The following is an interview with David Wilburn regarding the release of the collected trade paperback of Plainer Jane. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Wilburn about the shared creative process of bringing the story and characters to life, why the story may connect with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of the collected Plainer Jane trade paperback! What will readers have in store with this collected edition of the series?
David Wilburn: The original version was black and white, with the main sequentiual artist being replaced about a third of the way through the series. So, for the graphic novel version, we have taken the time not only to have everything coloured by the fantastic Linda Scott Campbell, but to have Samir Simão draw around 60 new pages and leaving us with the same artist throughout. There have also been several pages added later in the book to really round out a scene that I felt needed expanding on.
Additionally, it gave us the opportunity to tweak the final script and re-letter the book throughout, allowing us to improve the overall pacing and flow. This really is the ultimate edition of the book
BD: In looking back at the development and creation of the series, what can you share with us about your creative process in working with artist Samir Simão and colorist Linda Scott Campbell that really made this series unique?
DW: I think most creators these days are often working with people from around the world, people they may never even meet in real life. It can be very rewarding but also very complicated, especially when you are trying to replicate the look and feel of a city (in this case Manchester) that the other people involved in the book have never visited. You need to be very detailed about certain things, and provide a lot of information and references for the artists, but at the same time leave them with enough freedom to express themselves along the way!
Finding a main artist and a colourist whose work complements each other is a challenge, as well. Linda in particular has been sympathetic to Samir’s excellent line work, while finding a style that works well both for the feel of the book, but also for the city, and the genre. Finding the balance has been key to getting everything to look as good as it ultimately does.
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 Jane’s story has connected with readers?
DW: I made the decision very early to avoid special powers, even the almost superhuman powers you find in characters with extreme training. And instead to focus on the human core of the characters. How would relatively “normal” people, in particular a seemingly ordinary young woman, survive in a world of gangsters and murderers? What unexpected skills might they bring with them? How might their age and gender be an advantage? I also wanted to make the point that everyone has their vulnerabilities and that no one in the story is untouchable.
I think the reality of that is what has resonated with readers. The city and the people that inhabit it feel real and relatable.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
DW: Yes! My new book, The Ghost System, is out on Kickstarter.
The book is a gripping cyberpunk thriller following the story of Soro, an isolated young man hiding from his broken past, and the dangerous international hacker collective The Ghost System as both sides are brought together in a battle for survival and dominance.
It’s a four-issue mini series. Standard US comic size, 28 pages (approx.) per issue, full colour. Written and created by David Wilburn, art by Rafael Romeo Magat, lettering by Tim West, covers by Clark Bint, colours by Linda Scott Campbell, variant covers by John Charles. Printed and distributed by Comix Well Spring in the US and Canada, and Mixam Print in the UK, Europe, and ROW.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about the Plainer Jane trade paperback?
DW: For the time being at least, the book won’t be available to purchase as I am in discussions about a publishing deal. But for future updates about it, the best place to go is my Facebook page.