Beginning in the middle of the main character’s origin story, Weavers is about an up-and-coming supervillain. It is one part mystery, one part crime story, and one part super powered drama.
Series creators Simon Spurrier and Dylan Burnett took time out of their busy schedule to talk inspiration, art style, and what to expect in coming issues.
BIC: In the second issue of the comic it is described to Sid that the spiders may have been part of some sort of science experiment. When I read this it instantly made me think of Spider-Man and the old “What If?” comics Marvel used to do. I was wondering what the inspiration was for this story and if Spider-Man had anything to do with it?
SIMON SPURRIER: Not at conception stage, no. I was far more interested in finding a genuinely unique take on how characters might plausibly react when gaining incredible powers (which is something of a needle in a haystack, given how long the industry has spent thoughtfully deconstructing the spandex genre).
My idea was simply to change the moral emphasis. Rather than instantly vowing to uphold big meaty abstractions like truth, justice, and good (or indeed evil, destruction, or domination), I wondered what the world might be like if all super-powered humans were forced to be loyal solely to each other. Before I knew it I was dealing with a crime-syndicate tale, with a tightly knit mob group. The fun part was laying on the meat: the characters, the twisted path through this dark world, and so on.
At some stage, even after the series bible was written, it struck me that some of the elements I’d gleefully thrown at the wall (naive kid, eerily powerful spider, uncanny abilities involving blasting-things-from-ones-wrists, etc.) overlap somewhat with everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood wall crawler, so we gently leaned into that comparison. It’s never explicit, and it’s certainly not the point of the story, but yeah: If you were so inclined you could see Weavers as a sort of What If? account of how shit might’ve gone down if Peter Parker fell in with the wrong crowd.
As you’ll see, things deviate pretty wildly the further we go, but—hey—it’s a cool touchpoint for helping spread the word about Weavers, and I’m not about to turn it down.
BIC: I am really enjoying how the story is sort of starting in the middle of Sid’s origin story. He is already in the Weavers, but we don’t totally know how he got there. We get some glimpses to the day that he was chosen, but there is still a lot to be revealed. I was wondering what made you decide as an author to start there and not right at the very beginning?
SS: Often this sort of thing will be a useful technology for generating a compelling mystery, often it’ll simply be for the excuse to plunge the reader into the action—total immersion—and keep a foot on the throttle throughout. In Weavers, it’s essentially both. I hate stories which slavishly give the reader everything they need within the first five panels. Why throw away the chance to addict your readers to the slow reveal of elements, surprises, and wonderful corners of a whole new world?
With Weavers it’s a case of wanting my cake and eating it. I wanted us to feel what Sid’s feeling: ie: totally overwhelmed. Everything’s new and crazy and confusing, and it takes us almost as long as him to come up to speed. He’s been thrown in right at the deep end—it’s only fair we feel the same.
But then on top of that, because I really am a difficult bastard, I wanted to oh-so-gently imply that Sid has some secrets of his own. This is a reeeally thin line to walk. I’m asking the reader to relate to this poor out-of-his-depth bastard, but to accept that he’s got one or two hidden agendas he’s desperately trying to keep secret. It’s probably the most ambitious bit of character work I’ve ever done, but I think—I think—it’s working.
BIC: The way Sid’s powers work remind me of Tetsuo from the very end of the Akira anime. I was wondering if this was intentional or simply a similarity? Was this written into the script or was it something that happened organically with the art?
DYLAN BURNETT: Honestly, I never thought about that until I finished the splash page in issue 1. Otomo is my favorite artist, and Akira is my all-time favorite comic/animated film, so I think that most likely affected the art subconsciously. Si didn’t mention that reference specifically or anything, it’s just where my brain took his description.
SS: Yeah, Dylan’s stepped up and just totally blown us away with his interpretations of… well, of everything, but in particular the look and feel of the Weavers’ powers. I think I had in mind something far less visually interesting for Sid—a “flesh gun” which sort of pops out of his palm, with a Cronenbergian bodyhorror vibe—but ever since Dylan started casually tossing around shimmering tentacles, glorious bullet-demons, and blazing auras of weirdness, I’ve been approaching things with a far more Lovecraftian hat on.
A word of copious praise here also for Triona Farrell, our excellent colorist, whose acid palette has done so much to define the look and feel of Mesic City (or “Sicktown”, as its residents affectionately have it), where the story takes place.
BIC: When looking at the art I was just blown away, it was so stylish and clean. The book looked like something that should be animated on the screen. When I was looking at though I kept getting this feeling that it also looked sort of familiar. In my review for the second issue I mentioned that it reminded me of anime in particular Cowboy Bebop and Lupin the Third. I’m not aware if those art styles made an influence or not, but I was wondering as an artist what did?
DB: Thank you! Never thought my art would be described as “clean” to be honest. If you take a look at my original pages all inked up they’re a total mess of brush strokes and splatter in the gutters, but I like it that way. I wouldn’t say Cowboy Bebop or Lupin III specifically influenced it, really. I grew up on things like the Batman: The Animated Series and Samurai Jack and Street Fighter, so my art naturally gravitated to a more animated look, I think.
BIC: What is the design process you went through when preparing for this book? Some of the visuals are really bizarre, especially the powers. Did you have room to play on how these things would appear or was the script really specific?
SS: I tend to write pretty tight scripts, especially when working with someone for the first time. As mentioned above, Dylan quickly settled my mind on that score. Since having him aboard I’ve been waaaaay more chilled about just sitting back and letting him work his magic.
I still get fussy from time to time about particularly paced scenes (I’m a sucker for a grid, especially if it means playing with moment-to-moment fixed angle transitions—hence that glorious DPS near the end of issue 1), but frankly Dylan’s proved his chops as a wrangler of information and manager of pace a dozen times over.
SUCH a great feeling when you can trust your collaborator to improve on your own work.
BIC: As a character Sid is pretty interesting. Weavers so far sort of seems like a supervillain origin story. Yet, it doesn’t feel like Sid really is all that comfortable with the idea of becoming a bad guy. It seems more like it is being done out of self-preservation. He has secrets though, the other Weavers don’t trust him, and at times he speaks his mind which gave me a sense he is a little tougher than he sometimes lets on. Where did the idea for him come from and what in your mind are good qualities for a protagonist in a story?
SS: I think I inadvertently meandered through some of this above. The main idea with Sid was simply to provide an instantly relatable character (which means: a bit of a mess, often dumb, but broadly decent) and dump him right into the crucible. The sneaky secondary idea was then to imply, in drips and drops, that he’s keeping a secret of his own.
The really nice thing about this is that we can experience all the overblown insanity of the Weavers-world through Sid’s eyes, but we can also experience an iota of the suspicion and distrust with which the other Weavers regard Sid. I think this goes some way to explain why the character Frankie Weaver has kinda rocked-up and stolen the show: She straddles those two divides in a really fun, earnest sort of way.
BIC: Have both of you worked together before? If so on what projects and if not what made you decide you wanted to work together?
DB: When BOOM! mentioned Si and this story he was working on I was immediately interested because I was already a fan of his work on Six-Gun Gorilla. When our editor on Weavers, Eric [Harburn], asked me what I was most looking to draw, I said something like, “Noir, action, urban, supernatural, gallows humor, etc.” and Weavers clearly fit that perfectly, so I was super on board.
SS: Yeah, BOOM! just came along one day with some samples and a link to a portfolio, and said, What d’you think? I was pretty much jumping up and down on the spot from the getgo. Hire him! Hire him! Hire him!
BIC: What is it about working with one another that you like and admire?
DB: I love Si’s writing; he’s found a specific voice for every character, and that makes the series and the acting all the more fun to draw.
SS: Dylan epitomizes a particular talent, which I often look for in my collaborators, which is a union of the unreal and the relatable. He can exaggerate every action and dramatize every expression in a way which is uniquely “comics”… and yet it never feels silly or cartoony. (An aside: I hate that the word “cartoony” has come to be perjorative in some circles, gah!)
It takes a serious talent to enhance the big beats but dignify the quiet ones. Dylan’s got that talent by the bucketload.
BIC: What are your other credentials in comics?
DB: Before Weavers, I did a five-issue series with Donny Cates called Interceptor. Wastelands, Mech suits, vampires, intergalactic war. It was a blast!
SS: Oh lordy, too much to mention. Probably best known for X-Men Legacy, Marvel Zombies, Cry Havoc, and The Spire.
BIC: Dylan, what are the things you enjoy drawing the most in this comic?
DB: I find everything is fun in its own way. I’d say the action is where I always go the most crazy, but I always love the talking scenes, because getting to draw characters acting is also so much fun, especially since Si’s writing is so great.
BIC: Can you give us a teaser on what we can expect in upcoming issues of Weavers?
SS: Psychic sexytimes, industrial body-disposal, more junkies than you can shake a stick at, an all-guns-blazing assault on a superswanky houseboat, and Solutions To All Mysteries.
Also screaming and tentacle-guns. Lots and lots and lots.
BIC: Thanks guys for speaking with me, I look forward to future issues.