We got a chance to sit with Eisner nominated writer/artist Ibrahim Moustafa to talk about his upcoming graphic novel Count from Humanoids. He is best know for his work on Jaeger and High Crimes but has worked on numerous titles including James Bond, Mother Panic, Moon Knight and Guardians of the Galaxy to name just a few of the titles he has worked on.
Hi Ibrahim we are so delighted to have you here with us today, we have been fans of your work since your High Crimes comic with Christopher Sebela. We are so happy that you are here to chat with us today.
Thanks so much for having me, and for the kind words!
Before we talk about your new graphic novel Count, can we just step back a little bit and talk about you signing a three-book deal with Humanoids, can you tell us how the deal came about?
Count was actually how it came about, haha. I had pitched the book to Humanoids, and we had developed a really great working relationship, and when we were about 2/3 of the way through, Mark Waid and editor Rob Levin presented me with the idea of signing an overall deal for Count and two more books. It was a very good email to receive, haha.
Your new graphic novel Count which is out on the 16th of March it’s an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, what made you want to adapt Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo?
I love stories about justice and revenge, and I’ve really loved the story of Edmond Dantes for a long time. It’s the ultimate story of comeuppance, and I realized it was incredibly fertile ground for a reimagining of this scale. There are also a lot of themes in the original that are sadly still relevant today; classism, wrongful imprisonment, governmental corruption… I wanted to amplify some of that by putting it through a new lens that highlights the fact that whether it’s 200 years ago in France, or in this adjacent sci-fi world I’ve created, they’re issues that affect us all.
What has it been like working with Humanoids?
When did you start working on Count?
I had the idea to adapt it back in 2017, and then I began the process of slowly developing it in my head for a while as I did various other projects, and then I went back to it in earnest in 2018 and started chipping away at character designs. I pitched it in early 2019, and then started working on it full time in the summer of that year.
Brad Simpson and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou are both working with you on the Count, how did they join the project?
Hass and I have been online friends for a handful of years, and I had been chomping at the bit to collaborate with him on something. So when the opportunity came up I was thrilled that we were able to ask him to join this project. Brad and I had a lot of mutual friends in comics and so I was familiar with him and his work, and when it was time to find the right colorist for the book, his work was 100% what the book needed. And luckily, he was available at the time!
During the adaption process is there any part of the process that you enjoy the most, the layout of the pages, pencilling, inking?
I actually came to the realization recently that my favorite part is always the step that I’m about to do next. Then when I’m doing it, I can’t wait to get to the next step, because then that step is my favorite part, haha. If I had to choose though, I think penciling is my favorite. It’s often the most relaxing (unless I keep messing up a face and having to redraw it over and over).
Before you signed your deal with Humanoids, what did you think about them as a publisher?
Humanoids is a publisher that I think people discover when their taste in, and love of, the comics medium and what it has to offer elevates to the next level, and they begin to go deeper into the rabbit hole. For me personally, I got into comics, I read a bunch of the excellent superhero books that are available, and then I went “okay, what’s next? What else is out there?” and that’s when I discovered Humanoids.
How would you describe Count?
Count is a story about revenge, retribution, and revolution, with cool sword fights, and robots.
What has it been like working on Count?
Incredibly fun and very exhausting, haha.
Do you have a favourite scene from Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo?
I really love the scene where Albert has challenged Edmond to a duel, and Edmond in a display of prowess, shoots a bullet through the ace of spades on a playing card. It was a cool way to show how much he had honed himself over the years.
We would love to know what comics are you currently reading?
I recently tore through several volumes of The Undertaker by Ralph Meyer and Xavier Dorison from Europe Comics. It’s a really cool western about a traveling undertaker who is more than he appears to be. I also recently finished Hawkeye: Freefall by Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt, which was maybe the funniest comic I’ve ever read, and very good.
Would you have any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
I hope you enjoy Count! If you’re curious about it, you can visit www.countcomic.com and watch a pretty cool trailer that I put together for the book, and there you’ll also find a link to a number of purchase options. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!
We would like to say thank you to Ibrahim for taking the time to sit and chat with us. We wish him all the best for his new project, Count which will be out on the 16th of March from Humanoids.