to 80% chance Tim did the logo, yeah.



CBY: And so if someone wants to reach out, they go through Second Rocket's website?



DBA: Yeah, SecondRocketComics.com, yup. And we've already started. Brittany Matter here who's working at the booth.


She's done editorial through Second Rocket. She's an editor that's worked for a bunch of different writers, and we have done logo creation already. We have another partner Adam Cahoon who works with Tim on logo creation. So yeah, hopefully as we build it up, it's your go-to place for the indie comic creator to get services they would normally get through a publisher.



CBY: First, if you give one piece of advice to aspiring creatives in general, what would you say to them?



DBA: Create. Make it. Make it and finish it. Don't have it as an idea in your head. Don't have it as like, I got this wonderful pitch for this thing. Make it, finish it. Then go on to the next thing. You're never going to be good at your first thing. You don't start piano lessons and from day one, you're Mozart unless you actually are Mozart. (Laughs) So practice, do it again, finish it, practice, do it again, finish it. Okay. And I think finishing is very important. You have a lot of people who will start projects, start ideas, start comics, but I think learning how to finish something, put it aside and start the next thing is super important. So make it a bite-size chunk that you can start with and build from there.


SP: Yeah, I mean, I 100% agree with all of that. I would also add community, so create and find your people. And that's not the easiest thing to do, but I feel like getting in, finding your peers and making friends. I think a lot of, in today's society, we're told get the job done, it's competitive. And I don't think that that's the wise thing to do when coming into comics. I think you've got to find your people, you've got to find your friends, and those are going to be the people that you can co-work with. Those are going to be the people who help you collaborate and are not using one another as stepping stones to the next thing. The people you come up with, that's your community.



CBY: Completely agree.



DBA: 100% agree. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Tim, like I said, Tim and I were friends for 10 years before we started. Brittany and I have been friends for probably even longer than that. And you find your people and hopefully everybody comes up together and you pull people up when you can and other people will pull you up. I'll never stop working with Skylar. I will always try to pull her into every single project I work on until I force her to work with me again. (laughs) But yeah, once you find your people and people you connect with philosophically and just want to have the same things happen in your career, it's so great. I don't think comics has to be competitive at all. I think there's space for everybody.



CBY: Perfect. And where can people find you guys on social media?



SP: You can find me on Twitter or X, whatever it's called, Twitter. You can find me on Twitter, I'm @SkyePatridge. Basically any of the social medias, @SkyePatridge Twitter, Bluesky, Instagram, Tumblr, and then my website, skylarpatridge.com. And then the Kickstarter, which is Our Sins Are Scarlet.


DBA: Yeah, and I'm DBAndry wherever, Twitter, Instagram. I've tried Bluesky, but no one wants to talk to me there, so I've abandoned it.


SP: It's a fickle place.


DBA: It's a fickle place.



CBY: It would help if it had DMs and bookmarks.



SP: There's such a need, yeah.


DBA: Yeah, please don't find me on Facebook because I don't want to be on there. (laughs) And yeah, I do have a website dbandry.com and you could message me through there if you like. I don't know. No one's ever done it yet, but I'm assuming the functionality is there. So yeah.



CBY: Well, 'DB', Skylar, thank you so much for your time.



DBA: Yeah, thank you.


SP: Thank you.





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