Last month I wrote a review of the first issue of Image Comic’s new series “Goners” (which you can read here). We posted and shared it like normal, and made sure to Tweet it using the creators Twitter handles because, you know, that’s what you do on Twitter. Imagine my surprise when they responded to us, and had obviously read the review! That just rarely happens and it was kind of exciting to know that what we put out there is seen by the writers and artists whose work we admire. (It is, however, terrifying to think that something… we’ll say, “unflattering”, could also be read by the writer or artist of which it is regarding. Which is why I never drink and write… anymore…)
I reached out to Jacob and Jorge to see if they’d be interested in doing an interview with us to talk about Goners and they were more than willing to oblige! Below is our conversation about the new series, how they each got into comic work, and Frankenstein…
4LN: Just to give people a little background on you guys, can you tell us how you each first got interested in comic books?
Jacob Semahn: From a young age, I was into the iconography of all things larger than life. Whether Greek mythology or
American cartoons, my entry point for all things hero came from various facets of interest. I knew of Spider-Man. I knew of
Super Friends. Hell, I even had every Super Powers toy from Kenner. That should’ve been my first clue as to what comics
were, but it wasn’t. The first comic that I ever saw/picked up was Infinity War #1 from a 7-11 spinner rack in the early 90s.
Never looked back since.
Jorge Corona: My entry point came actually from cartoons, growing up in Venezuela there weren’t many stores that sold
comics, besides the usual strips you would find at the back of the newspaper (this was actually how I fell in love with the
mythology of The Phantom character). But ever since I was a kid I loved cartoons and I loved superheroes, my favorite
being the Batman Animated Series cartoon. It was on a family trip that I came across a Kelley Jones Batman comic that
had an ad for the show and then my life was changed forever.
4LN: What about the business itself? How did you each find your way to this point?
JS: My career started when I freelance wrote with Man of Action on Ultimate Spider-Man in 2010. Been a long winding
road in television, but Man of Action has really helped get my feet wet and establish the principles of the day to day life of
a freelance writer. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without them.
JC: This is a fairly recent turn in my life, I always wanted to work on comics but it wasn’t until I got a Scholarship to go to
the Savannah College of Art and Design for a Sequential Arts MFA that I found my way into the industry itself. My first gig
was a Justice League Beyond story for DC Comics.
4LN: Moving on to your exciting new series Goners, where did the idea for the book come from?
JS: I sat in a world history class that covered a super 8 or 16mm stringout of the JFK assassination from various footage
collected from the crowd on that fateful day. After watching it, I realized that the live televised murder of the President of
the United States was an event that had very lasting ramifications on the world as we now know it. I always wondered
what the Kennedy family went through after that day. Mix that with my passion for folklore, history, and 80s kid movies,
and you have Goners.
4LN: I’ve noticed in several places that the series is defined and “Horror”, “Supernatural”, and “Occult”. Are those desired
genre associations for you guys, or do you view the series as something else from a creator’s perspective?
JS: I would add “Adventure” and a “Swashbuckling Good Time” to the mix. Goners is its own thing. It is definitely in the
Horror genre. It is in the Occult genre as well. But to put labels on it kind of sucks the air out of expectations. One issue
might read more as a family drama. One an action. And one as supernatural. They can be all or none of these things as
long as they’re FUN TO READ.
JC: I agree with adding “Adventure” as a major part of the feel and theme of Goners. While I have no problems with
“Horror” and “Supernatural” I feel that people have created certain expectations of how these genre should look or read,
and one of the most enjoyable things I find working in Goners is that we take those topics and add our spin to it to make
it feel like a great adventure that happens around very scary things, not diminishing their influence but adding to it from
4LN: For me, there’s something about the story that has a very retro feel to it. Boiling it down to a very basic premise, the
concept of a brother and sister from a family of “ghost hunters” (I use the term loosely) going on an adventure together
to fight ghouls and otherworldly creatures just seems like something straight out of an 80’s movie. Are there any specific
influences that you’ve drawn from to create the Goners universe?
JS: YUP! Stephen King’s IT, Monster Squad, The Goonies, Jonny Quest, and Stand By Me. These are the works that
rocked my child mind way back when.
JC: Style-wise I would also add Batman: The Animated Series as a major influence for the visuals in Goners, and to some
extent even the old Scooby-Doo Where are You! cartoon. Just like with Jonny Quest, those cartoons left a mark on my
placing regular characters on spooky supernatural situations, blending the scary with the humorous perfectly.
4LN: I want to thank you for the sneak peek you provided us of issue #2 (see below). Without dropping any spoilers, I can attest to our
readers that, despite expressed concerns in my review of issue #1 (I was way off base there), issue #2 definitely provides more back-story on the
Latimers, while still hammering ahead at full speed in regards to the kids evading an onslaught of creepy monsters.
What would you say to someone who is considering picking up Goners but hasn’t yet?
JS: If you’re the type of person that likes to be dropped in the middle of an intense mystery where you, the reader, have
no more information than the two characters that you’re following have, then this book is for you. If you’re the type of
person that likes your adventure fast and your hunting slow, then this book is for you. And finally, if you’re the type of
person that digs obscure folklore monsters chasing children to the ends of the earth all while said children have to figure
out who murdered their parents and why… then this book is for you.
JC: Just hop on for the ride! Jake has managed to craft a story that mixes the sense of adventure and supernatural so
well while continuously increasing the stakes for the characters. It has the feel of an epic story while keeping it close and
relatable with the dynamic between family members. It has the horror and the adventure, and, for as much as a cliché this
is, I get excited every time I get the new script and finding out and working with Jake to make the best story we can for
people to read.
4LN: This next short set of questions is our “lightening round”. Just answer with the first thing that comes to mind… All-time favorite cartoon?
JS: Paranoia Agent
JC: Batman: The Animated Series
4LN: What graphic novel would you recommend everyone read?
JS: Three Shadows, by Cyril Pedrosa
JC: Daytripper, by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
4LN: If you had your choice, what established comic book character would you like to work on?
JS: Black Widow
4LN: Final question: Bigfoot versus the Frankenstein monster in a Hell in a Cell match… who wins?
JS: Frankenstein. C’mon, the guy has at least three recorded kills under his belt (also, would love if he had the Abby Normal brain). Bigfoot just walks like Steven Tyler caught in his scarf closet. No brainer.
JC: I have to agree, even if Frankenstein gets some limbs torn off he can just get back into the fight and destroy Bigfoot.
I want to say a big THANK YOU to Jacob and Jorge for doing this interview with us! They are two of the nicest guys in the world and you NEED to go out and get their book Goners RIGHT NOW. Need more to convince you? Really? You’re that hard of a sell? Well, ok… how about a preview of issue 2!
I personally believe that the mark of a great comic does not lie in a flawless first issue, but in flawless follow-up issues that keep up momentum and pick up speed. Issue #2 of Goners does just that. It was one of the most exciting comic book issues I’ve read all year. The suspense and genuine sense of near-impending-doom looms from page to page and makes you nervous for the characters. Then, just as you start to let your guard down, thinking everything is going to be OK, the intensity of the situation gets even more heart-pounding! Head down to your local comic shop tomorrow and pick up issue #2 of Goners! And, if you haven’t yet read it, grab a copy of issue #1 if they’ve got any! I promise this is a train you want to jump on before it picks up steam and you get left behind!