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Exsapien 2041: Out of Time The concept of time is a constant concept running throughout everyone's lives. Go on. You just think about it for a moment or two. You need time to get up in the morning. You need time to go to bed at night. And you also need time to check out the following interview I did with two great comic book creators called Don and Alex. 

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1) What are your own origins, Don and Alex? Plus what paths did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   DON: Jettisoned from a dying world, I landed in the US Midwest as an infant in an alien spacecraft…

Oh snap! That's the wrong origin.

I’m from a blue-collar family. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, attended college at Penn State, and have made a career in the information tech industry. I have also been writing personally and professionally my whole life. Exsapien is the first project I thought others would really enjoy being a part of.

Exsapien 2041: Out of Time
ALEX: I was born just outside London and have lived all over the UK. I've been drawing pretty steadily for as long as I can remember and I've read comics for almost as long. I studied Religion at Lancaster University and, no, I have no plans to join the priesthood. I currently live in Shropshire (The Shire).

Before I was a full time artist, I was a fraud agent for a major bank. It was the most unartistic job imaginable, but it did teach me a lot and turned me into a human lie detector. But I'm much happier drawing comics than chasing down crooks. 

2) What inspired you to create ‘Eight90 Rocks’? Plus what can you tell us about your graphic novel, ‘Exsapien 2041: Out of Time’?   DON: Eight90 Group (which is a play on 890 Fifth Ave.) was created to be the parent company for the novel.

The Exsapien saga, originally called XTempore, is a sci-fi/action thriller that takes a personal look at our “stewardship”. Humans, as the dominant species, are taking less responsibilities for our actions and the consequences of those actions have come back to bite us in the ass.

Exsapien 2041: Out of Time
At the heart of Exsapien is the examination of who we are and what we do as a result of what we think. In this tale, humans not only succeed in conquering time but they achieve deity status by creating a new intelligent life form.

However, being a god isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

ALEX: Look to Don for the inspiration, but from an artistic standpoint, we hope that Exsapien will look unlike anything you've seen before. We're blending traditional methods with 3D sculpting and realistic lighting and shadow. Every detail is lovingly sculpted and rendered and enhanced further with traditional inking.

3) What song would you say best represents this project and why?   DON: Wow. What a lead in question! California Dreamin’. Why? You’ll have to wait for the novel but I can tell it is kind of important to the story line. During the writing, I listened to a whole host of ‘60s music, from the Stones to the Grass Roots to the Moody Blues. It really set the tempo for the time travel.

ALEX: There are certain songs that will feature on the project's soundtrack, but for me personally there is a song that constantly runs through my head when I'm drawing Jack Chaos on his rampage. "Short Change Hero" by The Heavy. "This ain't no place for no hero...."

Gene Roddenberry
4) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   DON: Gene Roddenberry. His vision in creating Star Trek has had probably the most profound affect on our realities in the last 50 years. I know he really affected my life and I would be honored to have his endorsement.

ALEX: This is a tough one, but it makes sense to choose someone from the comic world. If artist Alex Ross gave us the thumbs up I think I'd have a meltdown. Or maybe writer/magician Grant Morrison could invoke the spirit of Hermes to bless the work.

5) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   DON: To take on this kind of project, you really have to believe in what you are doing. Your belief is not only to carry you but it needs to be strong enough to help others believe with you.

I would say there have not been “unforeseen” obstacles (knock on wood, because we are not finished yet) but the obstacles are not well defined. The obstacles are/were the usual: like funding, technology issues, and marketing. 

ALEX: The project is much bigger than I anticipated. A page of text might easily equate to 5 pages of art. It's no problem for a writer to type the words "They fight", but then I have to make it happen. There have been many evenings spent leaping around my studio, choreographing Jack's insanity.

Yes. I have a lot of ridiculous reference photos of myself. 

Exsapien 2041: Out of Time
6) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   DON: I’m sure that most of us feel the doubt - Is it good enough? Will they like it? At the very beginning, when it was just my notebook, I think it may have happened like every 10 minutes.

But as the individual effort became a cohesive effort with an exceptionally talented artists, I have become more confident in the quality of this production.

I think both veteran and novice readers will be pleasantly surprised by 'Exsapien 2041: Out of Time'.

ALEX: To remember to trust myself. Don has placed a lot of trust in my ability, but some clients aren't so easy to work with. They might think they know exactly what they want for their artwork, but that doesn't mean they're right. Writers aren't always visual people. If I think I have a better idea than theirs, there's a good chance I'm right and I should speak out, even if I get shot down. My best ever review from an illustration client featured the words "I told Alex exactly what I wanted, and he told me exactly why that was a bad idea". 

7) If ‘Exsapien’ had a motto, what would it be?   DON: “I am from you, but I am not you”.

ALEX: "More knives, more rain".

And on that note, dear reader, I'd like to thank Don and Alex for telling us about their graphic novel, 'Exsapien 2041: Out of Time', before directing you towards their official website, facebook, and twitter pages. 

EXSAPIEN 2041: OUT OF TIME - GODS OF OUR FUTURES PAST EXSAPIEN 2041: OUT OF TIME - GODS OF OUR FUTURES PAST Reviewed by David Andrews on January 23, 2015 Rating: 5
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