Interview: Will Sliney

I caught up with Cork artist Will Sliney this afternoon for a quick chat about the busy slate of projects that he recently announced. We also touched on his past works and go over his thoughts on BOOM! Studios Farscape finishing with issue #24. We also talk about his working with an Oscar nominated director and his work on Star Wars. So read on…
David O’Leary: Hey Will, many thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
Will Sliney: No problems at all Dave.
DO’L: News recently broke that Farscape was finishing with issue 24. Having had a long association with the title, what are your feelings regards the book ending?
WS: Well, to be honest, I did get a little sad when I read the last script, partly because it’s a very well written ending to the book and partly because I really enjoyed working with the team involved. It will have ended as a fairly substantial 28 issues which isn’t bad going for my first American book. Reading it I got the same kind of feeling I got when I watched the end of the Peacekeeper Wars (Farscape’s TV finale). It left me wishful for more but more importantly satisfied with what work we have done.
DO’L: You got to work on that book with not just any writer, but with the shows co-creator in Rockne S. O’Bannon. Along with Keith R.A. De Candido you seemed to have some great scripts come your way. What was the process like when working with these two heavyweights?
WS: That was great. I dealt with Keith mostly, and the reason why the book is so good is a lot down to him. The guy really knows his stuff. As for Rockne, I got such a great kick out of getting his input, particularly when I was designing the Kkore (The new alien species). He tweeted that I nailed the design which made my day when I saw that.
DO’L: Were you a fan of the show prior to coming on the book?
WS: I sure was. Mainly down to living with a sci-fi crazy housemate during college. My days were filled with Farscape and SG-1, so at this stage, after drawing him now for nearly 3 years, I’m probably more familiar with Ben Browder’s face than he is himself.
DO’L: Does the end of Farscape cap the end of the franchise in comics form for now or do you envisage a return to the days of the continuing mini series?
WS: As far as I know it’s the end for now.
DO’L: You recently had a slew of announcements that seem to have you tied up for the foreseeable future. Firstly, can you tell us anything about your creator owned project?
WS: Hmmm, well, it’s definitely under development now, with the first issue already finished. I can tell you that it’s based on a story that was first told by Druids inIrelandover 2000 years ago. Oh, and there will be muscles….. lots and lots of muscles
DO’L: Oscar nominated director Tomm Moore will also be contributing a pin up to this book. How did you get Tomm involved?
WS: Tomm has joined the Eclectic Micks blog where he has been posting up some incredible work, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to snap him up for a pic. He, like all the other Micks, are supplying some fantastic images. I’ve already seen Stephen Mooney’s, Len O’Grady’s and PJ Holden’s and they are great.
DO’L: It was also noted that you have landed a gig over at IDW, following in the footsteps of almost every American working Irish artist of recent years. Is it too early to tease anything on this project right now?
WS: Well, there is a teaser image on my blog. If you apply your Batman like detective skills you may find the same teaser on the comics own site.
DO’L: And thirdly, you recently filmed a segment for Irish national TV regarding an upcoming project to be announced via this show. Can you tell us when it will air and how it ended up being a TV orientated announcement?
WS: Yeah that’s the plan. It should be aired soon enough as it was edited together last week. That was a great experience, a little strange at first but the film crew were all fantastic. We got to go through the whole process of creating comics in it so hopefully that will come across well in the show. As soon as I know the air date I’ll let you guys know. I’ll find some way to get it online too for all the overseas people who are interested.
By the way, if the piece ends with a shot of me walking down the road to the old Incredible Hulk music then that’s totally Stephen Mooney’s fault and I will kill him if it happens.
DO’L: You have also worked in the Star Wars universe. Licensed work is always considered hard because of the work involved in getting likenesses right etc. How much more difficult is it working on a property like Star Wars which is probably the biggest franchise of all?
WS: Well, the simple truth is that I love Star Wars. So I don’t find it difficult at all. If anything, it’s a dream to work on those characters. Obviously, it’s important to make sure you serve the characters well. This month I get to draw Asajj Ventress, which is tons of fun. Take a look at Dermot Power’s sketches for her in the Star Wars EP II art book, they are incredible. I’m lucky enough to have met Dermot before and I’ll be getting his input on her look.
What helps a lot as well is that the team involved over at both LucasFilm and the Clone Wars Magazine have been great. All I have received is encouragement from them.
DO’L: You were also involved in the now defunct Zuda Comics competition with Dave Hendricks with The Symptoms. What was that experience like having to submit an idea and them pimp it for votes to be published?
Well, the simple truth is that we were up against comics who were paying for advertisements on comic websites, which kind of ruined that side of it for me. That said, Zuda has created some fantastic books and it’s a shame that it’s gone. Check out Night Owls, War of the Woods, High Moon, I Rule the Night, Bottle of Awesome and Azure. All great books.
DO’L: You started out in the small press and worked with among others, Atomic Diner. Are you following the vision of Rob Curley this past year with his plan of a shared Irish superhero universe any bit?
WS: Yeah it’s great to see it really come to fruition now. Some great art in those books too.
DO’L: What are your thoughts on the current Irish comics scene, particularly with the amount of artists making their name overseas?
WS: I think it’s cool they are doing great, and only getting better. It’s such a young group of people, with old man Mooney leading the line.
I love watching some of the newer guys get better and better as well.
DO’L: When Farscape comes to a close, will you missing from the shelves for a while until one of your projects comes to fruition, or is there something else on the horizon?
WS: The most likely answer is that there is something else on the horizon. Those announced are another issue of Star Wars, the IDW project and my own book. I’ll probably be able to announce another one soon.
DO’L: Will, thank you for your time, take care.
WS: Thanks Dave.