By Jarred A. Luján — If you’re anywhere near the comics stratosphere, by this point you’ve probably heard of Liana Kangas. You’ve seen her art in 2000 AD, or in the Eisner-nominated Where We Live anthology. She spent some time doing the mini-series Black AF Devil’s Dye with Vita Ayala, which was published by Black Mask Studios. Basically, Liana has been…busy.
Now, Liana is partnering with writer Joe Corallo on the new book from Vault Comics, She Said Destroy. Together, the two have built a story with amazing artwork and a vast world for readers to explore. Additionally powered by the momentum of publisher Vault Comics, She Said Destroy #1 has been the talk of the Twittersphere (at least on my feed) for some time.
Now, building towards She Said Destroy #2 (and on the eve of her and Corallo’s Midwest Destroyer’s Tour, during which they will be visiting shops and signing comics), I was able to talk to Liana about She Said Destroy and her art in general. (NOTE: There’s a couple more dates on the Midwest Destroyer’s Tour if your looking for a really dope Chris Shehan cover: https://twitter.com/lianakangas/status/1141478761847808002)
Liana Kangas Q&A
Luján: What was your general thought process when you approached the character design for She Said Destroy?
Kangas: My biggest hurdle in creating the designs for She Said Destroy was to make sci-fi and fantasy seem like they organically grew together in a futuristic fashion. Joe is the best co collaborator in that he let me make all the decisions when it came to approaching each character -- ultimately he trusted my vision. So first, I started out with researching and having conversations with him on a lot of the irish mythology used in the script while diving into things for inspiration like turkish fashions, medieval armors and futuristic uniforms. From there, I scribbled things until I felt like they fit and ran them by Joe and Adrian (our editor) before going forward. What's fun is there was open room for discussion that made the designs even better with characters such as the light knights (based off of suggestions from Adrian and the Vault team,) and adding unique things to certain characters as noted by Joe and Rebecca.
Luján: Reading She Said Destroy, I can’t help but feel like you and (colorist) Rebecca Nalty are just a perfect match on pages. How closely do you two work during the coloring process?
Kangas: The last monthly series I did, Black AF Devil's Dye, I colored myself, so switching to She Said Destroy was a fun process. Rebecca and I usually talk directly about any of her and i's vision on the book. We (Joe and I) trust her vision and we're able to communicate and do any changes in one pass which is great. Her and I have tons of the same interests so I feel like we fit really well in a working and mutual capacity!
Luján: Was there anything specific that drew you to the script for She Said Destroy?
Kangas: Mostly the use of the morrigan and how Joe came up with the idea that despite her being the Death goddess she ultimately was considered "the good guy" in the script which was a major draw to me. That and space. Certainly using gods in space I agreed "yes, that's totally my brand, let's DO THIS."
Luján: One aspect of your art that I really like is how distinguishable it is. You can tell it’s a Liana Kangas page at a glance because it’s so different. Do you have any artists you would consider influences? Do you see their influence directly in your art?
Kangas: Wow thank you so much! A lot of people have compared my line work to a few artists but I find that a lot of my influences are just my favorites -- not sure if my work entirely reflects them but they'd include Paul Azaceta, Tula Lotay, Jim Mahfood, Cliff Chiang etc. People say don't meet your idols but I've loved their work for years and they're all phenomenal, wonderful people in person -- so that's truly what inspires me and my art.
Luján: What’s your favorite stage of creating a page?
Kangas: My favorite part of laying out the page in general is to try and decide what the composition will be for each panel. It's the biggest part of my creative flex and find a foundation of finding my voice with my line work. Part of what I enjoy about working with joe is he gives me the complete freedom of how I do each page, and he's cool with me making changes to distinctively make it truly a collaborative effort between him and myself.
Luján: What is your favorite part of your own artwork?
Kangas: I enjoy seeing the changes and evolutions of how my line work and page layouts has developed since starting She Said Destroy. Looking back at the first comics I was doing with anthologies with Joe, Pat Shand and Erica Schultz, I can see a huge growth in my work and it allows me to continue pursuing this career so passionately.
Jarred A. Luján makes comics, studies existential philosophy, and listens to hip-hop too loudly. For bad jokes and dog pictures, you can follow him on Twitter.