Love, who not only writes "Bayou" but draws the web sensation with colors by Patrick Morgan and chapter break illustrations by Jill Allyn Stafford, was handpicked by DC Comics to participate in its pet web project during the imprint's infancy. Love's creation has since delivered two-fold for the publisher, becoming a critical darling with reviewers and a must-read for fans, both traditional and the wired-set.
"Bayou" is set south of the Mason-Dixon Line but in an alternative universe where the Civil War not only bred hatred and slavery, but gods and monsters as well. The tale is built around the relationship between Lee Wagstaff, a young black girl from Mississippi, and a swamp creature named Bayou.
CBR News spoke with Jeremy Love about the project.
CBR: Did you realize what a success "Bayou" would be when you signed on to participate in Zuda Comics?
Jeremy Love: I knew I had something. But I wasn't sure if a large audience would get it so I decided to make it as character driven as possible. People respond to strong, identifiable characters regardless of the time, place, setting, race etc. Needless to say, I am pleasantly surprised.
Why do you think fans and critics alike have responded to "Bayou" in such a positive way?
Underneath all the window dressing, "Bayou" is a classic, old school comic strip, and I emphasize the word strip, in the vein of "Little Orphan Annie" and "Terry and the Pirates." Audiences love cliff hangers, plot twists, and exciting characters. What I also try to add is an element of verisimilitude. I want the characters, situations and backdrop to feel real. I think audiences have responded well to that.
What do you personally love most about the series?
Patrick Morgan's coloring! There, that prevents me from having to praise myself right?
Seriously, I love being able to marry the feeling of realism with fantasy. The thing I love most is hearing the positive reaction from the readers and seeing them react exactly the way I want them to. Of course that could come back to haunt me if everyone were to turn on the series.
Knowing what you know now, and how popular "Bayou" has become, do you wish you would have released it in a traditional format from the outset?
Not at all. I love the "shelf life" of a web comic. "Bayou" wouldn't be as widely read if it were released traditionally. This story, more than anything, needed time to cultivate a following.
But you must be happy to see it coming out in print?
Ecstatic. There are some people who need to hold a book in there hands. And Patrick's colors look amazing in print. Now we can try to nail down yet another audience.
What are your future plans for the "Bayou" universe? Do you have more stories to tell? Meaning, do you have an ending to the series in mind or is it open-ended?
Lee's story ends, but I have a bunch of smaller stories set in the "Bayou" dimension. I also have a big quasi-sequel in my head. Let's hope everyone buys the books so DC greenlights more "Bayou" related material.
Do you have any other projects planned for Zuda?
Don't tell [Zuda head] Kwanza [Johnson], but I have a project that is perfectly suited for Zuda. But "Bayou" is my priority now.
What else are you working on these days?
An animated project and a few comics projects, but that's all I can say right now.
"Bayou" Vol. 1 is scheduled for release on May 27. DC has slated the werewolf-western "High Moon" as its second Zuda release. It's expected in stores in October 2009.