Alex + Ada has mixed science fiction with surrealism since its debut in November 2013, and now this Wednesday they're promising a "thought-provking" finale.
Created by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, Alex + Ada follows a young man who is paired with an ultra-releastic female android who promptly find themselves on the run from the government. With storytelling delving into robot sentience, the singularity, and more than a little flirtation, Alex + Ada reads like a more romantic version of Blade Runner... but in a good way.
Newsarama talked with Luna and Vaughn about closing out the series, what their initial plans were for the ending before they actually got to it, and what comes next for the two creators.
Newsarama: Jonathan, Sarah -- what can people expect with the finale in Alex + Ada #15?
Jonathan Luna: Without ruining anything, I hope people will find something thought-provoking in it.
Sarah Vaughn: We’ll be seeing the aftermath of what happened on the beach, and how Alex handles what happened to Ada. Oh, and there’s an end!
Nrama: How does it feel for you two to be at this point?
Vaughn: It’s surreal. Alex + Ada is my first complete comic series. Jon and I have spent such a long time holding the tension and working hard to get the book out. It’s going to take some adjustment to not having to finish the next issue. I miss Alex and Ada already.
Luna: Very rewarding. Sarah and I worked on this series for two and a half years, talking on the phone almost every day to make it the best that we possibly could. I’m glad I can honestly say that I tried my very best to deliver a high-quality book on a regular schedule.
Nrama: Was #15 always the finish line, or did you not determine that until later? And if so, how did that come about?
Luna: We definitely wanted to tell a story with an ending. Initially, we planned it for twelve issues, but realized later we needed a little more time to tell the story. Thinking about it now, twelve or fifteen issues seems pretty short to me, with other series being near or in the hundreds. It’s amazing to me that people have really fallen in love with the book in a relatively short time.
Nrama: Re-reading the recent issues for this, I get some warm vibes from this in some ways akin to a more nuanced take on Blade Runner and the hints that Deckard was himself a replicant. This might be off on a tangent, but do you feel any of that?
Vaughn: Hah! You spoiled Blade Runner for me! I had seen it as a kid, but don’t remember any of it, and it’s on my list of sci-fi movies to watch now that Alex + Ada is over.
Luna: If you’re wondering if Alex is an android, we can already tell you that he’s absolutely not.
Vaughn: That has been an inside joke, though.
Nrama: What would you say have been your influences, both from fiction and real life?
Vaughn: I love quiet movies that spend time in silence, and that are slower moving. One of my absolute favorites is the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. It’s soft, it’s slow, but it’s sincere. I wouldn’t say it was a major influence specifically, but maybe it’s an example of how my own proclivities in viewing and reading shift into story creation.
As far as real life, there are tons of touches in there that have been drawn from our own experiences and thought processes. I’ve struggled myself with that murky period between getting over one relationship and being ready for another.
Luna: I look at a lot of illustration, and watch a lot of movies and TV series. I try to watch something every night before I go to bed. I don’t think I take much from everything I see, but I’m sure it re-energizes my creativity. As for real life, probably my relationships. Alex + Ada spawned from that a bit, even though it ended up not being about it in the end.
Nrama: In #14, Alex and Ada kind had a surprising kind of first date while on the run. How would you rank their first date to ones you've had in real life?
Luna: I’ve never run for my life on a date, so I’m pretty sure theirs outranks mine by a thousand.
Vaughn: I’ve had some pretty interesting first dates, but none as intense. I like them to not involve sirens and flashing blue and red lights.
Nrama: The cover to #15 simply shows an empty boat floating on tranquil water. What should readers take from that before they read the issue, and will it change after they read it?
Vaughn: I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s definitely meaning to it.
Luna: There are multiple meanings, actually. We leave that up to the reader.
Nrama: Is there anything you want to say to readers of Alex + Ada #15 before the issue comes out?
Luna: I hope you enjoy the conclusion. And thank you so much.
Vaughn:Very much the same here. We worked so hard to make Alex + Ada, and I hope that comes through.
Nrama: And last question, what are your plans once ALEX + ADA concludes this Wednesday?
Luna: I’m going to take a little break, then get back to working on a new series. Lips sealed for now.
Vaughn: While there are other projects floating around, I’m continuing to write “Ruined,” my Regency romance comic with Sarah Winifred Searle, which is running in Fresh Romance, the digital monthly anthology.