Let us take a look at Void Trip, a story about freedom and adventure! Written by Ryan O’Sullivan and artist Plaid Klaus, it is sure to be one of the best reads of the year…or maybe in the entire galaxy! So today, to celebrate this comic, I sat down with both of these two creators and asked them the questions we have all been asking! Take a look!
First off, thank you Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus for joining me for this lovely interview! It’s an honor and I’ve been excitingly waiting on reading Void Trip!
RYAN: Thanks for having us, dude! Excited to be chatting about it.
PLAID KLAUS: Lez do this.
What can you tell us about Void Trip that sets it apart from other sci-fi space adventures? And can you explain what Void Trip is about?
RYAN: Void Trip is different from other sci-fi stories in that it is a road trip story first, and a sci-fi story second. Klaus and I really wanted to do a road-trip story, and space seemed the perfect genre setting for it, given that space is probably the only place you can get still get lost in.
The plot of Void Trip is that we’re following the last two humans left alive, a pair of absolute hippies by the names of Ana and Gabe, as they journey along the intergalactic highway on a pilgrimage to the hippy promised land of Planet Euphoria. They’re high as buzzards on psychedelic space froot, and have little interest beyond partying the night away and living for the moment. Following our two space hobos is an all-white, nameless, gunslinger. More a force of nature than a character himself, this nameless “Great White” is determined to stop our heroes reach the promised land. Although his reasons for wanting to stop them are anyone’s guess. (Klaus & me included!)
I’m detecting a very mellow and laid back type story that takes its time, Why go this route?
RYAN: Because Void Trip tries to answer the question “how can you be free in a world which conspires to stop you being free?” It’s an inherently pessimistic and possibly quite bleak story. We needed to have mellow and laid back characters/writing/etc in order to make sure the story itself wasn’t bleak or preachy. My favorite stories are balanced: one part humour, one part dark existentialism. It’s why I’m such an avid reader of Charles Bukowski, Martin McDonagh, and Cormac McCarthy.
Klaus, what was the challenge like trying to match Ryan O’Sullivan’s relaxed writing in this book, with your very cleaned and polished art style?
KLAUS: As a comic artist, you should be making sure the visual world you build matches the tone of a story. Ryan wrote an “open road trip” tale, so I knew off the bat we needed to have a LARGE ENGULFING LANDSCAPE to start the story off. As for the challenges of the “relaxed” storytelling, I see it from a different angle. There is a lot of noise on the shelves, LOUD stories with lots of fighting, verbose narrative diatribes about what the writer wants the reader to gain from their well of knowledge. Personally, I love that Ryan writes with a confident subtlety. He’s such an expert with story structure that he know if you keep the story interesting and paced properly you can pass your wisdom onto the reader through the narrative (as opposed to long winded dissertations in the form of character dialogue).
So, honestly, I’m lucky. Trusting the story, and realistic brevity of the dialogue, I get to have room in the panels to expand the readers lens through world building. Along with being a strong director/cinematography/actor a comic artist’s duty is to emerge the reader in the world on the page. We have the luxury in comics to create stand still moments that a reader can let their eye wander to explore, or slice quick cuts to propel the reader through the story.
Where exactly did Ana and Gabriel derive from and why these two specifically?
RYAN: Ana and Gabe are two different approaches to the central problem of the story: how do we find freedom in a universe that limits us? Ana is the young, carefree, pseudo-anarchist, more interested in bludgeoning her way through life, taking what she wants, consequences be damned. Gabe is a bit older and wiser. He knows what you can and can’t get away with. He’s an older version of Ana in a lot of ways. He also represents the generation of the old world, that created the current situation we all find ourselves, as the new generation, living in. He’s seem some shit, he’s caused some shit, and I think helping Ana get through her own problems is his way of making peace with himself.
What more can we expect from this charming story about two space hobos?
RYAN: You can expect to see them arguing, getting high, arguing some more, annoying aliens, really annoying aliens, stealing stuff, arguing a bunch more, and, ultimately, loving every minute of it. Because they’re the best of friends, and they’re on the road together. Living life free in the moments between the inevitable pillars of suffering that mark our everyday existance. And if this sounds bleak, then maybe it is. But that’s not the point of the story. Life is what it is, it’s how we respond to it that matters. And Void Trip is the story of how an optimist and a pessimist responded to a universe that didn’t like them.
Klaus, when developing the drug trip scenes you make it strange yet easy to follow, why choose to go that route instead of an all out psychedelic drug trip?
KLAUS: Right. A real psychedelic trip, where you break beyond the borders of everyday consciousness, is intensely visceral, impermanent and all senses are intwined in a manner that envelopes you personally. To attempt to convey a true psychedelic experience would actually deter the function of the scenes Ryan wrote for the story. I decided instead to aim for stereotypical, caricatured versions of “tripping”. A child-like Disneyland approach that drew more on cartoon and decoration, rather than truly capturing a trip.
Again, similar to the reason we call the drugs “From” and not “Mushrooms” or “LSD” is because they are a narrative device. Definitely a nod to the drug culture, but it’s not about drugs; It’s about “freedom.
Will we get to learn more about Ana and Gabriel as time goes on?
RYAN: You’ll learn enough to understand and enjoy the story. We won’t be delving into their backstories too much and we won’t be explaining why they’re the last two humans left alive. This is a road trip story. Who they were before they started the journey isn’t really that important. All that matters is who they are at the start, and who they are at the end.
That said, you’ll definitely find out more about how Ana and Gabe first met, how Gabe sees himself as a father figure to Ana, how she doesn’t, and how their conflicting world views weave throughout the story, bouncing up against all of the conflict they face throughout. You’ll also get to see how the two of them impact other characters in the story, and what sort of legacy they build with them. This last part is perhaps their most important role of all.
Void Trip is released in shops everywhere: November 22, 2017!