Gail Simone is one of the most popular creators in comics and is an outspoken advocate for the industry. Meanwhile, Cat Staggs has made her name as one of the best artists in the business, creating some of the best looking covers and interiors in the industry. It was only natural when
Crosswind was announced from the duo, comics fandom exploded with anticipation. With the first issue out this week, we got to sit down with Gail and Cat and talk about the series!
I have to start on a personal note, it’s such a pleasure to be talking to both of you! I’ve enjoyed both of your work for a long time. Thanks for talking to us about Crosswind!
Gail Simone: Glad to do it, ComicBuzz is awesome!
Can you tell us a little bit about the concept behind Crosswind? What’s the elevator pitch for the series?
GS: It’s essentially this, a dangerous Chicago hitman inexplicably trades places with a mousey Seattle housewife, and neither of them has the slightest clue why. Complicating matters is a psychotic killer who wants them BOTH dead.
So where did the concept for the series come from?
GS: Either it was just an idea I had at random, or I had a bad fever and part of my brain melted. Hard to say. Could be both!
Did the two of you create the series together?
GS: I am kind of a weird recluse outcast when it comes to writing, I do it in the dark, with no music, just a creepy weirdo typing away. So the scripts come from me, I think. But every other bit of it has purely been a collaboration, OR me just riding Cat’s amazing artistic coattails. She had a LOT to do with how the characters turned out, it’s been a true partnership from day one.
Cat Staggs: Gail came to me with a fast pitch concept and I just absolutely loved it. Once I was in, she sent some brief descriptions of the character for me to design. I took those descriptions and added my own little bits (Gail is a dream to work with for creative collaboration!) and once we had our leads, the project took off.
Gail, what are Cat’s strengths as an artist? What made her the best choice for this project?
GS: There are many, but the big one is, she immediately knew what this book’s challenges were. How do you convey that the sexy guy who comes across as very male physically has a different personality inside altogether, WITHOUT the benefit of voice or movement? I have said it many times, there are dozens of top names who could not do what Cat has accomplished on this book.
It’s just an intense skill set, many don’t have it.
Gail, the body swap is one of fantasy’s oldest tropes. What made you want to put your spin on it?
GS: That’s a great question, and the truth is, most of those stories are comedies, intentional ones like, say, Big, or unintentional ones, like, say, Face/Off. We wanted one that played the concept straight, and did it with two archetypes that don’t cross paths, as a rule, the housewife and the hitman.
The other thing is, like most stories that center on amnesia, for example, many body-swap stories have a lot of cruelty in them, a lot of gay panic, a lot of misogyny and/or misandry. I hope we can do better than that.
As far as your two leads, Juniper in particular is very interesting to me. She seems to be stuck in an abusive situation all around her, but it feels a bit deeper. Can you tell us a little about how you developed her?
GS: Juniper is like a great many smart, creative people I know…you see them in fandom all the time, people who don’t like conflict, so people abuse them, push them around a bit, sensing they won’t fight back. It’s a mean little instinct that the pack mentality often has. The hope is that she stands up for herself, somehow.
CS: For her look, I wanted to make her outer appearance as disheveled as her inner self. She doesn’t have it together and is frustrated but defeated. She is attractive, but runs from it because she has been told she isn’t and can’t be.
Your art style has a very photo realistic look to it, without looking stiff. It’s really cool and unique among similar artists. Can you tell us about the process you go through when you are a creating a page?
CS: I carefully work through the layout of each page. I wanted this book to look as real as possible because the content relies on it. So when I read through each script, I make a checklist of things I may need to study up on, whether that be body language or a location.
Join us for part two, next week!