Silver CoverDo you know what connects together the Smurfs, George Lucas, and Will Eisner's Spirit? What? How on earth did you know that my mate Stephan connected them all together? Oh! You've already seen the title of this interview, and guessed that he created the comic book, Silver? Fair enough. So all you have to do now is read on.

Silver On Amazon

1) What are your own origins, Stephan?   My origin story goes like this. Grew up in France, where my parents had a books / newspapers / comic books / art-supplies / toy / cigarettes store, and this gave me a lifelong love for art and storytelling, and a hatred for cigarettes. I started doing animation and comics around first grade, then at 13, I saw the movie Heavy Metal, and that was it for me. The perfect combination of both, plus everything else I wanted to see.

DESPICABLE MESo, not being ambitious at all, I decided to make an animated short film of THE SPIRIT by Will Eisner, which took me 3 or 4 years to finish. At the time animation took over my life. Some of the high points of my animation career so far have been to work as a supervising animator on THE IRON GIANT, and to do a significant amount of story on DESPICABLE ME, to co-create a wonderful little TV show called CORNEIL & BERNIE (AKA WATCH MY CHOPS in the UK) with my brother Emmanuel, and direct THE LEGEND OF SMURFY HOLLOW, which is a TV special where for the first time, you saw the Smurfs in 2D at a feature-animation level of quality, and for which I got a best director nomination at the Annie Awards. I also had the great fortune to work very closely with some of my childhood heroes: people like George Lucas, for instance. Then, just when comics started to look like the road not taken, I had the opportunity to create SILVER.

I originally was only going to write it and let someone else draw it, but I got in trouble having way too much fun drawing it, and just couldn’t let it go. To be honest, I had some trepidations, having not drawn a comic page since college, and I was a little nervous to be seen as the animation guy who wants to do comics, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. The connection with the fans has been fantastic, and with great reviews, a Russ Manning Award nomination at SDCC last year, and a spot on ComiXology Submit’s Essential Reads list, the industry made me feel super welcome.

Silver Art2) What inspired you to create, ‘Silver’?   When I was a kid we had a show on French TV called “Midnight Cinema”. It was all black and white movies from the 30s and 40s, from Ed Wood to Fritz Lang to Orson Wells and everything in between, which were full of monsters, gangsters, vampires, adventurers, detectives, debonair con-men, socialites, you name it, they had it, as they told tales of when the world was still a big place, and full of mystery. That’s the era and feel SILVER is aiming to connect with. I also loved the screwball angle to those movies -- often a great man-woman team up, like THE THIN MAN, which is the approach I have been taking with Finningan and Rosalynd. It’s sexy yet charming and innocent, and it gives you fun character-based comedy.

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   SILVER starts with James Finningan, a con-man / heist-master in a very pulpy 1930s version of New York City. But here’s the thing: Finnigan lives in the Bram Stoker Dracula universe. He gets a major paradigm shift when he comes in possession of the late Jonathan Harker's journal, which contains everything you know from the original Stoker novel, AND MORE -- including the location of an invaluable silver treasure hidden inside Dracula’s castle. As Finn begins to put together the team needed to pull off such a job, he seeks out Rosalynd “Sledge” Van Helsing, who has been carrying the family tradition and is even more of a troublemaker than he is.

Tim Sale
Silver On Amazon
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?   The celebrity aspect doesn’t really mean much to me, but words of endorsement from storytellers I really admire means everything. For instance, I am a huge fan of Tim Sale's work, and to see him become an early fan, and such a vocal supporter, has been extremely inspiring. Now if Stephen King wanted to review SILVER, I would definitely not stop him.

5) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour?   That I love to do comics.

6) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   The fans. It’s all about the fans. The one-on-one encounters at cons, or the unprompted letters or emails, or tweets, of people who have connected with these characters in a profound way -- their passion is definitely fueling my passion at this point. 

7) If ‘Silver’ had a motto, what would it be?   On a pure entertainment level, a motto for SILVER would be “Con men trying to steal from vampires -- what could go wrong?!” On a more character-based and existential level, SILVER asks the following question: “what makes a person FEEL alive?” Spoiler alert: it is not “the shiny stuff”.

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And so on that note, dear reader, I'd like to thank Stephan for telling us about his comic book, Silver, before directing you towards his official website, twitter, and facebook pages.