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Talents Deserving of Wider Recognition: Myatt Murphy and Scott Dalrymple of ‘Fade From Blue’

by  in Comic News Comment

It’s an unlikely sort of success: “Fade From Blue” is two guys creating a
comic about four women, none of whom dress up as creatures of the night to
right wrongs, keep the forces of Hell at bay or travel through time.
Despite that, the series from Second To Some has gone on to some acclaim and now has
landed its creators a joint nomination for the 2003
Eisner Award
for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition.

“I don’t think either of us knew where we stood in terms of believing we
would get a nomination,” writer Myatt Murphy told CBR News. “I don’t think
there’s a single comic book creator that doesn’t hope that their title gets
the recognition they may feel it deserves, but it wasn’t anything we were
necessarily pushing towards. Deciding to do a book like ‘Fade From Blue,’
which certainly isn’t like most books out there, we knew full well that we
were about to try something that may not be as embraced by the majority of
comic book readers. It’s not super hero, it’s not angst-ridden goth, it’s
just real-life drama with a quirky twist in the storyline that gels all of
the sub storylines together. We knew that the type of reader that would be
attracted to the series, which tend to be fans of emotionally-driven
dialogue stories that read more like 10′ o clock TV than a comic book,
would praise Fade … but to have the industry itself give ‘Fade From Blue’
its due was most certainly a surprise.”

“I was completely floored,” artist Scott Dalrymple told CBR News.
“Whenever I’m asked who my influences are, it’s never really anyone from
the past 15 years. It’s always a lot of the artists that paved the way in
comics … and Eisner is literally one of my all-time favorites. Just to be
given the nod for an award that is named after his amazing work is pretty
incredible.”

“Fade From Blue” is one of those difficult-to-describe books that are
miles from any Hollywood high concept pitch.

“The best way to describe it probably as Myatt just did,” Dalrymple
said. “‘Fade From Blue’ is more of a TV dramedy that reads like something
you’d watch at 10 o’ clock primetime. The underlying plot is that nine
years ago, there were four girls living with their four separate mothers
that had one thing in common: a father who was a polygamist. When all four
mothers suddenly and mysteriously die and the father disappears, the four
sisters find each other and forge a nuclear family to go into hiding and
survive. Now, in the present, the truth about what really happened to their
moms and their dad is starting to come out. That sounds pretty deep, but
there are other things going on in the lives of each sister, some funny and
some sad, that make ‘Fade From Blue’ a mix of witty dialogue and tragic
circumstance. Wizard called it ‘Tragically sad … irresistibly funny,’
which is probably the best way to peg all the emotions Myatt and I are
trying to play on with each issue.

If you’re a regular reader of ‘Fade,’ I think the thing you can expect
from #8 is a kick start in the main plot. There are several surprises
coming in #8, both from Iya and Marit (trust us, both do things in this
issue you would never expect …). We’re coming to the close of the
10-issue story arc that’s meant to set the stage for the sisters new
directions in life … and this issue really fires up that plot point.”

Two male comic creators aren’t the first pair you’d think of to tell a
slice of life story of four half-sisters.

“Ha! That’s true,” Dalrymple said. “When Myatt came to me with the story
idea, I thought he was taking a big risk at first, but he really felt that
the next project we should try should be something that you don’t see
enough of. We were already midway through working up the concept of a
supernatural thriller that we were both really jazzed about. Then, out of
nowhere, Myatt told me he wanted to stop that project and focus on a story
idea that eventually became ‘Fade From Blue.’ Myatt writes for a lot of
women’s magazines for a living, so I knew he wouldn’t have a problem
getting the voice down, but I wasn’t sure if I could get the realistic look
he was asking for when it came to the women.

“The first thing he asked me for was a quick illustration of the four
sisters so we could hammer their personalities out. That illustration went
through several redos and eventually became the cover of ‘Fade From Blue’
#2, as well as the cover of the Fade Trade (Vol #1) which comes out in late
July.”

[Panel from Fade From Blue]
“We get that ‘two guy’s guys doing a book about women?’ all the time,”
Murphy said, “And granted, Scott’s a big guy who plays hockey and looks
like he should be working the door checking IDs instead of working on a
book about women, but I think readers of Fade (which split into about half
female/half male at shows) would be the first to tell you that it’s not a
series that’s written for women. It’s written for everyone … and the main
characters all happen to be female. We’re told all the time that Christa
(the crass, borderline crazy sister of the four) has an edge that anyone
that appreciates sarcasm would love.

“What made Fade a story I wanted to tell was partly inspired by a woman
I saw walking on the streets of Manhattan, who at first glance, didn’t
appear to be male or female. It wasn’t that she was intentionally dressed
in any way … she was just very lean, didn’t wear makeup and had a short
hair style … but it was the look on her face that really inspired me. She
seemed to be somewhere else … distant yet determined about something that
it felt no one else could possibly understand. Immediately after that, I
wrote up a premise of what situation she was possibly going through and
that became the basis for ‘Fade From Blue.'”

For some past nominees, winning the Talent Deserving of Wider
Recognition award has given them a high enough profile to go onto a
considerable and long-lived comics career, while others still view comics
as an interesting sideline to their main career. At the moment, Murphy and
Dalrymple fall more into the latter camp than the former.

“As for doing comics for the rest of my life, I couldn’t say that I will
with any absolute certainty,” Murphy said. “I like what I do for a living,
which is writing for mainstream magazines, but I have several book projects
lined up for 2004 as well, so time is the biggest issue for me. What
attracts me to the profession is the diversity of it, so I think I’ll keep
doing comics to some degree until I’ve gotten all the stories out of my
head that have been hiding there for years. Once those run out, it’ll be
time to push on.

“I think the one thing I’m happiest about with the nomination is that we
were nominated together. Another reason I chose to do ‘Fade From Blue’ was
because I thought the general public didn’t get a fair look at what Scott
can really do after we finished our first series, ‘Two Over Ten.’ That
series has now been picked up option-side by Platinum Studios to be
developed as a TV series, yet no one noticed it at all when Scott and I
finished the series last year. I wanted to do another series that gave
readers another taste of Scott’s art. Now, Scott’s been approached by
several writers and publishers for work, even though his main gig is
magazine illustration, but I hope the nomination helps push him into comics
more often, if he has the time to do so.”

“I think I’d pursue comics full-time if I found a project I was really
into,” Dalrymple said. “Myatt and I get along really well and I like what
he’s producing, so I’d have to have that same sense of pride in what I’m
doing. If that means working for smaller publishers to achieve that, I’m
fine with that. But I think DC, Crossgen, Dark Horse and Marvel are starting to create the types of stories I’d
be into doing, so we’ll see.”

Of course, before that potential commercial success can come about as a
result of the award, one of the nominees has to win it.

“I took a look at the other nominees via the Web and like all of the
unique styles that are in the same category, so I think we’re in excellent
company,” Murphy said. “We met Tyler from ‘Stylish Vittles’ at MOCCA. After
realizing we were both juxtaposed right across from each other and both
hanging up signs to let passers-by know we were nominated for the same
award, I figured we’d go over and introduce ourselves. I watched too many
creators that were competing against each other in other categories kind of
ignore each other and I don’t believe in doing that. I think there’s not
enough cohesion among comic creators that there could be. It’s like we’re
all fighting for the same piece of the pie, instead of realizing that we
have the potential of creating new pies altogether.

“As for who will win, I think Scott and I are in agreement that we hope
someone else wins. Not that we’re not honored by the nomination, but the
award is for ‘Talent deserving of Wider Recognition,’ which we feel means
it should go to someone that’s a great new talent to the industry, but
hasn’t received as much media as they should be. ‘Fade From Blue’s’ been
certified cool by Diamond 6 times now, has gotten A’s across the board from
Comics Buyers Guide, been in Wizard Edge as a 2003 Buzz Book and we’re even
in the Wizard price guide right about ‘Fantastic Four,’ so we’ve gotten our
fair share of great press from some great people. If we win it, it’ll be an
honor. If we don’t, it’ll obviously go to someone else that’s equally
creative (since all of the nominees are amazingly talented) and then,
hopefully they can use that honor to help propel their career and get more
of their fantastic work out there for everyone to enjoy. That can only
benefit the industry as a whole, so either way, we win.”

For more on “Fade From Blue,” read our interview from August, 2002, which includes a seven page preview of issue #2.