It’s the end of the world. Money is meaningless. But the billionaires have got a plan. Sort of like Noah’s Arc, the elite have a space vessel, the Arca, that will take them to a better world, Eden. All they have to do is make sure to keep their slaves, or “settlers,” in line. Effie is one of the teen servants on this vessel. As far as she knows, she should be grateful to have been spared from the billions of people who perished when Earth died. But things aren’t always as they seem. That is the premise of Van Jensen‘s latest graphic novel, ARCA, published by IDW Productions. It is my pleasure to present to you this interview with one of the great writing talents working today in comics.
As I say in my review, this is a story about a reluctant hero who must rise above her quiet demeanor and confront the powers that be. Persephone, or “Effie,” is in the long tradition of reluctant heroes in fiction and particularly in science fiction: the person who emerges as a leader despite their hesitation. As you will come to see for yourself, Effie is a lot like you and me.
In the course of this brief interview, I asked Van if he’d share a little something about the creative process and he provided a gem that I will long cherish and that I’m sure you’ll enjoy too. It involves a tea kettle. Imagine that you’re moving into your new home and you’ve got a thousand things to figure out. Try boiling it down to a tea kettle. If you can pin down your tea kettle, then everything else will fall into place. It’s a wonderful writing exercise: your “tea kettle” can be a brief description of your main character, or a snatch of dialogue or the first couple of sentences in that first chapter. Whatever helps to kick things off. So, I hope you enjoy this interview, stick around for the writer tips, and seek out this remarkable graphic novel.
ARCA comes out July 11, 2023 and is available for pre-order on many platforms including Penguin Random House right here.