As Y the Last Man comes to a close this January, reporter James Chan conducted an interview via e-mail with Y artist Pia Guerra to get her thoughts on the book, how she feels now that it is ending, and what her plans are for the future.
Blazedent(BE): Your art really gels well with the story and tone of the book. Tell me a little bit about the process of how you got attached to this project. Did Brian find you or did DC assign you to the book?
Pia Guerra(PG): Brian visited (Former Y the Last Man Editor) Heidi MacDonald's office to look at samples and there was mine on top of the pile. He said "Get that guy!"
BE: Tell me a little about the work you did before you worked on Y the last man.
PG: Mostly indie books, spot illustrations for White Wolf, storyboards for commercials and in-house rabble-rowsers at Microsoft. Whatever I could find to pay the rent really.
BE: What is the best way to describe your working relationship with Brian? Did he involve you in the whole story writing process or did you focus mainly on the art?
PG: The process was pretty simple, he'd send me a brief outline of an upcoming arc, I'd go through it and if there was something visually interesting that popped into my head I'd fire back some notes to see if they could be incorporated. Sometimes there'd be a fit, sometimes not. He'd then go and work on the scripts. Brian is one of those rare writers who are completely open to input and it really does feel like a collaboration when working with him.
BE: Did you ever think that the series was going to takeoff the way it did? A lot of readers felt it filled the void left by Preacher in Vertigo.
PG: We talked about how we would be lucky if the book made it past issue 6 because that was our experience up until then. Myself, I had worked on several titles that never saw the light of day let alone hit the stands with any real impact. Our initial print run was only about 17000 and that was just a hairsbreadth from cancellation numbers back then. It felt very precarious so even entertaining the idea of filling the Preacher void seemed ridiculous.
BE: Has working on the book changed your career in the comic industry?
PG: Definitely. It feels like a real career for once, like I could be doing this for years to come and be very happy doing it. There wasn't that certainty before. Mostly I like knowing I'll probably never have to work retail, or in some horrific office environment ever again. That's pretty sweet.
BE: What was the first thing you did once you finished drawing the last issue?
PG: Went to bed.
BE: What are your plans now that you are done? Do you have a project in the works or are you planning to take a break for a little while?
PG: I've got a couple of projects in the works now, one is a short story by Leah Moore and another will be announced shortly. I've been couch-slugging since Christmas, it's been nice but I'm ready to start working again.
BE: Are there any characters or genres you would like to tackle in the future?
PG: Anything fun really. And short. Super heroes, sci-fi, whatever comes up that sounds like fun to do.
BE: With the comic all but over, what do you think you will miss most about working on the series? What will you not miss at all?
PG: I'll miss the ease of working with Brian's scripts. His style is so generous and light, he keeps his descriptions spare which allows me to see what he wants more clearly. It's weird how that works but seriously, best experience I've had working with a writer.
I won't miss the deadline crunch that comes from such a long term project. It'll be easier now to take any needed time off by limiting how much of my year gets sucked into a book.
Y The Last Man issue 60 comes out on January 30. For more info on Pia Guerra, please check out hellkitty.com.
- James Chan