The following is an interview with Giles Clarke, creator of the comic book series, The World of Tomorrow. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Clarke about the inspiration behind the series, his shared creative process in bringing it to life, what he hopes that readers will take away from the series, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on your recent Kickstarter success for your comic book series, The World of Tomorrow! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Giles Clarke: Thank you! It was our first crowdfunding campaign, and we were really thrilled by the response. We launched the weekend of San Diego Comic-Con and ran through September 2nd, meeting our goal, and then some!
The World of Tomorrow is an off-the-wall comedy series set in 1950s Hollywood, following Craig Barstow, the burned-out lead actor on the FORMERLY top rated sci-fi show on television, The World of Tomorrow, but both Craig AND the show are a little past their prime. Perpetually drunk and indebted to the mob for unpaid gambling dues, Craig finds out the show is being cancelled and he’s out of a job.When the mob gets wind of this, they attempt to rub him out, but this hit job doesn’t go as planned and leaves Craig believing that he actually IS the TV show’s heroic main character: Captain Cal Armstrong. Now, with the mob on his tail and his tyrannical studio boss at his throat, Craig needs to find a way to save his sanity, keep his show on the air, AND save his girlfriend all before the show’s 5pm final broadcast!
The story was inspired by my love of history and the movies. I currently live in Los Angeles, a city perpetually tied to the film and television industry. Despite LA’s obsession with “new,” there is still a lot of history here, if you know where to look. Those little bungalow communities, overshadowed by the larger apartment complexes, the shuttered production studios that you drive past without a moment’s thought. All of those things were, at one time, the brand new thing that everyone envied.
Those locations served as a great backdrop to build a story on. So, too, did the early days of television. It was such an interesting time. Studios had this incredible platform to reach into American homes, and they were just trying to figure out what worked. There was no rule book yet.
Setting the story in the 1950s allowed for a lot fun obstacles to overcome, just based on the time period. There were no smart phones, GPS, or ride share services. If you lost your car keys and missed the bus, you were walking. If you didn’t know where you were and couldn’t find a map or someone to ask, you were lost. It all worked together dynamically to inspire and create this story.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working with Kenan Halilović, Felipe Obando, and Deron Bennett, and what have been some of your creative influences?
GC: Before the series went into production, a lot of research went into it. I created a reference book of street scenes, vehicles, interiors, and wardrobe items. Even the smallest items like beer bottles and clothes pins were researched to make it look as accurate as possible. All of that helped the art team in recreating that world. They did an incredible job capturing the look and feel of 1950s Hollywood.
Putting together a comic is truly a collaborative enterprise. It’s like running a relay race with each team member taking the baton from the previous one and gives it their all during their lap around the track.
Illustrator and inker Kenan Halilović perfectly designed everything from clothing to furniture, vehicles and street exteriors. What you see is how it looked. Seeing all of these characters and scenes brought to life was really amazing. His portfolio was incredible and when I saw the test pages he did, I knew he was the right artist to bring this world to life. You can see a lot more of his work here.
Colorist Felipe Obando brought amazing textures and lighting to every panel. When you see the show on a television screen, it’s not just in grayscale, but rather in that mild sepia hue, which was more accurate of televisions of that day. I was blown away week after week seeing the lighting and layering that he put into each panel. His ability to capture the time of day through the angle of the light from panel to panel is truly stellar. You can see examples of his work here.
Deron Bennett did a fantastic job with the lettering. He was able to subtly layer in the dialogue around the art in such a way that the story just flowed and felt very organic. He found new and engaging ways to render sound effects throughout the book and really brought all of it to life and gave it a great kinetic energy. I thought the pages looked amazing before I sent them off to him, but when they came back, they were truly alive. You can find more of his work here.
As far as creative influences, I try to read as many books and watch as many movies as I can. Literary influences would have to be Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, and, of course, Stan Lee. Cinematic influences would have to be Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Jim Henson, and Hal Ashby.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
GC: I think we all hope that The World of Tomorrow allows readers to escape for a little while and come away with a feeling of being entertained by an engaging story told well, with incredible art work and engaging characters.
BD: How many issues do you have planned for The World of Tomorrow?
GC: It is currently slated for a year-long run as a standalone series. There could be subsequent adventures into this world, but each would have a distinct beginning, middle and end.
BD: Given that the series marks the debut of your publishing company, Uncharted Wilderness Studios, what do you feel defines (or will come to define) an Uncharted Wilderness book?
GC: Engaging stories told well. We’re here to entertain and to help people escape when they pick up one of our books and adventure into the uncharted wilderness of their imagination.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
GC: Well, right now we’re focused on creating the best comics around. But, should The World of Tomorrow evolve into another medium, there certainly are endless possibilities these days. Given the closed-ended nature of the story, it would be best suited for a theatrical film or mini-series on a platform like Netflix or Amazon.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
GC: We’re hard at work on a western horror book that we’re very excited about, as well as a line of historical and biographical comics that are as entertaining as they are educational.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The World of Tomorrow?
GC: Readers can follow us on social media platforms such as Instagram (@unchartedwildernessstudios), where we post an interesting historical fact of the day. We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Readers can also sign up for our newsletter on our website, www.uwstudios.com, where they can keep up-to-date on our latest releases and where to purchase them in stores.