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DF Interview: Sophie Campbell brings Wet Moon saga to a close with Volume 7, Morning Cold
By Byron Brewer
For the first time in five years, a new Wet Moon book from celebrated writer, artist and Eisner Award Special Recognition nominee Sophie Campbell is being released. Wet Moon: Morning Cold, the seventh and reportedly final volume of the critically-acclaimed series, is slated for release by Oni Press in November.
Trilby is out of the hospital, but she feels anything but ready to face daily life again. Even though Myrtle is in prison and Trilby is safe, everything is different and nothing feels right. Cleo, Mara, Audrey and Martin struggle to support Trilby, but will it ever be enough? Things don’t seem like they’ll ever be the same again, and everyone must pick up the pieces and figure out where their lives are going.
DF wanted to know much more about this most important OGN, so we tracked down Sophie Campbell and here is what she told us.
Dynamic Forces: Sophie, you’ve been working on the Wet Moon saga for over a decade now. Why with Volume 7, Morning Cold, have you decided to bring it to an end?
Sophie Campbell: It felt like the right time both in my life and in the story. Wet Moon doesn’t have a driving plot and it’s not about resolving every thread that’s introduced, conceivably it could end anywhere, but the place the characters are in at the end of this volume felt like a new status quo or a new beginning or something like that, and I always like those sorts of endings, where the characters look to the future. I’m also a much different person than I was when I started the series, with each book I’ve had to kind of repurpose the series and realign it with where I am in my life at that point, and this time, it’s the right time to move on to new things.
DF: For those who’ve been under a rock since 2004 (and you know who you are), can you introduce us to at least some of this iconic cast of yours and maybe their relationships with one another please? (I know, difficult.)
Sophie Campbell: There are a bunch of characters, all important in their own ways, but the four main ones are Cleo Lovedrop, Mara Zuzanny, Trilby Bernarde and Audrey Richter. They’re childhood friends, with Mara being kind of the odd-man-out while Cleo and Trilby are super close BFFs. They all love each other but have rocky relationships, too, like teasing and resentment mixed in with the love. Cleo is the main character for much of the series, everything revolves around her at least at first, she’s a moody drama magnet who seems sweet and sad but has a malicious mean streak hidden away, something that has wounded Mara in the past and which simmers under the surface. Trilby is the goofy one of the group, she’s animated and energetic and funny, but she teases her friends and is a bit of a bully. Audrey is like the mature one of the group, she tries to keep everyone happy and genuinely wants the best for her friends but she’s a bit of a doormat and a screw-up so she often makes trouble for everyone without meaning to. Mara is the most closed-off one, she’s been worn down by her friends, she’s gloomy and pensive and a bit mean at first but she slowly warms up as the series goes. Other important characters are Cleo’s bitchy interior decorator half-sister Penny, Cleo’s ice queen roommate Natalie who becomes a major character over the course of the series, the mysterious swamp-dwelling heiress Fern who has a mansion on the edge of town and who Penny does decorating work for, Trilby’s nerdy boyfriend Martin, and of course Myrtle, who is briefly Cleo’s girlfriend before it’s revealed that she has a sinister, very violent dark side.
DF: Any NEW characters being introduced in Morning Cold?
Sophie Campbell: Nobody completely new, no, but Natalie’s twin sisters Nora and Nissa get a bit of focus in volume 7. They had their brief first appearance at the very end of volume 6, and they’d appeared in photographs before then, but they didn’t really do anything until this book.
DF: What will be the general storyline of Morning Cold?
Sophie Campbell: Trilby is finally out of the hospital after being stabbed by Myrtle, and everyone is trying to pick up the pieces and get back to a semblance of a normal life. Much of the book is Trilby recovering both physically and emotionally and trying to adjust, Cleo spends all her time doting on her and Mara feels left out in the cold. It’s basically the characters trying to find their new roles and move on after what happened.
DF: After Volume 7 is out and gone from stands and you’re plotting other tales, which character will you miss the most creatively and why?
Sophie Campbell: Even though she isn’t a big focus of the series, my favorite character to write and draw has always been Natalie. I think what I feel are missed opportunities with her will be what I miss the most, like not having made her a bigger player in the comic. Maybe I’ll do a Natalie one-shot story at some point.
DF: For you, Sophie, does drawing the stories yourself affect the way you approach it as a writer? Is this an advantage, disadvantage or both?
Sophie Campbell: Definitely! Sometimes I avoid writing certain things that I know I won’t want to draw, like for example in an early draft of volume 7 there was a scene in a grocery store but eventually I realized there’s no way in hell I’d ever want to draw aisles of groceries and crowds of customers in the background, so I cut the scene. Sometimes in those cases I’ll take the same interactions and dialogue and repurpose them and transplant them to a different environment that won’t be as time-consuming or frustrating to draw. I’m not ashamed to admit that, haha. So in that sense it’s definitely an advantage being both the writer and artist, I can tailor the script to what I really feel like drawing and what I think my strengths are. That can also be a disadvantage because sometimes it’s good to be forced to draw something you don’t want to draw, that helps you improve and can be rewarding when you pull it off and you see all the results of your hard work. Not that writing for myself doesn’t ever have that, there are times when I just can’t avoid drawing stuff that frustrates me like buildings or crowd scenes, sometimes it’s required for the story and environment, but it’s easy to give in to the temptation of being able to write around my shortcomings as an artist and my laziness. At the end of the day, though, it’s an advantage, there’s a synergy I don’t always feel when working with a writer, I like the fluidity of writing for myself in that I can change course on the fly and add or delete or change things at a moment’s notice if I get a new idea. It’s much less rigid.
DF: Even after this “ending, ” can you see at some point in the future possibly returning to Wet Moon?
Sophie Campbell: Yes, definitely! I absolutely want to return to them someday, that’s another reason I wanted to end the series, so I could wipe the slate clean and do new Wet Moon stories without any baggage. The continuity and numerous storylines and sprawling cast of characters built up over six books gets to be overwhelming and stressful sometimes. I’m thinking about more standalone-type stories that focus on a smaller cast, rather than ones that run for multiple installments and jump back and forth between different characters. I’m also really interested in doing something with the characters when they’re older, in their 30s or 40s.
DF: Sophie, are there any projects coming up for you in the near future you can tell readers about?
Sophie Campbell: Nothing concrete yet other than I’ll be doing more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soon, but I can’t give any details on that yet. I’m hoping to finish the next installment of my Shadoweyes comic this year but we’ll see, it will depend on how TMNT goes and how my financial situation is shaping up. After Wet Moon is done, I’m also hoping I can finally get back to my Ninja Turtles fan comic, Secrets of the Ooze.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Sophie Campbell for taking time out of her very busy schedule to answer our questions. The Wet Moon: Morning Cold OGN from Oni Press hits store Nov. 14th!
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