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DF Interview: Shaun Simon enters a separate reality with Neverboy
By Byron Brewer
Most people take drugs to escape reality. Neverboy, a former imaginary friend, does the opposite. He’s found a loophole that allows him to stay in the real world. As long as he stays medicated, everything’s perfect. But when the drugs wear off …
Writer Shaun Simon and artist Tyler Jenkins bring this unique look at the imaginary to life in Neverboy from Dark Horse Comics.
To get the 411, Dynamic Forces caught up with scribe Simon and quizzed him about this comic book psycho-drama of the mind.
Dynamic Forces: From what I understand, Shaun, Neverboy is about an imaginary friend that becomes real and struggles to stay that way, correct?
Shaun Simon: It is. Neverboy was left stranded after the child that created him tragically died. But Neverboy didn't want to go back to the world of imagination, he wanted to stay in the real world and have a normal life. He found that drugs will give him the illusion of normalcy.
DF: What inspired this concept for a comic book and how did it come to Dark Horse Comics?
Shaun Simon: I love the surreal and tend to think of stories in that direction. I came up with the name and started thinking about who someone with the name Neverboy would be. He originally started out as someone who was part of this group idea I had but he became more and more interesting over time. I felt like his story needed to be told on its own.
It ended up at Dark Horse because of Sierra Hahn. She was our editor on Killjoys. Sierra is a great editor who really makes you work to get to the core of the story.
DF: And Neverboy has some very REAL problems too ... like a wife and a child? How'd THAT happen?
Shaun Simon: Because of the drugs. The drugs that a real person would take to escape reality have the opposite effect on someone who isn't real. It gives Neverboy the illusion of a normal life complete with a wife and son. The story starts with him low on the drugs and we learn what happens when they start to wear off.
DF: Did you have an imaginary friend growing up?
Shaun Simon: I didn't, but my daughter does. I would watch her play with this imaginary friend and thought what happens when she grows up and doesn't need this friend anymore. What happens to her friend? Or, God forbid, what if something happened to her and her friend was left stranded? These are all things that led to creating Neverboy as well.
DF: Even though you are not talking Mandrake the Magician here, this borders on the "separate reality" cusp, of boundaries, etc. Do you dig the surreal ala Twilight Zone, etc.?
Shaun Simon: Absolutely. I can't see myself ever doing a story that doesn't have some aspect of surrealism in it. It's what interests me and what I'm drawn to.
DF: This sounds like a question for a more conventional comic, but I will ask it anyway: Is there a big-bad in here as such (villain)?
Shaun Simon: There is a villain and we follow his story, his rise and fall, along with Neverboy's. One of the themes of this book is the abuse of creativity and imagination, something Neverboy has been doing. Our villain ends up going down the same road in a different way than Neverboy.
DF: What does artist Tyler Jenkins bring to the table here?
Shaun Simon: Tyler is fantastic. His art style is perfect for Neverboy. His thin, wiry lines make the characters look fragile, like they could break at any second. His backgrounds are great and he doesn't skimp. He'll drawn the little things which is something I love. Kelly Fitzpatrick is our colorist and she really brings this book to life. She'll go from dark and dreary to bright and colorful. It's exactly what the book needed and she continuously impresses with every new page. Conor Nolan's cover artist is breathtaking. Each cover is better than the last.
DF: Shaun, anything now or down the road you would like to discuss (comics projects, not lunch)?
Shaun Simon: Haha. I just had lunch actually! There are other things I'm working on but nothing I can talk about yet. Hopefully they will be announced soon!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Shaun Simon for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Neverboy #1 hits shelves March 4th!
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