The following is an interview with comic book creator Tameka August-George on the series, August: Comfort Zone. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with August-George about the inspiration behind the project, how she approached the creative process, what she hopes that audiences will take away from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your comic book series, August: Comfort Zone! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Tameka August-George: Thank you so much. I had the idea of her (August) floating around in my head for at least 2 years before I put anything down on paper. Growing up, I had a basic love for comic books, like any other child, but I would not have called myself a fanatic. It developed as I got older and started falling in love with adult graphic novels and having the desire to see my own stories take on a visual outside of my mind. I wanted people to see it as I saw it. Writing a heroine-based story has always appealed to me, but I had to figure out what I was going to bring to the table, that had not necessarily been done from a certain angle. The basic most honest premise for this is story is “Extreme pain and trauma can sometimes be the catalyst for the most extraordinary displays of strength and power.”
Unfortunately, the inspiration came from having experienced some of my own personal traumas, but I channeled that, as well as interjected my surroundings, to create a fictitious place and delve into what I considered magic, spirituality, or power to be. I wanted to re-interpret my own native folklore and create a universe of my own where she (August) could be as great as I wanted her to be, without limits. August had to be compelling and complex. I want people to see that. I was inspired to tell a story like this, because I wanted to see my own type of hero, from an Afro-Caribbean perspective. August being a true “Island Girl” was my vessel for creating a hero deeply rooted in West Indian culture. She’s not an alien, she’s not a demi god, she’s not a mutant, but she would make any one of them cower and still admire her.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing and illustrating August, and what have been some of your creative influences?
TAG: I had the story floating around in my head for a while. I put down the entire first arc and honestly I was scared. It was a lot. I knew I would go crazy if I tried to tackle the entire thing, so I decided to figure out how I would break up the first set of issues. It felt less daunting, because I was able to create individual beginnings and ends. A start and a finish. When I felt comfortable with how I wanted the first issue to be laid out, I created my own storyboard to get a feel and a flow (i.e., cutting out magazine pictures of people who reminded me of the characters, scenes, and locations that looked familiar to the story). I then did some sketches of my own, then went on my quest to find a capable artist. I knew that once my direction was clear to me, it would be easier to give the artist a better chance at translating my story to viable graphics.
I really love the grit and story of The Walking Dead, Black Lightning, and, of course, Stan Lee is inspiration to anyone who has a whole other universe floating around in their heads and a crazy dream. The man is just a legend.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
TAG: I mostly hope that they enjoy it and want to know more about August, see how amazing she is, and watch her transformation from unsure to powerful. I also want readers to become fascinated with West Indian culture beyond the typical tourist stuff and carnival revelry.
BD: Do you have plans to expand the August world into additional graphic novels or an ongoing comic book series?
TAG: August is a series. This is just the first issue. The others are being worked on as I type this.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
TAG: It would be a dream come true to see my characters on film. A scripted weekly series on a major network.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
TAG: My focus and my baby is August. I want to see her reach her full potential.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about August: Comfort Zone?
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