ECCC 2019: Darcy Van Polgeest Takes Us Behind The Panels Of Little Bird

by Tito W. James

Little Bird delivered a bombastic first issue. So at ECCC I was excited to interview writer Darcy Van Poelgeest.

Tito W. James: Little Bird had a very exciting first issue. It’s one of the few comics in recent memory where I actually had a verbal reaction while reading the comic. The third act were Little Bird releases the Axe from the super-prison had me cursing in surprise.

Darcy Van Poelgeest: Thank you, I guess that was the intention.

[Laughs]

It’s pretty dense storytelling. I think that’s what you’re reacting to a little bit. We cram a lot of plot in each issue. I think it makes reading more exciting. But we also weren’t afraid to slow down in the moments that needed it and make them count.

There’s also a practical sense to it too. Comics are expensive and there’s been this recent trend where readers have to get through three or four issues to get to a solid plot point and things take a turn. We just wanted to do something a little faster paced than that.

TWJ: Little Bird does have interesting pacing. It starts off gritty like The Revenant then escalates to something as bloody and bombastic as Hot Fuzz. How are you able to manage this tonal variation?

DVP: Um… I don’t know. I guess that’s just the way my brain works. But I am very cognizant of when the story needs to move and when it needs to slow down and how that translates into the visuals the reader is experiencing.

TWJ: I think Little bird has what I look for in a lot of my favorite action comics. It’s not all action. There’s quiet before the storm. But when the action kicks in it hits hard. Is that all scripted in?

DVP: I am very meticulous about pacing. My scripts are pretty clean. I’m not writing two-hundred page opuses for each issue. But I have a side book where I make hundreds of pages of notes. Like what’s going through the character’s minds during what’s happening. A lot of it is difficult to translate into the art. However, those notebooks lead to really great conversations between Ian [Bertram] and I, about some of the subtler thing happening in the book.

TWJ: Do those conversations translate into tentacles? Because we seem to have plenty of those in the book.

DVP: There are a lot of tentacles. That’s all Ian, he just loves drawing them! It’s a pure joy thing for him. Also is plays off of what is happening emotionally with the characters. Ian is a very good judge of that and just runs with it.

TWJ: This story has action, drama, and humor. Do you have different approaches to handling these different subjects?

DVP: Well, I come from film. I’ve made a few films and directed commercials. But when I’m writing my films or a comic like Little Bird, I don’t think about genre. Is this a drama or a comedy… I just think of life. Real life can be really funny and completely heartbreaking. So I bring all those things into the story. I’m not trying for it to be one thing.

TWJ: The first issue is strong enough that I’m a little disappointed that we’re only going to get five total. If this series does well, have you considered revisiting Little Bird or this world?

DVP: Yes.

TWJ: That’s the right answer.

Do you have and advice for aspiring comic writers?

DVP: Honesty should be the key. Any time a person is honest or puts a peace of themselves in their work then readers will find a window inside. I think people get too caught up in writing what they think people want to read. And sometimes people write what they like to read but its not honest to how they feel. How do you feel about the world and how do you experience it? Put that on paper. If you do that I guarantee that something will happen.

I’d like to thank Darcy Van Poelgeest for taking time to do this interview. Little Bird is available now from Image Comics.

Tito W. James

Tito W. James is a journalist writing for Comicon.com with a focus is on highlighting high quality independent content. His comics draw heavy influence from hand drawn animation and incorporate action and comedy into various genres.

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