The GeeksverseINTERVIEW | Zoë: Out of Time‘s J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos

INTERVIEW | Zoë: Out of Time‘s J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos
Published on Monday, September 2, 2013 by
[UPDATED] We catch up with J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos, the co-creators and writers behind Zoë: Out of Time, a new sci-fi miniseries that recently made its debut on comiXology.

ZoeCover1Zoë: Out of Time, the four-issue sci-fi miniseries from writers/creators J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos (Sons of Liberty) and illustrator Derlis Santacruz (Irresistible, Detective Comics Annual) has taken a somewhat unusual route towards mainstream digital publication. Whereas the popular publishing strategy these days for many independent digital comics creators is to build a readership base with a freely-available serial webcomic before attempting to monetize the social capital the webcomic has generated, Michalski and Lagos jumped into the commercial digital publishing arena with both feet, launching Zoë: Out of Time #1 on Amazon’s Kindle Store as an e-book in May of this year. Early last month, Zoë: Out of Time debuted on comiXology under the digital comics distributor’s comiXology Submit platform. Below, we have a quick rundown of Zoë: Out of Time‘s basic information and origins, rounded out by a transcript of a brief e-mail interview with Michalski and Lagos.

The Basics

What’s the comic about?

Zoë: Out of Time is about a feisty, rebellious teenage girl who, obsessed with a legendary singer of rock history’s past—Trent Darrow of the band Rebel Lions—travels back in time after stealing her father’s prototype time travel device, only to discover once she arrives that the doomed singer has fallen for her, and worse, that his death was no accident but… a planned murder. (From the Zoë: Out of Time page on comiXology)

What are reviewers and readers saying about the comic?

The Comixverse review of Zoë: Out of Time #1 can be read here. (It was one of three Editor’s Picks in the August 22 edition of First Impressions.) Interested in other readers’ opinions? The Kindle Edition of the first issue is sitting at a 4.7 out of 5 rating (current as of 02 September, 2013, averaged from 15 reviews in total).

What were the inspiration and influences behind the creation of the comic?

As far as influences go, I would say the Clash’s first record served as a major influence and inspiration for this comic around the time I came up with the concept. I was also reading Robert Anton Wilson, along with a lot Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan comics, too, so that undoubtedly had a big part in it, as well. (From J. Michalski’s Slamfire Media interview)

Are there any other Zoë: Out of Time projects in the pipeline?

No, we don’t have a sequel planned. We feel that once you reach the conclusion of Zoë’s story, you’ll be satisfied with what we have done with it. (From J. Michalski’s Slamfire Media interview)

What are J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos’ prior comics works?

Zoë: Out of Time is J. Michalski’s first published comics work while Alexander Lagos has previously been credited as the co-writer on the serial graphic novel The Sons of Liberty.

Where can readers see more of artist Derlis Santaruz’ work?

Besides Zoë: Out of Time, Argentina-based artist Derlis Santacruz’ notable works for North American comics publishers include Zenescope’s Irresistible miniseries (where he served as the interior artist for three out of the four issues), a back-up story in DC’s Detective Comics (Vol. 2) Annual #2, and the full interiors of this week’s Batman: The Dark Knight #23.1: The Ventriloquist (in stores September 4) and next week’s Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost (in stores September 11). Santacruz also has a deviantART page and a Spanish-language blog that he regularly updates with images of works in progress.

The Comixverse Interview

zoe_black_out_of_time__1_16The Comixverse: How has the fan, comics press, and industry response been to the comic? Are there any particularly memorable anecdotes or individual responses you wish to share?

J. Michalski/Alexander Lagos: The fan response has been overwhelmingly positive and very supportive. After reading the first two issues, most people have said this would make a great movie. We happily concur, to say the least!

So far the most memorable moment was receiving a custom-made Zoë: Out of Time satchel from the host of the Zombie & Ox Comic Hour podcast- which is a fun show that covers all things comics—you should check them out!

TCV: Please describe for us briefly the process of writing an issue of Zoë: Out of Time. How does “co-writing” a comic work? Is it simply a matter of taking turns crafting dialogue and plot? Working as a sounding board and de facto editor for each other?

JM/AL: Our work process has been fairly simple. We sit down and carefully construct the plot for the entire series and then discuss each scene. After which we take turns typing it up—sometimes acting out the scenes in order to best capture the feeling and personality of the characters. It’s probably a goofy sight, but we have fun and find it effective, because it makes the story feel real and organic.

zoe_black_out_of_time__1_22TCV: In your Slamfist Media interview, you talked about finding Zoë: Out of Time‘s Argentina-based artist Derlis Santacruz on Digital Webbing. Did the fact that he lives a hemisphere away pose certain challenges? Did you have to work around differences in language and perhaps pop culture referents?

JM/AL: No, not at all. Derlis is a consummate professional. He comes with a lot of experience and communication has been clear and easy. We receive new pages from him every Sunday and that day always feels like Christmas. Our only regret is that we can’t celebrate with him and buy him a round of drinks. Ha ha!

TCV: For the fans of Zoë: Out of Time out there trying to imagine what the Rebel Lions sound like, what’s a reasonably accurate, real-world reference point for their musical style?

JM/AL: Right now, we feel readers should be free to imagine whatever sound they want. If this becomes a movie however, we’ll do our damndest to make sure it stays true to the time period—so sorry to any fans of Justin Bieber and One Direction. [Zoë: Out of Time‘s Rebel Lions hail from 1990—ed.]

TCV: Finally, do you have any parting words for your readers as well as aspiring comic book creators?

JM/AL: For our readers: Thanks for the incredible support and look out for Zoë: Out of Time #3 this fall.

For aspiring creators: If you are going to get into this business be prepared to work hard and struggle. You will have to be your own cheering section. And the only way people are going to believe in your work, is if you do.

Zoë: Out of Time #1 is currently available on comiXology and Amazon’s Kindle Store (in English and Spanish e-book editions). Zoë: Out of Time #2 is available solely on Amazon for now, and as with the first issue, it is available in English and Spanish.

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