Talking With John Layman About New Fantasy Series, ‘Bermuda’ From IDW

by Olly MacNamee

You may have noticed, what with our preview and advance review yesterday, that John Layman has a new comic book out this week from IDW Publishing.Teaming up with Nick Bradshaw on art and Len O’Grady on colours, Bermuda #1 introduces reader of all ages to a fantastical island of endless possibilities. And that was all the excuse I needed to catch up with Layman to grill him on this new series, out now!

Olly MacNamee: Now, there’s been lots of fantasy stories set in the Bermuda Triangle, but you new one, Bermuda from IDW,  is the first series that seems to attempt to include them all in one marvellous mash-up. I have to ask, were you trying to break Nick Bradshaw, or was this a case of working to your artistic partner’s strengths?

John Layman: A little of both. This series was tailor-made for Nick, and I both wanted to play to his strengths, and give him a chance to draw something cool and crazy every issue, to keep him from getting bored. So we ended up with pirates and military men, monsters, dinos, sea monsters, weird tech. A little bit of everything!

OM: The story seems simple enough. Wealthy brother and sister crash onto a mystical, mysterious island in the Bermuda Triangle only to be separated. The one, Bobby, meeting a Peter Pan like teen adventurer. And almost immediately shenanigans ensue. Anything else I’m missing out, John?

JL: I hadn’t thought of the Peter Pan analogy, but that’s a good one. Bobby is basically the reader’s eyes and ears, and stranger in a strange land, learning the ropes of this strange island. Bermuda herself is the seasoned old hand, smart and savvy enough to keep herself and everybody in her proximity alive.

OM: Seriously though, given Nick’s amazing range, how much of the design work do you leave for him? I imagine it must be amazing receiving each and every page and seeing your script transformed by one of the industry’s best?

JL: Design was way open, and I tend to do that with artist. “Bermuda rides a giant lizard, but from a story perspective it does not matter what kind, so it can be a komodo dragon, or a chameleon, or a monitory lizard, whatever strikes your fancy and you want to draw.” I gave him the basics, and just let him let loose, as often as possible. I figure I’d get his best work and greatest enthusiasm that way. I try to do that as often as I can with artists. I feel like you get better work if it’s a true collaboration. Nobody wants to work with a control freak.

OM: So where did the idea of Bermuda come from? And, for that matter, the evolution of the titular/main character? (Don’t want to spoil her name if you’d rather I use ‘main’. Juts let me know)

JL: Hoo, boy, I never know where my ideas come from, so I’m always put off by this question. I know I’d been determined to do a Kamandi-type book for a while, and this is kinda what this is. 

OM: With such rich and diverse stories surrounding the Bermuda Triangle legend, what can we expect in future issues of this four-part series? Will you even have enough room to cram in everything you want?

JL: Well, four issues is not a lot, so it moves at a brisk pace. We held some stuff back though, and hinted at some stuff, and this is a world both Nick and I are eager to return to.

OM: John, as ever, always a good time catching up with you and all the best with this series and the return of Chu #6 this week too. Anything you want to add about this new story-arc and where Saffron’s latest criminal escapade find her? It’ll come as something of a shocker for fans, that’s for sure! 

JL:  Both Bermuda #1 and CHU #6, the new arc of CHU, comes out this Wednesday, July 21st , so I hope you have the pocket change to pick both up. Bermuda’s adventure is a whirlwind tour across a strange island filled with all manner of cool and crazy stuff. Saffron, meanwhile, is freed from being a “CHEW spin-off book” this arc. That is, I feel like it steps out of the shadow of the original title and becomes its own thing this time around. Issue #6 sort of sets the stage of the book that’s to come.

You heard him folks, Bermuda #1 (IDW) and CHU #6 (Image Comics) are both out form today.

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