Gianluca: How were you first approached regarding SHAME? Did the publisher get in touch with you or were you first approached by writer Lovern Kindzierski?
John: Lovern called me in 1988 to introduce himself, we chatted for a while and then he told me the story of Shame. The story really interested me and I wanted to work on it straight away, so I did some character sketches and even a painting for promotional purposes, not knowing that Lovern and I would have to wait 22 years to find a publisher before we could begin. Then 2 years ago, Lovern told me that he may have found a publisher and because my enthusiasm for this story had never changed, I thought "Great, at last!"
With this much time elapsing, the first ideas I came up with in 1988 shouldn't have necessarily worked, but in this case I found the character sketches and designs are as strong now as they were then.
Gianluca: SHAME is a fairy tale unlike any other that I've read. What were your thoughts when you first read the story?
John: I've always enjoyed traditional fairy stories like Grimm and Anderson because of their dark overtones and Shame seemed to me like a modern interpretation of a fairy story. This macabre story written by Lovern was unusual and visually exciting and I have been able to combine my love of costume and theatre design into this strip. Working with great writers like Lovern who thankfully have left me to interpret and visualize the story with complete freedom, consequently I am enjoying every moment.
Gianluca: A trilogy is a big commitment to make, especially when you're the sole artist on the books. What was it about Shame that got you to sign on?
John: Lovern introduced me to Alexander Finbow at Renegade Arts Entertainment, the publisher. Alexander didn't give me a definite deadline for the books but I have committed to working only on Shame until all three books are finished. I have felt incredibly happy with Renegade as they are leaving me to just paint without adding any pressure (well, almost).
Gianluca: What was the overall process in creating the world of SHAME?
John: I enjoy the process of creating moods and atmospheres. I often work by starting from a realistic base, which I then turn upside down to evoke a shocking response. I want to intrigue, excite and sometimes disturb the reader.
Gianluca: The first book mostly takes place in closed in "Cradle" and we only see the title character character, Shame, escape at the very end. What worlds do you have in store for us for the upcoming book two?
John: I don't want to give too much away – Book 2 takes place "some" years later Shame is now "older" that's all I want to say at the moment – NOTE: "" means you'll need to read the book.
Gianluca: Besides SHAME, are there any other projects that you are currently working on?
John: I am not taking on any other work until I have finished all the books. Also, I am enjoying myself too much to stray.
Gianluca: For folks who've already picked up book 1, do you know when they can expect book 2?
I am working as fast as I can without comprising the art. The story is being painted in watercolors, which is a disciplined medium to do a comic strip and I don't want to cut corners just to get the book out quickly. I just want to say to those who have bought the first book, thank you, and you will not be disappointed with Book 2.
Shame will be published by Renegade Arts Entertainment next year.