by R.C. Samo
Fanboy Comics co-founders Bryant Dillon and Sam Rhodes, joined together in their creative endeavors to bring forth the ominous graphic novel, “Something Animal,” when tragedy strikes, what lengths will a damaged person go through in coping with their loss.
1. “Something Animal,” is a dark, gritty, raw book, that has a very European horror feel what was the inspiration for the story?
Bryant: It’s funny that you mention the European feel, because we definitely wanted to make the vampire mythos of Something Animal something that would reflect the old European legends surrounding vampires, where there’s really no advantage to becoming a vampire and the condition is essentially a curse. The story originally came from a short story written years ago by Sam’s brother, Ben Rhodes, and that version was his response to the romanticized vampire that’s been popular for the last decade and has reached critical mass with the Twilight series. Hopefully, when readers pick up Something Animal, it will remind them of the dark and bloody horror roots that all vampire stories share, but that have been somewhat forgotten in recent times.
Sam: Yeah, when I first read Ben’s short story, it was that raw grittiness that drew me to it. I was never a big vampire fan or even a horror fan, but I do really love psychological thrillers, and that’s personally how I saw this story. Then, in developing both the short film and the graphic novel, we drew from some of our favorite film directors: David Fincher, Danny Boyle, and George Romero, among others, and tried to affect a similar tone for our story.
2. Robert Burrows’ art seems to express a long suffering, tragic experience. Does your art come from some deeply hidden wounds or were you given the story and let your mind’s eye run with Ben Rhodes’ conceptualization of the story?
Bryant: Well, I can’t speak for what inspiration Rob used when he created the haunting and fantastic art in the book, but I can tell you how the project evolved to that stage. Something Animal started out years ago as a short story by Ben Rhodes. About two or three years ago, we shot a short film version of Ben’s story and decided to use a comic to promote the film. Eventually, the comic evolved into a graphic novel and became the main focus. Much of this had to do with the stunning art Rob kept turning in. But, to answer your question, when Rob agreed to do the book, we provided him with a detailed script of the story. The script contained some scenes where we spelled out every detail and some scenes we specifically left somewhat sparse in direction in order to allow him a chance to add his touch to the project. It’s always better when a project like this allows for collaboration on all ends.
Sam: Just to pile it on, I think Rob did a fantastic job. He really seemed to relish painting these pages and found many places to add subtle little details that enhanced the story. It’s a book that definitely benefits from multiple readings.
3. Are there plans to turn, “Something Animal,” into an animated film and is there a plan for a sequel?
Bryant: Unfortunately, there currently aren’t any plans for an animated feature, but that really is only because we haven’t been approached about that sort of thing yet. I think Something Animal would be a powerful and visceral animated feature, and I can only imagine what Robert Burrows’ art would look like animated. Maybe it’s something we’ll see down the road. As for a sequel, we definitely have some really exciting places we’ve discussed going with the character, things that would be 100% different than this initial story, but there are no definite plans for any more Something Animal books at the current time. This first book was always meant to be a story that could stand on its own, whether there are sequels or not.
Sam: That is an awesome idea! We should totally do an animated feature of this story. I’ve been really enjoying the DC animated features released in the past few years that are geared more towards adults. There’s also a fair amount of anime that targets a more mature audience, but I would love to see American animation move further in this direction. I would also love to do a sequel. There are so many places this story could go…
Sam: For the most part, the art was India Ink on Bristol Board. Rob likes to say that 99% of the art was done in 45-minute increments sitting in his car on his lunch break. Despite the fact that Rob was working another job while completing the art for Something Animal (a full-time job in and of itself), I feel like the finished product could not look more professional. He really did an incredible job. You should all check out his blog, www.nocuddletime.com, for more info. There, you can find info on his current projects and also a chronicle of his work on this book.
5. On the inside back cover, there is a collar with the tag been through the name “Dwayne,” as blood is splattered on the pavement. Who is “Dwayne,” and what is his significance to the story?
Bryant: I’m not sure I want to give too much away. I guess this isn’t too much of a spoiler. The main character of the story, Jack, has a sister. This sister has a cat, and his name is Dwayne. As you can tell from the inside cover, Dwayne may have some unfortunate luck during the course of the story. Once you read the book, you should be able to place the image on the inside cover.
Sam: Poor Dwayne…
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