Kickstarter Campaign: A Conversation With ‘One True Love’ Creators, Mario Candelaria And J. Schiek

by Rachel Bellwoar

LA from New York might seem like a long way to travel to commit a crime, but One True Love isn’t about whether or not Peter and Paul are going to see their heist through. It’s done. Instead, writer, Mario Candelaria, and artist, J. Schiek’s new graphic novel picks-up after the crime has already been committed. That’s right — it’s the ‘get away with it’ phase. Trouble is Peter and Paul might not have picked the best house to lay low in. They didn’t know their childhood friend had a daughter….

With colors by Jão Canola, letters by Scott Ewan and edited by Comicon’s James Ferguson, One True Love is in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign right now, so be sure to check out their funding page and then read this interview with the super-talented, Candelaria and Schiek:

Cover Art: Matt Aytch Taylor

Rachel Bellwoar: One of my favorite images on your Kickstarter campaign is the film poster for One True Love. Is that where the title for the graphic novel comes from – a film that one of the characters starred in – and how fun was that poster to create?

Mario Candelaria: I wish I could take credit for that graphic, but that was all J! The title of the book is actually a line of dialogue that I felt really captured the essence of our comic.

J. Schiek: I pretty much did that for fun, and it was a lot of fun to make. I can’t remember if this was around the same time I finally saw Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, but I think it might have been, to have Sharon Tate at the forefront of my mind as a possible co-star. The idea behind it was to make some additional art, maybe a variant cover, but certainly something that blended Mario’s Hollywood with the real deal for a sense of verisimilitude.

Bellwoar: After thinking that the names “Peter” and “Paul” sounded familiar together I discovered that they were apostles who feuded in the Bible. Can readers expect One True Love’s Peter and Paul to have a similar relationship?

Candelaria: 100%! Peter and Paul are two lifelong friends who have worked toward common goals but both have wildly different ideas for what life and happiness looks like once they reach their dreams. Money has a way of changing even the sturdiest of relationships, and it is in this conflict where the story truly takes shape. Plus, in Goodfellas there is a reference to all the men being named Peter or Paul >:)

Schiek: I’m not sure what or how much Mario has spilled on this part of the story, but let the record show that I averted eye contact when I said, rather unconvincingly, that I’m not sure. I immediately flashed to the apostles though, upon reading the script, but it also brought to mind the old epithet: “Robbing Peter to pay Paul,” or the idea that an endeavor can be useless if it’s sourced and returned to the same place in the end. I don’t know if that was Mario’s intention there, but I have to think the names were meant to trigger that connection, rather than for a mere act of alliteration.

Words: Mario Candelaria / Art: J. Schiek / Colors: Jão Canola / Letters: Scott Ewan

Bellwoar: Assuming that the preview is of the first five pages, what made you want to start the book after the heist instead of during, or before, it?

Schiek: Yeah, Mario, why did you do that?

Candelaria: Great question. I’ve often felt the many stories build up to heists as the climax, but we wanted to show what life looks like for these characters after the getaway. Not everything went smoothly, and no one is just going to let that money get stolen without consequences as we will see in the story

Bellwoar: The heist might be over, but there’s still plenty of bloodshed. How did you decide how graphic you wanted the violence to be?

Schiek: I can’t speak to how Mario made those decisions, but he has a very Hitchcockian grasp of the unseen being more powerful than the seen when it comes to violent acts. I’m thinking of the first on page murder from the preview pages where Peter crushes that poor gas station attendant/mechanic under the car in the garage after the kiddo peeps the bloody mess in Peter & Paul’s back seat area. I think readers will know intuitively what’s going to happen, and while we don’t see the action of this poor kid getting crushed under a couple thousand pounds of Detroit rolling iron, we see the aftermath and it’s absolutely heart wrenching. Of course, there are aspects in the script that are perhaps a little more visceral and visually spelled out than that, but I think that makes the story a little more interesting, and unpredictable.

Candelaria: We try to sprinkle it in where it makes sense. Our comic is by no means a gorefest, but that doesn’t mean it’s squeaky clean, either.

Words: Mario Candelaria / Art: J. Schiek / Colors: Jão Canola / Letters: Scott Ewan

Bellwoar: What was it like working with colorist, Jão Canola, on this project?

Schiek: Jão is fantastic. To be honest, I haven’t had an abundance of interaction with him, but after removing my initial black and white tones from the line art and sending the pages over, everything he’s sent back has been absolutely magical. I don’t always get to work with a colorist on projects, and I’m always excited to see what a colorist does with my lines. Jão doesn’t disappoint. His work is transformative.

Bellwoar: Possibly my favorite panel in the preview is when Paul reacts to hearing his favorite song on the radio, because it tells you so much about his psychology. Where did the idea for that moment come from?

Schiek: *Luigi voice* Maaaaario?

Candelaria: Ha! I am glad you liked that. Paul is made for this life, so a little violence isn’t going to phase him. It’s an ends to a means and he has done so much bad stuff already that a bit more isn’t going to make his ultimate fate any worse so he’s just going to go about his day. They can only hang him once, you know?

Words: Mario Candelaria / Art: J. Schiek / Colors: Jão Canola / Letters: Scott Ewan

Bellwoar: One of the characters we don’t get to meet in the preview is Amber. What can you tell us about her character design?

Candelaria: Amber is the catalyst for a lot of bad in this story as well as some good. She is a young woman who has had to navigate living in Hollywood, so she’s a sly one for sure. There is a lot more going on with her than our principal characters, and readers, will be aware of at first glance.

Schiek: Well, there’s a character—another apostle, really—at the end of the preview named Matthew, and Amber is, we’re told, his daughter. Thinking of that and the role she has to play in the story, I wanted to go a little Lolita with her, but not so far that anyone we’re supposed to be rooting for comes off a total creep. At the same time, I wanted to make her a bit ambiguous, in terms of age. A late Studio Age femme fatale who is either in high school or old enough to teach it, if that makes sense. Sharon Tate would be a fair example, ditto Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, and so on.

Bellwoar: Peter and Paul are New Yorkers, which makes them outsiders in LA. Any chance that their lack of familiarity with the area will come back to bite them?

Candelaria: Oh yeah. Coming from Brooklyn, this is me writing from experience on how LA feels like a different world each time we fly out there. This is a new place they are being shown by Amber and by Matthew, with a different set of rules as to how people are to be approached or intimidated.

Schiek: I can’t say without giving anything away, but I lived in Southern California for more than fifteen years and can say that it should never, ever be taken for granted. Los Angeles might not have invented narcissism, but it certainly perfected it. My experience with New Yorkers is that they’re very straight up, no nonsense, tell it like it is kind of folks, and LA/Southern California can be very duplicitous and deceptive. On that basis, I would say they’re probably in for more than they could have guessed, coming to the west coast.

Bellwoar: One True Love takes place in Hollywood, so what would be your dream casting for a film adaptation of One True Love?

Candelaria: This is going to put me on the spot, but I have to say Bobby Cannavale for Peter and a Jason Biggs for Paul. Glenn Howerton has a charismatic sleaziness to him that I see in Matthew, and Rachel Sennott would crush Amber’s role.

Schiek: Mario actually brought this aspect of it into the script, more or less casting it from the page. I’ve tried not to be too on the nose, but Paul’s appearance is based on Jason Schwartzman, and Peter on Bobby Cannavale. Matthew, I believe, was based on Matthew McConaughey and Amber…I can never remember who Mario was picturing for Amber. Personally, I think that casting is perfect. I think they’d knock it out of the park. I’d also cast John Turturro as the enigmatic Bialystok.

Bellwoar: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Mario and J.!

One True Love‘s Kickstarter campaign runs until November 6th. Rewards include physical and digital copies of the book, a chance to have your comic pitch reviewed by Candelaria, and the option to have Schiek draw you (or someone you know) into the story.

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