Jay Faerber is the writer behind the incredible Copperhead from Image Comics, a space western (and my new favourite) about the new Sherrif in town, Clara Bronson. My review for it can be found here.
Jay was kind enough to take some time out to answer some of my questions about his inspiration behind the comic and whats in store for Clara in the future.
Geek Syndicate (GS): We couldn’t help noticing that the scenery and mix of species in Copperhead is very Star Wars like. Were the original (only films) an influence on this story?
Jay Faerber (JF): You may not believe this, but I don’t count them as an influence. I like Star Wars well enough, but I’d say it’s been at least a decade since I’ve seen any of the original films and they never once crossed my mind when developing the series with Scott. It wasn’t until after the book came out that people talked about it being a possible influence. I don’t really see it, myself. But I won’t argue with people about it. Maybe it was an influence on some subconscious level.
GS: Also, the story had some Judge Dredd qualities to it. Again, was that an influence?
JF: Nope. I’m even less of a Judge Dredd fan than a Star Wars fan. I’m not saying I dislike it, I’ve just never been exposed to it. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever sat down and read a Judge Dredd story, start to finish.
GS: What inspired the character of Clara? Is she a mix of people you know or fictional characters that you love? Or both?
JF: I can’t think of any fictional characters that directly inspired Clara. Not on a conscious level, anyway. We really just set out to write an interesting, well-rounded person. She’s got flaws. She’s got strengths. She happens to be a woman. She happens to be a mother. She happens to be a sheriff. She happens to be stubborn. Petty. Brave. Maternal. She’s many things.
But I don’t recall ever thinking “I want her to be like fill-in-the-blank,” be it a real person or a fictional character.
GS: Was there something in particular that sparked the idea for Copperhead?
I wanted to stretch myself a bit. Get out of the genres of super-hero and crime that I so often wrote. And this was years ago. I just jotted down the idea of “Deadwood on an alien planet.” I knew a lot of sci-fi movies and novels and TV shows had Western roots. I knew Star Trek had been conceived as “Wagon Train in space.” But to me, very few of them really felt like Westerns. The only ones that did, to me, were Firefly and the 80s cartoon, Galaxy Rangers. Those were the two biggest influences on Copperhead.
But once Scott and I really started getting deep into the development of the series, we were always referencing Westerns. Western movies. Western characters. Western visuals. Western archetypes. Very rarely did we talk about sci-fi stuff. So the book, to me, has always been much more of a Western than anything else.
GS: Will there be a love interest for Clara in the future?
JF: There’s going to be a few of them actually. You’ve already met one, in fact. Maybe more than one.
GS: Can you tell us anything about what’s in store for Clara in the future, without giving too much away of course!
Well, in issue #6 we’re going to see what Friday night is like in Copperhead. It’s payday at the mine, which means all kinds of antics at the Copper Top saloon. We also meet Mrs. Boo.
And in issue #7, Clara goes on a date. Probably with one of those aforementioned love interests. Plus, a band of outlaws rides into Copperhead.
Issue #8 focuses on Boo. Clara doesn’t even appear in the issue.
Then in issue #9, we get to play with that classic Western trope — the posse, as Clara puts together a posse of Copperhead residents for a very dangerous ride.
GS: If you haven’t already plotted the end of this story, where would you like to see Clara end up?
JF: I’d rather you guys learn the answer to that question in the last issue of Copperhead. Which won’t for quite some time.
GS: Finally, any advice for someone who fully intends on cosplaying Clara for the 2016 Con season? What do I need to make sure I do to get her right?
JF: Just make sure not to take any shit from anyone and you’ll capture her perfectly.