Chad Cicconi is an attorney by day and artist by night and as I discovered through the course of this interview he is also a founder of Action Labs. His latest project Blue Hour is just finishing it’s last issue and getting ready to be collected as a trade paperback which will be on sale May, 10th. Chad was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to catch our readers up to speed in time for the trade paperback.
Chad Cicconi: I use art and drawing comics as a release, to keep the creative side of my personality active. I love my day job and find no real problem balancing the two. The evenings are my time to draw — I’ve always been a “night owl,” and now I have something productive to do in my late night time.
1st: The theory is that an attorney is right brained and analytical, while an artist is left brained and artistic. Is there any truth to these stereotypes and how do you fit in?
Chad: I find that drawing comics lets me keep the left brain part of my personality alive and thriving, despite the pressures and stresses of living in a “right brain” world during the day when I am working as an attorney. Interacting with an entirely different world of people in the comics community and at conventions also allows me to be a more well-rounded person.
1st: What type of art training do you have?
Chad: Very little. I had no formal schooling in artwork other than the odd art class in junior high, just like everyone else. I’ve taken a cartooning and caricature class or two at the Pittsburgh Center for the arts over the last 10 years or so, but other than that, my training involves reading every “how to” book on art technique and comic book production that I could find.
Chad: My first “published” work is a book called “Baby Boomers” published by Markosia Comics in about 2009 or 2010. It is basically Spy vs. Spy, but involving two cute babies. My art has come so far since that book that I can barely stand to look at it now, but it was a fun project and I enjoyed working with a writer for the first time.
1st: What brought you to Action Labs?
Chad: I’m one of the founders and owners of the company. The company was formed by 4 creators who were frustrated at how limited our reach was when producing comic books alone.
1st: With Blue Hour you had to build an entire alien universe, what is their world of Crux-4 like?
1st: Who are the main characters?
Chad: A group of humans disappointed with how life on earth has evolved after political and resource management problems and wars.
1st: Are these Star Trek style humans or are the more Aliens style human explorers?
Chad: I’d say these are more akin to Aliens style humans, in that they are more nitty gritty nuts and bolts people, rather than the space exploration specialists seen in Star Trek.
Chad: Lots of sketching and lots of thought into how I’d like them to look and how they might have evolved.
1st: How harsh is the environment on this new alien world?
Chad: Tough but livable. Some plant life is supported, but growing human-edible plants is difficult. One of the main characters is a botanist, brought along for that purpose.
1st: Do the colonists and the Maasym get along?
Chad: In part. As the story unfolds, we learn that there are factions among the Maasym as well as the humans, and on either side, the relationships with the other are a point of discussion and contention, both within and across the species divide.
1st: There is the “brutal assassination” of Everett, how “brutal” is it?
Chad: Well, if you’d consider a 6-inch knife to the midsection and dying while you bleed on the dusty ground is brutal, then this is right up your alley.
1st: So ultimately is this a story of human survival at the end of planet Earth or is this a story of Humanity taking our destructive nature to another planet?
Chad: Very much the latter. Earth isn’t completely destroyed in this story, but it is depleted and many humans are very disillusioned by what is going on in terms of policy and resource management. That is what leads our main characters to depart.
1st: What makes Blue Hour so compelling no true comic fan should miss it?
Chad: The roots of this story ring as particularly relevant based on current politics on planet earth. Resources and resource distribution is one of the core issues humanity is facing right now, and the seeds of this series’ story are playing out right before our eyes. The central question posed by Dino’s script is whether humanity can ever rise above those problems.