|OLLIE MASTERS & TYLER JENKINS
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DF Interview: Ollie Masters, Tyler Jenkins craft tense noir tale in Snow Blind
By Byron Brewer
What happens when you discover your father isn't the man you thought he was? For one high school teen, life in a sleepy suburb in Alaska turns upside-down when he innocently posts a photo of his dad on Facebook, only to learn he and his family are in the Witness Protection Program. A man seeking revenge invades their town, and soon FBI agents arrive too. What’s a kid to do?
Writer Ollie Masters (The Kitchen) and artist Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust) bring readers a story unlike any other in their new miniseries, Snow Blind. Dynamic Forces met with both creators to see what we could unravel of this tale.
Dynamic Forces: Ollie, tell us how this new miniseries from BOOM! Studios came to be?
Ollie Masters: I’d been thinking about doing a story about Witness Protection and there were two things I really wanted to focus on. Firstly, how it would work in our age of Facebook and Twitter. How do you keep your new life a secret when the majority of people are sharing not only their lives but the lives of everyone around them on the internet every ten minutes? Even if you don’t actively engage with the internet, you can’t help but be a part of it. It could be something as simple as being in the background of someone else’s photo and then your location is up online for everyone to see.
Secondly, I wanted to look at how a secret as big as Witpro affects your relationships with the people you love. Do you tell them and if you don’t, what’s the cost of keeping it a secret from them? Also, from the other side, how do you react when you find out that someone you’ve known your whole life has been keeping that secret from you? Even if it’s for your and their safety?
All these ideas came together to create Snow Blind, and when I had the pitch together it was around the time I first starting talking about working with BOOM! They really dug it and when we got Tyler on board, I knew we had something special. He completely understood the tone and the mood of the story, creating these beautiful but bleak images on the page. It wouldn’t be the comic it is without him.
DF: This book really pulls no punches. It really makes the reader think: How much do I know about the life of my own parents? Tell us a little about the storyline.
Ollie Masters: Well, it’s about a young guy called Teddy, who finds out his parents are in Witness Protection after a mysterious man from their past attempts to break into their house. The story follows Teddy as he tries to find out who that man really is and why the hell his parents are in Witness Protection to begin with. He becomes something of an amateur detective, spying on his parents and looking for clues.
DF: Tell us about Teddy as a character.
Ollie Masters: He’s a bit of a loner. He prefers reading and watching films over socializing. He feels constantly in conflict with his dad, who’s more of a sports and beer guy so their relationship is strained at best. The thing with Teddy is, he’s a really smart kid but he hasn’t been hardened to the world in the same way his dad has, so they see the world differently. But as the story progresses and the things Teddy goes through, he’s forced to grow up pretty damn quickly.
I try and write some of myself into all my characters (even the truly awful ones) and with him, I’m not saying I was like Teddy at that age, but I tried to channel some of my teenage self and write a character I would have identified with in some way when I was that age.
DF: Tyler, how did you become involved in the book?
Tyler Jenkins: I had been talking to BOOM! for years about doing something with them, and more often than not those conversations revolved around crime stories or horror stories. They really asked me if I wanted to work with Ollie on a crime series ... it was a very, very easy decision. Great writer on a crime book: easy.
DF: Ollie is really high on your illustrations for Snow Blind. Tell us about some of your design work here.
Tyler Jenkins: Well, really my design work and the ultimate style of things came as a reaction to a great script. My style changes with each project, so the look here is 100 percent a reaction to the mood and feeling of the story. The use of watercolor was something I had been working on in my spare time between actual comic projects, applying it to short one page comics of my own devising. Snow Blind is definitely its actual printed debut, though it was a long time – years! -- in development. Major respect to Ollie and BOOM! for taking a chance that it would work out.
DF: What was the greatest challenge (or pleasure) in executing this miniseries so far?
Tyler Jenkins: Really and honestly, the challenge and the greatest pleasure are the same: bringing Teddy and his world to life, making him believable, making him real, making the reader care. I much prefer these real world chracters and scenarios and when you can utterly believe them, when you feel you could step into the world we have created it is really a rush when it works out.
DF: Who is your favorite character in Snow Blind so far and why?
Tyler Jenkins: Teddy is my favorite. I like him. I believe in him. I want it to work out for him. That internal struggle he goes through, to understand that he can be his own person, that he is not his father, I like that. I have seen that.
Ollie Masters: I can’t reveal my real favorite character just yet without spoiling things so I’m gonna go with Teddy (who is an extremely close second). Mainly because he was just so fun to write.
DF: Secrets about one’s parents we learn in life are legion. Any personal stories from your own lives you see reflected in Snow Blind?
Ollie Masters: No, my parents have always been pretty open with me and I’ve never had any big reveals about them (unless I’m just not as smart as Teddy and never figured out my parents’ big secret. Maybe I should look into that ...).
Tyler Jenkins: Truthfully, my parents are awesome. But I have seen people close to me struggle to understand that they are their own person, and their life and destiny is determined by their own choices: not genetics and not the bad decisions or horrible life choices of their parents.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ollie Masters and Tyler Jenkins for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Snow Blind #1 (of 4) hits stores Dec. 9th!
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