Ande Parks talks to Byron Brewer about Seduction of the Innocent #3, on sale now from Dynamite. The cover art is from Francesco Francavilla. Interiors are by Esteve Poll.
BYRON BREWER: From the Japanese Tea Gardens to San Fran's legendary Chinatown, the current issue of Seduction of the Innocent oozes '50's California atmosphere. Who did the most research, Ande, you or artist Esteve Polls? Is atmosphere important to you as a writer?
ANDE PARKS: I think about atmosphere constantly when I'm writing, especially on this book. Seduction thrives on the vibe of its setting: the fog, the trench coats and fedoras, etc. When I chose San Francisco as the locale for our story, I knew right away that I wanted to show off the parts of the city that I love. I think we managed to hit most of them. We didn't get to Alcatraz, alas. It was in operation as a prison at the time, and I just didn't see a way to make that happen. Maybe if we get to do a sequel!
As for research, the majority of the credit for that should always go to the artist. I do provide links to reference when I can, but Esteve is doing the heavy lifting. I've been an artist and I've been a writer. Believe me, it's a hell of a lot easier to write a splash page set on the crowded streets of Chinatown than it is to draw that page.
BB: Speaking of Esteve, it looks like he has been hitting these noir-soaked pages out of the park. Your thoughts on your co-creator's art?
AP: I would say that I'm really lucky to be teamed with Esteve again, but it's not really luck. It's [editor] Joe Rybandt and [publisher] Nick Barrucci knowing what the hell they're doing. They assembled the team for this book, and I'm thrilled to have been included.
Esteve and I are a good fit for a number of reasons. My writing thrives on atmosphere and on character moments. I am not going to blow you away with cosmic ideas. I think my approach can be very satisfying for readers, but only if the artist can bring the character moments to life. Esteve does so, time after time. You feel for his people, and you can feel the pain we put them through.
BB: You certainly are throwing a lot at Thomas Jennings thus far. I hesitate to ask for the agent's sake, but were there crimes/situations planned for this miniseries you were not able to include for one reason or another?
AP: Actually, I think things got more harsh for Jennings as the series progressed. There were several drafts of the outline, and there were different action sequences and conclusions in each, but I think I just about always ended up going with the toughest option. Writing this series became an exercise in going for it. I would get a moment of crisis for the lead character, and decide that the book deserved that approach. Because we created these people just for this book, we had freedoms that are somewhat rare in comics these days. Nothing was held back as sacred for the sake of continuity. It was fun, if sometimes cringe-worthy.
BB: Can you give us a little hint, non-spoilery, of what awaits Agent Jennings next issue?
AP: His morals and ideas of "How Things Work" continue to be questioned. As our final issue opens Jennings is in a very dark place. The title of the third installment is "Topsy Turvy", and that's just what it is… things get flipped upside down. So, in the conclusion, Jennings is trying to find his way in this new landscape.
Unfortunately, there is no clean way out from the place we have put Jennings. He will find a way out, but not with everything intact. He will be disappointed with himself and with the world, and he will definitely be changed.
Again, in this kind of series, we get to explore a real arc for the protagonist. I think readers will enjoy that.
For more on Seduction of the Innocent #3, click here.