In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, writer Ryan K. Lindsay talks about his engaging sci-fi adventure, Everfrost #1 (Black Mask Studios). Discover what happens when a scientist has to turn to her feral side in order to survive the apocalyptic future.
Plot: “All scientist-warrior Van Louise wanted was to retire and get off-planet as her society collapsed, but she’s unearthed a mystery involving the death of her son… and she can’t leave without discovering the truth first–even as war brews in her violent and fantastical world.”
With the first issue out in stores on June 2nd, 2021, Ryan K. Lindsay opens up about how the premise came about, writing the dialogue between a human and monkey, and the topical metaphors within the narrative. Check out our review of the first installment as we head into the writer’s studio to discuss the craft of writing comics.
Villain Media: Tell me about how the concept for Everfrost came about. The icy dystopian future feels like a metaphor for the consequences of climate change.
Ryan K. Lindsay: Oh, this book is rife with metaphors about our modern times. The snow landscape, and general world left to seed in a way where the seeds cannot prosper is definitely a commentary on climate change. Not so much a conscious commentary, but something I’ve internalised and that comes out. I don’t always set out to “talk about something” in my work, but I usually look back on a day in the office and if I want to analyse I can see exactly what my brain is chewing on at that time. This book has a look at imbalances in society, how leaders stay in power, how we hold onto truth, as well as a few other hidden gems.
But ultimately, it’s a story about Van Louise, a character I could see walking through the snow, and I had to know what she was leaving behind and where she was going, and everything spilled out of that.
VM: Tell me about the relationship between Van Louise and her talking monkey, Eight.
RKL: Their relationship really evolved on the page. There’s a definite lead character and their animal sidekick aesthetic there on the surface, but the more I wrote them, and rewrote them through multiple drafts of the first issue, the more their dialogue and back story continued to grow and slip out of my hands. These two bounce off each other really well, and each has distinct desires and goals within this story. They are a whole mess of fun to write and I hope people enjoy them both equally.
I can also hint that there’s a lot about Eight you don’t yet know, so keep your eyes peeled.
VM: In the opening pages, the thought captions by Van Louise has a certain pattern; almost poetic in nature. Tell me about the rhythm to how Van Louise narrates.
RKL: Oh, her captions were insanely fun to write. After writing no captions in BEAUTIFUL CANVAS, where the lead character Lon Eisley was a closed off book, it was nice to delve into the loquacious mind of Van. She’s a scientist and a survivor and a woman of grief and she’s alone with her thoughts in the frozen north. She has words for days, and she’s smarter than me, so I really wanted to craft a voice that represented that. She speaks in a breezy tone, I agree with the poetic nature of it, and I hope people dig it as something else to help you connect to her. Ultimately we’re in a wild sci fi world, but everything here is about her story and arc.
VM: Tell me about creating the map of the icy terrain. You have the Precinct and the Downs in the narrative.
RKL: This was a fine balance to strike. I definitely needed to know exactly how the landscape of the locations we visit worked. We open in the tundra of the forgotten north, and then we return to civilisation to find things very strange, even for Van’s standards. The world had already moved on, and then it’s moved on again – I needed to consider what multiple shifts in culture would look like, and then work with Sami to craft this in an engaging and awe-inspiring way. Mostly that just means getting out of Sami’s way, the guy is a genius of design and thought.
Outside of our locations, I know what society in general looks like, and how the people in it would live and feel, but that’s something we don’t get deeply into on these pages.
VM: The opening pages also feature two alien-like creatures dashing across the snow. The creatures resemble dinosaurs, almost like they were velociraptors. Tell me how you and artist Sami Kivela approached designing these alien creatures.
RKL: In the script, I call them “weird little creatures that scavenge” and then Sami just goes to town. He’s the one who has to draw them for multiple pages, so I don’t overly draft out too many details. I mention veiny necks and strange legs, but Sami knows he can also safely ignore all that. Seems pretty rough of me to try to ask for a creature with chains and intricate tattoos and horse features and scales and 3 different sets of eyes, and then leave him to work out how that thing moves and draw it from multiple angles across multiple pages.
I love working with Sami because his designs are on point every single time he sends something in.
VM: What can you say about Everfrost #2?
RKL: It’s a change of pace. We find Van and Eight in a new location, in a vulnerable position, and then we slow things down a little. We’ve built the world, in the second issue we inhabit it for a moment. The first issue is a freight train running over you, but the second issue is the scavengers coming out to slowly feast on you while you’re still ticking.
VM: How did Everforst change you as a storyteller?
RKL: It gave me a huge scope to play on, juggling the world building beyond much I’d done before. It allowed me to weave the needs and growth of multiple characters into one satisfying ending that we slowly build towards. It let me play with some huge concepts through some very warped thoughts and designs and concepts. Hopefully it gave me a few new tools to take into future projects.
VM: What are you working on now?
RKL: I have three comics coming out in the coming months. This has been a tentpole in my vision and landscape, and then there’s BLACK BEACON with Sebastian Piriz, which is an interstellar sci fi tale of travel and multiculturalism we are telling in Heavy Metal Magazine. I’m just editing and tweaking my final scripts for that. I also have SPEED REPUBLIC at Mad Cave Studios, which is something different from me which I’m excited about. It’s a kind of post-society shutdown car race story about character first, and dangerous landscapes second.
I’m also scripting the second volume of SHE for ComixTribe, which is going to be even bigger and better than the first volume. Beyond that, well, that’s a long way off, let’s save something for our next chat!
Everfrost #1 arrives in store son June 2, 2021.