Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Retroactive! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this story, and what was your inspiration?
Ibrahim Moustafa: Sure! The elevator pitch is: “James Bond x Groundhog Day.” Those movies also happen to be big inspirations for the book. I love a good time loop story, and I love spy fiction, and I thought, “I don’t think anyone has ever really mashed them up in this way before,” so I set out to make the story I’d want to read.
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in working with colorist Brad Simpson and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou to bring this story to life?
IM: Firstly, thanks for mentioning them. They’re vital members of the team and I’m very happy to see them mentioned here. Brad and I really have a kind of mental shorthand that’s pretty phenomenal. He “gets” what I’m trying to do every time and enhances it with his beautiful palettes and rendering. I’m super-lucky that he keeps agreeing to work with me, haha.
Likewise with Hassan. I really love to explore what the medium of comics can do on the page, and he thinks very similarly. He takes big swings that really pay off.
BD: What made Humanoids (and your work with editor Rob Levin) the perfect home for this project?
IM: Humanoids has always been a leader of telling original sci-fi stories, and Publisher Mark Waid’s vision for the company really allows for telling stories like this. Rob Levin is the best editor I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He’s SO good at his job, and we see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, and likewise, he’s always there to challenge things to see if there’s a better way to do them. (There often is, and he’s usually right, haha.)
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Tarik’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
IM: As a big fan of espionage stories and time travel stories alike, it’s VERY rare that anyone who looks like me or has a name like mine is the protagonist. Or even a supporting character. The opposite is usually true, unfortunately. So, I set out to change that. I’ve, for the first time over the last few years, seen myself and my culture represented in larger ways in media, and I was really struck quite hard by how good and validating it felt. I really hope that my work can do that same thing for people in its own way.
BD: Readers will be eagerly anticipating your next project with Humanoids as part of your three-book collaboration. Are there any details that you’re able to share with our readers regarding the genre or premise of the book?
IM: Unfortunately, it’s a bit too early to share anything, but I can tell you that I just handed in the first draft of the script today, and I’m very excited to start drawing it. I think if folks have enjoyed my previous Humanoids offerings (especially Count), they’re really going to like this one.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Retroactive and your other work?
IM: My social media pages (Twitter - @Ibrahim_M_) are where I post about all of my work, and I’ve started to post a lot of process videos over on my YouTube channel, as well. A search of my name and “art” will generally pull me right up on any of those.
Thanks so much for your time and the great questions!