Today we are joined by Robert from Bridging the Geekdoms as he talks with the incredible creator François Vigneault!
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Francois Vigneault – Interview
[00:00:00] Robert Slavinsky: and welcome back everybody. This is Robert and I am with SUA Vineo, who is a comic book, creator, a writer, and whole bunch of other stuff. I kind of want to get into that with him here.
so how’s it going?
Francois Vigneault: Hey, Robert really nice to talk to you. I’m doing well. How are you doing?
Robert Slavinsky: I’m doing fine. I know that everything has been pretty crazy. It seems like just starting to calm down a little bit around the world when it comes to the pandemics, hopefully you’ve been able to keep busy and, you know, push forward despite everything going
Francois Vigneault: on.
Yeah, I’m very, I’m very lucky in that I had a project lined up, so I was, I’ve just continued working on it and I do a lot freelance, like kind of illustration and design work. So I’ve been lucky. I’ve just kept on doing all that stuff. Like my life. I didn’t change very much. I’ve been working at home for the last five years.
It’s just that now my partner, my, my, my, my life partner has moved in to the apartment and is working at home as well. So now I just have to share it with her. But other than that, my life [00:01:00] hasn’t changed pretty much, except I can’t go visit the United States. I can’t go to comic conventions, all that, all the same stuff that everyone’s going through, but, overall I’m doing good.
Robert Slavinsky: The comic conventions really hurts. I’m sure it really hurts for somebody who it’s more of a, independent type of comic book artists. Yeah. And sorts like, like yourself, that’s kind of how you’ve done it. It’s more, it’s on a smaller base. It’s not like with the big companies out there. So I’m sure it’s really tough for you to get your work out there, to be with the people and like, Hey, this is what I’m making.
This is what I’m doing. So that’s gotta be tough.
Francois Vigneault: Yeah. You know, it was, I mean, everything was delayed to a now Titan was a, we’re recording this in September. I think we can let people know that we’re recording this in September and a Titan was supposed to be coming out this week and now it’s pushed back till November.
So, you know, but, if that’s as bad as it gets for me with the effects of COVID, I think I got off [00:02:00] pretty easy. I feel pretty good about that.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah, for sure. I just know for myself, I can’t wait until we can get back into the comic convention circuit and get back out there talking to people and everything.
Because for me, I’ve only recently started going to conventions myself. I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and, we have a decent sized convention here that pumps yep. A couple of times a year, but we just, it hasn’t been able to, and all this, you know, During 2020. So I’m kinda missing out because I got a taste of it the last couple of years, and I’m just, you know, I’m jonesing for more so I can’t wait until it gets back to running again.
Francois Vigneault: Yeah. You have some, really great, indie people, indie comic book creators in Pittsburgh also like Jim rug and, at Fisker and Tom who just had his Jack Kirby book come out. So you’ve got a lot of really great local talent there. It’s a sort of really thriving scene.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah, definitely.
Now let’s not talk about those other people though. Cause you’re here to talk about you let’s get onto that. So who are
Francois Vigneault: you like where do [00:03:00] you
Robert Slavinsky: come from? How did you get into being a
Francois Vigneault: comic book? Creator? Sure. You know, I mean like a lot of kids, I started drawing when I was a little kid and I think that the difference between me and some other people is that I just never stopped.
I just kept on going and, You know, like in my teen years I grew up reading comics. I really loved them. Like, and I was a teenager during the nineties, which was a pretty, well, yeah, Seminole and powerful time for a lot of comics, you know, like not only on the, in the mainstream side, you know, there was like, the, there were some really big things blowing up like image comics and.
And, and the, you know, like the big seminal works of like Jim Lee and all those people at marble. So like comics were really big. And then that led me into the more indie side of things, you know? So then I started reading things like a, you know, dark horse presents. So I really liked all those comics, like John Paul Chadwick, he did concrete, all that read the Paul Pope THB.
[00:04:00] Lots of stuff like that. And so I was really, I really kind of enjoyed that. I started making my own comics and I never stopped making comics. I, it was always like doing some sort of little stories with friends. I ran a small little publishing company, small press kind of thing. but it’s only really in the last say five, six years that I really dived into it.
And it kind of catches me by surprise sometimes like every so often I’m like, Wow. I’m a comic book artist, because that’s not exact I had, I didn’t think that was going to happen anymore. You know, I’ve been working my whole life, doing all sorts of other jobs. I’ve worked in stores. I’ve been a graphic designer, a creative director and editor, all kinds of other stuff.
And so then to have it all come full circle and now I’m okay. Comic book writer or comic book artist it’s sometimes I think if my 13 year old self could see me right now, they will. That person would be a very mystified that it all happened. But yeah, I basically, I never stopped, about five years ago, I got the opportunity to, [00:05:00] I got the opportunity to work a little harder on my comics.
I took some space and some time that’s about when I moved to where I live now in Canada, I’m from the United States and I moved here and I. What I really fell in with a really good crowd of, creators here. It’s a really good scene. There’s a lot of really good publishers, a lot of really good artists here.
And I got the opportunity to publish my comic Titan in French. And so I finished my comic Titan. It came out in 2017 and, In all honesty was really welcomed with open arms, by the, like, by the artistic community, the critical community, the readers, I was like nominated for, I think, five or six prizes. It was really crazy.
Like, like all of a sudden I felt very validated in everything I was doing. And then right after that, I did another comic where I didn’t write it, but I was the artist on it with a different Canadian publisher. And so it’s just been rolling, you know, it’s just been rolling [00:06:00] since then. I’m really very, just very lucky.
yeah. And I know that it could end at any time, you know, you never for no. but I’m just trying to try to make it work. And now finally, my book Titan, which was my first book that came out in French. is coming out in English in the fall. So, it’s like I’m coming back home, right? Like, cause I came from the United States and now I’m going back and we’ll see how everyone we’ll see if people want me or not.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah, definitely. I do want to talk about Titan. Absolutely. But it’s I have a bit curious to I’m sorry about this, but you know, your name is very French. And you’re from America. So how does that play out? Like, are your parents from, you know, the, you know, the French Canadian area or daily? How did that work?
Francois Vigneault: Yeah, that’s exactly it actually. I really, I try, I think I trick people here. you know, they see my name and also have, you know, is like the most Quebec name that you could have. But then I opened my mouth and I speak French and my French is. Not perfect. Let me tell you. And so they realize that, they’re like, wait, [00:07:00] there’s something wrong with this picture.
They don’t know what’s going on. It’s the same thing on the opposite side. But yeah, I was born in the United States. My mother is from here in Quebec. and my father is from, Haiti, which is, an Island in the Caribbean. And so I’m like the product of their union. And then I grew up in, I was born in upstate New York, but I grew up in San Diego.
So I’m kind of all over the place. and then I. Lived kind of all over the United States, mostly on the West coast, but Chicago too. So kind of all over the place. And then about five years ago, I, you know, I was, my life was really changing, so I was like, Oh, you know, maybe I’ll just, I’ll do a, I’ll spend the night.
Yeah. and I spent the summer here. I really liked it. And I ended up living here for five years. This is totally wild, but, yeah, that’s my background, but like, I’m a weird mud.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah. It’s to me, it’s just, you know, you mentioned that you lived in San Diego, you’d think that, you know, San Diego or even New York there’s are hubs for, you know, comic book creators, you would think that right around that [00:08:00] area, you know, there’s in those areas on the East coast of the United States, you’d probably want to stay.
So, what was the draw? I mean, I know you kind of. We’re planning on staying in Montreal, I’m guessing, but from the sound of it, but what was the draw
Francois Vigneault: to stay there,
Robert Slavinsky: to
Francois Vigneault: work up there? Sure. I mean, well, there’s two things. I mean, there’s, there’s, I did feel like I found some success here that, Like, I’ve always been totally happy with my level of success.
No matter where I am. I feel like, it’s not like I deserve success, right? Like, you know, like I’m good enough at what I do. I, if people enjoy what I do, that’s fantastic, but it’s not like the world needs to listen to what I have to say. But, here in Quebec, for whatever reason, I found, like there was a lot of energy for what I was doing.
Like people responded to my art style, my writing, You know, like I said, it’s like, I got like a nominated for six prizes. I, that really surprised me, you know, like I wasn’t going into this [00:09:00] publishing my first book expecting to do that. So that was all a big draw to staying here in, in Montreal.
And then the other one, the thing is like the oldest story ever told right. Is, you know, like, so I met my partner, my current partner right after I moved here. and I fell in love. And so that’s that. It’s that old story, right? Like that’s the number one thing. That’s going to keep somebody somewhere.
Robert Slavinsky: Oh, absolutely. I know that from experience myself.
Robert Slavinsky: So I w I want to transition to talking about Titan because that’s kind of the next big thing that’s coming up for you. in regards to it releasing in English, because I know that it did release in Canada and French, but has yet to come stateside, in the English format.
So could you tell us a little bit of what got you to that story? Like, like, I want to hear about the story on what got you to like, Hey, let’s. Make this, you know?
[00:12:00] Francois Vigneault: yeah, no, that’s a really good question. I mean like every story has a weird sort of origin, at least the stories that I tell have a sort of a weird origin and they’re kind of, it’s kinda meandering, you know, sometimes they don’t, they’re not a straight line Titan, which is, you know, for your view for your listeners, this is a podcast, right?
They’re listening. So for your listeners, you haven’t seen the book yet. Titan is basically a story about, it’s a scifi story science fiction, and it takes place in the future. And there are these workers who work on the moon of Titan, hence the name. And they are genetically engineered to be able to live on the moon, in low gravity.
And so they’re giants, you know, they’re like say eight to 12 feet tall and. But all of their managers and all of the security and everything on the moon of Titan are people from earth Terrans. And so there’s this conflict between the Titans and the Terrans, the workers and the management. And [00:13:00] so in some ways, Titan is a very direct metaphor about like, you know, worker management, like workers, like worker management, strife, All the problems that we’ve been having for the law, like this minute right now, today, and then also going back for hundreds of years as well.
and so for me, the inspiration for it was kind of banal to start with. Like, the first thing I thought about was just like, what if there were giant humans, how would that affect our relationships with each other, et cetera? It’s like, it was just a very basic concept. And then I sort of was chasing after, like, what’s a reason why these giant humans could exist.
I was like, okay, maybe they live in low gravity. That kind of makes some sort of fuzzy scifi, logic, et cetera. And I kind of rolled it out from there. And then it ended up being a S story about a relationship between somebody from the earth and somebody from Titan, and they’re coming from very different worlds, [00:14:00] literally and figuratively.
And so that was my inspiration. It was like, it just started with this very basic idea and then it kind of spooled out. And I started having to think about all sorts of different things like about the economics of it, about the, The culture of the two different kind of groups of humans, how they’re different from each other, how they’re the same?
Do they have any connective tissue? So that’s, that was the basic thing. It started with a very simple idea. I just had it in the back of my head. I kind of explored it over time. And then finally, I ended up starting working on it about, I guess five or six years ago. And it took me. Or even more now because it came out in 2000 in 17 and French.
And, it took me about five years to do the book. So that the, that was the kind of origin
Robert Slavinsky: for it. That’s real, intriguing and interesting. And you know, I’m looking at what I see. And the thing that really sticks out to me the most is the color palette, the way that you did the coloring for it, which is, Interesting.
Very interesting, different, because it’s not what [00:15:00] I was expecting. Can you touch on that a little bit on how you went in that direction with it?
Francois Vigneault: Sure. Well, I, you know, I L I love that, sort of spot, color feeling, you know, for some of your listeners, they might be familiar with say something like, Ghost world by Dan Clowes.
you know, which was beautiful. It’s a blue, white, and black. It’s basically black and white with another color. And in my book, it’s black and white with like a rosy pink kind of tone. And, the reason I like a spot color is because like, I can draw in color. Like I do it. All the time. I like, I have a lot of client like illustration clients and they need color things.
So I’ll draw a magazine cover or something like that. And they’ll be in full color, but I feel that sometimes full color can be a little bit overwhelming. Do you know what I mean? Like you’re looking at the page and everything has a color, like, you know, like, like you’re analyzing every element of it, especially too with like modern coloring.
There’s a lot of like [00:16:00] gradients or modeling or shading and things like that. So I find that can be a little overwhelming, but for me as an artist, Just black and white is a little hard because I don’t know if you can see in my art, like my art style, but I don’t draw like a lot of like hatching or shading, like, you know, like crosshatching or something like that.
I, you know, I learned how to do all that stuff, but I don’t feel very good. Like, it’s not the way I like the comic to look. I like almost, I mean, it’s definitely not a link Claire, like a HealthShare kind of look, but I’d like a kind of a clean look, a little bit of a brushy look, but not necessarily lots of little lines.
Sometimes I want to add a little bit of, What do you, what would you call it like a third tone? You know, like something between the black and the white and that the spot color lets me do that. And so that’s why I did that. And when I was working with Titan, I did it in a variety of different colors as I was working on it.
And the French edition is totally different. It’s purple. It’s like really, a different color. [00:17:00] But in the end I came back to pink. I don’t know. I, There’s something like nice and warm about it, which, the comic itself is like both. It can be, it’s really dark at some points like that. Like, it deals with a lot of like, You know, interpersonal violence.
There’s like, like it’s like, it’s basically a class war kind of comic. And so there’s a lot of like dark things happening in it, but it’s also, a romance. It’s a romance comic in a way. It’s about a relationship. So I felt like that pink kind of pulled it into, like a warmer tone. I really liked that about it.
So that’s why I ended up with pink for it.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah. I really, I, it’s kind of. To me, it’s kind of, it’s a little, it catches the eye a little bit more and it gives me a chance and I really look at what you’re putting on the page there. And I’m actually, I pulled up while you’re talking. Cause I wanted to compare.
The two and I do see one, or I think it’s the cover of one. that’s [00:18:00] in purple and I’m looking at it. And then it’s, I mean, it’s just a tad different, but you know, you can definitely tell it’s. I mean, in a way it’s kind of neat how you’re going to have essentially the same. Story put out, but it’s if a, you know, if a director creates a black and white version of a movie and they have the color version, it’s kind of like kind of thing.
That’s a cool idea. I like that. That’s really neat. the story now isn’t very, well, I shouldn’t say it is very, it’s more adult centric. It seems.
Francois Vigneault: Yeah. th it definitely is a, like, you know, this is not a story for kids. and, You know, like, you know, not only is there, like, you know, it’s a mature readers type story where there’s like, there’s language, there is violence.
people die in it, but there’s also like sex in the book, you know? Like like, there’s a pre, fairly Frank depiction of sexuality in the book. It’s not, I don’t think it’s [00:19:00] overwhelming by any means, but it, like, I don’t shy away from it. it’s a part and parcel of the book.
Robert Slavinsky: Now is it releasing as, eh, all at once?
Are there multiple issues that are going to come out over a span of time? How is that gonna happen
Francois Vigneault: here? it’s a one and done, you know, like, someone who picks it up, they’re going to get the whole story. you know, maybe someday there’ll be a SQL, but it’s a big, it’s a chunky little book.
It’s it’s. About 200 pages. And, at some point those pages are pretty dense and wordy. It takes a while to read it. Sometimes I’ll give it to someone I’ll like, send them a little preview of it or something and they’ll be like, Oh, okay, I’m going to read it. And then they’ll get back to me and they’ll be like, wow.
It like took me like a long time to read this book and they thought, I think that they’re going to like cruise through it. Cause it’s a graphic novel, but it’s pretty dense. It’s a about 200 dense little pages.
Robert Slavinsky: And what was it? I mean, so it came out in 2017 and French, was [00:20:00] the publishers of the year or anybody, were they worried about the connections where kind of relates to the modern world or was that kind of a driving point for them to actually release it and pick it up?
Francois Vigneault: You know, that’s a really great question. No. I mean, like on the T on the most to other the biggest top level, I think that, if anything, there are lot, a lot of connections with the modern world and, you know, there’s a lot of like, this book is really about, No class conflict. but it’s also about racial conflict because the Titans are a, you know, like a racialized minority who are a labor force for, the, minority, like the Terran, the people from earth who are in the minority.
So. yeah, like the parallels are very much there for people to see. definitely. I don’t think that was ever a negative for any of the publishers who have been involved with this project. And there’ve been a couple of different ones. to me, it’s [00:21:00] wild. It’s super wild that this book is coming out.
Cause I, you know, I wrote it. what, 2012 to 2017. I came out in 2017 and then now I can’t believe it’s coming out in the United States today, right? Like, well, not today, but in a couple months or, in, in November 10th, whenever this podcast is released and it’s wild, like it’s a, you know, cause there’s scenes of, police violence.
there are scenes of public protests. There’s scenes of, Racial and ethnic tension in this book. And today it feels so relevant. it’s upsetting actually. Like I it’s like, I’m not even excited about it. It’s, it shouldn’t be this relevant, what I’m writing about. and it’s a trip.
It’s a trip. I don’t think any of the publishers were ever too concerned to, like, in the sense that they were worried about bringing. You know, bringing that to the table. I think all the publishers who have been involved at this book are [00:22:00] all aware, very much aware of the kind of social inequities that we’ve historically had, the social inequities that we currently have.
And I don’t think that they’re afraid of, exploring those in a fictional sense. now the one thing that I’m all a little bit afraid of is that people will think that it is. That this book, because it’s coming out now is literally about what is happening now. And, that’s the only thing I would give the slightest, like, you know, like authorial pushback on, in that.
I do think that, How do I say this there’s a limit to what I can do as an author, but I was trying to speak to the biggest broadest sense of how people are downtrodden, how people are abused by the system. and I was trying to speak about it in a context that goes beyond one nation goes beyond like one set of people.
but I. I think that the parallels are there for anyone to see. And, I hope that, I’m really excited in a way to have the book come out this year. I feel like it’s a very [00:23:00] historical year. I think we’re going to look back on 2020 for a long time. And, and I’m really proud to be like this tiny little part of the, the cultural conversation, right?
Like a very humble part of that conversation. Oh, for
Robert Slavinsky: sure. And yeah, I mean, from my point of view, looking at it, I think in a way it coming out now is definitely going to, I think it should help. I think it should help in the sense of. The your, the sales for one, but as a kind of a narrative of kind of the sit back and take in and you, can you read a story and that’s kind of what I do with film.
And that’s what I think is important about film. And I’m a huge movie buff, but when I sit there, I take a look. And how did you know films that come out? Sometimes they, if they relate to what’s going on in the world, you need to sit there and. Figuring out. Okay. What’s the underlying message here. Where’s the message.
And I think that could be had with Titan. I think you take a look at it and you’re going to see [00:24:00] a similar world to what’s going on now in America. And you’re going to see, you know, look this. This can change can come, we can make things better. and I think that the book could help in that regard and realizing that and noticing that it, at least from my standpoint,
Francois Vigneault: no, I’m really glad to hear that.
you know, one of my favorite, Maybe that’s a little stretch. That’s a bit of a stretch. I’m old saying one of my favorite bit of book I really like is a Howard’s end by Ian Forrester and the epigraph of Ian Forester of that book is only connect. And it’s the idea in that is to connect to people of different classes.
And I, and Titan is really is a book about connection, right? it’s a book about people from different worlds who connect with each other, despite these very insurmountable and overwhelming odds that are against them in connecting with each other. So I do hope, you know, there’s a lot of negative things in the book.
Like the book is not, it doesn’t shy away from. I would [00:25:00] say taking a pretty dark view of people’s personal interactions, economic interactions, racism, but at the same time at the heart of the books, this connection, it’s a connection between two different people. And I hope that comes across like a hope that, that little silver lining or that kind of like that little bit of hope does come through.
You know, it’s like science fiction. someone else said it, I didn’t say this first, but I say it a lot. So, which is that science fiction is it’s really bad usually at predicting the future, but it’s really good about talking about the present and talking about like our anxieties and what we’re worried about today.
and I do think that, Titan does that. I think it did it when it first came out a couple of years ago and I think it really does it right then right now, it really talks about like the, some of the tensions that we’re feeling in our daily lives. And, I don’t know. I dunno, I hope it can be this tiny little part of, a bigger picture.
And I am [00:26:00] hopeful for the future. I think we can, I think we can March forward, you know, we’ll see.
Robert Slavinsky: For sure. Now, was this a passion project for you? Was this something that, you kind of built up in your mind over time? I know that you said you spent since 2012 to 2017 making it, but I know for my stamp or not my standpoint, but from my own.
Point of view or what I do is like, I have stories in my head going all the time. I have things going on and I’m like, Oh, how can I build this? How can I build this? And there’s always that one story that I really want to get down. And it’s just one of those things that I just want to make sure it’s perfect.
Before I do, you know, push it, put pen to paper. Per se, was this something for you? Was this like that for you? Or was this just something that, and you did touch on it a little bit, but was this something that was building over time?
Francois Vigneault: Wow, that’s such a good question. and I think you’re right. I think every artist.
Especially early, like every artist and author, especially early in their career, has this desire to be perfect [00:27:00] and this desire, like they, they build up like this book that they’re going to write, or this film that are, they’re going to make the comment, this comic book that they’re going to make. And I definitely suffered from that.
in my early years, you know, I would work. I would work on something and I did, I made comics, but I didn’t make anything really long. I didn’t create a whole graphic novel or anything like that. I did a bunch of short stories. I did, you know, various projects and I don’t know why it was that Titan was the thing that let me break through.
But I do know that I really made a conscious decision. That I was just going to move forward with it. I wasn’t going to wait for it to be perfect before moving forward. I didn’t know what the story of Titan was when I started drawing it. I imp improvised a lot. You know, I won’t get into, even though this is spoiler country, I won’t get into too many details about the book, but, you know, there’s like there were large elements of certain [00:28:00] characters, certain action set pieces, things like that I had no idea when I was starting the book that was what was going to happen.
I had the concept for the book. I had an idea of some of the characters and I had an idea of where I wanted to end the book. And all in the middle was sort of improvisational for a long time. and that’s sort of like being a trapeze artist. Right. And you always have to each chapter.
Yeah. You have to kind of make the jump and you don’t know if there’s someone who’s going to catch you. You don’t know if there’s, the bar is going to be there and you don’t necessarily have a safety net. I mean, maybe you have a safety net in the sense that you’re like, what’s the worst that can happen if I fail.
And so I really didn’t know, and I did, but I did make an effort in a decision to fight against that desire for perfection. I didn’t want to wait any longer to get started on my first graphic novel. I was, I had waited too long already. [00:29:00] And I started working on it and I was just, was like, you know what, it’s good enough.
Just keep working on it, keep working on it. You’ll see where you end up. And in the end, I’m pretty happy with it. It’s a pretty good book. It’s not perfect by any means. but I’m so much, I’m so much happier that it’s done. I really think the, one of the best pieces of advice that someone gave me is that finished is.
A thousand times better than perfect. it’s so much better for you to do your book and be done with it, and then you can move on to your next thing. You know, like I’ll, I’ve moved on to my next project. Titan is like a, you know, it’s, it exists. I’ve touched it a little bit. I feel, Done some little edits to make it better.
The new edition from Oni is quite actually quite a bit revised, but, I’m so glad that I just finished it and I didn’t wait for it to be perfect. Do you know what I mean? No,
Robert Slavinsky: I completely understand it. you know, I’ve never actually heard. The finished is better than perfect.
I actually liked that a lot because [00:30:00] somebody who gets in that habit of art, it has to be perfect in my head before I, I sit down and start doing it, but I’ve also had this. voice in my head for a number of years saying if you don’t start it, you’re never going to start it. So like I’m always in this constant battle with myself in like, all right, it’s not perfect, so I can’t start it, but I got us where we’re going to start it.
Francois Vigneault: think you should. I think you should listen to the second voice. And I think everyone should listen to the second voice. Just get started. The fact of the matter is that, In all honesty, like you need to work to get good, right? Like, you know, like, can you imagine a basketball player being like, well, I’m never going to try and slam dunk until I know that I can slam dunk.
How would that work? It would never work. Like, like, like they’re the activity. Like presupposes practice, you have to practice in order to be good. And so like, you know, and like for me, Titan, I’m really proud of it. Super [00:31:00] happy with it. I hope it’s not the best book I ever do. Right. Like I hope I do a better book.
My next book by next book. My next book, I hope I keep getting better. And that, like, I look back at my first book and I’m like, wow, it was pretty good. It was pretty good for a beginner. You know what I mean?
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah. I often find myself, I’ll go back and take a look at something that I wrote. I mean, I’ve written for different websites over the years and was, I’ll find myself and I’ll go back and take a look and I’ll read them.
Like, that’s pretty good. Who wrote? That was me really. Wow. Okay. You know, so I, I shocked myself sometimes and I think you’re right. I think, you know, and this goes for anybody out there that’s listening is if you’re somebody who wants to do. just go for it, just do it and push forward, because like you’re saying, you’re not going to get any better unless you do it.
So I need to take my own advice and your advice and just do, but, yeah, that’s definitely really good advice to give for sure.
Francois Vigneault: Good. I’m glad. I’m glad.
Robert Slavinsky: now, you know, I know you kind of talk that you’re [00:32:00] onto your next thing, and I know you can’t talk too much about it, but, when could anything be talked about that?
Like, is there any plans to,
Francois Vigneault: for that to be announced. Yeah. Yeah, no worries. yeah, you know, I have a project that I that’s like, it’s like my day job. Like I work on it every day, that I’m working and I draw, and it’s a comic that I can say a little about that it’s a comic that I’m drawing, but I’m not writing.
and it’s gonna come out next year in 2021. And it’s like a comic, which is kinda interesting for me. It’s like a monthly comic that’s going to be in a, in every comic bookstore, I would say. It’s wild. It’s totally wild for me to be doing that kind of a comic because I’m not only did I, like for many years do things other than write or draw comics.
But I also, like, I was really like on the indie side of things, right? Like the kind of the graphic novel side of things like this. The, I was thinking about myself in terms of like the Dan Klaus’s and Jaime Hernandez is and things like that. And then all of a sudden I’m like doing this thing. That’s like a monthly comic and it’s going to be like [00:33:00] normal.
Comic book fans are going to be like, cool. Like this is a, I gonna pick up this issue every month, you know, 22 pages a month. It also means I have to draw a super fast. I draw 22, like it takes me a little over a month to drive. Yeah. But I dropped 22 pages. and it’s a, it’s like a, it’s a kind of a scifi comedy thing.
I can’t talk about it too much cause it hasn’t really officially been announced, but that, yeah, that’s my daily grind. And then on the other side, I’m, working, I have a concept for my next. Personal graphic novel, which is another science fiction thing. and I’m working on that right now. I’m in the early stages, I’m in the writing and I think I’m at a, B started doing the first chapter pretty soon.
that again, like I’m kind of like. Vacillating between, like how much do I want to improvise? How much do I want to plan? it’s my sophomore effort as a writer and artist I’ve done, I’ve illustrated quite a few things now, but it’s my sophomore effort as a writer. and so I want to make sure that people aren’t disappointed when they [00:34:00] get to it.
yeah. Yeah. So I’m working on that it’s science fiction and it’s also very socially conscious. It’s also really about class. but it’s a little bit, it’s quite a bit different than Titan. I th I think it’s going to be pretty fun that also on that I can’t talk about, because it’s in the future, right?
Like, You know, I don’t want to spoil even on spoiler country. I don’t want to spoil it too much.
Robert Slavinsky: Don’t let the name fool. Yeah, we don’t really plan on spoiling anything. It’s just kinda, it’s a name, honestly. I can’t even speak for the name. I wasn’t one of the ones that helped create the concept of the show, but that’s, it was never intended to be spoiler country to spoil.
Thanks. So don’t let the name for you on that. no. For you though, what is it that you enjoy more? I mean, obviously you, it sounds like you’re an artist first, but, when it comes to the. Comics. Are you more a fan of the writing aspect or the art aspect of it?
Francois Vigneault: that’s a that’s good too. well, okay.
What I will say is that I find the drawing easier. It’s much easier for me. Like my second book that came [00:35:00] out here, Quebec was, written by, it was, I did like a, sort of an adaptation of a short story that was written by a Quebecois author named, Genevieve Peterson. And. Like given that, you know, she kind of gave me the story and I adapted it into a comic.
So it was, I almost felt like it was like, I was the director of a movie. Right? Like the, she was the screenwriter she had written the ideas down and then I was able to kind of. Make it happen, you know? And you know, when you’re drawing, but you do so many jobs, it’s a little bit like film, right? You do.
you’re the director, but you’re also the director of photography. You’re the casting agent. You’re also all the actors. It’s kind of, it’s a lot of work. And that part is really easy for me in some ways, like, I’ve read enough comics. I’ve. Seen in a films. I really like, I feel like I understand like how to block a scene, how to set things up, how to design a character.
Again, I’m not like the greatest artist of [00:36:00] all time. I’m not the greatest artistic voice of all time, but I feel like I get it. Writing is harder, even though I like, I also feel very, engaged with the literary world. I’ve, you know, I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve studied writing. I know how to write, but it’s more of a blog for me.
and so I know that I’ll never miss. You know, there’s some, there’s so many comic book writers where they write, they work with like four different artists on four different series. And so then, you know, they’re, they dominate the culture, right? Like there. So we have like the Neil Gaiman’s and Robert Kirkman’s and, Brian K Vaughan’s of the world.
And they’re all artists that are writing and they’re working with all these different create. Are these. Illustrators, and then they’re able to get like all their ideas out there. I know I’ll never personally be like that. I can write, I like to write, I really, I feel like I have something to say in the world, but, I’m not that prolific.
Do you know what I mean? Like, I, I have like kind of one [00:37:00] idea at a time I work on it. It takes me a little while. I often have to do a lot of improvisational. Kind of writing with it. So for me, illustrating is easier. Drawing is easier. It’s fun. when someone gives me a script or a story, it’s like, I initially I immediately can kind of envision how it would bring it to the page.
And then it’s a little bit more of a hard word for me to write, but I love writing. I like, like I, and I want to be a voice. I want to be like an author and I am, but it’s more work.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah. Now just want to run through a couple of quick questions here that I like to ask anybody that I talked to.
number one, who was your biggest inspiration?
Francois Vigneault: That’s a great question. I’ll just say at the. I don’t know if this is the best answer, but I’ll say Jaime Hernandez who did locus, which is loving in love and rockets. I have looked at his comics so much and they have had such an influence, like deep in my brain.
So I would say he’s probably one of my biggest influences. Okay.
Robert Slavinsky: what was the [00:38:00] first comic you remember picking up?
Francois Vigneault: The first comic I remember picking up was the Archie series of teenage mutant Ninja turtles. So that was like the series that was like, based on the cartoon. So it was like, not like the cool Eastman and layered series.
It was like, it was bright and colorful. Yeah, really my gateway drug into comics. I remember going into the comic book store. And I was like, Oh, okay, let me get this. and then I kind of get like, you know, there’s the comic books, the store guys, they’re going to turn you on to some other stuff.
So then I got into all kinds of other stuff. After that I got into a, you know, the real team has been in Cheryl’s, but he’s been in liar. Layered. I got into THB by Paul Pope. I got into X man. I got into vertical and all that, but really weirdly enough. So the thing that first brought me into a store was I was like, I liked the teenage minstrel cartoon and the Archie comics that they made look just like that.
So that’s what I wanted.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah. It’s funny for me. I loved that teenage mutant Ninja turtles, cartoon growing up, like that was [00:39:00] my jam. Totally grown up.
Francois Vigneault: Yeah. Dating ourselves for dating ourselves very much so that we’re not like a 20 years old anymore.
Robert Slavinsky: I it’s just one of those things that I never like.
When I watched that show myself, I never wanted to tarnish my love for that show by reading the comics, because it’s like, I got older. Like I started to realize, and, you know, I found out that, Oh, the original comics are a lot darker where a little, you know, a little more. Adult not as childish. And I was like, Oh, I don’t want to ruin that.
Francois Vigneault: You know,
Robert Slavinsky: it’s just kind of funny. And I didn’t even know that there was anything done, you know, in the Archie style comics. I never knew that’s actually pretty bizarre. I might have to try and find those somehow
Francois Vigneault: they’re there. if you’re like a real fan of the cartoon series, they’re going to scratch that itch.
They’re like, they’re very fateful translation of that. That feel. Yeah, it’s excellent.
Robert Slavinsky: I’m looking forward to being able to pick up Titan. I know that I hope everybody else is looking forward to picking up tighten because, in this [00:40:00] time, not just because of the relevance and the similarity, so what’s going on.
But in this time of. COVID and how everything has happened. It is more important now than ever to help support these indie creators, eh, you know, independent, comic book writers and artists and everything. Right? Because that’s what drives. You know, new inventive stories and books that come out, you know, DC and Marvel.
I know that they’ve had some issues over the past few years, especially DC lately with all the layoffs they had, but, they’re always going to be there in some form or fashion. We, I always like to push for the independent. Creators, because I think it’s important that their voice gets out there because that’s the future.
You know, the Batman is the Spiderman is the iron man’s, that’s all gonna be around forever, but things like this, like Titan, you know, if you aren’t out there putting out this content, we’re never going to see it. So I like to push that and I hope everybody does [00:41:00] run out and gets. gets that book now, where is it that people are gonna be able to find it specifically or?
Francois Vigneault: Well, it’s coming out November 10th from Oni press. And so that, so that, that means it’s going to be everywhere. So like any bookstore, any comic bookstore, Basically anywhere in North America or I think even in England and it’s et cetera, but yeah, it’s going to be available. You can preorder it if I don’t know if this is going to run before or after it comes out, but it’s out, you know, it’s like, it’s a real book it’s gotta be really available.
it’s it shouldn’t be too hard to find, but, yeah, you can just ask for it by name, the name, the convention, my name. and yeah, it’s yeah, it’s going to be a real deal. It will be out in November 10th. Excellent.
Robert Slavinsky: Thank you very much. And, here, so I have a third question for you. Oh,
Francois Vigneault: explain
Robert Slavinsky: what was, or what is, your favorite comic that you’ve ever, that you’ve ever read or bought?
Francois Vigneault: Wow. what a deep question. It’s like, like, like on the surface, you’re like, you can have any kind [00:42:00] of answer, but wow. The best comic ever. Well, I already mentioned that I love Jaime Hernandez. You know, I’ll mention another person. There was a long period where I stopped reading comics. I was just like, I was just tired.
I was tired, medium. you know, I loved, and I grew up with like the kind of the mainstream comics and I’ll always have like a little bit of curiosity about what’s going on with X-Men or something like that. But there was a period where I just was sick of it all saw. I was feeling more, I don’t know, whatever, hoity toity, and like intellectual about my whole reading list.
And things like that, but there was one comic that kept bringing me in and I thought it was just genius. and I w I really think that anyone, who’s not sure about what they want to read with graphic novels could read this book and that’s black hole by Charles Burns. I think that’s just a beauty full, incredibly illustrated, but also just like, so smartly written kind of subdued story.
I think that might be by top [00:43:00] comic of all time.
Robert Slavinsky: Excellent. I actually I’ve heard of that one. I’ve never read it. I have actually heard of that though. you said it and I had to look it up real quick. Cause like you said, what I’m thinking it is, and that is yeah.
Francois Vigneault: Well then that’s my recommendation to you brother.
You should check it out. It’s good.
Robert Slavinsky: Oh, I got a whole bunch of stuff after I have to read right now. My, my editor in chief of the site, he wants me. I’ve never read the Sandman comics. And, he wants me to do that because he wants to do a series of podcasts where we dissect it, completely. So that should be interesting.
I’m hoping, I mean, I’m a game and fan, I do like new game and I just never that’s all the same man has always been on my list. So I’ll have to add black hole to fit that in somewhere.
Francois Vigneault: Now it’s a, you know, it’s a whole thing, but you know, Robert, maybe the viewers want to the listeners, they want to know what’s your favorite comic?
Robert Slavinsky: You know, I grew up in the night. I mean, I was, you know, a kid in the nineties. so I gravitated a lot more [00:44:00] towards the. Yeah, the superheroes, the DC side of things, mostly. I mean, when I sit there and think about my favorite comic series or graphic novel, I’ll say, it comes down to kingdom.
Come for me. That’s just, it’s always been, I’ve been a big Batman fan, big Superman fan my entire life. And, Part in part because of my father, I, when I was a very little kid, I was sitting on his lap watching reruns at the Adam West Batman. The first movie I ever saw in theaters was 1980 nines, Batman.
So it was just kind of ingrained in me as I was growing up. It was just Batman. so when I got old enough to start really understanding and reading comics. that was one of the first graphic novels that was ever handed to me was kingdom come. And I was just completely blown away by it.
I was like, wait, I could do this.
Francois Vigneault: what a trip in the first graphic novel. Right? Because not only is it kind of blows the expectations of the little kid probably cause it’s all painted by Alex Ross. But [00:45:00] also what they’re doing is like they’re doing this analysis of the whole legacy of all of the history of, DC comics up to that point.
So it’s a heavy load to lift.
Robert Slavinsky: It really was the very next. Series that I read after that was, did that the Superman. So
Francois Vigneault: it
Robert Slavinsky: was kind of like my friend, who I was really into comics, much longer than me. And he was the one pushing me to get into it. He was just like, handing me with things one after another, but it came them come.
I just, I always go back to that. I always, it’s just one of those things that I can’t help, but just. Love. And it could be because it was the first real, I guess, in a way grown up comic that I ever read, you know, because I didn’t have the luxury of having a comic book store in my neighborhood. The closest thing I had was a supermarket with a spinner rack and I would go there and I would pick up, you know, a random issue of Spiderman or you know, of X amount or something like that.
It was just some random, like I never got a series. I can never read issue one through whatever it [00:46:00] was just. Always a random comic that I was able to pick up there. And, it was kingdom come, which was the first time that I was able to read a story, start to finish and just take it all in. And it was pretty amazing for sure.
Francois Vigneault: Definitely a different era. Right.
Robert Slavinsky: Totally different. Totally. I, you, I believe it or not. Alex Ross while I do enjoy his art style, I don’t see it working outside of that specific story. Like I just, I don’t see, like, I it’s weird. I, but I mean, again, I grew up with, you know, the Batman animated series, you know, so the Bruce Tim’s series, you know, and, like the art that I got used to with my characters were all because of animation.
For the most part and the few comic books, like the first Spiderman comic book I remember picking up was one where, what’s his name? I can’t remember his name. Scott, Scarlet. Spider. No, what was it? He like wore a blue, like tank top over his suit. And I can’t remember what his name is now.
Francois Vigneault: I think you’re right.
I think [00:47:00] you’re right. I think you’re right.
Robert Slavinsky: Okay. Yeah. But that was the, that was like the first Spiderman comic book. Cause I was like, that guy looks cool, but he doesn’t, he kind of looks like Spiderman, but isn’t Spiderman,
Francois Vigneault: Oh man, you were the target audience for that, like that worked on you.
That you were like Spiderman with a hoodie. Yeah. I’m down like, like, see, that’s see you’re and like you’re the product like you’re the you’re who barbel was. Targeting. They were like, okay, we got to get the kids and they’re getting, they’re going to be into the hoodie.
It works, it worked on,
Robert Slavinsky: it totally did. and it kind of worked, I mean, it probably worked better because of the limited amount of comics I had a chance to look at and even pick up. but yeah, I mean, it definitely, I was definitely the target audience for that. Somebody, you know, just for the kids, for the people who.
Don’t really know what they’re looking at. You know, they don’t understand, you know, numbers and everything. It was just Hey, look how cool this looks. And it was very nineties, you know, like the look of that character was very nineties and it’s just, yeah, I mean, it’s sold and sold. It was sold to [00:48:00] me specifically and it worked.
but I mean, when it comes to the arts, I mean, As I’ve grown up, obviously my taste in art styles change dramatically when it comes to comics. But, getting back to what I was saying, Alex Ross, like for me again, maybe it’s just the love that I have for that specific story. But when I see anything that’s.
Alex Roscoe, even Alex Ross ask in a way, I just I’m kind of taken like, eh, like it doesn’t work for me here.
Francois Vigneault: Well, the thing about that art is that it’s very beautiful, but, it’s paintings, right? And paintings are a little different than cartooning. I love that stuff. I really liked to kingdom come.
I li I think I’ll trust. He’s a fantastic artist, especially at kind of creating, capturing stories, the mythology, the kind of like larger than life aspect of comics, but it’s. Even though he’s an excellent artist. It’s a little stiff, right? Like you don’t read it the way you read, Dennis, the menace or, [00:49:00] Jaime Hernandez and love and rockets or an Archie comic or something like that, where it’s designed to be read.
the Alex Ross art is designed more to be looked at than read in some ways. For sure.
Robert Slavinsky: Yeah. I completely agree. And, maybe that’s what it is, I mean, maybe it’s, you know, whenever I see these other, you know, these other stories that. Emulate, even what Ross tried to do, maybe it’s because I’m just more interested in just the story or the art doesn’t.
Do I want to say, I don’t know. I’ve never really sat there and thought about it until talking here. So
Francois Vigneault: I’m so excited that I was able to attend to start that conversation in your brain. Maybe we’ll see where it goes next,
Robert Slavinsky: for sure. No, honestly, though. I it’s actually been a pleasure having you on, For sure.
And, I, like I said, I’m looking forward to tight and I hope everybody else is. is there anything else that you wanted to talk about the, to mention to people to be gout? Anything that you’ve done maybe in the past or anything?
Francois Vigneault: Oh man. You know, no, I think I’ve abused. The people’s, [00:50:00] Patients long enough, you know, and, with all of our digressions and everything like that, I’ll let everyone go.
But, I’ll just say that if you read my book, I hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, or even if you don’t enjoy it, feel free to talk about it and tell other people and, to tell me about it, I’m out there. and I’m always really interested in, in hearing what people have to say, and I’m very good about, Kind of critiques.
So I can’t wait to see what people say about the book.
Robert Slavinsky: So guessing you’re on social media, which is pretty brave of you
Francois Vigneault: just to a minor degree. I’m a I’m on Instagram, which is makes it’s just enough. You know what I mean? it’s like pretty pictures of like animals comic book art, occasionally, like.
Van life stuff, you know, like it’s, I don’t get drawn into absolutely everything that, some of the other I’m not on Twitter or Facebook or anything like that. Okay.
Robert Slavinsky: Well, thanks again for joining. I do have
Francois Vigneault: one other question for you. If
Robert Slavinsky: you wouldn’t mind maybe doing a little bumper for us, just say your name and say, Hey, you’re listening to spoiler country or something like that.
Francois Vigneault: Yeah. That’s no problem, but whenever you’re ready. Okay. Perfect. Hey, this is the author of Taten coming out this November actually I’ll restart it cause you’re going to play this some other time. Okay. Hey, this is hospital video and you’re listening to spoiler country.
Robert Slavinsky: Perfect. Thank you very much.
yeah, as soon as I know that my editors are pretty good. As soon as it’s done and they plan on posting it, they will tag you or let you or your, No, I don’t know if it’s going to be a publisher that I don’t know who they were in contact with.
Francois Vigneault: I think they were, they, this was all set up with the publisher.
So I assume that bill organize everything and stuff like that. cause like I said, originally, this was the, you know, the comic was like coming out next week originally when this was scheduled. So now it’s coming out in two whole months. So I’m not sure, I’m not sure what the, the wise people at my publisher will say as far as the timing of it.
Robert, what’s your, what’s your email? I’ll just send you a PDF of the book so you can read it after the fact.
[00:52:00] Robert Slavinsky: Thanks. It’s [email protected]
Francois Vigneault: Okay, perfect. I’m just going to just send that over to you. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to like, lose my mind earlier. I just, I was like, wow, no way they
Robert Slavinsky: it.
And honestly, I’m going to, I’m going to find out if that if, cause no one even mentioned that there was one available all. So I don’t know, once you go into your publisher and being like, Hey, what the heck? When it was actually
Francois Vigneault: our fault.
Robert Slavinsky: So like, I don’t want you doing that. Like I said, there may have been a mix up because literally when we started talking, They, there was in our messenger chat and our message chat.
They’re like, Hey, who’s interviewing this person. And they’re like, Robert is and like, Oh, I thought this person was supposed to do it. So that might be where the mix up was. so I do apologize, but I actually enjoy, and I’m going to be completely honest. When I talk to people I enjoy being told for the first time things from the.
The creator, because it gets me more excited about it. So for sure, I, like I said, I, and you could [00:53:00] probably tell, I did do some research. I did
Francois Vigneault: get sheets and
Robert Slavinsky: stuff on it. It’s just, you know, I haven’t gotten a chance to read it. So I do look for it.
Francois Vigneault: No worries. I just want you to have all the tools that, you know, I’ve I’ve been on the other side of the chair.
I do interviews like at the end, like, panels and stuff at comic book shows and things like that. So I’ve been on the other side of the chair. I just was like, I just was surprised. I was like, wow, they didn’t give him the tools that he needed to put this, but it’s all good. It was, I thought it was really fun.
All right. Perfect.
Robert Slavinsky: Thank you very much. You have a good day and, you know,
whatever, I mean, good luck on everything else you do.
Francois Vigneault: Thanks, Robert. Yeah, I can feel free to, you know, like, I hope you enjoy the book when you’re, when you get the chance to read it and, keep up the good work, best wishes with everything.
Perfect, man. I’ll
Robert Slavinsky: talk to you later.