RICH INTERVIEWS: Bin Lee Co-Creator/Co-Writer for Delegates

First Comics News: How did you and Tina Cesa Ward come up with the idea for “Delegates”?

Bin Lee: I don’t recall the exact thing that gave me the idea, but I think as automation and machine learning became adopted in everyday life, I wondered what would happen if it blended with the government.

1stWho are the main characters in “Delegates” and what are they like?

Bin: Marla Drake is our main character. She’s our kind of like the reader’s avatar, but definitely not passive. She has a sense of duty as a bodyguard but also conflicted while processing the revelations about Aminah. Aminah is the president that Marla is protecting, but we soon discover she’s an android created by Marla’s employers. Other important characters are Saito (Aminah’s creator), Victoria (Saito and Marla’s boss), and Osi (Aminah’s head of security).

1st: What genre would you consider the “Delegates” comic?

Bin: We describe it as a science-fiction political drama. The themes and characters are serious, but we also make sure the artists inject a bit of fun and excitement.

1st: Why is Marla important to the story in “Delegates”?

Bin: I guess you can say she’s our moral compass. Most of the story is told through her eyes, but her reactions to the events and revelations does the heavy lifting in giving the story heart and brains. We hope to challenge the reader constantly, and that they’ll ask themselves “how do I feel about this?” or “what would I do differently in this situation?”.

1st: Why have the “Delegates” take place in Africa?

Bin: A few reasons. Mainly because I thought it was a setting not portrayed very often/fairly in mainstream media. Usually, you only see stories about famine, blood diamonds, civil war, or historical slavery. And usually, the characters are helpless, needing the help of foreign (white) saviors. I wanted to see stories that take place in Africa with regular citizens having initiative. While most of our main characters are foreign, we wanted to make sure we surround them with minor characters were diverse, distinct and relatable.

1st: What did you enjoy most about making “Office Ninja”?

Bin: The camaraderie. I loved the collaborative atmosphere we created, in which we used teamwork to make the shoot go super-smooth, yet we also didn’t forget the joy of making art and savoring each other’s company.

1st: Why do you like working in the entertainment industry?

Bin: I’m not sure I’m technically working since I haven’t found a sustainable financial lifestyle yet, LOL. But I enjoy the ability to create unique stories, the challenge of making something memorable, and I’m constantly humbled by the collaborations with folks more talented and hard-working than me.

1st: On “Delegates” who are the artists and what do you think of their work?

Bin: Sabrina Deigert and Leigh Walls were instrumental in creating the template for our characters and the fictional country of Fulawodaabe for Issue #1. But Felipe Cunha and Doug Garbark did a lot of heavy lifting as well, taking the story to the next level as the story progresses in the next 5 issues.

1stWhich character in “Delegates” are you most like?

Bin: Heh, I think I see a little bit of me in each character. Saito and I have similar backgrounds, being Asian-Americans working in software. But I would have to say, Marla. Like her, my views on technology in society are constantly evolving with every new development and asking “is this the right direction?”.

1st: What can we look forward to in future issues of “Delegates”?

Bin: As the story expands, our characters will encounter larger challenges, some external, some internal. We dig deeper into how Aminah’s programming affects her and those around her, which raises more questions for Marla (and hopefully the readers).

1st: Do you have any ideas for more comics?

Bin: Currently, we’re spit-balling on an adventure sci-fi story taking place on the clouds of Venus.

1st: Would you like to be President of Africa, what would you do if you were?

Bin: Co-writing this story has definitely made me think harder about what it takes to be a leader and what government’s role in American society. I don’t think I have the personality to accept responsibility for an entire nation, let alone a continent of over 50 countries, LOL.

1st: Any words for the readers of “Delegates”?

Bin: Well, I definitely want to thank the readers for taking a chance on us. We hope they’ll find the story worth sticking around for 30 issues, and that they’ll find the themes as thought-provoking and the characters as memorable as we found them to be on this journey.

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