Knave of Krypton: So you chose to break the fourth wall and have your lead character speak directly to Zuda viewers. What allows this particular series to be metafictional?
Robert Richardson: I’m not sure I specifically chose to have Lauren speak directly to the reader. She has a tendency to do things that surprise me.
I had started to watch a lot of anime around the time I wrote Urbis Faerie, and I really liked how the best of it pulls influences from every form of comics and all eras of film and television, and I wanted to establish a narrative style that could accommodate some of those same elements.
Also, Zuda is metafictional anyway, so I figured no one would notice. :)
KofK: What attracted you to Zuda?
RR: Even if you don’t win the top slot, I can’t imagine a better platform to launch a new project from. Urbis Faerie was my “dream project” – the baby I spent way too much time dreaming up the story for, and the thing I could never sell the rights to. And then that special thing became a project called The Matriarch. And these days it’s a fantasy story I’m doing with Martin & Carolina called The Pure Lands. So Urbis Faerie is still very special to me, but ultimately I was willing to trust that the folks at Zuda would do right by it if they ended up acquiring it.
KofK: Tell us a little about the history of this project. I know you said this character originally came from a short story...
RR: Yeah, Lauren appeared the first time I decided to try a more personal sort of writing, so I was very happy when that original short story, “The Coming Years of Good,” found a publisher. It’s always nice whenever anything you write does well, of course, but seeing Urbis Faerie get out there and connect with an audience brings a specific sort of validation with it.
KofK: Your series has one of the only "full compliments" of comic book disciplines. A separate writer, penciller, inker, colorist... How did you wrangle all these different creators together?
RR: We’d all joined forces previously on a webcomic called Elf-Help (currently available as a free download at Wowio). After putting the initial pitch pages together for Urbis Faerie, Martin and Carolina went off and drew an OGN called The Network for Jay Busbee (coming soon from Arcana), and Robt went on to color Zombie Highway and other things. Now the band’s back together so to speak, and we’re working on some new Urbis Faerie stuff right now.
KofK: Is the philosophical discourse we saw in these first 8 screens typical for where you'd like to see the series go?
RR: I always really liked Chris Stevens, the DJ character on Northern Exposure. Chris could (and readily would) expound on all sorts of topics, and it was just a part of his character. I wanted to try and establish a character sort of like that in the world of Urbis Faerie – someone not afraid to get a little wordy. Cat gets his next chance to delve into some flowery language when Lauren is forced to leave town…
KofK: What are some of your artistic or literary influences?
RR: Some of this was covered above, in that I’d been influenced by manga and anime when telling this story. I’m also a huge fan of television – those rare instances when it’s done right, it’s probably the perfect medium – and Urbis Faerie is my contribution to the long history of shows about specific places, from Springfield to Deep Space Nine and back on over to Stars Hollow. Twin Peaks set the standard for me, and Deadwood brought a town to life in a more fully realized way than I’d ever seen before. I miss both of those shows terribly. Martin and I decided to treat Urbis Faerie like a TV show to some extent, choosing to indicate the fantastical ancestry of the characters as if they were played by actors. In this initial stage of the story we’re just doing things with ears and hair – things prosthetics could handle in a television production.
KofK:Would you like to say a few words about the name for your series?
RR: I wanted to come up with a phrase that would basically mean “fantasy town” or something like that. The closest cool-sounding word I found was “urbis,” which is latin for city.
KofK: Anything else you'd like to add?
RR: Um, vote for me?