Joshua Hale Fialkov

Purveyor of sheer awesomeness.

Joshua Hale Fialkov is the Harvey, Eisner, and Emmy Award nominated writer of graphic novels, animation, video games, film, and television, including:

THE LIFE AFTER, THE BUNKER, PUNKS, ELK'S RUN, TUMOR, ECHOES, KING, PACIFIC RIM, THE ULTIMATES, I, VAMPIRE, and JEFF STEINBERG CHAMPION OF EARTH. He's also written for NBC's CHICAGO MED and SYFY's upcoming INCORPORATED.

Photograph by Heidi Ryder

Me and Keating Talk About Elk’s Run

So, Keating and I talk almost constantly while he colors Elk's Run. It's a very... interesting process to me. Anyways, I just had my first chance to see 95% of the book colored (And that's nearly 200 pages of comics, people) and I got a chance to see just how much of a genius Keating is. So, we talked, I copy and pasted, and here's what's hopefully not a boring ramble about the creative process behind Elk's Run. This contains some spoilers if you haven't read the book at all, so, be warned. SPOILERS FOR ELK'S RUN 1-4 BELOW!

josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: what's nice is that the colors that we've used through out are now just totally opressive. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: like they've come to a boil. Keating: okay Keating: so here's the thing Keating: This was my plan for the coloring of this thing. Right from the start. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: heheh. Keating: The colours have a bunch of purposes. Different lighting situations, etc. Times periods. All with different qualities. Keating: But as it gets going, what happens is that the colours start coming together. Little bits in different 'sets'. As the more and more things start happening to the town/citizens, the color spreads to them. But not the family. So, if you look at the townsfolk in the 7th issue. They're colored as a group. They've become a single entity. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: you've officially put more thought into the book than I have. Keating: And during the SPOILER DELETED, the family, especially john jr and sr become totally seperated from the background. Everything else just bcomes 'the town' Keating: So, the other characters take on more of the background color. So everything is focused on the family. Because, in the end, it's really only about them. Keating: And that's it :) haha josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: Right. Keating: And the last thing is that the colors the characters wear tie into their place in the story. Keating: So, john and john start out both wearing blue. His mother has a slightly greenish blue. Keating: As john becomes seperated from his family, he loses he jacket and takes on a grey shirt, since he doesn't belong anywhere. Keating: In the end, only the father is wearing the blue. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: yep, 10x as much thought as I have. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: the jacket thing was intentional, actually. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: it's my little Ibsen nod. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: Ibsen was obsessed with when people took off and put on clothes. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: it was a symbol of vulnerability. Keating: It's awesome. I was really happy as I read it, since I saw so much opportunity as the colorist to sort of back up what was happening in the narrative. Keating: rather than just color things as the color they are. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: i love page 10 josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: makes it that much sadder. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: which is the thing. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: it's not just sad for Jr. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: it's sad for Sr. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: He's a man out of time. Keating: Yeah. Keating: And it plays against the 'drop out' coloring that we do. Which is normally when the character seperates himself from his surroundings. But this is the town's people seperating themselves from him. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: and ultimately from the town. Keating: Yup. Keating: It's good stuff ;) josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: I've been in creative meetings all day, and have been sort of bickering about plot and semantics and things like that. It's nice to get to talk about the actual fucking craft of the book. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: and, the thing about this book, and why it works so great as a comic is that it's more than the sum total of it's parts.  I think there's magic between the three of us. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: and as we try and disect the plot and break it down into set pieces and elements, you start to realize that what makes it fly is the subtlety and the pacing. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: Honestly, that's Noel's strong point. He controls the pacing so well. josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: Despite giving you 10,000,000 extra panels to color. Keating: The pacing and he reigns in the drama, I think. Some of the scenes could be drawn very heroic and romantic. But instead he mostly draws at an even sort of level. Which, when the town starts to burn, really works. It's like a slow build. Which adds to the tension, because we expect 'big' moments but they never quite get there. Until the last pages of issue 7 josh@hoarseandbuggy.com: and you sort of realize how Jr. is really rising above the whole thing. because they have this lackluster miserablely mundane existance, and he finally steps up and does something remarkable. Keating: yeah Keating: And this is coming from a guy who absolutely hates colouring this book :) haha