Shooting The Breeze With AHOY Comics ‘Ash & Thorn’ Artist Soo Lee

by Olly MacNamee

Olly MacNamee: Now, for many creators a life of isolation is nothing new, but these are, I think we can all agree, unprecedented times. As such, have you noticed any changes yet to your regular daily routines, for better or for worse?
Soo Lee: The biggest change during the quarantine is not being able to see my friends and going out. I know a lot of other creators can feel that way. My vice is going out to eat and drink, so I miss that very much. 
OM: Like so many others, have you pledged to take up any new hobbies or interests during this downtime? I imagine after one week that resolution—like New Year’s Eve resolutions—may have ebbed for some? So, do you ebb or flow? And that’s not euphemism!
SL: I promised myself to do more artwork for fun. I also have some personal projects I’ve been wanting to start so I’d like to push myself to get those finally done. 

Cover art by Jill Thompson

OM: This could very well go on for a few months, listening to the experts rather than the politicians. We’re all going to soon be clambering the walls, if we’re not distracted. What comic book gems will you have the time to go back, dig out and re-read and suggest to our readers to go order from their local comic book store to help support their business?
SL: I’ve been thinking of going back and re-reading some indie comics as well as some Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely books, partially as homework and mostly for pleasure. Also I’d like to try but I don’t know if i’ll have the time to re-read all of Preacher. That should definitely be on your order list if you haven’t read it, it’s a doozy. 
OM: And, what will be playing on your turntable over the coming weeks? What albums could you not live without?
SL: I’ve been really digging Dua Lipa’s new album, Future Nostalgia. That entire album has been really scratching an itch I didn’t know I had and it’s insanely catchy. It’s hard to cherry pick albums I can’t live without but I’m actually a big metal head so throw than in the mix and I’m as happy as a clam. 
OM: Any box sets you’ll be going back to rewatching? Or any new films and TV you may now have the time to invest in?
SL: For TV I’m trying to get into shows I’ve put away for a while such as Deadwood, Westworld and The Young Pope. But I’m currently rewatching Mad Men. Same goes for movies. I can’t watch a new movie while I work because I won’t be able to focus so I can only rewatch movies I’ve seen multiple times or I watch a lot of documentaries. I have a big backlist I’d like to sit down and watch. It’s also a long list because I don’t watch movies in the theaters anymore so I have to wait for them to be available to stream.

OM: I must admit, getting back to comics, it’s been really pleasing to read, see and hear the comic book communities coming together at a time like this. What have been some of the positive stories coming out of the comic book industry that have caught your eye over the past week or so?
SL: Some of my friends have started working on projects they’ve put on hold again and being proactive. There’s also been a big surge of cool art challenges coming out on social media so those are fun to look through and participate in, it’s a good distraction and it feels like we’re a part of something together. 
OM: It would have been the start of another busy comic con season on both sides of the pond, but alas no more. Will you miss these chances to socialise and meet up with fellow colleagues and friends? 
SL: Oh, shows are a great place for friends from all corners of the world to meet up and I definitely miss that the most. I don’t always get to see my friends because of work or distance so it’s a great chance for us to loosen up and have fun. Conventions are great for business but being with friends, meeting people and networking is the best part of these shows. But as much as I hope we’ll all be able to attend shows again real soon, the public safety and health comes first, so all in due time. 

OM: What hopes do you harbour for the comic book industry once these stormy clouds have passed?
SL: I hope there is a new appreciation for the people behind the comics. It’s all a team effort and without the team, there wouldn’t be comics. I also hope publishers look to shaking things up and working on fresh and different stories. 
OM: Finally, and to leave a smile on our readers’ faces, have you heard any good/bad jokes recently? 
SL: Sorry I spend most of my time frowning. Just kidding, but I’m no good with punchlines. 
OM: Many thanks, and all the best. A phrase with even more weight to it than usual.
SL: Thank you so much and I really want to thank everyone who supports all the creators, especially in a time like this. You don’t know how much it means to us and I hope when this is over, you can all continue by picking up some of your favorite titles and giving a chance to new ones. 
Look out for Ash and Thorn #1 who it does comes out later this year from AHOY Comics. And, you can catch up on previous interviews in this new feature here.

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