I recently got the chance to chat with Nick Simmons regarding his new original title, Incarnate.
You can order your copy at AEtv.com!
Alex Rodrik: Let’s start with the most original question of this interview, what’s the story behind Incarnate? Please, don’t be blown away by my originality…
Nick Simmons: Incarnate is about a boy named Mot, who’s been alive for hundreds of years. He’s a member of a strange and mysterious group of creatures called Revenants — they’re seemingly indestructible, and possess untold regenerative capabilities. Mot is a troubled character, and secretly seeks a sort of honorable suicide on the battlefield. Being indestructible, though, this proves difficult, until a certain secret organization called SANCTUM stumbles upon the one way that Revenants can be killed. Now Mot might just get his subconscious wish — but Sanctum aren’t the only ones who hold a grudge against him. Some of his fellow Revenants have their own goals and ambitions, and Mot finds himself smack in the middle of everything. That’s really just the beginning, though.
AR: What birthed this story in your mind and what drew you to adapt it to the comic book medium?
NS: Well, I was originally going to do some sort of vampire story, but honestly, vampires have been stretched to their limit lately, like a rubber band — I feel like that genre is ready to snap. Someone needs to come along and reinvent the vampire mythos, or we need to move on to something new. So I created my own mythology of creatures, with their own rules, powers and limitations. I think their origin is going to be of the most interest to the readers, though, and that’s something I’m going to reveal over time, and not even fully within this 3-issue arc. I’m planning on continuing this series for as long as I can.
AR: What drew you to Radical when you decided to actualize Incarnate?
NS: Radical is a special company because everyone there, and especially Barry Levine, actually give a shit about the creative aspect, the storytelling, the art itself. They certainly have a business mind, but they also care about the artistic merits of their product. Barry himself got so involved even though he’s the “big decision” guy — he talks to his artists about dramatic angles and poses, asymmetry in panel layouts, etc., etc. I don’t know how he has time to look so closely and to care so deeply about all of the art and all of the characters his company puts out. The moment I laid my eyes on Freedom Formula, I knew this was the right company for me.
AR: What was your process when developing each issue? Did you script and note the whole book out beforehand or did you write as you drew?
NS: I wrote the script first, and I’ve had to change it as I drew because of page limits and all that, but I have the story in my head from the beginning, so getting it in text was the fastest way to make it concrete. It’s all planned in my noodle.
AR: In a previous interview you referred to Incarnate as having a bit of humor mixed in. To be honest, I found it reassuring to read that because it affirmed that, although I may be a sick bastard, the moments I laughed were not just me being such. Do you find that the dark humor in the book allows for the reader to identify more easily with the protagonists? What role do you feel it plays in your goal of getting the reader to root for, essentially, the bad guys?
NS: Well, you kind of said it yourself — there are no bad guys or good guys in this story. Everyone sins in this book, and no one is entirely redeemed or entirely forsaken. The humor allows us to empathize with especially the main characters — and I think macabre humor is the best kind. It puts us in touch with that part of the brain that polite society likes to pretend doesn’t exist.
AR: Bio. Who is Mot and why should we like ‘im?
NS: Well I pretty much covered that in the beginning, but I’ll tell a little more — Mot is a bit of a curmudgeon. He’s stubborn, easily irritated, and seems to only fully enjoy himself in the midst of a bloodbath or battle to the death. I suppose when you’ve lived that long, that’s the only way you can feel alive. He’s got a suicidal urge that he rarely admits to himself — and he’s too ashamed of the act itself to do the deed.
AR: What can you tell us about the Dopplegangers?
NS: Well, that’s one of the biggest secrets of the series, and I’m keeping it under wraps, but I will tell you this — many of the characters believe that the doppelgangers are, in fact, all one single being, who merely takes the shape of whomever it shows itself to. It only appears to Revenants, and seems particularly fond of Mot — the reason behind this has to do with the very meaning of the Revenants’ existence. You’ll have to read and stick with the series to find out more.
AR: As everyone who’s seen “Family Jewels” knows, your dad is not bashful about getting in the thick of projects either you or Sophie are working on. What has his involvement been in this project?
NS: He introduced me to Barry, and he’s helping me promote it at the San Diego Comic-Con. His name attracts attention and if it’s for the sake of my comic, I don’t mind using that. People use all of the resources that are available to them. I’d be a fool not to take his help when he offers. But when it came to the deal itself, the creation of the book itself, and everything involved with the book itself, that was all done without him.
**And don’t forget to order your copy of Nick Simmons’ Incarnate at AEtv.com!