Comics Features

INTERVIEW: Ryan Little, Creator Of Lonesomes

Written by Robert Porter

Greetings friends and welcome to another Q&A that we here at AP2HYC like to call an “interview” (original designation for Q&A. Do not steal.). This time we’re sitting down to chat with Ryan Little, creator of Lonesomes, an upcoming comic book that will tick all the right boxes if you are a fan of the “collectible monster” genre! Take it away Ryan, and ..err…me…

AP2HYC: How did the idea for Lonesomes come about?

Little: I was living in New York and working in the production office of a Netflix show when the idea first hit me. I was driving home from work at four in the morning, which in Brooklyn is when the city that never sleeps finally takes a catnap. I’d had to park under the overpass and when I got out of my car I couldn’t believe how oddly alone I suddenly felt.

For whatever reason -probably exhaustion- I had the idea that perhaps we don’t simply feel lonely, but rather the emotion goes off somewhere and returns to us. That’s when I had the idea of it showing up as a Pokemon-like creature. The rest you’ll have to find out as the comic continues.

AP2HYC: Lonesomes falls into the “collectible monster” genre. What were some of the inspirations behind this?

Little: I’m not sure a lot of people look at Pokemon as its own genre, but I’m a firm supporter that it is. It really established a clear set of conventions and I think now, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, is the time to build on them.

The goal of the book was to find a palatable way to engage the heavy thematic elements, and what’s more fun than Pokemon? That was where the conception started, but the more I got into the project, the more it really made sense. I think a lot of people assume we love Pokemon because of the creatures, but I think the appeal is actually much deeper. The Pokemon always function as partners to the protagonists who treat them with unconditional positive regard. I think that relationship, coupled with the fun collectible elements, are what makes Pokemon so enduring and that’s what Lonesomes riffs on.

AP2HYC: We all deal with loneliness at one point or another in our lives. How will Lonesomes address the issues related to loneliness?

Little: I think we all experience the emotion, but rarely “deal with it.” If we’re fortunate, it comes around for a little while, then we carry it around until it passes. Lonesomes is going to linger in that difficult place and help readers really explore the depths of the emotion in an active way.

AP2HYC: The main character, Tom, is an elementary school student. What would you say your target audience is for Lonesomes?

Little: I’d call my audience the Pixar, Dreamworks, Studio Ghibli world. It’s that “all ages” tone similar to something like How to Train Your Dragon or Wall-E. I think those movies find a way to be fun and adventurous while still packing a heavy emotional punch.

AP2HYC: Tell us a little but about the creative process behind Lonesomes?

Little: I wrote Lonesomes about a year ago while I was working late nights in the production office of a Netflix show. I wanted to find a way to engage thematically heavy subject material in a way that was fun, without compromising on the subject matter. To do that, I really explored and played with the conventions of what I call the “collectible monster” genre. Pokemon has been around for 20 years now; it’s generated a vibrant genre that’s prime for exploration. In creating Lonesomes I took the things I loved about Pokemon, Digimon, and Monster Rancher and tried to flush them out while simultaneously charting new ground.

AP2HYC: What can we expect from future installments of Lonesomes?

Little: This book is planned as a six-issue volume. The series will dive heavily into the origins and mythos of Lonesomes while keeping the focus on Tom’s story. We’ll certainly be be digging into an expansive mythology, but I think stories that focus too much on world often lost a sense of story momentum.

The first volume is going to be about Tom exploring the lore around Lonesomes while engaging the feeling that lead him to it in the first place.

AP2HYC: Besides the creature we meet in issue 1, what other kinds of interesting creatures do you have planned for Lonesomes?

Little: Loneliness is a massive emotion, which means the types and demeanors or Lonesomes need to be equally vast. The “collectible monster” genre is all about the creatures which is why their involvement will grow exponentially as the book continues.

AP2HYC: How do you intend to release Lonesomes to the masses?

Little: I’m a firm believer in physical comics. We’ve all had someone tell you “oh, you should look up this YouTube video” while you’re out and about, but I don’t think that ever leads to very much. In my experience the best way to share comics isn’t to share a link to buy it, it’s to hand someone a book that blew your mind so they can dive in for themselves. The book will, however, also be available digitally after we complete the first printing.

AP2HYC: Lonesomes is getting close to reaching its intended goal on Kickstarter. Will you be using another crowd-funded campaign for later issues?

Little: Absolutely. I think this is a great way to engage with the audience and get feedback while simultaneously generating content. Plus now that we’re over halfway there, issue two is underway!

AP2HYC: What are your favorite comics both recent and times past?

Little: I’ve broken too many bookshelves to whittle down a concise list of favorites. The comic world is just too massive and vibrant. In short, however, I can say that I love the work of guys like Geoff Johns, Jon Hickman, Jeff Lemire, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Jeph Loeb and plenty of others. I’m also a huge manga fan and really respect the massive creative might those authors exude.

Thanks Ryan!

Lonesomes is shaping up to be a deep, monster-filled romp of a comic! Head on over the the official Lonesomes Kickstarter page and Ryan Little’s Twitter feed, and show ’em you love those cuddly little collectible monsters! Be sure to tune in later this week for our review of Lonesomes #1!

About the author

Robert Porter