One of the most well regarded teams in comic books today are the Luna Brothers, writer Joshua and and artist Jonathan. Together, they crafted stellar series like Girls, The Sword and Ultra. Now, Joshua Luna is working solo on his new Image Comics creator-owned series, Whispers. The series has already received some serious buzz, including highlighting last week’s Wednesday Run, which you can read here. Joshua Luna was kind enough to answers questions via email about Whispers, working on his own and much more.
Joshua Luna: Thank you. I’d describe it as part horror, part drama, and part paranormal/psychological thriller.
Andy Burns: What was the inspiration for Whispers?
Joshua Luna: The concept of free will fascinates me. Do we truly make choices or is everything predetermined by genetics, fate, divine forces, etc? I wanted to explore these ideas.
Andy Burns: Sam, your main character, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which you demonstrate so well throughout Whispers. Why did you decide that this would be something Sam would be dealing with?
Joshua Luna: When I give a character a supernatural ability, I like to make him or her the opposite of that power in order to emphasize the transformation and the sense of empowerment. Sam discovers that he has the ability to read and manipulate people’s thoughts and leave his body in “ghost” form and travel through our world without touching anything. So, I thought, ‘who’d benefit from this power?’ The idea of a socially awkward, insecure man with OCD clicked with me.
Joshua Luna: The two actually work together rather naturally. I’ve found that with OCD victims, their thought processes can often start relatively logically but then extrapolate into something extreme and very unrealistic. Sam’s character definitely walks a fine line between sanity and insanity, but OCD seemed like the perfect vehicle to bridge the two.
Andy Burns: One of the aspects of the title I really enjoyed was the conversations between Sam and his “friends” (for lack of a better term) – I’m wondering if you could tell me how you approach writing dialogue. Do you have any sort of tricks or methods you use?
Joshua Luna: My main priorities when writing dialogue are to move the plot and to sound as realistic as possible. Sometimes, I say what I write out loud to make sure it sounds natural. And I also never really write detailed dialogue in scripts until I’m at the lettering phase where I can see the art and play off of the characters’ reactions and be more spontaneous.
Andy Burns: Comic fans know you as one half of The Luna Brother with your brother Jonathan and series like The Sword and Ultra (which I recently caught up on – brilliant work). Why was Whispers the right story for you to handle all the creative work on?
Joshua Luna: It was more of an issue of timing and my work situation. I’ve always wanted to draw as well as write, but throughout the three series we’ve collaborated on, I had a fulltime government job. But now I’m only doing comics, so I’m finally able to handle everything. Whispers is one of many story ideas I had in mind, but I felt it was the best one to start with.
Andy Burns: What are the pros of working on a series on your own? Alternately, what sort of cons have come up, if any?
Joshua Luna: Pros—obviously, the complete creative control. And the cons of doing a series on your own is, um, doing a series on your own. It’s A LOT of work, especially when it’s a creator-owned series. On top of making the book, you have to be on top of the business end as well.
Andy Burns: Are you working on anything else at the moment?
Joshua Luna: I’m completely focused on Whispers.
Andy Burns: And finally, are you reading anything, comic books or otherwise, that you think Biff Bam Pop readers should check out?
Joshua Luna: Unfortunately, the only thing I have time to read is Whispers when I proofread it. You guys should check that out.
Thanks to Joshua Luna for taking the time to talk to Biff Bam Pop! As well, thanks to Image Comics Sarah deLaine for helping make it happen!