Review Fix Exclusive: Carlos Giffoni Talks ‘Strayed’

Review Fix talks with Carlos Giffoni on his recent on-going and out of this world comic series, STRAYED.

Review Fix: STRAYED revolves around a human being and her cat who can travel the stars through astral projection, but it also deals with themes of war, genocide, enslavement, and even environmental degradation. How did the story come to be?

Carlos Giffoni: I was reading about a CIA program from the ’70s where they were trying to create astral traveling spies, the technical term they used was ‘remote viewing.’ Somehow, despite not producing any significant results, it wasn’t shut down for 15 years. I looked at my cats and their spaced-out feline behaviors and something clicked. It began as the basic idea of an astral traveling cat being used for spying and it snowballed from there into the Sci-Fi world of STRAYED.

As far as how the rest of the story came together, I initially had the human race divided into two groups. However, after a few re-writes, it became obvious to me that having humans be homogenous and driven by survival was much more interesting to think about. Being South American, that intuitively drove me to draw parallels between how powerful groups of people have completely destroyed others repeatedly throughout history. Deeming them as inferior, and how we might treat less complex alien lifeforms if we ever get to that point in space exploration. I don’t think we would be nice to them, or at least, not unless something sharply shifts in our behaviors.

Review Fix: The plot sets off when Earth’s forces are in search of an unlimited source of energy to support the human race, though in the process, are causing a significant amount of destruction, death, and chaos. What is the social commentary behind it? Is it a reflection of what past powerful empires did to small weaker nations?

Carlos Giffoni: I have not mentioned Earth at all in STRAYED On issue three, the capital world, Newcomen, is revealed. It’s named after Thomas Newcomen, an inventor who preceded the industrial revolution by decades and arguably made it possible by inventing the first successful atmospheric steam engine. Given the tone of the book and the current state of humanity in the book, it seemed fitting.

I intended to set STRAYED in a distant future, where humans have moved from planet to planet, rather than fully expanded to multiple planets due to technological limitations that are at the cusp of being surpassed. That part of the story isn’t part of Lou’s tale, but it was vital for me when developing it to understand how things had escalated to this point. There are only hints of it in the comic.

 I have read a lot of Asimov, and I love the scale of the thinking that he put into his fictional future if it isn’t obvious.

Review Fix: Since STRAYED is a space opera comic, what sources were used for inspiration to put into the comic series?

Carlos Giffoni: I read an insane amount of comics on the six months leading to writing STRAYED. So, I took a bit of inspiration, at least, for pacing, story structure and how to create a good emotional punch from those that came before me in the medium. Too many to name, but Grant Morrison, Rick Remender, Jeff Lemire, Joe Hill, and Brian K Vaughan come to mind as some of my biggest inspirations.

One thing they have in common is that they always work with amazing artists. Without amazing art, both aesthetically and in the art of story-telling, a comic is just not appealing to me. Artists are the true heroes of the medium, and they obviously have to work the hardest. I have been really lucky to work with some of my favorite artists so far, Juan Doe for STRAYED and Alexis Ziritt on the new Space Riders. They each have a uniquely distinct style that I think is quite amazing.

So yeah, comics!

Beyond comics, my favorite books that are always in the back of my mind are Neuromancer and Dune.

Review Fix: At the end of each issue, there is a link to your Bandcamp account that features several songs that are linked to the specific issue. What lead you to correspond music to the series? Exactly how does the music fit into the comics?

Carlos Giffoni: I have been a musician making experimental and weird music since I was 14. It just seemed like an excellent opportunity to combine both of my artistic passions. I created about 15 to 20 minutes of abstract electronic music inspired by each issue. Readers are welcome to play it along while reading the book or enjoy it on its own. I hope that it enhances everyone’s experience with the world ofSTRAYED.

Review Fix: Why a cat? Why not any other animal, like a dog, a rabbit, or anything else to be the character of Lou?

Carlos Giffoni: Cats are obviously the superior species in this world. Nothing else would make sense. 

Review Fix: Anything you would like to add? 

Carlos Giffoni: Issue four of STRAYED is out on November 20th, and issue five is released on December 18th. Please tell your local comic book store to get you a copy of each so that we may do more in the future. The other way to support us is by pre-ordering the trade collecting the entire first arc on Amazon. 

 It is available here: out on April of 2020. Pre-orders have a significant impact on the success of a comic book.  

Thank you to everyone that has supported us so far, it has been heartwarming to see how many people our story has already reached. 

About Brian Moreno 36 Articles
As a fanatic of popular culture, Brian Moreno is into anime, comic books, films, music albums, video games and so much more and when given the chance, he likes to review them. He is into Super Mario, Batman, Daredevil and Star Wars. He also enjoys long walks on the beach and watching the sunset.

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