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?
KC: I go by KC
LK: Lynn Kremer, I also go by Darkthare on most social media platforms!
What’s your artistic background?
KC: I come from a background of writing. I sort of went to school for it I guess, I basically dropped out in my 2nd year of Uni to pursue writing professionally.
LK: I’ve been drawing my whole life, but I started taking it seriously about 7 years ago. I’m self taught and still learning!
What comics/comic creators inspired you to make comics?
KC: Mike Mignola was the first creator who really made me look into the craft of creating a comic, but it was Jeff Lemire who was sort of the push I needed to leap off the diving board.
LK: I didn’t really read many comics when I was a kid, aside from the occasional Archie and some manga. But I’ve always admired web comics, and the unique and impossible stories that can be told. But my writer is my biggest inspiration! KC has a lot of great ideas that always make me want to draw.
KC: You’re gonna make me cry.
What about Life Finds a Way caught your imagination enough to submit a story?
KC: I was particularly struck by the idea of focusing on the positivity and hope of a post-apocalyptic story since most in that genre are often dour. Also since you were open to many interpretations of post-apocalyptic society it really lit my brain on fire with ideas.
LK: I like the potential for positivity in a story post-apocalypse. Getting to see how people change, and how the world can grow, especially after such a disaster, warms my heart. Less seriously, my writer also had some cool ideas. I’m a sucker for drawing cool things.
On our theme of hope, what did you find fun about creating stories within this framework? Furthermore were there any unexpected challenges?
LK: It was fun to design a post-disaster world. Though not much of it was shown, we talked a lot and I thought a lot about the Forest of Change, and the society of the Rangers. It was hard to not take it in a very dark direction, regarding the colors and the tone of the pages. The story it was about hope, and it was important to me that I design the pages with that in mind. It’s honestly a lot harder than making things dark!
KC: I definitely agree with Lynn that designing the world was so much fun, it definitely got us wanting to explore it more if we’re able to in future. On that note for me, since this is my first published work a hard part was the balance of “show don’t tell” and trusting my gut when it came to certain things like that. And for that I’m grateful I have Lynn as a partner who more or less told me to stop second guessing our ideas.
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?
LK: I am in love with worldbuilding. When I wasn’t drawing, I was thinking about the world of Kaya, the Rangers, and the Forest of Change. In my head, I had developed a lot about the design of the world they lived in. But obviously, with so few pages and the limited set, not a lot of that was shown. So I worked harder on designing the character and making the splash pages stand out to show off whatever I could.
KC: Worldbuilding was so much fun. Talking with Lynn about the world Kaya and Mercy live in, the society of the Rangers and also just the ecology of the Forest of Change was so much fun. I found the limitations a bit exciting actually, I wanted to give enough info to explain some of the nature of the world but not have it just be exposition for 8 pages. So I kind of approaching writing it with the idea that this story of Kaya and Mercy is in medias res for both of them.
What’s your favorite post-apocalypse media, and why? (Games, Movies, Books, etc.)
LK: This isn’t a surprise, but early Walking Dead was one of my favorite tv shows for a long time. I was absorbed in the zombie craze at that time, and though I was reading a lot of books, I hadn’t ever seen anything like it. It really brought the zombies to life, and the post-zombie world too. It struck me, and to this day, I have fond memories of watching it every week with my family. I revisit the early seasons often!
KC: Like Lynn I was enamoured with early Walking Dead (both the show and the comic), but I kind of fell off when it just became a repeating story of depression where no one was allowed to be happy or find peace. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind has also been a huge inspiration for me which I’m sure comes through in our story, I personally love it as it promotes peace, understanding, and co-existence with an incredibly mature story which manages to avoid one of the cliche’s of post-apocalyptic media I dislike.
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?
LK: The dark tone for sure. I like post-apocalypse media that deviates from that. It’s another reason I was so struck by Life Finds A Way, the typical tone was abandoned. Also, the lack of powerful women in popular post-apocalypse media always annoyed me, so I’m glad we tossed that out the window!
KC: Definitely the dark tone, but I’d say more the continued dark tone and lack of any happiness or peace for the characters. I also really, really dislike the “humanity turns horrible” cliche because it basically posits that deep down all people are horrible and would do evil if they could get away with it which is a really depressing view of humanity.
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?
LK: I think you could make an argument that it connects with the fear of rapid technological advancement, but I’m not sure. I think people are in love with American Westerns, and the freedom in them. Maybe that says something about us!
KC: I’m not sure. I think Lynn makes a good point that you could argue it has an underlying fear of our rapid technological advancement, but I also just love a good Western.
Do you think you could survive a week in the wild with a knife, a poncho, and a fishing hook?
LK: Absolutely not, no. I can barely survive a week in my house with much more.
KC: Not a chance! I am very soft.
Where do you look to find hope for humanity’s future?
LK: I look online. Which seems weird, because there’s a lot of darkness online, but there’s a lot of light too. It’s a platform where people can come together, and when they come together for good, beautiful things happen. I also look in the mirror. I have the potential for change as well, and that’s pretty cool.
KC: My friends, and also the comic community in general. Sometimes the community can be divided on whether Superman could beat the Hulk (he totally could), but we’re all very supportive of one another and from what I’ve seen we all love to see our peers succeed.
Do you have any projects you’d like to plug?
KC: Nothing comic related at the moment, but I am the DM of a D&D podcast called Everyone Dice. Our setting is actually a bit post-apocalyptic in theme too, and I’d love it if you could check us out.