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Fanbase Press Interviews the Creative Team Behind the Comic, ‘Wait.,’ from the Latest Edition of the ‘F(r)iction’ Literary Journal

The following is an interview with writer Karla Nappi, illustrator Isabel Burke, and Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of F(r)iction Dani Hedlund regarding the recent inclusion of the comic, Wait.,” in the latest edition of the F(r)iction literary journal. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Nappi, Burke, and Hedlund about their shared creative process in bringing the story and characters to life on the page, what they hope that readers may take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent inclusion of “Wait.” in the F(r)iction literary journal!  For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the story’s premise? 

Karla Nappi: It’s a story of love and survival set in a frozen apocalypse where the world is in darkness the majority of the time.  Xoriyo is this young woman, who in another life may have been a successful artist, but is having to scrounge for food and eat whatever she can find or kill to survive.  In this world, when she comes across Morris, this raggedy dog, her first thought is food, but her humanity isn’t quite gone yet and they create this lovely bond that’s explored throughout the comic.

BD: What can you share with us about the genesis behind this comic and your decision to submit to the F(r)iction project specifically? 

KN: I met Dani at San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago at portfolio review.  They were looking for writers, and I submitted my comic, Duplicant, for them to read.  They read Duplicant and offered me the chance to pitch them some ideas.  I submitted three stories and the one they chose was based off a micro fiction piece I crafted for NPR’s Three Minute Fiction contest.  It didn’t win, but I really loved the challenge of weekly writing these little stories and felt sure they could become something more, so it was exciting to be able to build out the original story into what it became.

BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in bringing this story to life?

Dani Hedlund: As Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of F(r)iction, I’m directly engaged in the process of bringing our comics to life. Although all our issues are united under the banner of elevating emerging talent, our comics are particularly verdant soil for presenting new voices. For example, we usually bring on big-name authors—Carmen Maria Machado, Al Ewing, Rebecca Roanhorse, just to name a few—to create comic scripts that we can match with an emerging artist, using the process to mentor, build their resumes, and launch careers (all the while, giving our readers some truly remarkable short comics!)

For “Wait,” we got to take that a step further and work with both an emerging author and artist. As Karla mentioned, I met her at San Diego Comic-Con years ago, where I was doing portfolio critiques. It was evident immediately that Karla had some serious writing chops, and she was unafraid to tackling in-depth world building.

When she pitched to F(r)iction, I was really taken by the idea of “Wait.” It felt like an intriguing mix of epics like I Am Legend—a single human and their dog, trying to survive a dead world—and something quieter and more intimate, like Station Eleven. I got to edit the piece with Karla and spend a lot of fascinating time in her apocalyptic world (falling, of course, deeply in love with her pup).

My Assistant Creative Director Edge and I tend to entirely run the art creation after the script is finalized which allows us to focus on mentoring our artist or art team in a much deeper way than your typical writer/artist relationship. Luckily for us, Isabel Burke came onto the project, and although she is young in the industry, her comic chops are outstanding. This was actually the second comic we’ve created with her.

Both Karla and Isabel were lovely to work with, and Edge and I had a blast with the limited palette, playing with Isabel on light and darkness as if they were their own characters!

Isabel Burke: We actually didn’t have any correspondence besides a quick hello on instagram! I was approached by, and worked primarily with, Edge and Dani (the art directors/editors) to bring the art side of it to life. It was a lot of back-and-forth on layout and how to really nail the important beats in the story. Dani had a really interesting depth and understanding of Karla’s vision for story direction which was incredibly helpful as we workshopped how to arrange various aspects of the visuals, from bubbles/narration all the way to the final layout, which was revised several times to really try and make sure our order of operations on the last few moments of the story hit where they needed to from a reader’s standpoint. 

BD: Isabel, did you have a specific art style in mind when you first read the concept for “Wait.,” or do you feel that your design evolved over time after working through the script with Karla?

IB: A lot of decisions I made regarding style direction were the transition from dark to light and back to dark again. As I worked on it, I discovered a very intentional need to ensure the style translated as the light in the world shifts. Combining that transition with the limited color palette also posed a unique artistic hurdle in that we wanted the world in sunlight to feel bright and warmer, even though one of the two colors I was working with was teal. I wanted to bring in a lot of traditional textures to help make the atmosphere feel icy and still, especially in the introductory environment shots, which is why I ended up rendering things more than I would have with a traditional comic style. 

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 this story may connect with and impact readers?

KN: I think this story is one of hope.  One of trying to find ways to stay connected to what brings you joy even when the world is in literal darkness.  And of not giving up even when it seems there’s no way out.

DH: Like most apocalyptic stories, Karla and Isabel focused on what the world is like without luxury, safety, and community. For this story, survival is made even harder when “light” and “warmth” are just as scarce.

As readers are immersed in this world, we hope that they question the difference between “surviving” and “thriving,” and wonder not just what they would do in a world this cold and broken, but also what is the most important to helping humanity thrive, in any world.

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers? 

KN: I’m aiming to do a Kickstarter for the trade paperback of the first five issues of Duplicant this year.  I’m especially excited that David Walker contributed the foreword for it.  I’m also hoping to finally dive into an anthology I’ve been wanting to create called Curio: A Collection of Historical Oddities.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about “Wait.” and your other work? 

KN: Isabel’s fantastic artwork on “Wait.” is going to suck you into Xoriyo and Morris’ story.  You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from it.
You can find me on IG and threads at @musingsbycrazed and at my website,

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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