CBR TV presents the second part of its lengthy interview with acclaimed writer Greg Rucka as he sat down with Jonah Weiland at New York Comic Con to discuss his Image Comics series “Lazarus” drawn by Michael Lark, the recently announced “Veil” with artist Toni Fejzula for Dark Horse. Rucka talks about the “lie of Los Angeles,” what his goals are for the thematically-driven “Veil,” his working relationships with Lark and Fejzulah and why he’s made a firm commitment to pursuing creator-owned projects.
On whether the totally screwed up version of Los Angeles seen in “Lazarus” reflect his actually feelings on the city: L.A. is pretty damn bad. It depends on where you are economically. … There are two things that I don’t like about L.A.: I hate traffic. I hate traffic. That’s number one. And number two, you guys think — you guys panic when it drops to 71 [degrees]. And I like weather, you see. … My feeling about L.A. has always been, if you have the financial wherewithal — you don’t have to be rich — but if you have the wherewithal that you can at least be relatively comfortable it is a much nicer place than when you are a starving graduate student who is a newyled and goes through — we went through three cars in the first year we were in L.A.
On the “lie of Los Angeles”: There’s a lot about L.A. I do like, but the fact of the matter is L.A. is built on a dessert. You should not be there. Deserts are not meant for human beings to build enclosures that hold six million-plus people. It creates certain issues like a lack of water that has to be taken from other states. So L.A. is built on a great big lie. It’s like, “No no, there’s do desert. It’s a city here.” … New York is very up front. It’s brutally honest with you. L.A. is not. L.A. lies through its teeth. L.A.’s like, “No no, there’s plenty of water. Get some water…”
On what “Veil” is: I can’t tell you, I’m not allowed. What I will say is that it’s almost experimental for me. You could call it horror, you could call it suspense. I’m trying to do some thematic things that — it is more thematically built than plot built, if that makes sense. So the story of this woman, of “Veil,” is dealing with a lot of intangibles. One of things that I’m trying to deal with is kind of how the character, she’s a blank slate when the story begins. She is invested with certain things but she doesn’t have any knowledge of it or any memory of it. So she is almost immediately at the whims of and preyed upon by everybody and everything that she interacts with. She appears with no idea who she is and no idea where she’s from, with very limited language skills and without a stitch of clothing.
On what Fejzulah brings to the somewhat experimental series: When talking about nudity in comics, there are a lot of different ways you can approach it. One of things that I really love about working with Toni is that he understands the difference between a subjective camera and an objective camera. Look at it this way: If I say here’s the panel description, and she’s walking away from us and she’s naked, you can draw that a number of ways. If you give me a low shot up and you’re seeing a very nice comic book behind, that’s a very subjective shot. We’re going, “Hey, take a look at that ass.” If you pull your camera back and you play with the shadows and now it is a naked individual walking, that’s more objective. There are the kind of things I really want to play with actively.
The other great thing about Toni is that he’s got a style that while it is realistic, also has an almost lovely… I don’t want to say cartoon, but… it is an almost animated touch to it so that some of things that we’re playing with are fairly heavy ideas and he can disarm it a little bit and sort of stealth those things in.
On how “Veil” landed at Dark Horse and why it makes just his second work for the publisher he shares a city with: I’ve wanted to commit a little more in the last four-five years to genuinely pursuing my creator-owned work. One of things that made Dark Horse very easy to settle on aside from having great conversations with [Editor-in-Chief] Scott Allie as we were developing this, they’re very creator-friendly right now. That’s always gonna be a huge leg up. It’s one of the reasons why I’m loving working with Image. I spent a long time in the trenches and both DC and Marvel have things that they can show for it that I created that I will never ever see a penny from. That’s not a criticism; it’s the reality that I entered into. The idea of being able to say, “You know what, this time I kind of want to be able to tell the story I want to tell.” … I cannot imagine going to either DC or Marvel and saying I want to do a series like “Veil.” They would just look and me and be like, “…whu…?”
On how long he and Lark will work on “Lazarus” and why he isn’t keeping the artist on the book against his will: We will go for a while. We had said at the beginning we were looking at about 75 [issues]. Michael and I had a conversation about two-three weeks ago that came out of somebody hearing me talking to someone else and quoting me. I said to Michael, “You may hear this quote about…” It makes it seem like, the way it had been phrased, it makes it seem like I was keeping Michael on the book against his will. [Laughs] And I was like, “You may hear this,” and he said, “That’s bullshit.” I said, “Look, I don’t want to ever obligate you. It’s a lot of work.” You know, we’re talking about 75 issues, that’s a multi-year commitment. He said, “Greg, I’m doing this until we’re done. So if we do 150 issues I’m in.” It was great because all the sudden I felt like, “Oh, I don’t have to rush. I can tell the story and pace it the way I want to pace it.”