The following is an interview with David Booher and Drew Zucker on the release of Canto II: The Hollow Men from IDW Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Booher and Zucker about the follow-up to their critically acclaimed series (Canto), their shared creative process in revisiting the world and characters, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Canto II: The Hollow Men with IDW Publishing! As the follow-up to your critically acclaimed series, Canto, what do returning readers have in store for them as the adventure continues?
David Booher: Thanks! Readers seem to have connected with Canto and his journey from the first story, and we hope that continues in the sequel. We’ve tried to put the same emotions, excitement, and heart into CANTO II that readers have come to expect from the little clockwork knight. And he’s getting some new friends!
Drew Zucker: Thanks, we’re really excited that we were given the opportunity to continue on with CANTO’s story. We have a larger adventure than Volume 1 planned for sure, but there also is a progression of the characters that we laid out in addition to some new ones.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in returning to the world and characters of Canto for book two?
DB: From day one, Drew and I have worked closely to bring CANTO to life. I constantly push the characters and world, and Drew rises to the occasion every time. CANTO II is more a complex story, but both of us have grown immensely as we’ve continued Canto’s story.
DZ: It’s simultaneously easier and harder. The scripts have become vastly more complex for me to draw, but part of that is David serving the story and pushing me as an artist and storyteller.
BD: Did you find that there was a creative shorthand to your process?
DB: Absolutely! We talk constantly. I have clear ideas of the story, and Drew almost always knows exactly what I’m visualizing (often better than I do!). It makes writing the CANTO scripts easier when we come to the story with a shared experience and understanding.
DZ: Definitely, we worked so closely in Volume 1, that now I generally get about 85 – 95% of the script worked out early on without any major changes.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Canto’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
DB: CANTO has always been about hope and courage against overwhelming adversity. He’s selfless, willing to do anything for those he cares about. That’s why I’ve loved this story and character from the very first moments he started to come to life. We need those things right now, given what we’re all facing in the world. I’ve always found comfort in CANTO, and I hope is that others feel the same way.
DZ: As we were about to kick off production on The Hollow Men, COVID came along and just bulldozed the world. For me personally, working on CANTO is what helped to keep me sane. CANTO is all about hope and fighting the odds; with the things feeling insurmountable CANTO really helped give me some hope that things are worth fighting for. I personally like to think I’m not the only person that needs that right now in the world.
BD: What makes IDW the perfect home for the Canto series?
DB: To me, CANTO always felt both old and new. He’s a new character, but he fits into all the great stories from the ’80s that kids in my generation adored. Given that IDW publishes books like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as original comics, it was a perfect fit. The IDW team has been exceptional, and frankly, I can’t imagine CANTO living anywhere other than the great home at IDW.
DZ: IDW has a history of producing not only great comics, but great stories. We’re grateful that they saw the value in what David and I were doing and counted us among those other stories.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DB: It’s mostly more CANTO if the readers continue to join us! I’m also developing a kids’ graphic novel series in the vein of GOOSEBUMPS, and a more adult oriented sci-fi series set for 2021. I’m also working on some TV and film projects.
DZ: CANTO CANTO CANTO, all CANTO, all the time. Right now, I have no other projects that are on the books beyond early development. I’m very focused on making sure CANTO hits shelves at the highest quality we can get it to.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Canto II and your other work?
DB: On the socials, it’s @davidbooher (Twitter), @davidmbooher (Instagram), and my website www.davidbooher.com. Readers can also follow @cantocomic on Twitter and Instagram, and they can buy the books at www.idwpublishing.com.
DZ: I’m all over the socials. Twitter: @Drew_Zucker / Instagram: @Drewzuckerart / Website www.artofdrewzucker.com