Comic books have become increasingly popular over the years, with many titles being adapted into television series and films. Preacher by Garth Ennis is the most recent one to be translated to the small screen (an incredible series that I urge you to check out) so I’m always on the lookout for new things to read.
The first thing that struck me about Trespasser was the artwork by the talented Kristian Rossi, it’s not overly complicated but detailed and striking. The story starts off with a father and daughter in a cabin that seems isolated from the rest of society and it’s here that things get really interesting and I found myself getting pulled in. As the father ventures outside in search of food I found myself asking questions like why is he being so cautious? Why is he taking readings of radiation levels? But this isn’t even the start of it, what the protagonist finds in one of his bear traps completely blew me away.
I’ll be honest I was expecting this to be another zombie comic (not that there’s anything wrong with them but the story has been told in so many different variations that there’s nothing fresh anymore) but it’s not zombie, it’s an alien. What happens next is the main character looking after it, trying to communicate and understand it. I won’t give away the ending because I want you to read it, but this debut comic left me wanting more and left me with plenty of questions which I hope (and I’m sure) will get answered along the way. Refreshing, intriguing and unusual Trespasser is definitely one you should check out. I was lucky enough to get some time with the writer Justin M.Ryan and here’s what he had to say.
Where did the idea come from?
The first image that came into my mind and eventually grew into Trespasser was of the alien stuck in the bear trap. The rest of the story grew as necessary around that situation, and the moral quandary it presented to the protagonists.
What made you want to sit down and tell this story?
I’m a genre fiction writer through and through so sooner or later I was going to write a story about aliens visiting Earth. I don’t enjoy writing anything that feels like it’s been done a hundred times before though, so it had to have a unique angle. Once I started expanding on the original idea, I ended up with a setting and cast of characters that added a lot to the base plot and I really enjoyed writing. This allowed me to expand the story past the initial idea and explore the relationship between Hector and Maria more in the following issues and how the events of the visit impacted them in the future.
How difficult was it putting all the pieces together?
It actually went pretty smoothly, much more so than I’m used to! Story wise there aren’t very many ingredients so I was able to focus on the key elements and let them all move at their own pace. As far as actually producing the book, I was very lucky to find the team I did pretty quickly as well, and got my first choice with both. Kristian and David both responded to help wanted ads, and were able to fill their initial roles and then some to great effect. Keeping the team small has also helped make sure we don’t design a camel, as there’s a consistent style that we can maintain all the way through pencils, inks, colors, and then lettering, lay out, and design without worrying over much about miscommunication or anyone stepping on anyone else’s toes.
Could you visualise how you wanted the protagonist to look or did you leave that to the artist (Kristian Rossi – who is incredibly talented by the way)?
I had an image in mind and a very loose description of all the characters in the script, but I think Kristian might be a mind reader as they came out perfect on his first try. In fact, the sample page he did before we started is in the final book without any changes. His work keeps getting better too!
It felt quite isolated, will the entire series take part in the house or will the characters venture outside?
The majority of the series will take place either in the house or the areas directly surrounding it. Saying any more ventures into spoiler territory though! I will say there was an early version of the scripts which saw Hector and Maria hitting the road for the last couple of issues but I ultimately scrapped the idea since it felt too much like other post apocalyptic road stories and lost a lot of Trespasser’s unique feel. I ultimately decided that the isolation and tighter narrative lens were necessary and served the plot and characters better.
Hard to say! I’ve got a finished script for a graphic novel called Fifty Teeth that I’m going to work on once Trespasser’s over and a few other projects at varying stages of completion which I won’t mention for fear of cursing them.
Published by Alterna comics. The second issue was released in April, and the upcoming issue 3 will be released on June 15th. The final issue will be available in August, either the 10th or 17th. It’s available on Comixology I will be reviewing the remaining issues on here too, so to avoid any spoilers why not read it yourself?!