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Fanboy Comics Interviews David Flores on His ‘Ex Machina’ Illustration Series

The following is an interview with writer/artist David Flores (Dead Future King) who recently compiled a series of illustrations inspired by the sci-fi film, Ex Machina. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Flores about what connected with him from the film, his creative process in completing the illustrations, and what he hopes that audiences will take away from the illustrations and the film!

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Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: You recently released a series of illustrations inspired by the sci-fi film, Ex Machina. Which aspects of the film inspired you to take on this project?

David Flores: Initially, it was the imagery. Because of my indirect connection to the ad campaign of this film, I was exposed to the feature months ago. Immediately, I was captivated by the atmospherics of the setting and of the robotic design of Ava, the heroine of the film. I’m a devout Stanley Kubrick fan, as well as Ridley Scott — in particular Alien and Blade Runner. It reminded me of their style of filmmaking, and then I discovered that Alex Garland wrote and directed it. I’m a fan of the screenplays he’s written, which include 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, and Dredd. (I’ve seen Dredd repeatedly — it’s both operatically violent and strangely beautiful.)  Based on that, I was intrigued to the point of inspiration. I wasn’t commissioned to do these illustrations. It was simply just me exploring the elements of this film that fascinated me.

BD: As a writer and an artist, do you feel as though you easily connect with film, given its visual medium?

DF: Comics have always been a part of my DNA, but I primarily connect with film. I went to school for film, and I’m a screenwriter. I like and love a bunch of movies, but I don’t always connect with those movies. I appreciate them for what what they are as, in some cases, just disposable entertainment; however, there are those few that leave a lasting, indelible impression long after the final credits roll — films that inspire and fuel my imagination. I believe Ex Machina is one of those films.

BD: How many illustrations have you completed for the project, and with which medium(s) did you utilize for the artwork?

DF: I’ve done a good amount for someone not affiliated with the film. Maybe about twenty — which is just a loose guess. I did more than I ever expected to do, which became more of a compulsion. Here, I was in the throes of doing illustrations that served no other purpose than fan art at the expense of using that precious time to finish Issue #4 of my comic series, Dead Future King. That’s the maddening allure of inspiration; it grabs onto your consciousness and drives in unexpected directions. Thankfully, the balance has returned, and I’m back on track with DFK. As far as mediums, I danced between analog and digital; I used pencil, Sharpie, and ball point pen (Bic pens create great lines.), and Photoshop and Manga Studio 5 EX. (This application has great brushes and pens.) The idea was to just experiment and try different things. Sometimes, I would just do loose sketches and stop there, and, in other cases, I pushed further, creating illustrations tight enough for print.

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BD: Did you have a specific approach or intent for each of the illustrations as you were creating them?

DF: It was mostly exploratory. At first it was me goofing around with a pen, doing some random sketches — mostly of Alicia Vikander (who plays Ava in the film). Aside from being breathtakingly beautiful, there was this winsome/wistful quality in her eyes (Ava’s eyes) that I wanted to capture. That led to the fascination with the robot design but in a more graphic design approach. Before long, I was drawing the other characters like Nathan (played by Oscar Isaac), which I had fun drawing. Nathan is a multifaceted, complex character that isn’t who he seems, and yet again that was something I wanted to capture. As I was doing a few of the earlier drawings, it occurred to me that I should post them, so that in some small, miniscule way I can spread awareness about this film. And, in doing so, I decided to post them on Instagram day after day as a countdown to the nationwide release of the film.

BD: What do you hope that your audience will take away from the illustrations?

DF: I hope they convey my excitement about the film, and in doing so inject those who look at them with a bit of that enthusiasm, as well. From what I see, there are those who are taking a liking to them; most notably the three actors from the film: Oscar Issac; Alicia Vikander; and and Sonoya Mizuno (Kyoko). They’ve done me the honor of clicking Likes for a few of my illustrations along with A24 Films, which distributes Ex Machina — that’s been a cool highlight.

BD: What are your hopes for Ex Machina once it has been released, and how do you anticipate that it will be received by audiences?

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DF: I hope it has a successful theatrical run rather than measuring its success based on cult-status acclaim. As much as I enjoy pure-adrenaline commercial sci-fi, I love sci-fi that delves into deeper, more profound themes. Ex Machina is a great mixture of both commercial and independent sensibilities — its solid, straight-forward storytelling with a more refined, elegant, and nuanced texture. I believe audiences will respond well to it because of that mixture.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

DF: I am VERY close to completing Issue #4 of Dead Future King which I published digitally by Alterna Comics. There are a couple of other graphic novel projects that I’m developing, as well!

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information regarding your Ex Machina illustrations and your other work?

DF: I’m always posting artwork like Ex Machina on – there you’ll find a lot of sketches and random doodles, as well as at There’s my comic book series, Dead Future King, which is available as a digital download published by Alterna Comics (, through ComiXology, or as a trade paperback (Issues #3-4) published by Golden Apple Books and AuthorHouse.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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