OUR LOVE IS REAL is a one-shot sci-fi satire that hit the comics scene last week with a vengeance, selling its whole print run out within nine hours of release. If any of you maniacs enjoy provocative futurism for mature readers, I strongly encourage you to check out this bravura creation from Steven Sanders (UNCANNY X-MEN: HEROIC AGE, FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE) and Sam Humphries (FRAGGLE ROCK, CBGB.) Jason Aaron's already a big fan, thusly describing it as "a splendidly perverse + eye-poppingly gorgeous fistfull of futuristic fun" and, having read and enjoyed it myself, I can certainly echo his recommendation.
I once again had the resplendent opportunity to pick my friend Mr. Humphries' brain about his head-turning and eyebrow-raising comic.
Lest we have to break out the electro-charged riot clubs to force a confession, how about you tell me what OUR LOVE IS REAL is about?
As Cameron Crowe would say, it’s about love disguised as sex and sex disguised as love...also it’s about a riot cop in the future who is in love with a dog.
This comic takes place in a future where the - - shall we say - - definitions of love and companionship have mutated into a frightening pandemonium. Short of saying what it’s really about, what were some themes, ideas and zeitgeist-borne issues you were aiming to touch upon here?
Haha, how long do you have?
I dunno, I think the comic is the comic, and what you take from it is what it’s really about. Once you pick it up, my intentions kind of fall by the wayside. It’s all in the comic, at least until the sequel.
I will say this...humans are weird and horny and obsessive, no matter how hard we try to pretend otherwise. It was fun to write a story where those tendencies were at center stage, instead of sweeping them under the carpet.== TEASER ==
The pinball inside my brain was hitting a lot of the bumpers that Harlan Ellison, 2000 A.D. and TRANSMETROPOLITAN also hit while I was reading this. What sort of influences - - be they literary or experiential - - poured into this comic’s inspirational cauldron?
That’s a very flattering game of pinball. The seed of the story came from a website at dolphinsex.org. It was a single page “memoir” by an anonymous author who claimed to have a sexual and romantic relationship with a wild dolphin. It’s long since been taken down from the original URL, but it’s out there if you really want to find it...be warned, it is explicit.
Another early “seed” was the Andy Warhol Diaries. It’s a monster of a slog, but frequently fascinating. I got a sense of how different Americans’ attitudes towards sex were before AIDS. One minute it’s “liberation” and the next minute it’s paranoia and anxiety. You can see the disease lurking around the edges... people just disappear and he never says why. If you weren’t alive then, it’s easy to forget that it changed and still changes everything about sex and identity.
One influence you didn’t mention is Miller and Gibbons’ GIVE ME LIBERTY, an all-time great book of any genre but especially sci-fi. I come back to it often and it always blows my mind. It’s criminally underrated. I steal from it constantly...I’m sure you can find it up and down OUR LOVE IS REAL.
Steven Sanders looks like he one of hell of time illustrating this wonderful insanity. Just how and when was this deadly alliance forged between you two hounds?
Sanders and I first made each other’s acquaintance years back on the Warren Ellis Forum. Even back then I loved his artwork and actually approached him about doing an early version of Our Love Is Real...oh, at least five years ago.
In the meantime he’s only gotten better and better and his art in the book is fantastic. It’s kinetic, emotional, and stylish. His contributions to the book are essential. Not only do I love his artwork, but I love his commitment to the work – he never once faltered or flinched. I’m not sure if that makes him brave or foolish.
The book is out there with his name on it and he’s still talking to me. I’m relieved.
You’ve got a suitably unconventional book format and release plan to fit this unconventional story. Care to run us through the details of that?
Sure, the book is available three ways:
1. Print version via mail order
2. Print version via select comic book stores
3. Digital download via Comixology
Details on all three methods are available on OURLOVEISREALCOMIC.COM.
I’m not really a publisher or a distributor, I’m just one guy with a smutty sci-fi comic. I can’t handle huge print runs or thousands of retail accounts. I had to create my own plan and try to make the most of my strengths and weaknesses. I mean, it’s a square black and white book about dog-love. No matter what the release plan was, it could have been a real s*** show.
But we sold out of the first print in nine hours. We’re looking at a third printing right now. That’s two printings more than I expected, so it’s turned out pretty well.
Even as the ink’s likely only just dried on this book’s pages, tell me what the maniacs at large can expect next from Sam Humphries?
Unfortunately, nothing I can reveal at this time without jinxing the whole thing. But, I should say there isn’t a single dog in the entire project. It’s something for the fall. Stay tuned.
Finally, for the comfort of inquiring minds, I feel obliged to ask - - do you, yourself, have a dog?
Hahaha, I do not have a dog, you bastard. They’re not allowed in my building and you know it.