Review Fix chats with “Force Six, The Annihilators” creator Drew Spence, to find out what inspired the comic. Revealing what else he’s working on, Spence lets us know his career in comics is just beginning.
Review Fix: What inspired the look and feel of Force Six, The Annihilators?
Drew Spence: I started creating comics as a kid and was influenced by, well everything! I loved Sci-fi, fantasy and martial arts. I watched movies, read comics, played D&D [the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop game], video games and adventure books. The Annihilators switched genres for almost every story so, as an adult revisiting this comic, I needed a universe that could accommodate all those settings and angles and still make some kind of sense.
Review Fix: What about using CGI over traditional media? Where did that come from?
Spence: I would see these robots and figures in overseas catalogues, the toys and models and wanted that exact look for my art so I started scanning the pictures and turning them into comics. That started my experiments in photo manipulation. I did a good number of comics, but I still needed more control. I filmed a season of Mark of the Griffin (a live action web series) and used the still frames to make a comic. I came across John Byrne’s Star Trek New Visions and realized the overall potential.
Review Fix: From still pictures to CGI?
Spence: Yes, I tried Poser many years ago and I couldn’t get the look I wanted so I gave up on computer modeling. I stumbled across Daz Studio and its monstrous modern library of assets and saw the vision come into focus. The [Daz] Studio software is a 3D assembly environment, which really works like a movie set and the store sells digital assets. It’s people, places, things and even tutorials.
Review Fix: Tutorials on how to use Daz Studio?
Spence: Yes, all the different aspects- to speed up your workflow, solve artistic challenges and build on your creativity. I worked with Digital Art Live Magazine and created a webinar series about making CGI comics, along with courses on touching up your artwork, special effects and gaining extra value from your library.
Review Fix: How is Killer Butterfly different from your previous work?
Spence: The look is similar, but the story unfolds in a much more linear fashion. The Force Six Annihilator series is based on a sampling of adventures from a long career of action. It’s like the true story behind a legend. Killer Butterfly is a straight telling of events. It happens in the same universe, but in a world much less influenced by higher technology.
Review Fix: What makes these comics special?
Spence: I think it’s the stories I’ve chosen to tell. I want to write the kind of comic where each reading gets deeper and gives you more information. These are stories that need to be revisited as I insert many flash-forwards and call-backs. I want the reader to have moments of “Ohh that’s what that meant!” and you can’t do that without some trust that the fog will clear up – if you keep reading.
Review Fix: What creators do you think have influenced you the most?
Spence: So many, where do I start? Frank Miller had such a gritty and loose art style. When I drew my first comics, I wanted something rough and expressive. It was also Arthur Adams and the amount of detail in his work. That’s the pseudo-photo-real style at work, along with the artistic story-telling of Barry Windsor-Smith. That’s why both of my stories are starting out early in the heroes’ development. They are far from invincible and have more than personal daemons to grapple with.
Review Fix: How do you want it to be remembered?
Spence: I’d like to give the readers the same experiences I had when I read comics. I used to stare at the cover and guess at the story, then dive in and get lost in the adventure. My comics are heroes and villains, twists and turns and a good dose of justice and vengeance.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Spence: Yes, thank you for taking the time to talk and shining a light on Force Six, The Annihilators and Killer Butterfly. I thank the readers and Patreon for their support of The Dynamic Universe. It pretty much makes everything possible. Thank you.