A Different Kind Of Crisis: Talking Triage With Phillip Sevy

by Tony Thornley

A labor and delivery nurse, a superhero and a post-apocalyptic warrior walk into a nightmarish world and have to survive. It might sound like the most bleak joke set-up in history, but it’s actually the set up to one of the most exciting new creator owned series of the Fall – Triage.

Coming from Dark Horse Comics from writer/artist Phillip Sevy, letterer Frank Cvetkovic, and editor Megan Walker, Triage is a genre mash-up of epic proportions. We got a chance to talk to Sevy, who’s writing, drawing and coloring the entire book, about what to expect when the series launches September 4th!

TT: Hey Phillip! Thanks for sitting down with us about Triage! For our readers who may not have heard about the series yet, what’s the pitch for the series?

Phillip Sevy: Evie Pierce, a labor and delivery nurse, is having an identity crisis. Having accomplished all the goals she set as a child, she realized that the life she created isn’t what she wants. But who is she without all she’s ever built? In the middle of that, she wakes up in a psychedelic landscape alongside a brash superhero (Orbit) and a post-apocalyptic warrior (Marco). They find out that they’ve been targeted for extermination by the Hunter – an unstoppable killing machine. If all three of them die, all existence ceases to be. So they have to figure out how to survive, how to stop Hunter, who they are to each other, and why they’re so important. It’s a crazy sci-fi action adventure soap opera in five issues. 

TT: Can you tell us a little bit about the characters that we’re going to meet along the way?

PS: I mentioned Evie. Orbit is a cocky superhero with swagger and attitude. Marco is a hardened commander who only sees things in terms of utility. You also meet Evie’s girlfriend Tab – a war vet who is a physical therapist now. She’s Evie’s rock (and vice/versa) but their relationship is in a tenuous place with Evie’s identity crisis in full swing. 

TT: The three leads, Marco, Orbit and Evie, are all women. Why was it important to you to have strong women at the forefront of this story?

PS: There are a lot of ways to answer that, but the truth of the matter is that these characters are women. That’s who they are. And they’re the leads of the story. 

TT: You created an entire superhero universe- multiverse really- wholesale for this series. What was your favorite part of that? What was the most difficult?

PS: The cross-genre nature of Triage came about because I wanted to create series in all these different genres (superhero, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi) – so I found a way to combine them all into one series. Both my favorite part and most challenging part was the design aspect. I wanted to give every environment and genre a distinct, thought-out look. It required a lot of time. I spent about four weeks straight designing just what I’d need for issue ONE. Each issue has required a few days of design, itself. We bounce around a lot. It’s a challenge that’s both difficult and rewarding. I’m pushing myself harder than I ever thought I could. 

TT: You also created trading cards in the style of the old Marvel Universe cards from the nineties, with power ratings and everything! Is there any other cool little supplements like that you’ve made for the series?

PS: Outside of the trading cards, we released a four page Prologue online that won’t be in any of the single issues (will be in the trade). It’s almost like a trailer for the series. We’ve also created teaser images/poster and a motion trailer. Trying all sorts of fun ways to promote the book (with the time I have). 

TT: Though this isn’t your first time writing, drawing or coloring, this is your first time doing that entire workload for a book. What led you to make that call?

PS: I’ve wanted to move my career into the “cartoonist” realm since I was a kid. I wanted to write and draw my books. I love my past collaborators and still want to collaborate going forward, but I also want to move my career into doing everything. Along the way, I decided to try coloring myself as well (with Paradox and then The Freeze). I love working on all aspects. I was so excited to be able to be entrusted with telling this story at Dark Horse. 

TT: What’s been the most rewarding and the most challenging part of that so far?

PS: The answer to both of those questions is the fact that I’m doing a majority of the book all by myself (writing, pencils, inks, colors). It’s been SO much fun to have complete control over the creative process of the book. I’m aided by my excellent editor Megan Walker, my incredible letterer Frank Cvetkovic – but everything else is me. It’s one of the purest expressions of a comic book that I’ll ever make. The challenging aspect is that it’s labor and time-intensive to the Nth degree. Also, if the book fails or if people don’t like it – that’s all on me. There’s a big emotional weight and investment. I’ve loved it, but it’s been a marathon. 

Promo image by Sevy, quote from Zack Kaplan

TT: What’s your creative process like each day as you work on the book?

PS: My day and process looks really similar to other comics where I’ve been part of a team. I start linearly. But as I’m working, I can (and do) make adjustments as I go. I rewrite along the way. Redraw as well. There’s a more circular nature to my workflow once I get going. I’m able to make adjustments all along the way. 

TT: What are the biggest inspirations on your work, both from within comics and outside of the industry?

PS: Ooh, that’s a great question. I grew up loving Stephen King, Michael Crichton, and Joss Whedon. In comics, Brian K. Vaughn makes the types of comics that I love and want to make. There are many many more, as well. I’m not trying to make work like theirs, but they’ve shaped the way I process and enjoy stories. 

Promo image by Sevy, quote from Tini Howard

TT: Are you working on anything else you can tell us about?

PS: Trying to keep Triage on schedule. Lol. No, beyond focusing on the series, I don’t have time or energy for anything else. I’ve talked to Dark Horse and some others about some cool projects post-Triage, but until the book is done and in everyone’s hands, that’s all I’m working on. 

TT: Fantastic! Thank you again for sitting down and chatting about the series!

Triage #1 will be available on September 4, 2019, any where you can buy comics from Dark Horse Comics! Triage #2 and Triage #3 are available to pre-order now!

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