Spotlight

Follower: Will Lab-Grown Warriors Face Their Destiny?

Bugbyte and Delade are a husband and wife team of creative individuals from Western New York. They work on various projects together but are best known for the webcomics Messenger and Follower. Their collaborative name is Radio Chio.

Synopsis: Follower is the story of a secret military project to create lab-grown warriors to unleash on a world that’s in the process of falling apart. Whether or not these new lifeforms are ready to face their destiny is another story.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
Bug went to art school, but has also always been interested in writing. Delade has always been a writer and has a degree in English.

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Science fiction. It’s fun to think about all the “what ifs” when you apply science to a story.

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
Adventure, Military

What was your inspiration for the story?
Follower is kind of a prequel story to our other long-running comic, Messenger, and takes place in the same universe. It’s Jurassic Park meets Metal Gear Solid.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
Bug: I loved the Dinotopia books by James Gurney growing up, it was the first book that made me think about worldbuilding. In general, I feel like I’ve been more greatly influenced by media made by teams of people, like the Metal Gear games, Pokemon, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park. Anything with creatures and adventure in it.

Delade: I’m a big fan of Stephen King, Joe Straczynski, Michael Crichton, Kameron Hurley, John Scalzi, and although he’s not super relevant to the writing style of Follower, Robert Heinlein.

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Bug: Somewhere between 4-8 hours depending on how complex it is.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
Bug: When we finish drafting the script, I go page by page and sketch out little thumbnails for how I’d like the pages to be laid out. Once I have that plan in mind, I sketch out a bigger version of it in Clip Studio. Then I ink the outlines, and color. The whole comic is made digitally, using Clip Studio mainly on my iPad.

Is your comic a finished work? If not, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
It’s not finished, but we do have a definite ending in mind. We are just starting our seventh chapter, but the entire story might be as long as 30 chapters by the time it’s complete.

How many pages do you have complete at the moment?
250+

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
We’ve been trying to collaborate on a joint comic since we were kids. We finally found something that can get more than a few feet off the ground. As far as how long it took to plan Follower, we definitely spent more than a few months working out exactly what we wanted to do.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making of your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
The hardest part was agreeing on a setting, a timeframe in the overall universe, and how we would tell that story. Collaborating is fun but hard. We’re not sure if we would have needed a pep talk, but some good advice to our past selves would be to keep working at it consistently and see what happens.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
It’s fun to work on something that’s completely original, and get it out in front of an audience immediately, without having to worry about finding a publisher or whether it’ll be accepted. It’s really rewarding.

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
Sometimes we get stuck when scripting, and that can take a while to overcome. We go back and forth until we settle on a solution to whatever’s stalling it out. Collaborating is difficult, but it also helps to overcome problems because we can bounce ideas back and forth. If one of us is stuck, the other can usually find a way to get the other unstuck. It’s a team effort.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
Delade: I like writing Geedey. He’s aware that there’s more going on, but is terrified of what that means for his view of the world. His perceptions are always changing and shifting and adapting, and he’s one that is not super comfortable with change. Dia is also fun to write, but she’s very much the opposite. She doesn’t care that there’s something else out there, she only wants to explore and view the world without any conscious frame of reference. She’s impulsive and young, and that makes her brave, if not careless. I wouldn’t say foolish, but I would say inexperienced. Geedey knows he is inexperienced.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Delade: Richart and Carvan. It’s very hard for me to rationalize evil for the sake of evil, and greed for the sake of greed with these two, in a way that makes sense. If Tolio is the mad doctor who’s going to blow up the earth, Richart and Carvan are going to buy up real estate on the moon and sell to the highest bidders. The logical challenge of writing for such a scenario is having them work out how to get buyers from the Earth to the Moon.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Bug: I like drawing Dia the most. She’s lively and colorful and fun.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
Bug: Richart. I feel like I never convey exactly what I have in mind with him, but I keep trying, anyway.

Where can we find you?
All our collaborative work is on radiochio.com! Our other comic Messenger is at messenger-comic.com. You can find us on twitter and instagram as radio_chio.

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
Follower is a story that appears on the surface to be all gloom and doom and military dystopia, but at its heart it’s a story about learning to not always accept the world as it’s given, and the importance of trusting yourself, and finding those around you who you can trust just as closely.