Denver Pop Culture Con 2019: Jorge Corona On Skottie Young, Gorillaz, And Middlewest

by Brendan M. Allen

Jorge Corona is a Venezuelan sequential artist and the winner of the 2015 Russ Manning Award. A writer and illustrator, his works include We are… Robin, Nightwing, and The Flashfor DC Comics; Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack, Adventure Time Comics, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons, and others for BOOM! Studios. Corona is also the co-creator of Goners and No. 1 With A Bullet(Nominated for the 2018 Eisner Awards for Best Cover Artist) alongside Jacob Semahn for Image Comics, and creator of Feathers, his all-ages dark fantasy, for Archaia Entertainment.

Jorge is currently working as the illustrator and co-creator of Image Comics’ Middlewest with writer Skottie Young. He lives in Denver, CO with his wife and fellow artist, Morgan Beem.

I had an opportunity at Denver Pop Culture Con 2019 to sit down with Jorge and chew the rag.

Brendan Allen: Sitting with Jorge Corona at Denver Pop Culture Con 2019, talking a little bit about his new series he’s doing with Skottie Young, Middlewest, and something interesting just came up about the artwork, how it was inspired by a virtual alternative rock/hip hop cartoon band?

Jorge Corona: Yeah, in general, people tend to see it, and if they know about it, they get it, but I grew up watching Gorillaz and Tank Girl, and Jamie Hewlett was a big influence of mine in my art for a long time, even before I started working in comics. Every once in a while you get someone coming in who says, “You know, this reminds me of..” And, it’s like, “Well, yeah. There’s a good reason for that.

BA: Now, some of the stuff that happens in this book is pretty batshit crazy. What’s it like getting a Skottie Young script and going “Now how in the world do I put THAT on the page?”

JC: It’s not only that, but I feel bad for Jean (JeanFrancois Beaulieu) who has to color all that. I think it was after issue three, Jean was like “Would you please not have any more rubble or, like, debris in this book?” And I’m, like, it has tornadoes in it. It’s gonna be a hard thing not to have that stuff come up every so often. But it’s been great, man. It’s been challenging. We get scripts that have things happening on such large magnitude happening to very small characters.The whole sense of size, of scope, it’s really fun to try to figure out. I Have to give props to Jean every time I talk about the book, because he just makes everything look great.

BA: So, Skottie makes your life hard, and then you make Jean’s life hard.

JC: Yeah. It’s just a change of tragedy. The production line is just one after the other, crying. Like, “What have I done?”

BA: And you guys just got to do this really cool thing, where Image released the entire first arc in trade paperback on the same day that chapter seven dropped, so new readers can get all caught up to current for, what, like, fifteen bucks?

JC: Right.

BA: We’re in the second arc, and you just told me a minute ago there are at least three arcs planned?

JC: Yeah. We’re planning at least like 18-20 chapters to tell the whole story we want to tell with Abel, and then we have alternate plans for, like, after that.

BA: Oh, right on. You guys have built up this universe where there’s this really cool, like, steampunky technology and all kinds of wizardry happening in the shadows. It feels like there are lots of stories that could be told in this Middlewest universe.

JC: It’s been fun because the more we work on the book, the more we love the characters. Obviously Abel and Fox are our lead story, but any time we bring any key character in, it’s like we fall in love with them, and we try to figure out how we can bring them back. Even if we don’t tell their story, it creates that sense that this world is a real place where you run into people that you’ve met before.

BA: Now, you’re sitting here inking chapter eleven as we’re talking. What can you tell us about where we’re headed?

JC: Well, there’s this kid Abel, and there’s a fox named Fox… No, man, this second arc, I really like where Skottie has been doing. He amped up the fantasy parts of the story. We’re still telling Abel’s personal part of the journey, but we’re expanding more into this world of fantasy.

BA: Does the pink goo ever get explained?

JC: Yes. Not yet, but it does get explained. The pink goo is one of those things that we did in the beginning to set us apart from the real world. That will immediately let people know that this is a different kind of reality. Then, it became such a big thing with the fans, the people reading the book. It’ll come up. It’s not going to change the story of the book in any way. It’s just part of the universe. We love it, but we’re gonna just keep that for us, until it gets explained in the book.

BA: Do you have anything else coming up that you want to let us know about?

JC: Not really. I mean, I do covers every now and then, but I’ve been spending most of my time with Middlewest. This is a book that I want to focus all of my attention on.

BA: All right! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy DPCC 2019 schedule to talk with us.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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