920London hits your local comic book shop on June 10, but thanks to Image Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots gets to take a deep dive with creator Remy Boydell.
2005, north of London. A doomed romance between two emo kids. More than friends, less than lovers, they’re trying to grow shrooms before the world ends. Send help.
920London is a perfect read for anyone at this time. COVID-19 has turned the world on its head, and this book reflects on 90% of the emotions you are going through right now. This is not my typical read, but the characters grew on me, and by the end, I was emersed in their universe.
Enjoy the Remy Boydell Interview Below
MFR: Did you need to make 920London, or did you want to make this book?
Boydell: I think I was definitely pretty depressed when I started! At the same time, I realized I could tap into something by working from the things that I originally fully loved around 2005. Hopefully, the book stands on its own though.
By the time it was finished, a couple of things had happened which made it feel like it had come ‘full circle,’ so I felt I’d made the right choices. I was happy to get Jorden Haley on board for the book’s title/logo; I liked his design work for Mindless Self Indulgence. I also tracked down one of the original artists that I remembered loving from back in the day on Deviantart (a Chilean artist who goes by Paroro), and it felt great to reminisce.
MFR: For me, your book has a bit of a Trainspotting feel to it. What are your influences that brought 920London to life?
Boydell: This was the first time I’ve gone outside of a square panel format for a whole book, so I wrestled with paneling, and re-read a lot from Asano Inio. The book is also a bit of a callback to the UK tv series ‘Skins,’ which is pretty nostalgic for me.
MFR: 920London was a very therapeutic read for me with the chaos and massive loss of life of COVID-19. Do you think about or realize how impactful your work can be on a reader?
Boydell: I don’t really think about how people are going to react to my work, since I’m too far inside of it, I can’t really ‘get’ it. I don’t know what the world will be like when I’m two years into a project, so all I can do is just put the book out. For people still quarantining/social distancing, I think the anxiety and sense of longing might be relevant, but I can’t speak for anyone else. I’m really happy that it felt therapeutic for you, that means a lot to me.
MFR: The silent pages and chapters acted like time jumps and deepened the relationships of the main characters for me. Can you talk about the silent pages and what they mean to you.
Boydell: This sounds strange in the context of print books, but I came up posting art on Tumblr, and I started doing splash pages that work as extended beat panels to just like, demand a bit more attention in the context of a vertically scrolling feed. I tried hard to edit the dialogue down as much as possible, I did a fair bit of that when I was editing the script of ‘The Pervert,’ and I wanted to pare stuff down as much as I could. I don’t know why; it just felt important.
Marlo Mogensen, a friend who’s much more eloquent than I am, described the characters existing in a kind of trauma limbo. There’s a fair amount of silence and disconnect between them. I just love a good full silent page.
MFR: As soon as you mentioned Ween, I started to give the book a soundtrack. What did you listen to when you were working on 920London?
Boydell: Ween was name-dropped in honor of my friend Charlie, who, during production of the book was sort of carving his life into a rudimentary shrine to Gene and Dean Ween.
I haven’t updated my iPod since I worked on the book, so I have a real list. The quality of the music varies violently:
The Secret Handshake, Amy Can Flyy, brokeNCYDE, Cobra starship, EATMEWHILEIMHOT, Hellogoodbye, I SET MY FRIENDS ON FIRE, Ima Robot, The Medic Droig, Metro Station, Paramore, The Rasmus, She Wants Revenge, 30H!3, The Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Hadouken!, Breathe Carolina, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Raconteurs, Dance Gavin Dance, Modest Mouse, Henry Homesweet, The Fratellis, Cute Is What We Aim For, Panic! At The Disco, Avril Lavigne, MCR, MSI.
I’m definitely missing a few, I know I had the soundtrack for the show ‘Skins’ going at one point too.
MFR: The indie comic book scene is a very crowded marketplace, what will success look like for 920London?
Boydell: I don’t think it’s crowded, I think there’s a good amount of indie comics. (We need) more indie comics. If someone reads it and makes their own weird comic, that would feel like success to me.
I’m not being glib, I genuinely met the goal I had for my last book in terms of numbers of copies sold, and that kind of thing can be a bit hollow. If anyone is unsure of their ability and worried the comic they genuinely want to write will repel or annoy their peers, please go for it.
MFR: Because of the emotional impact of COVID-19 and how the world has been shut down, what is your emotional state going to be like on June 10 when your book finally drops on the public?
Boydell: I feel grateful to everyone at Image; they’ve been working incredibly hard through a lot of chaos to get books out. I try not to focus on the reception of work, and I’m pretty deep into my next project already, I’ve been animating for a while. Having said that, it makes me happy to see a bit of fan art; I save it all carefully.
MFR: Thank you for your time, and best of luck with 920London.
Boydell: Thank you!!
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