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Author Topic: ZED & GAGNE TAKE FLIGHT
Jennifer M. Contino
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BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
We catch up with Flight contributor and ZED creator Michel Gagne to talk comics, time management, and find out what's next in his career.

For those of you who haven't had a chance to check out ZED yet, Gagne describes his lovable lead as a "cute and adorable scientist." Gagne said, "He's discovered a clean and efficient way to produce energy. When he demonstrates his invention to the hierarchy of the galaxy, ZED inadvertently triggers a deadly chain of events - a monumental disaster that claims the life of his parents, the hierarchy of the galaxy, and 60 billion beings."

"Critics have called ZED a UFO on the comic scene," Gagne continued. "They say it doesnít seem to be connected in any way with current trends. In a way, ZED is very juvenile. Itís written like itís for a 10-year old. But then, it also deals with issues like genocide, corrupted politics, and other extremely tragic events. In issue three, ZED contemplates suicide! The comic also features a foul-mouthed heavy metal band called Krah. People love them. Theyíre a big hit! Iím hoping to have Steve Rolston write and draw the Krah adventures in a spin off series called: The Krah Khronicles. Thereís also a cruel tyrant named Maxuss who doesnít hesitate to kill on a whim."

Gagne said, "If I had to find words to describe ZED they would be: adorable, disturbing, juvenile, gory, reflective, cute, shocking, childish, mature, sadistic, spiritual, and innocent. ZED is full of contradiction."

Gagne enjoys working on this series, but said it's tough not being able to devote all his time to the further adventures of these characters. He's currently only producing one issue a year, due to other commitments. "I'm always worried when I solicit a new issue of ZED that no one will order the book," he said. "I'm glad to see many retailers supporting ZED. It's all word of mouth. People buy it from me at conventions and they recommend it to their retailers. I really appreciate the support. When I work on ZED, I always have a good time. Itís a way to branch out my creativity. ZED is a wonderful hobby!"


"I decide where I want to take the story in a particular issue and thumbnail all twenty three pages in usually one session of two to three hours," he continued. "Then, I let it sit for a while, reworking it here and there. When I start drawing for real, everything is locked down. Iíve always been a fan of comics and one of my dreams has been to have my own comic series. I love everything about doing ZED: from conception to final proofing."


Gagne said, "Because I already had published quite a few books before ZED, the transition to comics wasnít bad. I had to face many problems when I started publishing books but I gotta say, ZED overall has been pretty smooth sailing. Of course, you keep learning new things all the time. You learn about paper weight and surface; how the ink reacts on various types of paper. I experimented with the first 6 issues. I like the formula I found with #6 so I decided to stick with it for issue #7. I can also see how much Iíve grown with my Photoshop skills. The art is becoming a lot fuller. Iím spending more time on the backgrounds. All the lines in issue #7 are different shades of gray. In issue 1 to 4 the lines were black. Now, Iím really trying to push the grayscales. ZED is a black and white and grayscale comic. Iím putting a lot of effort in that area."

Gagne considers ZED to be his "labor of love" and hasn't had any real problems creating the series. "When I work on ZED, I always have a good time," he said. "ZED is good. If you look at it with the innocence of a child (although the series is definitely not aimed at children) and get into it, youíll witness a cosmic epic filled with dark humor, cute drawings, plot twists and disturbing monsters. What could be wrong with that?"

Along with ZED # 7, Gagne has a story in the latest volume of Flight. He told us how he got into that anthology. "A couple of years ago, Kazu Kabuishi approached me to do work for his anthology Flight," Gagne said. "I told him I had an idea for a 150-page graphic novel with my little fox character 'Rex' from my 1998 book A Search for Meaning: The Story of Rex. He liked the idea, so I did the first 17 pages for Flight: Volume Two. Volume Three, coming out at the end of June, features the second chapter which is 28 pages. Rex goes through a traumatic event that has a massive impact on his life! The story continues Ö"

"Rex (Flight) is silent, in color and evolves in a completely organic manner," Gagne continued. "ZED has dialogue, is black and white and is serialized in 23 pages installment. If Rex is All Ages, ZED would be PG-13. The limitations are different but the process is similar. I thumbnail, and let it sit for a few days/weeks/months, while I move on to other projects. I come back when Iím fully inspired, and throw myself into the work. I love the format [of Flight], the freedom to do what I want and the fact that itís in color. Flight seems like a perfect fit for my ideas. I think Kazu has a really good eye for quality. The caliber of artists is amazing. I love looking at everyoneís wonderful work at the Piccolo Factory Message Board where we post our stories. Iím so honored to be able to open the book with my stories. Itís a huge honor."

Along with his comics, Gagne has several other projects on tap. He gave us some details of the works. "Iím involved with a trading card game called XEKO," Gagne said. "The first set of 116 cards was released in April and itís showing lots of promises. Iím working on the second set now. You can check out some of the work I did for the first set here: http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/Gallery/illustrations/XEKO/XEKO_main.htm I also have a couple of new hardcover books in the works. One of them is called My Insane Childhood. Itís been in the making for the past three years. Iím hoping to wrap it up in the next few months. And of course, ZED #8 and Flight: Volume 4 and 5. You can view a 6-page preview of ZED #7 here: http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/books/ZED/ZED_7/ZED_7_pages.htm ."



For more on ZED and Michel Gagnť, visit

http://www.gagneint.com/

Posts: 15731 | From: PA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
derrickfish
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Member # 9007

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GEEZ, He needs to stop being so good so I can feel better about myself.

Seriously, though, his FLIGHT 3 story was FANASTIC and beautiful.

--------------------
Derrick Fish
Dandy & Company
A Daily online Comic...

Posts: 129 | From: Orlando, Fl. | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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