Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your comic book series, Strangelands, through Humanoids’ new H1 imprint! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the series’ premise?
Darcie Little Badger: The series tagline is: "Two strangers find themselves inextricably tied together by inexplicable superpowers. Fighting their connection could mean destroying the world." And that isn't an exaggeration. Elakshi and Adam Land, the titular duo of Strangelands, can't touch each other (or things go kablooey). The problem is, they can't get too far apart, either (or things go kablooey). So, these two twenty-somethings who used to live fairly typical lives suddenly gotta learn to survive together (or die trying). As they search for a "cure" and navigate the bumps of their weird relationship, Adam and Elakshi are pursued across the globe by a homicidal mystery man. It's a ride.
BD: What inspired you to tell this story alongside co-writer Magdalene Visaggio?
DLB: The Strangelands concept was developed by the H1 architects, Kwanza Osajyefo, Yanick Paquette, and Carla Speed McNeil; however, Mags and I have a lot of freedom to work within this framework, and we pull our inspiration from all manner of sources. During our brainstorming sessions, when we agree on issue beats and plots, Mags and I weave threads from both our lives and our wildest imagination into the series. That's what's cool about the H1 imprint; its series dance the line between reality and fantasy.
BD: Given that the series is one of the main titles within the H1 imprint, were there any interesting challenges to working within a shared universe of storytelling?
DLB: Oh, definitely! Working on an H1 series is like playing with the butterfly effect. Every action characters take, every choice that is made, impacts the universe. So, as creators, we need to keep that in mind. Adam and Elakshi can't blow up the moon, in other words (unless the architects agree that the H1 universe doesn't need a moon). Similarly, Mags and I had to work within the established physics and timeline of the universe. That said, I didn't feel restricted by this challenge at all. If anything, the shared aspect gives each series extra complexity.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with not only Visaggio, but also Guillermo Sanna and Mike McKone?
DLB: I get into the methods Mags and I used to co-write Strangelands in Issue 1; briefly, Mags is an incredible storyteller, and she's easy to work with. Co-writing has been an exceptionally rewarding experience!
I remember seeing Mike McKone's cover art early in the writing process and feeling energized and inspired. As for Guillermo Sanna, he totally vibed with the script. In terms of the creative process, I think I sent a lot of feedback like, "Whoa, that's awesome." I'm so impressed by the energy of his art and the personality he gives each character. Really, I'm on tenterhooks to see what he does with the dance scenes and, er, stranger moments in future issues.
BD: What makes Humanoids the perfect home for this series?
DLB: Humanoids has always been more concerned with publishing good comics than "safe" comics. This culture is perfect for the entire H1 imprint, really.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
DLB: Sure thing! I just submitted a script for MOONSHOT: The Indigenous Comics Collection (Volume 3). The theme of this MOONSHOT collection is "Indigenous futurisms;" my contribution is inspired by my scientific experience with toxin-producing plankton.
In terms of prose, my first book, Elatsoe, will be published in 2020. It'll be filled with ghostly art by Rovina Cai; I can't believe my luck. She's among my favorite artists!
Ehm. Some other comic-related projects are in the pipeline, but I sadly can't say more than that yet.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Strangelands?
DLB: Strangelands is available lots of places (including digitally), and Issue 2 drops in August! I suggest reading #1 and #2 as a pair to decide whether the series is your jam!