RReview Fix chats with writer Anthony Cleveland, who discusses his new sexy comic book series from Mad Cave Comics.
Review Fix: What inspired this comic?
Anthony Cleveland: A few of Mad Cave Studio’s IPs were pitched to me after their talent search. One of them was about a circus with a supernatural twist. There was a lot of runway with that IP, because the only things Mad Cave had in mind were the location and time period. I was encouraged to try whatever I wanted with it. I’m a horror writer at heart so I approached the story from that angle and after that, the story came together quickly in a few nights.
I pulled from a lot of experiences growing up, the things I’ve seen at my *really* odd jobs, and I made sure to build the story around a lot of heart. Mad Cave liked what I brought to the table and we’ve been rolling with it since!
Review Fix: How is it different from your previous work?
Cleveland: Show’s End is the first comic of mine that strays from the horror genre. Sure there’s ghosts, demons, zombies, and black magic in it, but I think it fits closer in the category of fantasy or even a fairy tale. The comic hits some familiar beats of a classic fantasy story: a girl leaves her home for the first time, she discovers a new world of magic & monsters, and ultimately realizes there’s more about her than she ever knew.
Review Fix: What makes this comic special?
Cleveland: Normally when I write a comic, I’ll watch certain films on repeat or read tons of similar stories to stay in that mood or mindset until the book is complete. But with Show’s End…there really weren’t any films or comics like this I could go to. This is the first story I went into with very few obvious influences I could reference. I know there are stories that have a “dark carnival” setting, but Show’s End feels new and rejuvenated. I can’t compare it to anything else.
Review Fix: What creators do you think have influenced you the most?
Cleveland: I really like creators that contrast innocent characters with the bleak and unforgiving world they inhabit. Jeff Lemire’s work in Sweet Tooth has carried over into a few projects of mine and I think this is one of them as well. As far as scripting goes, I look to guys like Brian K. Vaughan, Garth Ennis, and anyone that can hook you and keep the pages turning. I know how valuable attention spans are, and I try my hardest to keep readers hooked.
Review Fix: How do you want it to be remembered?
Cleveland: For this to be remembered in any way at all would be humbling. I’ve wanted to tell stories for far back as I can remember, so the idea of a stranger holding a comic I wrote is something I’ll never lose value on. I’m indebted to anyone that spends time checking out any comic I was apart of.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Cleveland: I have a completed horror anthology that I’m trying to find a publisher for, and I’m beginning a cyberpunk webcomic about dreams with Rebecca McConnell doing the art. I’m really excited for that project, because we’re approaching cyberpunk from a whole different perspective, and we really put a heavy focus on it being a page turner. In between all that, I’m plotting more Show’s End and fine tuning all the pitches I have stocked up.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Cleveland: Yes! I’d love to hype up the team’s work on this book! Our illustrator Jef Sadzinski’s character designs have blown me away. Issue #2 ends on a high note with his art. He fills every panel with such great character detail. Our colorist Julian Gonzalez has this vintage, muted neon-like pallet that is better than anything I could hope for– It’s really unique and classic looking. And last but not least our editor Gio Orozco! Gio’s final touches and polishing are going to make this book shine. Her ideas and feedback boosted this book to a new level.