Comic Watch: So, let’s start with your new series! Getting It Together is exploring some up to date topics like open relationships and mental health. We have seen you deal with topics alike either with a supernatural/superhero tone or a confessional one, but this time we’re sticking to slice of life comedy, right? How is it different or similar writing-wise?
Sina Grace:Getting it Together is 100% rooted in slice-of-life reality! The only unrealistic thing about it is that a bunch of kids working service gigs can afford to live in San Francisco’s mission district, hehe. The big difference with this series is that it was co-created and co-written with my bud Omar Spahi, so the writing process has been a refreshing balance of me doing some stuff, him doing some stuff, and coalescing wonderfully by the time we have final drafts of the scripts. The series is most definitely a romantic dramedy. We don’t beat around the bush that its inception stemmed from wanting to see a version of Friends that reflected our real lives, but we go way deeper into some heavy topics and have these characters show their ugly sides when the going gets rough. It’s fun!
CW: I know Ghosted in L.A. was your original idea that then grew on a creative team but being this more like a joint effort, how’s the creative process this time?
SG: When making Ghosted in L.A., I had a very clear pathway with my editor Shannon Watters of: “you got twelve issues, and a journey for the main character, Daphne… go make it work!” With Getting it Together, there’s a lot of time spent where Omar and I chat about what we want from the book, then figuring out how to get those wants onto the page. I know that for him, the friendship between besties Jack and Sam is something he super wants to pay attention to, whereas I’m focused on either Jack’s dating life or Lauren’s band drama. Together, we really cover all the bases for an ensemble book. I then chat a lot with artist Jenny Fine about the vibe of the book. She’s so talented and versatile, and her layouts are so gorgeous. She’s got a massive amount of Pinterest boards dedicated to the aesthetic of this series. It’s all very collaborative and fun.
CW: You created a webseries, “Self-Obsessed”, based on the eponymous comic and your daily life. It had a great comedy sitcom-style, with the themes that later Nothing Lasts Forever (Image, 2017) would explore deeper. Is there any relation between what you gave us on that webseries and what you are writing here?
SN: I definitely think there’ll be some thematic similarities. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Self-Obsessed and Nothing Lasts Forever were very much an ode to the parts I loved about my 20s – talking trash with friends, bemoaning broken hearts… going to concerts! This series is a more fictionalized version of things. One aspect with Getting it Together that definitely aligns with my autobiography stuff is that we really get into the nitty gritty reality of sex and sexuality. Readers are in for a heckuva ride!
CW: On one of the first teases we see a band, and this fits your style of putting musical references in your art, like Jenny Lewis in Jughead’s Time Police or Colleen Green in your webseries. Is this book also gonna get that? Plus, are you inspired by any soundtrack we should listen to while we get ready for June?
SG: Music is going to play a big part of the texture and grit to our series… I think I’m allowed to say this, but I’m working with a musician pal to release actual songs where she performs them as the protagonist of the series, Lauren Bolghand. We’re gonna release a song like every time a new issue comes out. In the meantime, I’d say folks should be listening to a lot of Vivian Girls, Soccer Mommy, Ex Hex, and Cherry Glazerr to get in the mood!
CW: In Ghosted in L.A., I am amazed by the use of the ghost themes to relate to emotional issues, with things like possession to explore mental health, the ghosts’ personal history for LGBT+ own voices historical narratives, etc. How do you feel about those things in your ghost characters? And with how people are receiving it? Do you have anything you wished you explored more?
SG: I’m glad that the themes of Ghosted in L.A. are starting to land with readers, because I put a lot of work in seeding some nuances throughout the series. The ghosts can be read as a metaphor for being single, and their abilities/ connection to the mortal realm sort of speak to the good and bad of being single/ other. I’m trying to have a more observational approach to presenting these characters, rather than saying any one of them should make you feel good or bad/ right or wrong. As I’m wrapping the series, there are a few pockets I wish I had time to dive deeper into. There’s something coming up that had a whooooole backstory that I had to basically condense into a sentence, and there were two romantic couplings I wanted to get in there that will just have to wait for when the series is a super success in the book market and we do a new volume!
CW: You also recently touched on queer and forbidden love (human and AI) in Read Only Memories. How was working on that storyline?
SG: Read Only Memories was such a fun project because the folks at MidBoss (the company that created and produced the game my comic is based off of) were so open minded and excited about letting me tell a story with their PI, Lexi Rivers. Like, I took some wild swings with my pitch- forget Neo-San Francisco, I wanna go to a small beach town! And they were totally warm to my approach. Plus, my editor on the series, Megan Brown, is just the most generous and earnest human being you’ll meet. We all had a great time. Artist Stefano Simeone and I keep begging Megan to pair us together again!
CW: There’s a detective tone that is certainly refreshing in that series. Really video game-ish. What did you like more about writing in this kind of style?
SG: The great thing about writing Read Only Memories is that it allowed me to show readers that I was capable of maintaining whatever the heck “my voice” is while telling a super gritty noir tale. I think it’s safe to say that all avid readers go through a noir/ detective phase, and I’m no exception. It was a great challenge to look at a very lived-in genre and ask myself, “What do I have to say, and how am I gonna say it?”
CW: A lot of people discovered you through your work on Iceman, where the supporting cast was important and uplifted the liberation theme of the series. How much do you miss the characters you created there, like Darkveil, Madin, Michaela or Zach, and, is there anything about them that made you learn and possibly form other characters elsewhere?
SG: Iceman was such a blast, and I think the one thing I’m gonna miss is not really getting a chance to revel in using the supporting cast? I spent so much time building things up- like getting Emma Frost’s brother Christian to a more stable place – that I didn’t have the page count to then let them all run amok with each other. What’s nice is that the characters are now there in the Marvel Universe, waiting for the next writer to have some fun with them.
CW: You have worked with DC too – like writing Plasticman in Crimes of Passion or Shazam: Infected, and with Archie Comics – in Jughead’s Time Police – between others. Is there any other character from DC or Archie or any other publisher you would like to write? Or maybe to repeat?
SG: I’ve been super lucky to have been assigned characters that I am 100% in love with. I’d kill for more time with Jughead. Almost every editor at DC has an email from me trying to get a Plasticman series made in their varied departments. The characters I would love to play with are Catwoman, Impulse, Josie and the Pussycats… the list goes on. Oh, Gen13! I’d have a blast with those kids.
CW: So, last question, aside from Getting It Together and the soon-to-end Ghosted in L.A., are you excited about other projects? Even little ones, collaborations, covers, posters… what’s on your desk?
SG: I think the main thing I’m excited to have see the light of day is my Green Lantern 80th Anniversary short coming out in May. The person we have drawing it is just… the best. That’s a fun story. I think that’s all I can share for now!
From Superhero and Supernatural to Romantic Dramedy: An Interview With Sina Grace
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