The NPC Universe returns in full force this fall, and it all begins with Wax. With art by Claudia Cangini and stunning covers from Kati Babis, the newest addition to our roster is sure to rock! We sat down with series creator Diane Huffman to get the lowdown on Wax and her plans for the title.
NPC: Thanks for sitting down with us, Diane. First off, just how did you get dragged into all this?
Diane Huffman: Kicking and screaming. I think there was duct tape involved as well. Actually, as I recall, Jaimel and I were at a birthday party years ago, having a cocktail or four, and we got to talking about writing. He said “You should write with me! I remember your stuff being good!” And I foolishly fell for the flattery.
Why start your writing career in comics?
Who said I started here? A better question would be, “Why do a comic at all!?” But lovers of the medium will already know the answer, and people unfamiliar with comics won’t get it. Here it is in a nutshell: sometimes? Pictures convey more than words. And sometimes? Words convey more than pictures. Slapping the two together seems like a brilliant plan. How could I NOT want to do this? And seeing as how my stick figures get beat up by the other stick figures at school, I had to do the writing part, and not the picture part.
What are some of you writing influences?
Influences are really hard for me to pin down sometimes. I get inspired and motivated by a whole slew of people, but their flavor–their style–may not show up in my work at all. I love the cyberpunk genre (Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon is amazing), but have yet to use any of it in Wax. I love the alterna-‘verse of steampunk (think Perdido St. Station by China Mieville), or alternate histories (Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart series knocks that out of the park), but alternative reality isn’t something I personally want to explore. I am inspired by good storytellers: Mieville, Carey, Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, – I could go on Checkout my goodreads if you’re really interested in where I spend my reading hours.
I’m also inspired by artists like Mark Ryden, Amano, Shag, Michael Manning, and Charles Vess… I never quite know where things will come from or what I will like. I thought I hated westerns, and then Firefly showed up and told me I was completely wrong. I thought I hated horror, but Walking Dead cured me of that. I guess the bottom line is that I am influenced by a good story and an awesome piece of art. Those things come in many guises.
Tell us a little bit about Wax.
Wax started as a doodle in my college class one day. Since the doodle sort of gives away what the thrust of the story will be, I won’t detail it here, but she’s been percolating in my brain for a good while. She’s a girl who, like many people, has demons to deal with and has to find a way to keep the demons under control. Literally. Any time she feels an intense emotion – any emotion: love, hate, fear, joy, annoyance – the demon living in her blood creeps out. She has to be so on top of her emotions that at some level, it seems like she doesn’t feel at all. That is so far from the truth of things, it’s funny. Wax is about learning and becoming what you really are, and how it is the choices you make, the choices that you alone make, that determine what kind of person you will be. Wax is about choice. And her choices are going to take her somewhere pretty amazing.
What can we expect from the first story arc?
The first arc is six issues. It’s full of growing pains and lays the foundation for things to come – pretty standard I would guess from any origin story. But in Wax’s arc we see her lay the keystones of her character. We get to see her as she starts down the path to the person she will become, and the people she loves, hates, and kills, are all in this first story.
When you combine magic and comics you can get a variety of results, from campy to deadly serious. Where does Wax fall?
Deadly serious, of course! (/sarcasm) I don’t think she’ll fall into the campy department, but honestly, I think to tell a good story you can and should wander through all genres. Life isn’t JUST serious or JUST campy. Life is stupid, and one minute things are great and you are having the best time of your life, and the next you have to go to the hospital to watch your mom die. The different shades and extremes that are real life should be reflected in the comics I write.
I would more categorize my comic as mythic realism rather than just a “magic” comic. Wax lives in my world–cars, cell phones, mac’n’cheese. But she also has access to worlds I don’t–and she doesn’t see them as two different worlds–this is her life, there is no other. So the borders bleed, and hopefully y’all get a good story out of it.
How does Wax fit in to the NPC universe?
I have no idea. Ok, kidding. While she’s got her own thing going on, and her story will be told, her story is more of an underpinning to the rest of the NPC universe. She’s under the rest of the comics radar and only pops up when there is real need for her special talents. Talents that will become more apparent as we get further into the story, of course.
Will we continue to see Wax tackling magical threats, or will the book focus on more mundane issues in her life?
Well, her life is a mishmash of both, so we’re going to see her dealing with relationships and her Dad, and her friends, and the death of her mom. Maybe she’ll go to the DMV. But she also has a life in the other more mythic realms that intrudes and demands attention as well. And with that demon in her, well, she’s just going to have to deal with both sides of the coin as she goes along–“mundane” life issues and the more outrageous magical threats. I might throw in a mutant ninja zombie robot, just to spice things up.
Finally, if you could sum up the first Wax arc in one word, what would it be?
Resilient. I think you’ll see why once issue 6 is out.
Thanks for your time, Diane!
Wax hits the stands this fall!