In Conversation With PLUSH Creators Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard

From Plastic and Vinyl creators writer Doug Wagner and artist Daniel Hillyard comes yet another blood-soaked and fetish-filled comics romp with Plush #1. Featuring colors from Rico Renzi and lettering by Ed Dukeshire.

I got so sit down once again with Wagner and Hillyard and talk about their influences, their process, and how Image handles the insanity they throw into their comics.

Thank you guys for sitting down to talk with me and congrats on yet another delightfully depraved creation.

MFR: For anyone who doesn’t know, your “Material” series at Image has taken us on a couple sprees of twisted and kinky blood-soaked murder. What made you two land on furry cannibalism this time around?

DOUG: To be honest, it’s all the fault of the muses, the universe, the sun god, the idea fairy… whomever or wherever you want to believe ideas come from. Daniel and I knew we wanted to do a third installment, but we had no idea what that was going to look like for what seemed like forever. I believe we were over halfway done with Vinyl when the idea struck. I was poking around the internet and bumped into a furry image that made me laugh, and felt that horror movie kind-of terrified all at the same time. The same week I was having a discussion with some friends and the topic of cannibalism came up…as it does…and it all just came together in one magical moment. I threw the idea at Daniel (mostly to make sure I wasn’t going too far), he said he loved it, and we took off from there.

DANIEL: I wonder if either one of us ever will have a story that goes too far? We always share our ideas with each other expecting that one of us might say it’s too crazy, bloody, or strange, but that’s never been the case…so far, at least.

MFR: Plastic and Vinyl both succeed by being a perfect mix of over-the-top gore and genuine heart. How do you maintain that formula, and is your approach any different when it comes to Plush?

DOUG: Well, thank you for saying that. We do our best, but it’s really just one big crazy experiment. You never really know if a story works or not until it comes out. Daniel and I do spend hours poring over every detail together, from the plot summary to the inks. We just hope and pray that if we like it, so will at least one other person.

DANIEL: Yes, thank you.

MFR: The mega-talented Rico Renzi is on board to provide colors in Plush. How has the creative process been with this new member of the Material team?

DOUG: Brilliant. I’ve known Rico for years and I always hoped we’d work together at some point. When Daniel and I started talking “neon horror,” we both immediately thought of Rico. Lucky for us, he was able to fit us into his schedule. He’s an absolute pro, so it’s been easy-peasy the whole way. His colors are always genius, he takes notes without even so much as a peep or sigh, and he’s always a blast to chat with.

DANIEL: I love Rico’s colors so much! It’s like Christmas morning every time I get to see a fresh batch of pages.

MFR: What were some of your biggest influences coming into Plush?

DOUG: This is always one of the toughest questions for me to answer, mostly because I want to say it’s every single comic, graphic novel, book, TV show, and movie I’ve ever consumed. I would have to admit each of the “Material” trilogy books were influenced by different aspects of all of those. With Plastic, I leaned more into horror and dark comedies. With Vinyl, it was horror and action films. With Plush, I’m going to say horror and romcoms. Yes, I said romcoms.

MFR: What is your guys’ creative process like for Plush? How much of the story comes straight from Doug’s scripts, and how much does Daniel add in when he sits down to draw?

DOUG: Like I said before, Daniel and I work pretty closely during every step of the process, so I see us as true co-creators. We kick things back and forth until we settle on something we both like. Sometimes Daniel has me change things in the script, and sometimes I ask for changes in his designs or layouts. The wonderful thing about working with Daniel is he always puts his ego aside. Like me, he only cares about telling the best possible story we can.

DANIEL: It’s like a tennis rally where we smack the story back and forth [laughs]. Like Doug said, having a great comic at the end of it is our drive. The good ideas stick around while the bad ones fall away.

MFR: How has working with the folks at Image been, and have they shown any signs of wear from publishing the insane stuff you guys make?

DOUG: LOL. I adore working with the folks at Image, but now you’ve got me worried. They haven’t shown any signs yet of wanting to kick us to the curb, so I can only assume they are just as disturbed as we are or they’re hiding it from us pretty well. I mean, I’m not the best at picking up on subtlety, so they could totally have me fooled. Do you think they’d tell me if I asked?

DANIEL: They are a pretty cool group. And I imagine they wouldn’t say.

MINISERIES PREMIERE Serial killing cannibalistic furries! PLASTIC and VINYL creators DOUG WAGNER and DANIEL HILLYARD are back. This time they’ve recruited colorist extraordinaire RICO RENZI for their disturbing “neon-horror” spin on fursuit psychopaths and bizarre love. In PLUSH Devin Fulcher is coerced into attending his first furry convention. When he accidentally happens upon a group of furries devouring a human the insanity begins. Do they just want Devin for dinner… or something much more wicked?

Be sure to put Plush on your pull list before its release on November 30th!

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.