STRANGE ADVENTURES Q&A with Lauren Beukes
Lauren Beukes is the writer of the incredible futuristic short story ALL THE PRETTY PONIES. I took a few moments to chat with her about it and her love of comics.
P.M.:Lauren, this is your first comic book story, have you always wanted to write a comic?
L.B.:I've always loved comics. I grew up reading ElfQuest, 2000 AD Monthly, Misty (a British horror comic for girls), Amethyst and my mom's VERY graphic graphic novel of Barbarella, and yeah, okay, I went through an Archie period too. Superheroes were okay, but I especially loved the dark and twisty subversive stuff; Black Orchid, Sandman, anything by Alan Moore. But yeah, I always wanted to write comics. And video games. And cartoon TV shows. And novels. And be a detective like on Hill Street Blues.
P.M.:What was it like to write this and work with Inaki Miranda?
L.B.:I've worked as a TV scriptwriter in South Africa on animated kids TV shows, including Disney's Florrie's Dragons for the last five years, and even directed a couple of episodes of URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika. So I'm used to thinking visually about how things will be interpreted by the storyboard artist and then the animators and keeping scenes tight and making every word of dialogue work hard. But this was something else.
The thing I struggled with most was the sheer versatility of panel layouts. In TV, it's really straightforward. Linear one-two-three. In comics, you can do anything, play with layout to create filmic techniques, not just in terms of cinematography, but editing too, creating a real sense of pace in how you frame your panels. Editor Shelly Bond and Inaki did a lot of hand-holding.
Inaki was amazing. He conveys so much emotion even in his sketches and I found that, just like in animation, the real magic is in collaboration. It was only after I saw his line work that I realised how much the illegal mind-connection HURT. It was so obvious! But only apparent when I saw the art.
Everyone was just really generous, open to input and patient when I was still figuring stuff out. I think Eva's colouring adds so much richness and depth. And it was fantastic working with Shelly Bond as an editor - as someone who appreciates the finer detail of a bullet tearing through flesh, but also what colour nail polish the protagonist is wearing (silver - thank you for asking. And I have to point out that Sofia's shoes are inspired by a fabulous pair that Shelly owns.)
P.M.:Where did your inspiration for this story come from?
L.B.:It was a mash-up of influences and stuff I was thinking about, from past journalism work I've done on slums for Benetton's Colors magazine to pushing the boundaries of reality TV and voyeurism, through to the growing disconnect between rich and poor, exploitation, cynicism, bored trust fund kids, better means of crowd-control for dictators, the Libyan and Egyptian uprisings, City of God, Strange Days and a fantastic documentary called Manda Bala (or Send a Bullet) about frog-farming, corruption and kidnappings in Sao Paolo.
Read ALL THE PRETTY PONIES and more in STRANGE ADVENTURES #1, on sale now.