Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this new series and where we pick up after the initial Billionaire Island series?
Steve Pugh: Hey, thanks! Cult of Dogs is set in the aftermath of the apocalyptic financial collapse that we joyfully sent the world into at the end of Billionaire Island. It’s part odyssey through how the fallout affects the country, and part search for the last remaining billionaire, Business Dog, who many believe can fix the world.
BD: What can you tell us about your creative process in working with writer Mark Russell, and do you find that you have developed a creative “shorthand” in returning to this satirical world together?
SP: Mark has no real proof I exist to be honest—even now we’ve never met and I rarely leave the cave, but he sends these beautifully crafted stories over, and I draw them. I think I’ve got a bead on what he needs, or the stories need. There’s humor and tragedy and farce often on the same page, and I vary the tone of the art to support where he’s taking the reader. Trying not to kill subtle deadpan moments by going too goofy or conversely step on a joke by missing the tone shift. It’s all about leading the reader along where Mark’s taking them.
BD: As with all of AHOY Comics’ titles, this series is sure to be packed with incredible bonus features. What will readers have in store with the first issue?
SP: Sure! There’s two excellent illustrated prose stories. The first by A.A. Rubin is a dive into the world of underground cheese, and the second by Carrie Harris is a dark tale about an unwanted tattoo. I’m not a smart man, but I’m pretty sure both were heavy on metaphor!
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 Cult of Dogs’ story may connect with and impact readers?
SP: Mark splits the narrative for Cult of Dogs. Overarching is this political, often violent struggle between opposing forces and their mercenaries to find and control Business Dog’s wealth, but that’s contrasted with Shelly, the reporter from the first series, wandering through this new landscape and meeting people and communities that were caught in the devastation of the billionaires’ games and schemes. The collapse has brought out the best and the worst and often the craziest responses from people. Some are scared, some enthused with the opportunities, some traumatized and lost. We see through her eyes how a world spins after it’s lost its self-appointed spindle.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
SP: Got a big DC mini-series coming up that should be a blast, but it hasn’t been announced yet, so other than that, I’m going to be staying in my cave and doing some more hand prints on my walls.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs and your other work?
SP: As always, buy our book—we tried really hard! stevepugh.com has all the social media links for modern platforms on a hilariously out-of-date blogger that I can’t remember how to update.