Writer Scott Duvall is no stranger to writing about, well, the strange and unusual. Whether it be in his wonderfully weird and hilarious comic Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep from Dynamite Entertainment to his work in Heavy Metal Magazine, Duvall always knows the assignment and always nails it.
Now, Mr. Duvall is turning his sights on a new project with artist Vincenzo Federici, co-writer Sean Reliford, colorist Michele Monte, letterer Taylor Esposito, and cover artist Sara Richard. In the original graphic novel Going Green, Duvall throws the spotlight on composting—with a twist. In the world of Going Green, composting human remains has resulted in those remains returning into the people they had been in life. In what Duvall says is inspired by Locke & Key and Annihilation, Going Green follows the Dunn children and how their life changes after composting their father and his subsequent plant-based reincarnation. Add to the pathos the matter of kaiju and chaos permeating the Dunns’ town and Going Green looks to be a wild ride.
Going Green is being funded through Zoop, the comic crowdfunding platform, with the campaign launching this week. I spoke with Mr. Duvall recently about the Zoop campaign for Going Green, reuniting with collaborator Vincenzo Federici and partnering with the rest of the creative team, funding the book through Zoop, and how Going Green might be the most personal story he’s ever written.
FreakSugar: Before we get into Going Green and the campaign, what can you tell us about your history with comics?
Scott Duvall: I grew up collecting and reading comics in the 90’s, mostly superhero stuff at the time. Then I later re-discovered comics in my twenties which led me to Y: The Last Man. After that I knew I had to give my childhood dream of writing comics a real shot, and I self-published my first work. Since then, I’ve written stories featured in Heavy Metal Magazine, a Diablo House anthology, and some Army of Darkness, including the crossover series with Bubba Ho-Tep.
FS: The hook for Going Green is automatically compelling: Locke & Key meets Annihilation. What is the premise behind the book?
SD: The basic premise is death and second chances in the face of losing a loved one. It’s a death-positive look at how we carry on, and being at peace after suffering those losses. It also just so happens to tell that story using plant/human hybrids who grow out of their composted remains.
FS: Who are some of the folks that populate the world of the comic?
SD: Our central family unit is the Dunn kids, Cliff and Molly, and their father Tim, although for most of the story, we experience Tim in plant hybrid form, or as one of their friends Pro calls it, “florafauna.” The kids lean on their friends Pro and Skip, who are there to help them cope with their loss as well as to make sense of what’s happening in the aftermath. That’s our core cast, but there’s also a mad scientist behind the curtain we will introduce to challenge our characters even more while they’re already in crisis mode.
FS: What was the impetus behind Going Green? What was the genesis of the idea?
SD: I read a headline about how composting human remains had just been legalized in Washington state, and that’s what initially planted the seed of this idea. I was already working with our artist, Vincenzo Federici, on Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep and we were having such a great time working together, that we decided we wanted to do it again as soon as possible on something of our own. Out of that, Going Green was born. I conceived of it specifically with Vincenzo in mind, since he loves drawing monsters so much, and I knew he would kill it on the creature designs. I sent my ideas to my co-writer, Sean Reliford, and from there he started to contribute ideas of his own to help flesh out the world, and from there we got to work.
FS: Following up on that, we’ve mentioned Locke & Key and Annihilation. What are some of your other inspirations for the book?
SD: Those titles certainly helped inspire me, particularly Locke & Key, which has been my favorite comic since I first read it, and does a brilliant job of balancing horror with family moments that feel real and make you care for the Lockes, so that when the horror does creep in, it makes it that much worse for the reader. That is the feeling I’m hoping to capture for our book, as I’d love to make people feel the way I felt when I read L&K.
Sean and I joke that we’re fully embracing the “kids on bikes” genre with this story. There’s definitely traces of movies in the 80s we grew up with that are on full display, and we’re not trying to shy away from that with Going Green.
FS: You’re working with Vincenzo Federici, who you’ve collaborated with before, and co-writer Sean Reliford. What has that partnership been like?
SD: As I mentioned, I’ve collaborated with Vincenzo, and it was an immediate creative spark, where we fed off each other’s enthusiasm for the project, and were able to bring out the best in each other’s writing and art, and in the process making something that we were really proud of. We aim to repeat that process here!
Sean is my longest creative partner ever, having collaborated with him on short films and co-written a bunch of screenplays together. It was a joy to work on our first comic together, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long. This is Sean’s first time working with an artist and so the fact that I have a strong connection with both of them helps our partnership come together in a really cohesive way.
We’re also lucky to have colorist Michele Monte and letterer Taylor Esposito join us, who we had the pleasure of working with each of them on the last project Vincenzo and I collaborated on, so we really got the band back together and added a new member.
FS: You’re launching this through Zoop. Why Zoop?
Scott: I’ve had my eye on Zoop ever since they first launched. This is because I’m familiar with the co-founders, having worked alongside them before in various aspects of comics, and so knowing who I was getting into business with in order to launch Going Green made it feel like our best bet, putting our project in their capable hands. Not only that, if you go onto Zoop’s site, they’re launching some of the coolest, and most diverse array of comics being offered anywhere, so I’m proud to have Going Green included among them.
FS: Do you envision more tales of Going Green after this first round?
SD: This graphic novel people are pledging for will tell a complete story in this world, but I’m not ready to close the door on other stories to be told in this world we’ve created just yet. I would love to do a Christmas one-shot that I have an idea for. Sean has a bunch of ideas of other stories that he’d like to tell and dive into that we didn’t have time for in this one, so there’s definitely room to continue exploring the aftermath or even other chapters to be told during the events of this story with either existing or brand-new characters.
FS: What are you reading right now? What’s inspiring and/or entertaining you?
SD: Lately it has been Mark Russell’s Traveling to Mars, which has been wonderful, as well as the fantastic Local Man by Tim Seeley and Tony Fleesc. I also loved All Eight Eyes recently by Steve Foxe and Money Shot by Seeley and Gisèle Lagacé. I also just started Tony’s Army of Darkness Forever series which is a lot of fun. I’m also making my way through the Reckless series of graphic novels by Brubaker and Phillips. I’ll pick up anything with their names on it. I’m also making my way through The Batman Chronicles series from the beginning which has been both entertaining and educational.
FS: Do you have any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to discuss?
SD: I have another project in the works that I’ve started writing and I’ve been discussing with Gisèle so I’m hoping to re-team with her on that one. It’s unlike anything we’ve worked on before.
FS: If you had once last pitch for Going Green, what would it be?
SD: If I could only write one more comic, this would be it. It’s a crazy concept, and I admit that right from the start, but it also is strangely one of the most personal stories I’ve ever written. I’m excited to explore the concept of death and the afterlife and do so with some of my best friends and longtime collaborators in a deep and thought-provoking way. And if you’ve read this far, thank you, and I hope you’ll consider taking this journey with us and supporting our campaign!
As of press time, the Zoop crowdfunding campaign for the Going Green graphic novel still has 27 days left. Make sure to check out this sure-to-be engaging book from some creators who know the comic book craft like no other.
From the official campaign description:
In a world where composting human remains is a growing trend, what happens when our loved ones return, growing out of their composted remains into the people they once were?
The team behind GOING GREEN explore this concept with their forthcoming original graphic novel, now live on comic book crowdfunding site Zoop. Rising star artist Vincenzo Federici (TMNT, Vampirella) joins co-writers Scott Duvall (Diablo House) and novelist and indie filmmaker Sean Reliford for a story rooted in family, death, and how we deal with both.
GOING GREEN is the supernatural family drama of Locke & Key meets the biological horror of Annihilation in a modern-day monster comic with heart. This is a tale of family, loss, and second chances in a strange new world where the dead emerge from soil derived from their composted remains, giving them life anew.
Our story begins in the Pacific Northwest after the Dunn children suffer the tragic loss of their father. Instead of burying him, they go the route of an affordable new method of laying your loved ones to rest called Going Green, which composts the remains into soil as a greener alternative. Shortly after, their lives are uprooted as their formerly deceased dad is reincarnated as a plant-hybrid creature.
Meanwhile, a dangerous, kaiju-like hive mind comprised of the reanimated remains of the town’s deceased, is beginning to cause havoc as an internal battle wages within its ecosystem of conflicting personalities.
Vincenzo and Scott are re-uniting after their first collaboration on the Bruce Campbell-inspired comic crossover, Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep. Rounding out this groovy reunion are colorist Michele Monte (Speed Republic) and Ringo award-winning letterer Taylor Esposito (Red Hood and the Outlaws), plus Eisner-nominated cover artist Sara Richard (The Dead Hand Book).
“Sean has been my best friend for over twenty years and in that time, we’ve co-written several screenplays, but Going Green is our first time writing comics together,” said co-creator/co-writer Scott Duvall. “Sean is the longest creative partnership of my life and, to top it off, my favorite writer, and with this latest collaboration, I’m proud to say this is the best thing we’ve ever written. What makes it even more special is that I’m able to tell it with the help of Vincenzo Federici, who after our first collaboration I knew I wanted to work with again immediately and this story was written specifically with him in mind. Reuniting the whole team on that project with Michele Monte on colors and Taylor Esposito on letters makes it all the more magical and we can’t wait to show what else we’re capable of.”
Co-creator and artist Vincenzo Federici said, “Going Green is for me something visceral. Me and Scott worked so good together that we actually NEED to do this new project. It took a bit to get his final form, but the creation process was a blat. Sean and Scott are a truly good team and together we’ll try to bring a great horror to life!”
“I’m so excited for people to experience this project,” adds co-creator/co-writer Sean Reliford. “Going Green is coming from a group of creators with very unique but complementary styles to tell a story of hope, loss, and what is means to have a second chance. It’ll be very interesting to see all the conversations about the various themes in the book. It’s a very ambiguous story that will be told with great care and thought, thanks to industry veterans Scott and Vincenzo, both of whom I’ve learned a great deal from about the comics art form.”
In addition to the 100-page graphic novel available in both print and digital (which includes 84 pages of story plus extras), add-ons will include stickers, signed and numbered art prints, original art commissions, signed copies of Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #1, the chance to cameo in the Going Green, plus more surprises and collector’s items signed by legendary comic book creators.
The GOING GREEN Zoop campaign will be running from November 7 for 30 days. Head to Zoop to see what kinds of rewards are available and what early bird specials are running for the next 48 hours.
ABOUT ‘GOING GREEN’ CREATIVE TEAM
SCOTT DUVALL (co-writer/co-creator) – Scott Duvall is a writer whose credits include Heavy Metal Magazine, Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep (Dynamite/IDW), Zii & the Troublemakers (Pixie Trix), Eerie Cuties (Pixie Trix), Narcopolis: Continuum (Heavy Metal), Diablo House (Clover Press), and more. Prior to making his comic book writing debut in 2010, Scott was handpicked by Brian Michael Bendis to attend his Writing for Graphic Novels course at Portland State University. He is repped by Heroes and Villains Entertainment.
SEAN RELIFORD (co-writer/co-creator) – Sean Reliford is an indie filmmaker and novelist from Dayton, Ohio. Having written multiple screenplays over the years in a variety of genres, Sean made his directorial debut with the thriller Persons of Interest, based on an original script he wrote. He is making his comic book writing debut with Going Green and has collaborated with co-writer Scott on spec scripts since their creative partnership was formed two decades ago, shooting their first short films together.
VINCENZO FEDERICI (artist/co-creator) – Vincenzo Federici is an Italian comic book artist from Naples and the current artist on the ongoing TMNT run.. After his Classical Arts studies, he started to work in comics for French publishers, like Soleil Editions and on a creator-owned project for the Italian publisher Noise Press, called The Kabuki Fight. He quickly moved to American publishers, working with IDW Publishing, Zenescope Entertainment, Dynamite Enter- tainment, Boom! Studios, Humanoids, Archie’s horror line, and more, on series like Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep, M.A.S.K., Star Trek, Firefly, Go Go Power Rangers, Bettie Page, Vampirella, Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, and more. In addition, he teaches art at the Italian School of Comics.
MICHELE MONTE (colorist) – Michele Monte is a graduate of the International School of Comics in Naples. He continued his studies, enrolling in the Digital Coloring course, at the Italian School of Comix. In 2015 he joined the Neapolitan Collective Art Steady as a colorist and designer. He has several collaborations with various Italian and foreign publishing houses, such as Glénat (Pepin Cadavre Tome 2); Dynamite (Army of Darkness); Disney (Ducktales); Salani (the book series “Uncle Billy”), and more. He is a teacher of Digital Coloring, Character Design, and Humor Comics courses at the Comix Art School of Salerno.
TAYLOR ESPOSITO (letterer) – Taylor Esposito is a comic book lettering professional and owner of Ghost Glyph Studios. A former staff letterer at DC and production artist at Marvel, he lettered titles such as Red Hood and The Outlaws, Elvira, Bettie Page, Interceptor: Reactor, Friendo, No One Left to Fight, Red Sonja and Vampirella meet Betty and Veronica, and Ba- byteeth. Other publishers he has worked with include Line Webtoon (Caster, Backchannel) Dynamite (Battlestar Galactica, Black Terror, Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep), and IDW (Scarlett’s Strike Force). In addition, Taylor teaches lettering at the famed Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. You can find his work at www.ghostglyphstudios.com.
SARA RICHARD (cover artist) – Sara Richard is an Eisner and Ringo Award nominated artist living in Salem, Massachusetts. Inspired by Art Deco and Art Nouveau with mystical and ma- cabre subjects influenced by living in “The Witch City,” Sara aims to capture the invisible movement of energy and breeze within the swirls of each piece. She is most known for illustrating comic book covers for IDW, Oni Press, Dynamite, Marvel, and many more. Her art has been featured in multiple publications including British Vogue and Adobe2 Magazine.