Avast ye Salty Sea Dogs! Prepare to set sail with Bonnie Lass #4 this week with an exclusive interview with series creator Michael Mayne. Taking a break from a daily routine of swashbuckling and yarn spinning Michael was kind enough to set the record straight on Bonnie, her pirate crew and the story behind their adventures in this brand new series from Red 5 comics. The first three issues are available for download check out our interview with Michael and keep a sharp eye on the horizon for the next installment of Bonnie Lass:
comiXology: First off, What can readers expect from Bonnie Lass? at first glance it seems like a standard High Sea’s adventure, but really goes much deeper. What is the comic about?
Michael Mayne: The comic itself borrows a lot of surface aesthetics from various source genres. Obviously you’ll get your classic, swashbuckling pirates on rickety ships, but since the setting is a completely fictional world, we’ve thrown in some cowboys, automobiles, and futuristic submarines, just to name a few of the quirks.
Bonnie is an aspiring treasure hunter, currently making by with a life of piracy in search of the opportunity to best her father, the infamous pirate Cutlass. She’s been given the chance to find the one treasure he apparently gave up on, and if she can claim it for herself then she’ll be well on her way to making her own name.
MM: Apparently I’d been toying with the idea of a rowdy pirate gal since around 2004, just in sporadic doodles strewn throughout various sketchbooks over the years. It wasn’t until Tyler and I were trying to come up with a premise to collaborate on in late 2008 that I gave any real thought to developing her.
She started off (after getting the idea to develop her for the comic) as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the typical ‘hot action girls’ of comics, but I like to think that we were able to deliberately create a much more believable, more endearing character than that. She’s intimidating, in more ways than one, but she’s also the kind of person you’d enjoy clinking beer mugs with at a bar!
She’s fun, inspiring and at times someone with whom you can empathize. She has her flaws, many of which she’s yet to realize herself, and part of what I wanted to do when initially fleshing her out was give her plenty of room to grow. I prefer character-driven stories over plot-driven ones, so that definitely had an influence on how the character of Bonnie came to be.
MM: Tyler and I graduated college in 2008, both with BFAs. We were given an early push to collaborate on a comic together, and in trying to come up with a premise I dug up an old character I’d yet to develop: not quite the Bonnie we have today, but pretty close in look and personality. As a matter of fact I recently found a sketch from as far back as 2004 that was essentially an even earlier precursor to the character! She sure was on the backburner for a while!
Anyway, long story short: the original (small) publication plan fell through, but since we’d started, Tyler and I decided to continue working on the comic. Once the first issue was “finished” it went through a number of revisions as it kept getting turned down or ignored. After a major reboot art-wise, some notable story and script-tweaking, and two more chapters fully produced, Red 5 Comics got a look at it and their extremely positive (and fast) response was quite exciting, to say the least!
MM: Since we weren’t in the same town anymore right after college but wanted a more traditional, organic story-writing process, we got together over a few weekends and hammered out plot ideas and basic character developments until we had a working script. It was enough to work from, but as the production went on I had another run at the script to really clean up the pacing and dialog. Most of the finer details we just wound up working out over IMs or emails.
What most people don’t know yet is that the very first “edition” of issue one featured artwork from both Tyler and myself. He did the backgrounds; I did the character art. Who knows if we’ll ever share that with the general public but there’s always the possibility of some kind of crazy compendium or something! Haha! But after the first, more slapstick look failed to impress many prospective publishers (in hindsight, it’s a little more understandable why), the production workload changed and I took over all the art duties, giving the comic its current look.
I took the notes we’d cobbled together while writing the first script and just turned the plot points for the remainder of the arc into three more workable scripts, concise enough to give me the art direction I needed, and simple enough so as not to dictate the visuals panel by panel before I got a chance to doodle them.
MM: I’m definitely still new to professional comicking. ‘Bonnie Lass’ is not only my first creator-owned comic, it is literally my first completed comic work intended for publication.
That said, during the time Bonnie Lass was in production and since it’s been picked up, I’ve had some other work.
I did the artwork for a 32-page one-shot from Bluewater Productions, ‘VSS vs. Gearz.’ It was a fun project in which I was given a lot of artistic freedom. Put that on your radar if you missed out on it in February!
Besides a few pinups here and there, that’s about it as far as already-published comics work from me.
Before comics I illustrated about twenty-some books, mostly kids’ books, but a few novel covers as well. All vanity press, small-print-run type stuff, but it’s out there, most likely on Amazon, if you just search for my name as an illustrator.
comiXology: Speaking of the past…got any favorite pirates from the days yore?
MM: John Silver. Guybrush Threepwood?
Oh. Real pirates? Not particularly. Real, historical pirates are a bit too unscrupulous for me to admire, however swashbuckly they may have been. I’ll stick to romanticized pirates!
Be Sure to Check out Bonnie Lass #1-3 on comiXology and in print while you wait for issue #4 to drop this Wednesday. We’ll be checking back in with Micheal a little later this week so stay tuned for further updates and news right here on the comiXology blog!
Tagged: Bonnie Lass · digital comics · Michael Mayne
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