Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky Talk COYOTES
Sean Lewis (Saints, The Few) is teaming up with Caitlin Yarsky for another exciting new series from Image Comics, Coytoes. Outright Geekery had the chance to speak with the creative team about their new series.
For those interested in Coyotes, what can you say about it?
Sean: It is Underworld-meets-Sicario. It is Kill Bill-meets-The Howling. It is a revenge thriller where a group of women in a city known as the CITY OF LOST GIRLS have banded together to fight a war against the monsters hunting them- local men, who when they don the pelts made from an Ancient wolf become werewolves themselves. Here in the desert heat a war is fought.
Caitlin: Coyotes mixes dark fairy tales with brutal, epic storytelling present in Tarantino, Coen brothers and Guillermo del Toro films. It’s exciting, relentlessly disturbing, and told from the perspective of a fiery Mexican girl named Red. What more could you want?
Tell us about Red and Detective Frank Coffey?
Sean: I love Lone Wolf and Cub. I love the Professional with Jean Reno. I love Kurosawa and Samurai’s and Kill Bill and all that shit. Red comes from that tradition. She is a normal girl who is thrown into an unfair situation. A situation where the women around her are dying or disappearing. Specifically, her sister and mother.
What can you do in that situation? What do you do with the fear and the rage? When she meets a group of women who have also survived these werewolves (or in our book “Coyotes”) she leaps at the chance of fighting back. She trains by watching old Samurai films while listening to mixtapes of bad ass women: Aretha, Dolly, Missy Elliott…
She’s going to come to be something these wolves fear.
Coffey is new to the City of Lost Girls. He is a by the book cop, a noir type of fellow. Hard nosed. Curt. Unsympathetic. In most books he’d be the toughest guy on the block. In this book he can’t even comprehend what is going on. He is a classic male trope upended: the hard boiled detective who has become powerless. He meets Red, the young woman at the start of our story, and he wants to help her. He really wants to save her. Which shows how naïve he is, he’s the one being saved. He is pretty funny, though
In the press release for Coyotes, it mentions something you said about your wife and how she sort of gave you the idea by telling you about women going missing around the world. What kind of things were mentioned?
Sean: My wife is from Canada. She would always tell me about the Trail of Tears, where Inuit women in her country go missing. It got me thinking about how REGULAR the disappearance of women is… trafficking, murders, abductions.
She then told me a story of women in Juarez, Mexico who went missing and how there was a local myth of a woman called THE BLONDE who was taking the bus routes and killing men she suspected of abducting and hurting these women.
It just got my mind whirring.
When I was in school there was a serial killer in my town. He was named Nathaniel White and he killed a girl I would have gone to High School with. It’s still very surreal, the idea of that. To this day, if a woman in my family is late for something I immediately worry that something has happened to them. That something has been done to them.
It’s nuts. And scary. And typical. So I wanted to take the powerlessness I felt about that and turn it into rage and then turn that rage into myth. That is where Coyotes comes from.
With a background from doing video game work, how different is it working on something like Coyotes?
Caitlin: Most of my video game work has been for younger audiences, so this is very different. My personal illustration style has always been pretty dark and steeped in themes from old myths and fairy tales, so Coyotes felt like a perfect fit.
What kind of visuals can readers expect from Coyotes?
Caitlin: Expect blood. Expect a vintage, slightly steampunk feel. Expect desolate western landscapes, abandoned buildings, and girls kicking ass in every way imaginable.
I noticed this one uses a lot more narration than your previous work? What brought on the change?
Sean: I think each book for me has been an experiment with the form. Comics are so amazing, there are so many possibilities that I am really interested in each comic feeling singular. I think you really can make a comic be its own stand alone piece of art. That honestly, is my attempt each time. A lot of the time I like having the Artist inform me, so the book and how the story unfolds is in congress with the person drawing it. Hayden’s art for THE FEW was so stark and minimal that having the text match it made absolute sense. It helped the book (and not just the art) feel cold and desolate, violent and cruel. SAINTS had Ben Mackey on art and his work had a cartoonish quality to it that invited humor but was also deeply informed by byzantine art- so the tone of the book would mirror that: wild cartoonish humor and then flights of beauty and dirges into ornate violence.
Caitlin’s work… I saw it and was blown away. but it reminded me of these storybooks I used to have as a kid. Just lush and fluid. And I thought how subversive and fucked up, if this horrible story had this storybook quality. It helped as well because the world of the book is so big and mythic- Caitlin’s art can hold that and it gives me room to really expand and direct the audience.
Where can people follow your work at online?