Two weeks ago, co-writer Steven Cain and I gave you a special advance review of Matt Kindt’s (Mind MGMT) and Scott Kolins’ (The Flash) new original Dark Horse series, Past Aways. This zany comic features a group of time travelers from 1.2 million years in the future who are stranded in our contemporary world. They’re jaded, they’re suicidal, and worst of all– they’re immortal. However, they’re not alone. New things are coming back from the future, giving our adventurers new problems and new hope.
In the first of this special two-part interview with the creators of Past Aways, I sat down with artist Scott Kolins to talk about how this book came to be and what he hopes it will become.
Alex Lu for Comics Bulletin: How’d you and Matt end up working together?
Scott Kolins: Matt called! We had worked previously on a short story together and had a good connection right away. When we saw each other at conventions – we talked about working together again someday.
CB: The art in Past Aways is gorgeous. There’s a little bit of grit to the inking process that I think adds a lot of character. It feels a more exaggerated than some of the work you’ve done for DC and Marvel, and I think it adds a lot of character to the piece. How’d you nail down the look and feel of the world?
Kolins: Thanks! My art on this book is heavily a combination of what I want to draw and what Matt needs me to draw. It isn’t just whether there’s a ray gun in his hand – but the kind of ray gun in his hand. We’re very much going for – angle not expected. We have a tattoo communicator! Between the freedom of making this book everything we want it to be and being inspired by the each other’s level of commitment we really have the best of both worlds here on Past Aways.
CB: That’s great! It sounds like Dark Horse has given you two a lot of room to play around! How would you describe your working experience with them in creating an original series as opposed to working for DC and Marvel on established titles?
Kolins: On some levels its very similar – as we are all trying to be professional and put forth the best book possible within the reality of whatever constraints are there at the moment. This is fairly different, as Matt and I make all the decisions on Past Aways, though Dark Horse does chime in with encouragement and suggestions here and there. This new role is a good change of pace for me, so it feels right and very exciting.
CB: What’s been your favorite weird thing to draw for this series thus far? Anything you’re hoping will make it into the world?
Kolins: Favorite? I really enjoy making up weird bits of technology. I love making up monsters and drawing the mass destruction inherent in good monsters. I guess my favorite thing … is probably drawing the covers. I’ve missed that portion of making a comic book in the last couple years and I’m really enjoying these Past Aways covers so far!
CB: I really love the way you play with scale on the first page of the book. The dinosaur starts off looking incredibly menacing, but then doesn’t seem like much of a threat when you zoom out to reveal how small he is. Then, boom: it murders a bystander. I thought that this series of events set the darkly humorous tone of the book wonderfully. Is there a story behind that opening scene?
Kolins: Yup, that was Matt’s idea. It really helps open the book with some brilliant insanity but also is a smart way to direct the reader into understanding what kind of book with is going to be. The only thing I added to the sequence was the choice of butt-squirting instead of mouth-spitting and the crowd laughing. The horrified crowd reaction panel was there , but the separate panel of the crowd laughing was implied but not requested.
CB: I thought the moment was great as a playful, if morbid, jab at people who overuse technology. How do you feel about our relationship with technology and that societal expectation that we always be available and “on the clock,” so to speak?
Kolins: It’s good and bad, and depends on a lot on personal preference. I try to keep it to a minimum – which is not easy when starting up new books with new characters. Technology and word of mouth are becoming fast friends. Let’s just say, everyone else in the house gets to watch a whole lot more T.V., play games and play together, but I’ve trained myself early on as a professional self-employed artist to be my own boss and make sure the job gets done first before a whole lot of play happens.
CB: Some of our protagonists seem to have taken on a jaded rock star look in 2015. Where are you drawing inspiration from when developing the character, tech, and world designs?
Kolins: Inspirations from rock stars? No. Hadn’t seen that “jaded” connection til you mentioned it. Funny how that happens. But that works too. I’ll probably have that in the back of my head next time. Thanks Alex!
Past Aways will drop in the near future– March 25th, to be precise. Come back next week for the second part of this interview series, featuring writer Matt Kindt and editor Brendan Wright!