Guiding Principles For, A. Lee Interview

This post is a part of a series of articles about Cloudscape’s Life Finds A Way anthology. Visit the landing page for more information on the project.

What’s your name?

A. Lee

What’s your artistic background?

I’m actually not really from an artistic background, I’m embarrassed to say! I took a few art classes back in high school, but after that, my education was in writing and entertainment technology. Art-wise, I’m mostly self-taught.

What comics/comic creators inspired you to make comics?

I grew up in Korea reading a ton of translated manga, so those were my first inspirations. Sanjo Riku and Inada Koji’s Dragon Quest is the first series I remember wanting to emulate. The creators I look up to the most these days would be Asano Inio, Yasuhiro Nightow, Miwa Shirow and Hayashida Q. I also really admire Kaneoya Sachiko and Tomer Hanuka’s illustrations, while Kinako is probably my favorite character designer.

What about Life Finds a Way caught your imagination enough to submit a story?

I liked the challenge of having to end a post-apocalyptic story on a hopeful note. I think it’s often easier to end a short story on an ambiguous, bleak note, so that specific requirement really got me thinking.

On our theme of hope, what did you find fun about creating stories within this framework? Furthermore were there any unexpected challenges?

It’s hard to really sell the idea of ‘hope’ without first showing a contrasting sense of ‘despair,’ and it was a challenge fitting them both within a short pagecount without feeling rushed. I’m not very good at being succinct, so I hope I managed to hit both a high and a low point to some degree.

Part of the fun of Post-Apocalypse is the worldbuilding, how do you deal with the limitations of the short story format with that in mind?

It comes down to keeping ideas simple and accessible, I think. While I wanted the setting as a whole to feel unique, when it came to specific machinations, I tried to reference scientific concepts everyone would already be familiar with.

What’s your favorite post-apocalypse media, and why? (Games, Movies, Books, etc.)

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road would probably have to be my favorite. The feeling of quiet desolation managing to permeate everything, from the setting to the characters to the prose itself, was very powerful.

Clichés, our editors outlined some that we did not want in our stories in our narrative guide. What elements about post-apocalypse media do you think are over-done?

I do like my bleak, tragic media, but I think the concept of ‘humans are awful,’ on its own, is a little overdone. People will do terrible things in dire circumstances, but the thought processes behind those crimes are far more interesting than the actual deeds. I’m not a huge fan of villains in post-apocalyptic media who are evil just because the story needs a villain.

Post-apocalyptic fiction can often be a reflection of anxieties that occur in contemporary society, does your piece reflect any societal anxiety that you can identify?

Loneliness, mostly. And the temptation to give in to despair, maybe.

Do you think you could survive a week in the wild with a knife, a poncho, and a fishing hook?

My joking answer is that I’m really excited to dramatically perish. But I think in an actual situation like that, I’d do my best to survive out of sheer spite. I was obsessed with survival books when I was young (Robinson Crusoe, Hatchet, etc.) and I’d hate to feel like I lost to the protagonists of those books.

Where do you look to find hope for humanity’s future?

As trite as it sounds: no matter how bad things get, there are still good people out there.

Do you have any projects you’d like to plug?

I’m hoping to launch a webcomic this year. It’ll be a mob story about two young men who are in way over their heads, and the way the lifestyle affects their relationship.

Click here for more updates and behind the scenes content for the Life Finds A Way anthology.

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