Following up on the success of last year's Eisner-nominated minicomics sensation 5, four of the 5 crew are back again this year for PIXU. Pronounced "pee-shu", PIXU is a two-part horror anthology from Becky Cloonan, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba and Vasilis Lolos. Sparked by a friendship spanning three continents thanks to the internet, this foursome reunites under the Pixu banner for their second self-publishing release.
The print run of PIXU is limited to 1,000 signed and numbered copies, and is only available online at Khepri.com or at the creators' upcoming convention appearances. PIXU #1 will debut at this year's San Diego Comic-Con and #2 will be out in September, with the some of the creators attending SPX in October and APE in November.
Rotate through the images at the right to see a sampling from PIXU
Newsarama: I appreciate everyone getting together for this interview. Tell us the, what is Pixu about?
Fabio Moon: PIXU is the sequel of sorts to 5, because we wanted to work together again and do everything a little bigger and better. For us, that meant two things: more pages and one big story instead of four small ones, so it's all one story written and drawn by all of us, about the inhabitants of a house and the strange things that happen there.
Gabriel Bá: 5 is our love letter to comics. With PIXU, we want to dig dipper into this love and explore more possibilities of this medium. We wanted it to be like everything we love, at the same time like nothing else we had ever done.
Becky Cloonan: I love working with Vasilis, Fabio and Gabriel, and I love the satisfaction that self-publishing brings. Like Fabio said, we found a way (even though we live on three different continents) to string our stories together and make them work as a whole. Each of our stories strings into the other, and the comic reads in chronological time. This goes beyond what anthologies usually do, with each of our stories working together to create one larger one.
Vasilis Lolos: With PIXU we tried some stuff that we were talking about doing with 5 but didn't get around to. The way the story evolves as a whole, is one of those. This is definitely group story-telling.
NRAMA: Can you describe what the collaborative process is here?
Fábio: We throw a lot of ideas back and forth in emails and MSN conferences until we decide what we like best. Then we do a lot of writing on our own, each writing his or her scenes, and we meet again and continue to steer the story to the best place we can. We didn't limited ourselves the number of pages each would draw, so some of us drew more pages then the others. We mostly drew the scenes we wrote, but sometimes one would draw a scene the other wrote. In the end, it doesn't matter who wrote or who drew each part of the story. The important thing for us was to try to come up with one good and interesting story.
Gabriel: All four of us want the comic to work as a whole, so that was our main concern. Whenever we would be writing our own chapters or reading the others', we'd be thinking about the whole story and if it was working or not. Four heads thinking at once is no easy task, and that was one of our biggest challenges. And what made it such fun to do. It's great to see the other person having an idea you would never come up with that fits perfectly into your story. We respect the work of each one of us very much and we know how much we can stretch and ask of one another.
Becky: Fabio, Gabriel, Vasilis and myself had several meetings before we even started drawing PIXU, although we'd been talking about it since the winter I think. Since the stories in this book weave around and through each other, it was really important to have the details worked out before we started. It's a lot of back-and-forth, and I think without the internet to talk on it would be almost impossible to collaborate on this level. I'll wake up in the morning and get a new email from Ba saying "What do you think of this design?" From there we can go back and forth easily, sending sketches and ideas back and forth. Of course it'd be easier if we were all neighbors, but I think the distance in our friendship give the comics we do together something special.
Vasilis: Working with Becky, Fabio and Gabriel is pretty awesome because , one way or another, we have the same mindset on what we want, but different ways to get there. That makes everything easy and very interesting. We sit down and converse about everything, and most importantly we are not afraid to be hard-ass editors to each other.
NRAMA: Unlike last year's 5 PIXU will be put out in two parts – one at SDCC and one in September. What led to this?
Fabio: Length and time. Because of several factors, we might not have had the time to finish the entire story for San Diego, so doing it in two parts makes it possible to have in at SDCC. And the story kept getting bigger and bigger, so it made sense to do it in two parts because of that as well. We didn't wanted to cut any of it just to finish it faster.
Gabriel: We want to surprise people with Pixu, and putting it out in one shot could do the trick better. But there's this thing with serializing one story that sometimes works even better. Planned to be a graphic novel, when we first gave it a thought of splitting it in 2, taking careful look on the story and what would be told on the first issue and what would be left for the second, it had a new appeal to us. Since we were worried to not being able to finish everything in time for SDCC, we decided this was the way to go after all.
Becky: It came down to a lot of factors, time, length, printing costs, and we decided two books would be better overall for our sanity. We are all working on other books as well, so although PIXU was a priority, we have other books on our plate as well. Last year we sold the bulk of 5 at our table in San Diego, so I'll be interested to see how well the second book does, releasing it after San Diego and having it available to order online. We're doing things to up the "collectability" of these also, by signing and numbering each copy for a little added incentive, because we know it's harder to sell when you aren't widely distributed, especially when there is more than one part to the book.
Vasilis: The most important thing to me about PIXU being in two parts is that it "fits", it sits well with it. Yes, you don't get the story in one shot. But suspense is a crucial part of horror. It works good as 2 parts it works great as one.
NRAMA: This isn't the first time you've worked together – last year you did the mini-comic 5 with Rafael Grampa. What's changed from then to now?
Fabio: Last year's experience was great, both to do the comic and to sell it in San Diego during the convention. All that led to this desire to work together again, because this is comics at its purest form: fun. Grampá had to focus on his graphic novel and was involved in the art direction of a movie, so we set him free to shine on his own.
Gabriel: We love each other and can't live without each other. Making comics together is just an excuse to put the huge distance between us apart.
Becky: When we started 5 - I forget who's idea it even was - there was so much back and forth dialogue on how to approach and execute it. In the end we settled on something simple because, let's face it, comics can be a lot of work! I guess it was also sort of like testing the waters- to see how we work together and to see how people respond. This year Grampa's got his hands full with his graphic novel Mesmo, which personally, I can't wait to get my hands on. Anyway, 5 went so well that we decided right away to try and do another comic next year, and that's when PIXU happened.
Vasilis: I really love this thing we are setting up. Its like an boundless art pact and every year we renew it. 5 was the first statement and we learned a lot from it , we try to push every "statement" a little further. That's why PIXU differs from 5 but the sensibilities are the same. I'm curious on the next one.
To pre-order PIXU #1, visit www.Khepri.com.
Also, the four creators will be appearing at Meltodown comics post San Diego-
PIXU Post-SDCC Jam Session.
Wednesday July 30th
5:30pm -- 7:30pm @ Meltdown Comics
7522 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046-3408
Phone: (323) 851-7283