Extremity And Redneck – Daniel Warren Johnson And Donny Cates Talk Skybound At ECCC

by Staff


Skybound took over the Twitch livestream stage at Emerald City Comic Con on Saturday to talk about their current and upcoming books.
Daniel Warren Johnson draws Extremity, a science fiction fantasy story, is currently coming out. It’s about floating islands, and the people who live there. There world used to be a futuristic tech world that’s now broken down. People scavenge on these different levels to survive. It’s a revenge story, but more about a person’s identity and what happens when a person’s identity is taken away. Warren Johnson writes and draws, with Mike Spicer on colors. The first issue came out on Wednesday, March 1st, and is going back to second print due to demand.

Donny Cates is doing a book with Skybound called Redneck, about a group of vampires who live in East Texas. Amazingly, that title had never been used for a vampire book, to Cates’ surprise. Cates is a vampire nut anyway, he said, and he thinks the best vampire works are never really about vampires. It’s a really personal story for him, too. His extended family growing up were a “bummer”, every kind of awful Texas stereotype you can think of, Cates said. But his family tried to break the cycle of violence and prejudice.
Redneck is about a tribe of monsters trying to live differently than their ancestors. You can point to Southern vampire stories like True Blood, but the characters were pretty and poetic, but these people are simply country people who are still backwoods. The family live off the blood of cattle, and sell the meat to humans for a BBQ shop, and things are peaceful until things aren’t. Seeing the family go from likeable to a position of being threatened is part of the development of the story, and meeting them again when they have had to become monstrous.

Cates said that he just wrote issue #13 of the series and the team are really committed to the book, which he hopes retailers will value.
Sean Mackiewicz, the editorial director at Skybound, said that Skybound have never published a Vampire book, but  this was the right one. Skybound currently publishes about 10-12 comics at a time, with new stuff coming up all the time.
Talking about Cates’ other Image book at the moment, God Country, he tried to explain the differences between East and West Texas. West Texas is like the classic idea of the “old west”, which is awe-inspiring. East Texas is “rattlesnakes and racists”. It’s a story that follows the life of an aging grandfather who is losing his memories to alzheimers, and the magic sword that returns his mind to him, while being claimed by Kirby-esque gods who want it back.

Cates, commenting on Daniel Warren Johnson’s book, Extremity, said that main character Thea teaches herself how to draw with her left hand because she’s lost her drawing hand. Warren Johnson drew her drawings with his left hand, so you can see him progressing and learning to do that along with the character. Having a sketchbook is a new way to “show emotion on the comic page”, said Warren Johnson as we watch her draw following conflicts she’s facing. There’s talk of doing an Art of Extremity at Skybound because of the amount of material Warren Johnson has produced for the series. There wouldn’t be much script included, though, since his scripts are really short, not needing to tell himself how to draw something.
Mackiewicz said that Skybound publishes something for everyone. There are definitely zombie books, though. The Walking Dead will be going forward to issue 300 and no signs of slowing.

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