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

[Issue #8]It's an unlikely sort of success: "Fade From Blue" is two guys creating acomic about four women, none of whom dress up as creatures of the night toright 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 haslanded its creators a joint nomination for the 2003Eisner Award for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition.

"I don't think either of us knew where we stood in terms of believing wewould get a nomination," writer Myatt Murphy told CBR News. "I don't thinkthere's a single comic book creator that doesn't hope that their title getsthe recognition they may feel it deserves, but it wasn't anything we werenecessarily 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 wewere about to try something that may not be as embraced by the majority ofcomic book readers. It's not super hero, it's not angst-ridden goth, it'sjust real-life drama with a quirky twist in the storyline that gels all ofthe sub storylines together. We knew that the type of reader that would beattracted to the series, which tend to be fans of emotionally-drivendialogue 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 fromthe past 15 years. It's always a lot of the artists that paved the way incomics ... and Eisner is literally one of my all-time favorites. Just to begiven the nod for an award that is named after his amazing work is prettyincredible."

"Fade From Blue" is one of those difficult-to-describe books that aremiles from any Hollywood high concept pitch.

"The best way to describe it probably as Myatt just did," Dalrymplesaid. "'Fade From Blue' is more of a TV dramedy that reads like somethingyou'd watch at 10 o' clock primetime. The underlying plot is that nineyears ago, there were four girls living with their four separate mothersthat had one thing in common: a father who was a polygamist. When all fourmothers suddenly and mysteriously die and the father disappears, the foursisters find each other and forge a nuclear family to go into hiding andsurvive. Now, in the present, the truth about what really happened to theirmoms and their dad is starting to come out. That sounds pretty deep, butthere are other things going on in the lives of each sister, some funny andsome sad, that make 'Fade From Blue' a mix of witty dialogue and tragiccircumstance. Wizard called it 'Tragically sad ... irresistibly funny,'which is probably the best way to peg all the emotions Myatt and I aretrying to play on with each issue.

If you're a regular reader of 'Fade,' I think the thing you can expectfrom #8 is a kick start in the main plot. There are several surprisescoming in #8, both from Iya and Marit (trust us, both do things in thisissue you would never expect ...). We're coming to the close of the10-issue story arc that's meant to set the stage for the sisters newdirections 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 aslice of life story of four half-sisters.

"Ha! That's true," Dalrymple said. "When Myatt came to me with the storyidea, I thought he was taking a big risk at first, but he really felt thatthe next project we should try should be something that you don't seeenough of. We were already midway through working up the concept of asupernatural thriller that we were both really jazzed about. Then, out ofnowhere, Myatt told me he wanted to stop that project and focus on a storyidea that eventually became 'Fade From Blue.' Myatt writes for a lot ofwomen's magazines for a living, so I knew he wouldn't have a problemgetting the voice down, but I wasn't sure if I could get the realistic lookhe was asking for when it came to the women.

"The first thing he asked me for was a quick illustration of the foursisters so we could hammer their personalities out. That illustration wentthrough 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 lateJuly."

[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 lookslike he should be working the door checking IDs instead of working on abook about women, but I think readers of Fade (which split into about halffemale/half male at shows) would be the first to tell you that it's not aseries that's written for women. It's written for everyone ... and the maincharacters 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 anyonethat appreciates sarcasm would love.

"What made Fade a story I wanted to tell was partly inspired by a womanI saw walking on the streets of Manhattan, who at first glance, didn'tappear to be male or female. It wasn't that she was intentionally dressedin any way ... she was just very lean, didn't wear makeup and had a shorthair style ... but it was the look on her face that really inspired me. Sheseemed to be somewhere else ... distant yet determined about something thatit felt no one else could possibly understand. Immediately after that, Iwrote up a premise of what situation she was possibly going through andthat became the basis for 'Fade From Blue.'"

For some past nominees, winning the Talent Deserving of WiderRecognition award has given them a high enough profile to go onto aconsiderable and long-lived comics career, while others still view comicsas an interesting sideline to their main career. At the moment, Murphy andDalrymple 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 willwith any absolute certainty," Murphy said. "I like what I do for a living,which is writing for mainstream magazines, but I have several book projectslined up for 2004 as well, so time is the biggest issue for me. Whatattracts me to the profession is the diversity of it, so I think I'll keepdoing comics to some degree until I've gotten all the stories out of myhead that have been hiding there for years. Once those run out, it'll betime to push on.

"I think the one thing I'm happiest about with the nomination is that wewere nominated together. Another reason I chose to do 'Fade From Blue' wasbecause I thought the general public didn't get a fair look at what Scottcan really do after we finished our first series, 'Two Over Ten.' Thatseries has now been picked up option-side by Platinum Studios to bedeveloped as a TV series, yet no one noticed it at all when Scott and Ifinished the series last year. I wanted to do another series that gavereaders another taste of Scott's art. Now, Scott's been approached byseveral writers and publishers for work, even though his main gig ismagazine illustration, but I hope the nomination helps push him into comicsmore often, if he has the time to do so."

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

Of course, before that potential commercial success can come about as aresult 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 theunique styles that are in the same category, so I think we're in excellentcompany," Murphy said. "We met Tyler from 'Stylish Vittles' at MOCCA. Afterrealizing we were both juxtaposed right across from each other and bothhanging up signs to let passers-by know we were nominated for the sameaward, I figured we'd go over and introduce ourselves. I watched too manycreators that were competing against each other in other categories kind ofignore each other and I don't believe in doing that. I think there's notenough cohesion among comic creators that there could be. It's like we'reall fighting for the same piece of the pie, instead of realizing that wehave the potential of creating new pies altogether.

"As for who will win, I think Scott and I are in agreement that we hopesomeone else wins. Not that we're not honored by the nomination, but theaward is for 'Talent deserving of Wider Recognition,' which we feel meansit should go to someone that's a great new talent to the industry, buthasn't received as much media as they should be. 'Fade From Blue's' beencertified cool by Diamond 6 times now, has gotten A's across the board fromComics Buyers Guide, been in Wizard Edge as a 2003 Buzz Book and we're evenin the Wizard price guide right about 'Fantastic Four,' so we've gotten ourfair share of great press from some great people. If we win it, it'll be anhonor. If we don't, it'll obviously go to someone else that's equallycreative (since all of the nominees are amazingly talented) and then,hopefully they can use that honor to help propel their career and get moreof their fantastic work out there for everyone to enjoy. That can onlybenefit 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.

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