Talents Deserving of Wider Recognition: Myatt Murphy and Scott Dalrymple of 'Fade From Blue'

Wed, July 9th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

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[Issue #8]It's an unlikely sort of success: "Fade From Blue" is two guys creating a

comic about four women, none of whom dress up as creatures of the night to

right wrongs, keep the forces of Hell at bay or travel through time.

Despite that, the series from Second To Some has gone on to some acclaim and now has

landed its creators a joint nomination for the 2003

Eisner Award for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition.

"I don't think either of us knew where we stood in terms of believing we

would get a nomination," writer Myatt Murphy told CBR News. "I don't think

there's a single comic book creator that doesn't hope that their title gets

the recognition they may feel it deserves, but it wasn't anything we were

necessarily pushing towards. Deciding to do a book like 'Fade From Blue,'

which certainly isn't like most books out there, we knew full well that we

were about to try something that may not be as embraced by the majority of

comic book readers. It's not super hero, it's not angst-ridden goth, it's

just real-life drama with a quirky twist in the storyline that gels all of

the sub storylines together. We knew that the type of reader that would be

attracted to the series, which tend to be fans of emotionally-driven

dialogue stories that read more like 10' o clock TV than a comic book,

would praise Fade ... but to have the industry itself give 'Fade From Blue'

its due was most certainly a surprise."

"I was completely floored," artist Scott Dalrymple told CBR News.

"Whenever I'm asked who my influences are, it's never really anyone from

the past 15 years. It's always a lot of the artists that paved the way in

comics ... and Eisner is literally one of my all-time favorites. Just to be

given the nod for an award that is named after his amazing work is pretty

incredible."

"Fade From Blue" is one of those difficult-to-describe books that are

miles from any Hollywood high concept pitch.

"The best way to describe it probably as Myatt just did," Dalrymple

said. "'Fade From Blue' is more of a TV dramedy that reads like something

you'd watch at 10 o' clock primetime. The underlying plot is that nine

years ago, there were four girls living with their four separate mothers

that had one thing in common: a father who was a polygamist. When all four

mothers suddenly and mysteriously die and the father disappears, the four

sisters find each other and forge a nuclear family to go into hiding and

survive. Now, in the present, the truth about what really happened to their

moms and their dad is starting to come out. That sounds pretty deep, but

there are other things going on in the lives of each sister, some funny and

some sad, that make 'Fade From Blue' a mix of witty dialogue and tragic

circumstance. Wizard called it 'Tragically sad ... irresistibly funny,'

which is probably the best way to peg all the emotions Myatt and I are

trying to play on with each issue.

If you're a regular reader of 'Fade,' I think the thing you can expect

from #8 is a kick start in the main plot. There are several surprises

coming in #8, both from Iya and Marit (trust us, both do things in this

issue you would never expect ...). We're coming to the close of the

10-issue story arc that's meant to set the stage for the sisters new

directions in life ... and this issue really fires up that plot point."

Two male comic creators aren't the first pair you'd think of to tell a

slice of life story of four half-sisters.

"Ha! That's true," Dalrymple said. "When Myatt came to me with the story

idea, I thought he was taking a big risk at first, but he really felt that

the next project we should try should be something that you don't see

enough of. We were already midway through working up the concept of a

supernatural thriller that we were both really jazzed about. Then, out of

nowhere, Myatt told me he wanted to stop that project and focus on a story

idea that eventually became 'Fade From Blue.' Myatt writes for a lot of

women's magazines for a living, so I knew he wouldn't have a problem

getting the voice down, but I wasn't sure if I could get the realistic look

he was asking for when it came to the women.

"The first thing he asked me for was a quick illustration of the four

sisters so we could hammer their personalities out. That illustration went

through several redos and eventually became the cover of 'Fade From Blue'

#2, as well as the cover of the Fade Trade (Vol #1) which comes out in late

July."

[Panel from Fade From Blue]"We get that 'two guy's guys doing a book about women?' all the time,"

Murphy said, "And granted, Scott's a big guy who plays hockey and looks

like he should be working the door checking IDs instead of working on a

book about women, but I think readers of Fade (which split into about half

female/half male at shows) would be the first to tell you that it's not a

series that's written for women. It's written for everyone ... and the main

characters all happen to be female. We're told all the time that Christa

(the crass, borderline crazy sister of the four) has an edge that anyone

that appreciates sarcasm would love.

"What made Fade a story I wanted to tell was partly inspired by a woman

I saw walking on the streets of Manhattan, who at first glance, didn't

appear to be male or female. It wasn't that she was intentionally dressed

in any way ... she was just very lean, didn't wear makeup and had a short

hair style ... but it was the look on her face that really inspired me. She

seemed to be somewhere else ... distant yet determined about something that

it felt no one else could possibly understand. Immediately after that, I

wrote up a premise of what situation she was possibly going through and

that became the basis for 'Fade From Blue.'"

For some past nominees, winning the Talent Deserving of Wider

Recognition award has given them a high enough profile to go onto a

considerable and long-lived comics career, while others still view comics

as an interesting sideline to their main career. At the moment, Murphy and

Dalrymple fall more into the latter camp than the former.

"As for doing comics for the rest of my life, I couldn't say that I will

with any absolute certainty," Murphy said. "I like what I do for a living,

which is writing for mainstream magazines, but I have several book projects

lined up for 2004 as well, so time is the biggest issue for me. What

attracts me to the profession is the diversity of it, so I think I'll keep

doing comics to some degree until I've gotten all the stories out of my

head that have been hiding there for years. Once those run out, it'll be

time to push on.

"I think the one thing I'm happiest about with the nomination is that we

were nominated together. Another reason I chose to do 'Fade From Blue' was

because I thought the general public didn't get a fair look at what Scott

can really do after we finished our first series, 'Two Over Ten.' That

series has now been picked up option-side by Platinum Studios to be

developed as a TV series, yet no one noticed it at all when Scott and I

finished the series last year. I wanted to do another series that gave

readers another taste of Scott's art. Now, Scott's been approached by

several writers and publishers for work, even though his main gig is

magazine illustration, but I hope the nomination helps push him into comics

more often, if he has the time to do so."

"I think I'd pursue comics full-time if I found a project I was really

into," Dalrymple said. "Myatt and I get along really well and I like what

he's producing, so I'd have to have that same sense of pride in what I'm

doing. If that means working for smaller publishers to achieve that, I'm

fine with that. But I think DC, Crossgen, Dark Horse and Marvel are starting to create the types of stories I'd

be into doing, so we'll see."

Of course, before that potential commercial success can come about as a

result of the award, one of the nominees has to win it.

"I took a look at the other nominees via the Web and like all of the

unique styles that are in the same category, so I think we're in excellent

company," Murphy said. "We met Tyler from 'Stylish Vittles' at MOCCA. After

realizing we were both juxtaposed right across from each other and both

hanging up signs to let passers-by know we were nominated for the same

award, I figured we'd go over and introduce ourselves. I watched too many

creators that were competing against each other in other categories kind of

ignore each other and I don't believe in doing that. I think there's not

enough cohesion among comic creators that there could be. It's like we're

all fighting for the same piece of the pie, instead of realizing that we

have the potential of creating new pies altogether.

"As for who will win, I think Scott and I are in agreement that we hope

someone else wins. Not that we're not honored by the nomination, but the

award is for 'Talent deserving of Wider Recognition,' which we feel means

it should go to someone that's a great new talent to the industry, but

hasn't received as much media as they should be. 'Fade From Blue's' been

certified cool by Diamond 6 times now, has gotten A's across the board from

Comics Buyers Guide, been in Wizard Edge as a 2003 Buzz Book and we're even

in the Wizard price guide right about 'Fantastic Four,' so we've gotten our

fair share of great press from some great people. If we win it, it'll be an

honor. If we don't, it'll obviously go to someone else that's equally

creative (since all of the nominees are amazingly talented) and then,

hopefully they can use that honor to help propel their career and get more

of their fantastic work out there for everyone to enjoy. That can only

benefit the industry as a whole, so either way, we win."

For more on "Fade From Blue," read our interview from August, 2002, which includes a seven page preview of issue #2.

 
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