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Fabio Moon Brings the ‘Serenity’ Crew Back for Free Comic Book Day [Interview]

Joss Whedon’s acclaimed space western television series Firefly was cancelled long before its time, but it hs enjoyed a second life as the film Serenity and a third life in Dark Horse’s Serenity comics. On Free Comic Book Day in May 2012, Firefly fans will watch Captain Mal Reynolds and his misfit crew of smugglers pull another job in a new Serenity comic written by Zack Whedon. Serenity artist Fabio Moon gives ComicsAlliance a sneak peek inside the new comic and explains how combined his art style with Serenity‘s iconic look.ComicsAlliance: Have you always been a fan of Firefly? What attracted you to the series?

Fabio Moon: I never watched it when it first aired on TV, so my first contact with it was really the movie, which I saw on TV a couple of years ago. I was a Buffy fan, but I think it was while I was working on Sugarshock with Joss that I started to pay attention to all the other stories he was telling. When I accepted this job, I went back and watch a bunch of the episodes so I could “spend more time” with the characters. Like the movie, this is a story where you already know the characters, so I have to feel that way to convey that familiarity.

CA: Will the Free Comic Book Day comic appeal mainly to fans of the TV show and the movie, or will it introduce new readers to the Serenity ‘Verse as well?

FM: I think the story is a great stand-alone story even if you never heard of the show. It’s like a western, but in space. But if you know the show and the movie, there are details in there just for you.

CA: Where does this comic fit in the Serenity timeline? Will we get to see all the familiar characters from the show — including Wash?

FM: We will see several familiar characters, some more than others. As to when this takes place, I think part of the fun is waiting till it’s released to find out.

CA: Serenity blends a lot of diverse visual elements — futuristic technology, Old Western aesthetics and a smattering of Chinese influences. How do you balance those elements?

FM: Watching all those episodes and the movie helped me understand how the story works visually. I think my style fits well with the aesthetics of Serenity, because brush is an imperfect tool, so everything isn’t as clean and straight as it could be, and everything on the series has been like this, from the clothes to the ships to the dusty desert look of most planets and situations.

CA: Costuming is a huge part of the Serenity world. So much about the characters and their place in the ‘Verse is conveyed through dress. Are you getting a chance to play much with the costumes?

FM: No, it’s pretty much all established. It’s like I’m drawing characters who always wear the same clothes, or who wear very recognizable clothes.

CA: You’ve worked on another Whedonverse comic, Dark Horse’s science fiction rock band comic Sugarshock. How is working in the Serenity ‘Verse similar to working with the Sugarshock world?

FM: It’s science fiction as well, and all Whedonverse characters talk a lot. No matter how visual it may be, there’s a lot going on in the words. But Sugarshock was easier because the visual part was created from scratch by me whereas here I had a series and a movie and some comics to respect.

CA: The crew members of the Serenity were originally brought to life by actors. How does your artistic approach change when working with characters who first appeared on screen?

FM: I have to say, characters who are based on real people are harder to draw than horses. In some ways, I had to simplify my style trying to find the most iconic way to portray the characters. I do feel that these very realistic styles are kind of stiff, so a more iconic and stylized art is also more expressive, and this way your characters are free to “act” better. I think it worked really well, but it took my some heavy sketching to create the look of the characters.

CA: Which characters are the most fun to work with?

FM: I like drawing girls, so I had a blast with River. She reminded me of Dandelion [from Sugarshock]. I had fun drawing Mal also, but he was the hardest, and maybe that’s why I liked it. I feel I accomplished the hard mission of drawing him right.

CA: Do you see yourself making return trips to the ‘Verse, perhaps as a writer?

FM: I never thought I would draw a Serenity story in the first place, so I was caught very off-guard when a part of my brain said yes and decided to do it. And I had fun with it, which I think it’s the most important thing for me in a project. Who knows what can happen next when suddenly everything is possible?

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