Sami Kivela; My Co-Pilot, My Mate

by ryankl

I love making comics with Sami Kivela.

We’ve been putting out comics for nearly a decade, and our latest story, EVERFROST, lands in June through Black Mask Studios.

Way back when, Sami and I first worked on a pitch for a comic that would become CHUM at ComixTribe. I loved the character acting and clear page layouts he brought to the project, and I loved how he made everything I wrote work better on the page. I was writing a surf noir story and Sami made every pulp trope I wanted to play with, and invert, come to life on the page.

Imagine being a nascent comic book writer/creator and getting this cover in your inbox? I was so deeply deeply in love.

While I pitched CHUM around, I talked to him about building a weird sci fi world with me and Dan Hill and so he co-created and illustrated the first issue of CURRICULUM. His work on this story is phenomenal, and it’s one of life’s great failings for me that we never managed to get this story completed [that’s a whole other post, sadly, and it mostly focuses on my ineptitude].

I loved this opening panel so much it was the back of my phone case for the next 5 years.

Dying to keep working with Sami, I pitched him on the idea of doing a one-shot and taking it to Kickstarter. He was down and thus DEER EDITOR was born. I’d written this script on my phone as I wandered my neighbourhood late at night, trying to keep my kid asleep in a Baby Bjorn while letting my wife rest at home, and I was so excited when Sami trusted me to go on this journey with him. This is still one of my favourite comics I’ve created, and Sami and I ended up rounding out a trilogy of connected one-shots that were super successful on Kickstarter, and I still plan to collect in a trade paperback [one day].

CHUM was made and Sami just continued to level up, so I asked him if he’d be again willing to swing for the fences with me on a pitch. Legend that he is, he agreed, and within a year we cooked up BEAUTIFUL CANVAS, pitched it, got it picked up at Black Mask, and it started hitting the shelves.

Sami’s work on BEAUTIFUL CANVAS really showed his ability in a new light. Perhaps it was the colours of Triona Farrell, perhaps it was having more people read this book than any of our stories before, or perhaps it was just the right time: but Sami knocked this one out of the park. His page layouts continued to become dynamic and full of narrative, his character designs jumped off the page and kicked you in the guts, and his star went on to shine as he made ABBOTT with Saladin Ahmed, MACHINE GUN WIZARDS with Christian Ward, and UNDONE BY BLOOD with Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson.

But all along, Sami and I had yet another collaboration cooked up and now it’s finally appearing – EVERFOST is coming.

This might be our greatest work yet. Some of the pages Sami has dropped in this series are shockingly electric, and he’s illustrated all 4 issues, so I’ve seen it all. You are going to love Sami as much as I do, and that’s going to fill both your heart and your eyeballs.

I get the privilege of seeing Sami’s character sketches, his ability to capture characters out of my brain and get them onto the page perfectly. I get to cruise through his thumbnails that show the amount of class and emotion he’s going to put on the page – and the fact he can show that in thumbnails is just astounding. I get the pencils, and the inks, and the thoughtful notes on story. I see where Sami explodes a page, or alters the flow, or [usually] improves every scene as it transitions from script to art. The guy is a stone cold genius, and working with him to create a world and tell a story is one of the most satisfying things I’ll do in comics, or in my life overall.

But mostly, I’ve just enjoyed working with one of my best mates to tell a huge story. From every cover thumbnail, to script edit notes, to these small moments he drops all over each issue that made me hold my breath while reading emails, this comic has been a true labour of love.

It took about 4 years to get this comic onto the shelves, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally share all of Sami with you once more. If you’re a fan of beautiful art, or nuanced moments, or great comics, then I have to imagine you are a Sami Kivela completist [I know I am]. So if you want more Sami Art in your life, this is a good year for you. ABBOTT 1973 has been coming out, he’s drawing the next volume of UNDONE BY BLOOD, and we’ve got EVERFROST landing for you in June. I’m just lucky to be writing that last one, but I’m pushing all of them constantly to mates.

I know we appreciate your support, and the best support is telling your comic shop you want them to order a copy of the comic before it hits shelves so they definitely have one for you when we hit the streets on June 02. Here are the details, you know what to do!

EVERFROST #1 is in the latest Previews for a June 02 release – Order Code: APR211533