After years of attending the San Diego Comic-Con as a fan and budding comic writer, Andrew Constant will spend the 2011 show on the other side of the table, selling his debut graphic novel, Torn. Constant teamed with artists Joh James and Nicola Scott to tell a werewolf tale with a bit of a twist, catching the eyes of Greg Rucka, who called it "a wonderfully subtle story from a decidedly deft hand" and Gail Simone, who said "it reads like it’s written on the side of a silver bullet."
The book is published by Gestalt Comics, an Australian publisher exhibiting at the show this week in booth #4500-4501 (you can find their signing schedule here). Constant took the time to answer some of my questions about the book both before and after his transcontinental flight from Australia.
JK: Torn is your debut graphic novel, correct? How did the project come together?
Andrew: Torn is my debut graphic novel. It came about due to my love of the werewolf and my boredom at their current interpretations as seen across a variety of mediums. This is not to say I'm a genius writer (far from it, actually), I just thought that there was room for a different type of story, one which may challenge the reader, rather than play to preconceived notions of what a werewolf story should be.
Nicola has been a friend for ages, and she had some time many moons ago (moons, get it? sigh...), so drew the prologue for me. From there, I shopped the concept around. There were many expressions of interest, but it wasn't until I came across Gestalt Comics that I found the best publishing home for the work.
JK: What is Torn about?
Andrew: The big picture concept is that it is the story of a wolf who is transformed into a man, in a brutal and tragic fashion. We then follow his difficult and violent journey as he tries to come to terms with his new identity in the alien landscape of a harsh and unforgiving city.
JK: In regards to horror comics and movies in general and werewolf or shapeshifter tales in particular, what are some of your favorites?
Andrew: Now that is a hard question! Horror movies: I really like An American Werewolf in London, Dog Soldiers, Hellraiser and Seven.
Horror books: Anything by Joe Hill, Clive Barker, Charlie Huston and Joe R. Lansdale.
And with horror comics, Joe Hill's Locke and Key has been excellent. Though I also classify The Punisher by Garth Ennis as a big horror fave.
JK: How did Joh James come to be involved with the project?
Andrew: Joh was found by a buddy of mine, who recommended that he would be great for the book. After viewing some of Joh's art, I knew he would be fantastic. He gives the story a real atmospheric and visceral feel.
JK: Do you have plans for more comics after this?
Andrew: I have quite a bit of work coming up, especially with Gestalt Comics. They've proven to be a fantastic collaborator, and encourage me to stretch what talent I have as far and as high as I can.
Gestalt and I are currently working on a straight noir book; no supernatural elements, but, like Torn, it tries to play with genre conventions.
JK: Is this your first time to come to San Diego, or just your first time on the other side of the table?
Andrew: Ha! No, I've been to San Diego a LOT. This is just my maiden voyage answering rather than asking questions.
JK: Is there anything you're personally hoping to be able to check out at the con this year?
Andrew: Like every year, I'm going to wait until I get the program in my hand, and then attempt to find some sane path through the infinite choice.