RICH INTERVIEWS: Karla Nappi Writer/Creator for Duplicant
First Comics News: What about your early childhood helped prepare you for writing “Duplicant”?
Karla Nappi: My Dad is a huge science fiction fan, and exposed me to this genre early on. I was watching Star Wars and Blade Runner and Back to the Future along with X-Files and Star Trek and Quantum Leap.
1st: What is “Duplicant’s” storyline?
Karla: In the future, humanity is afflicted with a pandemic of organ failure. A glimmer of hope comes in the form of Matt Travers, a scientist who creates duplicate organs that saves humanity – only their high cost forces people into indentured servitude. In answer to this, a dangerous black market arises which is run by a religious fanatic and Matt’s former mentor.
Following Matt’s deadly encounter with a “Duplicant,” a recipient of his technology, Matt’s life blows up. He comes to question everything he knows as he strives to learn the truth behind his encounter, and along the way uncovers an even bigger mystery about the fate of mankind.
1st: Why does organ duplication become a thing in the future of “Duplicant”?
Karla: Because of the organ failure pandemic, and because of the difficulty in finding a vaccine, Matt Travers perfected organ duplication as a way to stem the tide of death.
1st: What is the biggest selling point of “Duplicant”?
Karla: Marianna’s art is breathtaking and makes the story pop off the page. Her ability to convey the emotion I scripted is hands down the best part of the book. Also, the story has become incredibly timely with the current pandemic – I couldn’t have predicted how close to real-life my story would end up being.
1st: How did “Duplicant” come into being?
Karla: I saw Repo The Genetic Opera and came away inspired to find a way to combine my love of science fiction, medical science, and the idea of repo men for organs into a story. I researched what was going on with 3D printing at the time, and what was predicted for the future, and everything just sort of came together to create Duplicant. Writing for comics is such an awesome and challenging way of envisioning stories, and helped make Duplicant shine.
1st: Who is Matt Travers and how does Regenerist fit into his life?
Karla: Matt Travers is the protagonist of Duplicant. Regenerist is his employer, and where he does the work to develop organ duplication and his continued work to find a vaccine.
1st: How would you describe Marianna Strychowska’s art style?
Karla: Breathtaking- realistic – emotional – unique – I’ve incredibly fortunate to have her as part of the team.
1st: How would you describe the world in general in which “Duplicant” takes place?
Karla: The world, in general, is a place not much different from what we’re experiencing right now with the COVID pandemic. People not being able to afford care. Having to make life or death decisions or decisions that could impact their finances and their emotional health for the rest of their life. Corporations and government thinking they know best and yet are often misinformed or don’t take into consideration the true impact of their policies. People protesting for control of their lives and what happens to their bodies.
Rich: Do you have any ideas for other comic books?
Karla: I have a short comic story I’m working on with F(r)iction I’m excited about. I wrote a spinoff of Monster Matador featuring Angelina Jolie that Steven Prince will be illustrating in the future. I’m working on a short horror comic story for an upcoming anthology that David Schrader and Clay Adams are overseeing. I also have an idea about virtual reality that I’d like to explore as a comic book miniseries.
1st: How is “Petal the Timid Inventor” doing?
Karla: Petal is my first children’s picture book. Mariah Terry, an artist I met at Baltimore Comic-Con this past October, is diligently working on the interior art for Petal. She recently completed images of each character I’m hoping to debut on social media in the coming weeks. I’m considering doing a Kickstarter to fund the printing of Petal once it’s complete. Carlos Mangual, who does the lettering/production work on Duplicant, will also be doing the lettering/production work on Petal.
1st: What do you think of organ transplants in today’s world?
Karla: I just read a recent article by ProPublica that says organ transplants have fallen victim to being considered elective procedures b/c they’re scheduled – but organ transplants are critical procedures to keep someone who is often on the verge of death alive. Add in that anyone who has had an organ transplant is on anti-rejection medicine for life, and being in the middle of the COVID pandemic adds to their vulnerability b/c of their already compromised immune system. I hope the future holds the same promise of manufactured organs that don’t require anti-rejection medication – but without the high cost, I envisioned in my comic – and without the waitlists that happen in the current day.
1st: Who is Wyatt?
Karla: Wyatt is my son. He’s 2 1/2 and has an active imagination.
1st: How do you spend any free time you have?
Karla: Sleeping! Otherwise, I try to catch up on my favorite shows and the steady stack of comic books I have next to my bed. I’ve been backing some really awesome projects on Kickstarter like White Ash from Charlie Stickney, Deadskins from Clay Adams, and Steven Prince has an upcoming Kickstarter for Monster Matador. I can’t wait to dig into them all.
1st: What would you like to say to the fans of your work?
Karla: Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm about Duplicant. It was a thrill getting this out into the world, and having such a positive reaction to my work. I look forward to sharing Issue 3 and hope everyone’s equally excited about continuing the journey with Matt.