Friday, October 2, 2009

Dark Horse 's Scott Allie on His Upcoming Graphic Novel Exurbia

Super Scott Allie is mostly known around these parts for his Buffy Season 8 editorial skills, so we at Buffyfest thought we'd introduce you to Scott Allie, the writer. With the upcoming release of his graphic novel Exurbia, Mr. Allie spoke with us about the story that's been close to his heart for years. You can listen to the full interview in the podcast link.

Exurbia is a post-apocalyptic story about Gage, a boy who struggles with his own post-activism apathy. After years of fighting the good fight, Gage is left broken and cynical by the dilapidated streets of his home town, his past run-in with his hero and the messianic messages from the town's new savior, The Rat.

While speaking to Super Scott Allie, the first thing we wanted to do was get a little more background on how Exurbia came into being. Scott explained that originally, after saving up enough money so he could leave his job working as a soft publisher, he decided to self publish a series of short stories.

"I did an anthology of short horror stories but the one oddball in the group, the one thing that wasn't a horror comic was this thing that evolved into Exurbia. It was these characters living in this really screwed up city, very strange city drawn in a very cartoony style, but very weirdly cartoony it wasn't like, it didn't look like any conventional cartoon style. And Kevin McGovern, and I just kept developing more characters and we just liked the setting, like the vibe we were going for with it and it slowly evolved from a bunch of random short stories into a graphic novel where we saw who the main character was and who his supporting cast was and how they were going to come into conflict with one another."

One of our absolute favorite parts of Exurbia was the story of a character referred to as "The Rat". Scott sums up the character this way:

"We evolved this character called the Rat who was this talking rat who smokes cigars, drinks way too much, and has somehow become the default messiah of this screwed up town."

We talked about how society always seems to need someone like the Rat, someone who they can make into more than what they are, someone to put all your hopes and beliefs into. One of the most interesting things we touched upon in that regard was how Joss fits into that paradigm. Here's what Scott had to say:

"People do that alot. I do that a lot. It's pretty unhealthy. People do it with tv shows. There's lots of people who do it with Joss. You know 'Joss Whedon is my Master Now' (referring to the t-shirts people wear). Or I do the book with Gerard Way and I go to events with him and there's all these teenage girls running around with t-shirts saying "Gerard Way saved my life" like that's the catch phrase among Gerard fans and it's like, woh, that's a lot to carry around for poor Gerard. People I never met, I saved your lives? How dd I do that?"

The image above originally ended up on the cutting room floor. Scott Allie spoke about how the political relevance of the dancing condom had fading once the Bush Administration left office. Since the interview, Scott has informed us that it actually found its way back into the book.

Exurbia asks a lot of important questions that are extremely relevant today. This is a graphic novel that will have you thinking of your own role in society (or should) and the nature of savior/hero in a crumbling world.

Exurbia is set to be released on October 7th. Check out some preview pages here.


Dalton said...

I love to see stuff like this (thanks for this post, Michelle), and although I won't be reading this graphic novel, I'm glad others will be. I've been concerned with hero worship and the cults of celebrity and personality for a long time, as have others who recognize their dangers. Be your own master, think your own thoughts, and don't rely on anyone else but yourself to make this world a better place. Individuals acting in unity with a clear and freely chosen purpose is far more powerful and strategic than the alternative. The future doesn't belong to politicians and clerics, but to the Individual.....

Michael said...

Just curious Dalton, what are these so called "dangers' you keep referring to in reference to this cult of celebrity thing. You make it all sound very conspiracy theory and dogmatic. What's is so dangerous about entertainment or even "hero worship" (not sure what that means in practical terms, by the way). You write like there's some sort of pending apocalyptic battle rising over a Joss cult vs a ..I don't know, Kevin Smith cult or something. I'm joking here, but I would like to hear what these ominous dangers are. Mindless self indulgence? Murder?, Mayhem? Lethargy? The only dangers I've encountered for myself are wasting time watching to much Tv (ugh, we've all been there) or spending too much on comic books:)

Dalton said...

Hi Michael,
Well, I can be pretty dogmatic and sanctimonious concerning this subject, but hey, I think it's important. And I can definitely rain on anyone's parade (it's a character flaw). But anyway, as Americans we've by and large been spared the consequences of what I referred to in my previous post, but ask any Jew that lived in Germany during WWII (my uncle was there), any Russian who lived in Stalinist Russia, any Cambodian lucky enough to get out alive during Pol Pot's tenure, any North Korean who isn't trapped behind enemy lines, and so on. They'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Yes, I'm extremely apocalyptic and the history of humanity bears witness to what I'm saying.
I can see the same trends occurring in this country. A rampant unwillingness of the individual to think for oneself, but instead pinning one's ideological salvation on someone else. Where it will lead and subsequently end, nobody knows. But that is the danger of conformity. Don't think our American pipe dream is incapable of descending into chaos, because it can. For many, both in the past and in the present, it already has. For me, empire decline is directly tied to one's unwillingness to think for oneself. We, as Americans, think we are entitled to progress and security, but we aren't. The writing is already on the wall. Can you see it?
As for the Cult of Joss, that's just a microcosm of a macrocosm. It's irritating, but indicative of a larger problem in that people are often unwilling to be their own person.
That's where I stand.
Hope I answered your questions.

Michael said...

Heh....Apples and oranges. Or dictatorships and entertainment. I see what you're saying, but I don't see any connection between that and the "cult of celebrity". But thanks for answering:)