Comic book publisher Dark Horse has a new hero on its books. A cat named Lou is the creation of Carlos Giffoni, the composer who, this August, will be making his debut into the word of comics creation. Conceived and written by Giffoni, the final product was produced alongside artist and colourist Juan Doe (The Fantastic Four In Puerto Rico, The Legion Of Monsters), and letterer Matt Krotzer (House Of Fear, Retcon). Cover artists include Dustin Nguyen, Jim Mahfood, Alexis Ziritt, Matteo Scalera and Sanford Greene.
“I have been a big fan of comic books since I was a kid,” explains Giffoni, “but in the last five years or so I re-discovered them and have been amazed at how much things had evolved artistically as well as the depth of the stories being told.”
It was his curiosity for process and execution that lead him to have a go at writing some comic scripts. “Something clicked in a way that it hadn't since I was 14 and started making music”.
“To make sure I wasn't crazy I started joining a few online communities of comic creators and writers and started sharing some of my work and polishing it. The reception was good enough for me to get confident about putting a full team together and creating a proposal. After exploring about 30 different ideas, this one felt by far like the strongest one. After a few failed attempts I found the perfect collaborators and a year and a half later, here we are.”
In Strayed, “life is bleak”, says the synopsis. “A military-industrial complex reigns over all humanity and is actively destroying distant alien worlds.[...] The fate of the universe rests in the paws of Lou, an astral-projecting cat and his loving owner Kiara.”
What inspired the story? “The political situation in Venezuela, in the US and the rest of the world was a big part of it. I started to think about how often charismatic leaders turn out to be con-artist pieces of shit that have very little empathy and are pushing their own obsessive beliefs without regard for the damage they are doing. I transposed that into the setting of this story. Taking that to a galactic level and contrasting with the concept of colonization of alien planets."
And what for Lou The Cat? “The second and immediately more personal aspect was the relationship between a human and their companion pet; these little furry creatures can be such an integral part of our lives. I wanted to take that concept and push it as far as I could by making a pet have unique abilities that might be able to save humanity while having a powerful bond with their owner. Mash those two ideas together and the result is Strayed.”
Giffoni will also be releasing 15 – 20 minutes' worth of new music with each publication via Bandcamp, “a sort of EP that can be used as a soundtrack for each chapter,” he explains. “It's going to be all super trippy electronic music, all made with analog equipment.”
Each comic in the series is also named after a piece of music or album that he says he loves: issue 1 is titled Space Is The Place.
So far there are five books in the series with future volumes in the pipeline. “I am also writing Space Riders: Vortex of Darkness with Alexis Ziritt on art for the Black Mask publisher, but that offer came later.”
Strayed will be published on 14 August and open to pre-order into local newsagents now.
Listen to the audio companion for Strayed 1