Vertigo's new quarterly anthology series Vertigo SFX sees writers and artists take inspiration from the world of comic book sound effects to tell short stories, starting with the granddaddy of SFX; 'pop'. The first issue is available this Wednesday, April 29th, so we reached out to some of the creators to get a preview of their stories, and to invite them to take our special SFX Q&A.

Today we talk to Nathan Fox, Jim Zub, and Clay Chapman and Szymon Kudranski about the ideas behind their three stories, 'Ekoh', 'Little Medals', and 'Earwing Out', and to find out the sounds they like to wake up to, work to, and relax to. Check back tomorrow when we talk to David Winnick, David Hahn, Robin Furth and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell!

 

Ekoh, page 1, Nathan Fox, Lee Loughride

 

NATHAN FOX

Nathan Fox is writer and artist on the story 'Ekoh', with colors by Lee Loughridge. His other works as an artist include Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers, Pigeons From Hell, DMZ, and some of the most striking covers in comics.

ComicsAlliance: What can you tell us about your interpretation of 'pop' in your story?

Nathan Fox: I’m a big fan of hand lettering and sound effects in general when it comes to SFX and sound in comics, illustration and typography in poster design and so on. So when Shelly approached me with the concept I knew I wanted to find a way to incorporate it all. In writing the story it only seemed natural to start out with something very pop-culture, nostalgic and neon pink if possible --- something that would scream 'POP' --- and a massive bubble gum bubble seemed to fit the bill and story nicely (sans neon...).

CA: What's your favorite sound?

NF: Ha. Oh, man. Too many to list, they are all so visually and physically connected to things. In this immediate moment, I guess it’s the sound of these miniature decks of Whitman, Crazy Eights cards I got at a flea market. That shuffle brings back a lot memories and visuals as a kid, flipping through books, the sound of pages coming off a press, fanning pages during inbetweens and flipbooks, etc. (and they make a great FWIP sound though the air when tossed like Chinese stars).

CA: Least favorite?

NF: Recently, I would have to say the sound of things shattering. I’m not as graceful as I once was back in the day — and recently, the sound of things shattering by fault or accident has been haunting me for a while. I can still hold my own in a crowded china or glassware aisle with style and grace, but it’s those random moments and that unseen glass or vase around the corner that just keeps catching me off guard.

 

Ekoh, page 2

 

CA: What's the sound that you wake up to?

NF: The sound of Broadway through the windows and the inevitable, DADDDDYYYYYYY!!!!!! (It’s adorable and like cold water and finger nails on a chalkboard after a late night working, all at the same time.)

CA: The sounds that you work to?

NF: Definitely the sound of my music, radio and movies, but honestly at some point that zoned-out headspace kicks in while you are working and that’s the creative sound space I love being in. The work and rhythms and flow just all kind of meld together. I’m not sure how to describe that sound yet — but that sound space is great.

CA: The sounds that you relax to?

NF: Rain or ocean. Crickets and the outdoors in general. I do almost all of my work standing up in my studio/living room so anything outside and relaxing is heaven. The sounds and space while playing golf, soccer and fishing are pretty amazing as well. Very glad spring is here!

CA: The sound that excites you?

NF: Too many to list. Several inappropriate for younger viewers. Recently, it’s the sound of my new bike shifting gears. It’s a clear and clean klak and shuffle, then the chain makes that subtle wracking sound as it locks into gear and cinches up again. That series of sounds, and finally having a bike again, makes me very happy.

CA: The sound that reminds you of home?

NF: "Hey, Dad…"

CA: And your favorite comic book sound effect?

NF: SPLAK! (So many uses, so little time)


 

Little Medals, page 1. Art by Matt Rockefeller

 

JIM ZUB

Jim Zub is the writer on 'Little Medals', with artist Matt Rockefeller. His other works as a writer include Wayward and Skullkickers at Image, Samurai Jack at IDW, and Conan/Red Sonja at Dark Horse (with co-writer Gail Simone).

ComicsAlliance: What can you tell us about your interpretation of 'pop' in your story?

Jim Zubkavich: In my story ‘Pop’ is the sound of pop-up notifications, a near-futuristic achievement indicator letting people know that they’ve scored points in the great big Game of Life.

CA: What's your favorite sound?

JZ: Laughter. There’s nothing better than hearing people laugh uproariously, purging all the bad stuff happening in their life at that moment with a pure heartfelt laugh. It’s infectious and wonderful.

CA: Least favorite?

JZ: The ringing in my ears as a stress-induced migraine takes hold.

CA: What's the sound that you wake up to?

JZ: The quiet breathing of my wife, still asleep. There’s something simple and comforting about that, letting me know that home is our little safe haven and that it’s her and I against the world.

CA: The sounds that you work to?

JZ: The clacking of keyboard keys mixed with my own muttering as I repeat a piece of dialogue out loud to make sure the cadence sounds right.

CA: The sounds that you relax to?

JZ: The rhythmic sound of the shower spraying, or the gurgle of a cold drink pouring.

CA: The sound that excites you?

JZ: The greetings of good friends in a bar or restaurant.

CA: The sound that reminds you of home?

JZ: A bit of silence before I head back out into the world to face my next challenge.

CA: And your favorite comic book sound effect?

JZ: In Skullkickers, my creator-owned sword & sorcery comedy series, we used the term ‘sound effect’ quite liberally. Probably my favorite one was from a two page spread of massive destruction with a sound effect blaring across both pages that proudly read “PROPERTY DEPRECIATION”.

 

Little Medals, page 3

 


CLAY CHAPMAN

Clay Chapman is the writer of the story 'Earwig Out', with artist Szymon Kudranski (below). His previous works include the novel Miss Corpus and the children's book trilogy The Tribe.

ComicsAlliance: What can you tell us about your interpretation of 'pop' in your story?

Clay Chapman: Ellie threw down the gauntlet. This is my first Vertigo comic and I really wanted to make an impression --- so when she challenged me to try and find the most memorable interpretation of the sound effect "POP" --- I knew it had to root itself within your brain. Go deep. Almost like a sound you wouldn't be able to shake. Burrow in. A real earworm. So I thought --- what's an unshakeable sound? Something that literally gets stuck in your head? That soon led to earwigs. 'Cause as every fan of Night Gallery knows, once those pesky little buggers crawl in, there's no crawling back...

CA: What's your favorite sound?

CC: Cicadas grinding away on a southern summer eve.

CA: Least favorite?

CC: The sound of chewing aluminum foil.

CA: What's the sound that you wake up to?

CC: Wailing babies.

CA: The sounds that you work to?

CC: Fantomas. Diamanda Galas. Meredith Monk. Howard Shore. John Zorn.

CA: The sounds that you relax to?

CC: Sleeping babies.

CA: The sound that excites you?

CC: "You wrote that? Eeewwwwwwwwwww!"

CA: The sound that reminds you of home?

CC: Mooooooooooooooo. Baaaaaah. Cluck-cluck-cluck.

CA: And your favorite comic book sound effect?

CC: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

 

Earwig Out, page 1. Art by Szymon Kudranski

 

SZYMON KUDRANSKI

Szymon Kudranski is the artist on 'Earwig Out' with Clay Chapman (above). His other projects include art for Spawn, Captain America: Fear Him, and Orphan Black.

ComicsAlliance: What can you tell us about your interpretation of 'pop' in your story?

Szymon Kudranski: I second what Clay said! He did it smart and literally, there is [a] great idea behind [the] story. In terms of art, we drew it dark and gritty, packed with details.

CA: What's your favorite sound?

SK: My lady.

CA: Least favorite?

SK: My Mom yelling.

CA: What's the sound that you wake up to?

SK: Currently I live in [the] town center. On the second floor, you hear the neighbor’s wife yelling. On the third floor a middle-aged woman with her last clients until early morning. Outside, the last standing drunk people vomiting [in the] early morning. Guy with the long beard asking for change; sounds of cars, dogs barking. The neighbor’s wife yelling at the guy with the long beard asking for change. Picture '80s Time Square sounds outside your window.

CA: The sounds that you work to?

SK: I used to have an art teacher in High School that banned listening to music while drawing. It was almost like the Footloose story, but instead of banning dancing, they banned us from listening music . I had the most boring hours during that time, so I turned to a small MP3 player in my pocket and would listen to Eminem, Korn and many bands from the early 2000s, until I started listening to The Howard Stern Show.

CA: The sounds that you relax to?

SK: "Eminem - Kim" from The Marshall Mathers LP; "Slipknot - Surfacing" from Slipknot

CA: The sound that excites you?

SK: "Eminem - Kim" from The Marshall Mathers LP; "Slipknot - Surfacing" from Slipknot

CA: The sound that reminds you of home?

SK: My Mom yelling.

CA: And your favorite comic book sound effect?

SK: BOOM!

 

Earwig Out, page 2