[PROCESS] MUZEO DE KLERA - PART 2
[MAPS] artist Brent Schoonover talks about bringing the story to life, and unexpected romance.
MUZEO DE KLERA is the latest comic released from the pages of [MAPS] and features stunning work from Brent Schoonover, Rafael Pérez Granados, and Chris Sotomayor. Today we have a special treat, as Brent shares his thoughts about visiting the Three Worlds and Three Moons, and tackling an unexpected romance (comic).
Before you read PART 2 from Brent, be sure to check out Mike del Mundo’s [PROCESS] post for the story.
As a reminder, MUZEO DE KLERA and 11 other comics will be included in the upcoming [MAPS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook. Like [SYSTEMS] before it, the book will feature tons of extra material including data pages, world-building and process. It and the stories contained within are available exclusively to paid subscribers. What are you waiting for?
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Take it away, Brent…
Brent Schoonover: To start off, I just wanted to say how excited I was to get asked to be involved in this project. Trying not to come off like a kiss ass, but I don’t really think there are too many Substack subscriptions that give you more for your following than the 3W/3M team gives you. And it’s been a murderer’s row of talent on all these stories and it was a honor to do something alongside all of them.
Dropping in for a cup of coffee on a project (and its own universe) can be really fun, but also a bit overwhelming. I can sometimes get in my own head about trying to understand or know everything about the world we are living in during a project, and sometimes that can lead to a bit of nervousness. But then you have to remind yourself the fun part of working in comics is exploring while you are on the page. It feels a bit like a test you may or may not have studied all that much on or a talent show that you didn’t know you were about to perform in, but they asked you to be involved and you have to trust that they asked you for a reason. So do what you do and it should work out. At some point you have to not worry about how everything connects and works and just get to the storytelling.
When it comes to the story of MUZEO DE KLERA, I will admit that my first reading of it took me by surprise. I was not expecting it to be a love story. I knew we'd get some great human moments but, honestly, I was really expecting something kind of quirky and funny but sort of wrapped in a heartfelt bow. But this was different – it was two old lovers, reminiscing about what could have been. And I was impressed. I have never gotten to do anything like this in a comic before. No random superhero fight, no dastardly villain, just two people reconnecting for the last time.
The location for the story was key. The Muzeo is essentially the third main character in the story here. And I loved what Mike Del Mundo created. It reminded me a bit of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota campus. Which I have visited many times over the years. It also reminded me of the expressionist architecture of the 1920 film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with its distorted forms and shadows. So I tried to learn into that a bit. I wish I had more time to just play around with all the items we were putting in the place. I’ve been on a bit of a Kirby kick in my reading so I think I was filing little spots here and there with what was clearly just random Kirby creatures from various places.
As I mentioned earlier, it kind of surprised me with how grounded it was emotionally. When I read the script, it reminded me of two other scenes.
The first was the art museum scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which is honestly one of my favorite scenes of all-time. It really turns that movie from a wacky teen comedy to something more. It’s really touching. (The part where Ferris and Sloane kiss in front of the stained glass piece “American Windows” by Marc Chagall is a wonderful composition.) The second was the scene where Emily Watson and Adam Sandler kissing in silhouette in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film, Punch-Drunk Love. From a tonal perspective, I think these scenes and moments really helped me figure out how I wanted to go about the story, which was helpful because, sadly, I was on a tight turnaround on my end of the project.
The two main characters in the story are older, and it’s been a long time since they have had the pleasure of seeing each other. I wanted to convey that but I also wanted to make sure that we get the sense that they are still handsome and beautiful and what a wonderful couple they could have been and possibly still could be. I mentioned in my [DISPATCH] interview that I was working on the project shorty after the passing of John Romita, Sr. and that he and his art were really on my mind while I was working on this story, which led me to some of his romance comic work. The man really could do it all and I absolutely enjoyed investing some time reading some of those to help soak in some inspiration.
Focusing on the main characters themselves – Erto is loosely based off Antonio Banderas. The Judge is inspired by Sigourney Weaver. Zorro and Ripley, together at last. Docent didn’t really have a specific inspiration or wasn’t based off anyone, but as I was wrapping up the story I think I might have based her a little off of Ali Wong. My wife was was reading one of her books and I think seeing that book cover every night before bed might have subconsciously worked its way onto my drawing desk.
In closing I was really fortunate to be working with a great group of folks on this. Editor Molly Mahan I’ve known for some time now and is one of those editors who, whenever creators bring their name up, EVERYONE says how much they love working with her. And it’s true, she’s the best. Due to some timing on my end working on a upcoming new comic series I needed some help with inks and a friend suggested Rafael Pérez Granados might be a good person to collaborate with, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the work he did over my pencils. He’s a wonderful artist and I hope people check out more of his work. And finally, it was an honor to get pages colored by Chris Sotomayor. He has been killing it in this business for quite some time and to finally get to see him color some of my pages, and absolutely crush it was a dream come true. And it was incredibly fun to work with the 3W/3M team. The looseness of the script lets the artist have a lot of freedom to instinctively do what they think works best visually on the page.
All in all, a really fun opportunity in a really cool universe. I hope I get another chance down the road to do some more.
Thank you to Brent Schoonover for sharing his time and thought process with us!