If “Union Station” and “Capote In Kansas” were films, and not graphic novels, it’s hard to believe that Ande Parks wouldn’t be “multiple Oscar winner Ande Parks.” While best-known as an inker, he’s been flexing his other creative muscles in recent years, showing that he can write just as well as he can ink. He’s seen near-universal acclaim for his work and with the announcement of a new black & white OGN, “Blood Red,” coming from Oni Press in 2007, fans are excited, even without knowing any details. CBR News caught up with Parks to find out more.
“Blood Red’ is a revenge tale, set on Mars about 80 years in the future,” he explained.
“It’s the story of a man who feels he has nothing left to live for, and dedicates himself to vengeance. It’s gonna be dark and violent. We’re going to look at what hate does to the human spirit … what impact a life of violence has on a person who was once an average man. I want the reader to be thinking, ‘You know … in just the right set of circumstances, I might find these dark things inside myself, too.’
“It’s really one man’s story. We’ll meet other characters, of course, but we’re going to be documenting the whole thing through this man’s eyes. I’m actually writing it with a first person narration, which is new for me. Anyway, our guy once had a relatively normal life. He had a successful career and a loving wife. When we meet him, that life is gone. We’ll follow him as he embarks on a new, dark chapter that will change his life enormously.”
He’s explored the human condition in his previous works and Parks will be delving just as deeply into the soul of “Blood Red’s” lead character.
“I really wanted to look at what revenge does to a man, especially when combined with the equally destructive power of religious fanaticism,” explained Parks. “We’ll also look at the conflict between science and faith.”
While those themes resonate strongly with Parks, there’s another reason for his excitement over the project.
“To be honest, this came from wanting to do something with Shawn Crystal,” he said. “I’ve known Shawn for a long time, and we’ve talked about working together in the past. To be honest, though, it was Joe Pruett at Desperado who kind of suggested this pairing, even though we ended up at Oni. Anyway, Shawn and I wanted to create something together, and I threw out a revenge story in which the protagonist’s motives would be unclear deep into the story. Shawn, being familiar with my other writing projects, assumed this would be another boring, talky, realistic story, so he suggested some settings that were more or less all historical in nature. I threw out Mars after human colonization, and it really rolled from that point on.
“Shawn Crystal is one of the most talented dudes most people don’t know about. He teaches at the excellent Savannah College of Art and Design (or SCAD). He’s done several short stories with friends of mine (B. Clay Moore and Jai Nitz), but this will be his first long format thing that I’m aware of. He’s a great designer, and a wonderful cartoonist. I’m really looking forward to the results. Oh, and Shawn has another thing going for him … he’s dreamy as hell.”
Publishing the book at Oni was also an easy decision for Parks.
“As I mentioned before, we originally started to put this together as a serialized thing for Joe Pruett’s ‘Negative Burn.’ It started to grow, though, and we came to think that wasn’t the best format for this story. So, we’re gonna do something else for Joe. I asked the Oni guys if they’d like to see this thing, and they did … and they liked it right away. As always, they gave me some great notes on it, and then told me that this is our thing, and we need to do it the way we think is best. I love that about those dudes! Anyway, I love working with Oni. They share my belief that our medium can tell any kind of story, and they’re great at handling the details that don’t thrill me … design, promo, etc. I have a great relationship at Oni, and I’m proud to be there.”
CBR Staff Writer Arune Singh contributed to this story.