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Interview: The Evil Ink Comics Team

 

It’s extremely rare to find a band that has the ability to transcend not only music genres, but physical mediums as well. That reason alone makes Coheed and Cambria something more than “just another band”. The fact that their “Amory Wars” story has spanned a decade through five albums, countless comics, and a rather hefty novel, lends itself to putting them into a category reserved for the likes of legends. In the interest of being one-hundred percent honest with you, I need to confess my love for all things Coheed. Hell for that matter, I love all things Evil Ink; which is the self-owned publishing company that produces the Amory Wars saga, along with another cult hit Kill Audio which Claudio Sanchez (Coheed’s lead singer and idea man) and his extremely talented wife/partner in crime Chondra Echert work on together. Just like the Amory Wars, Kill Audio is nothing short of pure comic book awesome; and Echert’s talent (just like her husband’s) really shines through in each issue.

For those of you unfamiliar with Coheed and Cambria’s music, take a look at this video for the song “Here We Are Juggernaut” off their most current release “Year of the Black Rainbow”.

And if you’ve yet to bear witness to the pure awesome that is everything Evil Ink, head over here and take a look at a preview of some of the comics.

During my time at C2E2 I was lucky enough to snag an interview with Claudio, Chondra and the new Amory Wars artist Aaron Kuder, we chatted about everything from their current and upcoming projects to all things gaming. Take a gander at the transcript below, as I delve into the minds of some of the coolest people in the music/comic/all things nerdy realm.

(Photo taken by Jess Kilgannon: from L to R: Claudio Sanchez, Chondra Echert, Me, Aaron Kuder)

 

Kyle: Thanks for taking the time out to do the interview. What are you guys looking forward to seeing here at C2E2?

Claudio: Right now, there’s no agenda. Nothing really on the top of my list. Just seeing if anything catches my eye. I went over to Artist’s Alley, got a couple of sketches and commissions. That’s about it.

Chondra: It’s hard when you’re planning to work at a con to actually look at a schedule and make a plan around it. We’re here from 8am to 7:15-7:30 at night, so we can’t see panels and don’t really have time to do cool stuff. It’s a bummer.

K: Aaron, this question is for you. What’s the hardest part of bringing the Amory Wars story to life on paper?

Aaron: For myself, it’s making sure I’m bringing something that is worthy of all the fans’ respect and love.

K: So there’s a little bit of extra pressure then?

A: A little bit, but… pressure makes the food better… or something like that.

Ch: In a pressure cooker. (laugh)

K: Aaron, are you looking forward to anything at the con?

A: Everything! It’s awesome doing the signing with these guys (Evil Ink, Claudio, Chondra, Tony Moore). No con has anything but fun in it.

K: Gamer Reaction is a video game website, so obviously I have to ask a video game question or two: Who is the biggest gamer out of the three of you?

A: Gamer? Video games? Also role-play? Hmm… I don’t do any of it. Hahaha. I’m not a huge gamer, but I’ve done a bit of Role Playing game artwork. I like board games actually.

Ch: Me too!

A: Things that create actual interaction with people. I’m all about it.

K: Favorite board game?

Ch: Scrabble!

A: I can’t pick one. It’s way too hard to choose.

Ch: Wow (Aaron) I didn’t know you were so passionate about board games.

A: I just play them A LOT.

Ch: Claudio’s a gamer. He likes to play video games.

K: Okay then Claudio, favorite console?

Cl: Right now it would have to be Playstation 3. But, every once in a while a game will come out where I get fixated on it. Like a Halo, or Red Dead Redemption, that I’ll play regardless of the console. Other than that… I’m not on it like 24 hours a day.

K: Any games you’re playing currently, or anything you’re in the middle of?

Cl: Not really, I mean MVC 3 but that’s just every once in a while.

Ch: Basketball.

Cl: Yeah I do enjoy basketball, playing some NBA 2k recently.

K: Claudio, you’ve been asked about an Amory Wars movie numerous times, but what about an Amory Wars video game? Any desire to work in that medium?

Cl: We’ll see. I mean one of the ideas was a Street Fighter style action game with all the characters from the Amory Wars. You know, something easy. Maybe create an application for the iPad/iPhone. I’d love to do it, it seems like a great starting point to strengthen the characters for the people who might not really know the Amory Wars.

K: Speaking of Evil Ink projects, you’re here to promote both your Amory Wars project, and the project you and Chondra worked on together: Kill Audio. Are there any plans for a Kill Audio sequel?

Cl: Yeah, we’ve started to outline Kill Audio 2 but then Subway Seriez got in the way. So we’ve outlined it, but we started putting more of our concentration into Subway Seriez which will see the light of day before KA 2 does.

Ch: Sheldon (who’s also worked on Kill Audio) actually has a book, and has been doing other things so we wanted to give him leeway while we’re working on Subway Seriez to take anything that might come up and work on other projects until we’re all ready to get back together. We’re always ready to work with Sheldon though.

K: So you guys have a good working relationship then?

Ch: Absolutely.

K: Claudio and Chondra, for people reading this who don’t know: you two are married. What’s it like working as a married couple on creative endeavors together?

Cl: It’s cool. We both have a strong suit. Chondra is very good at communicating in dialogue, whereas I think mine is more describing the panels, and setting the scene. I don’t really spend a whole lot of my time communicating, so some times having to just communicate with myself and work out ideas in my head gets a little chaotic, so I look to Chondra and go “here you do this” (in regards to communicating).

Ch: Essentially what we do while working on a script is, we talk about the idea, but more so we spend A LOT of time working on the outline. I mean, it ends up looking like a novel. We don’t panel it out first, we develop the concept first, figure out what’s happening and then I’ll take that issue and break it into what I think panels at a starting off point should be. Then Claudio delves into it and he’ll change things, tweak things and add things. It’s sort of a give and take until we have something we both are happy with. But of course there are times when both of us are kind of gridlocked. It’s like here, we’re going to take a few minutes, I’m going to go in this room, you’re going to go in that room, we’ll reconvene later and speak like big people again. I think working on anything as a couple, makes working on your job together that much easier. Because at the end of the day, most people don’t have to live with their bosses.

K: So you would say it’s easier to work as a couple and handle creative differences?

Ch: Yeah it’s great! I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else.

K: Aaron, you’re the “3rd wheel” in the group. (haha) What’s it like working with a married couple?

A: It’s like being a redheaded stepchild again. HAHAHA. No, everyone’s been supremely awesome about welcoming me and my art. It’s been a wonderful experience.

(Noticing that it was time for the show floor to close, I decided to wrap up the interview early)

K: Well guys, I know you have a lot more work to do before the floor closes for the night, so I’ll let you go. Thanks again for taking the time out sit down with Gamer Reaction! I personally look forward to seeing what’s in store for the whole Evil Ink crew in the future!

There you have it folks, it’s not often people get a chance to interview their heroes, I just happened to be one of the lucky ones. On a personal note, I’d like to encourage all of you to give Coheed and Cambria, the Amory Wars comics and story, and Kill Audio a look/listen; they’re worth the time and effort. Also, a big thanks again to Claudio, Chondra, and Aaron for taking the time to answer my questions, a huge thank-you to Blaze James (Coheed’s manager) for helping facilitate the interview; and of course a big thanks to Gamer Reaction for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity!

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