Scaffolding loves indie enterprises. When we think indie, we think of something that strangely reminds us a Christmas present: exciting, largely unpredictable, and if you are really lucky, awesome beyond belief. Indie scence fiction comics Lab 99 definitely fits this description. Scaffolding brings you an inside scoop on what perhaps soon will become your favourite graphic novel and a box office blockbuster.
How it began: Present day Thailand
The fishermen cast their nets, but the catch was more than they bargained for...
Who are they: Hotaru, species from another dimension
Billions of particle souls that live as one...
Interdimensional travelers: No place like home
Capable of traveling through space without ships and wormholes. All they need is a thought and a will.
In the lab 99, they work hard and party hard
There is no place like home indeed. A giant high-tech laboratory hidden in the body of a hollow asteroid.
...and They love even harder...
Eddie and Lumina spend only moments alone before...
an accident claims his life...
Lumina watches her loved one desintegrate into spacetime...
There is another world just above our heads. A world both comfortingly familiar and completely alien. Look in just the right direction at just the right time, and you may catch a glimpse of this parallel universe.
The Laboratory 99 is their home, one of many scattered throughout the universe. Hotaru who have found themselves in our corner of the solar system, built it long ago, as a place of gathering amongst the lonely, desolate eons of space.
Do they fear us? Do they understand us?
Interview with the Nebula Creatives Team
S.M.: How the two of you have met and what makes you such a good team?
R.M.: We worked together for a while. Then I invited Christian to collaborate in our web series 4-5 years ago. In terms of storytelling and writing, we're attracted to similar styles. We share a lot of similar tastes and philosophy when it comes to working together on a project. Since Christian has been in film longer than I have, his experience in the logistics and technical knowledge and his input on creative elements is vital, while I focus on the creative and visual aspects most of the time.
S.M.: How did you meet Oscar, the illustrator of the Lab 99? How did you realize that he is the right person for the project?
R.M.: A filmmaker and a friend of mine, Eric Neal, connected us when I told him we were looking for a comic book artist. We talked to a few other artists as well so when we met with Oscar in person and saw his sketchbook, we immediately felt that he's the right person for the project.
S.M.: Rujanee, is Lab 99 your first science fiction project? What compelled you to work in this genre?
R.M.: It depends on how you define "sci-fi." My previous project Parallel Universe could be considered in a sci-fi/fantasy genre. I think my personal fascination with space came from my first sci-fi obsession with Doraemon, the famous 70-80's cartoon I watched when I was a kid. Japanese sci-fi stories in general have mostly been about a clash between innovation and humanity and these are the 2 things I care about.
S.M.: From your experience, what does it take for an independent artist to create a graphic novel? What steps should be taken? What pitfalls are to be avoided?
R.M.: Working as an independent artist might sound fun but it is not an easy job. To create a really good graphic novel, it will take a big chunk of your energy, time, and effort. Same goes with writing a novel, you have to spend a lot of time thinking through the story you want to tell, how you tell and why your audience should care to read it. These things take time so on top of it all, time management is very important in the process. Over time, you might find yourself asking the same question over and over, if this is really what you want to do or if you can handle the bumpy long road ahead. It's OK, people can change, and so can you, but it helps when you know what your passion is.
S.M.: Rujanee, describe us your feelings when the characters that live in your head come to life in Oscar's artwork?
R.M.: Great question! It's not always right or accurate at first and I shouldn't expect perfection from the first couple sketches. It usually takes a few times before I start feeling right and close to what I have in mind for characters. References are helpful in this process.
S.M.: Are there specific graphic novels that you look up to when you work on Lab 99?
R.M.: Definitely Doraemon.
S.M.: One of the core themes of the Lab 99 universe is that there are hidden dimensions which you can access by the power of consciousness. This is a lesser exposed theme in the science fiction, as opposed to space travel by such means as the wormholes, faster than light travels etc. In your story, you can go places just by thinking about them. Power of the mind: is this something you personally believe in? How did you come up with these ideas?
R.M.: Consciousness is part of the science in our life. It amazes me how our mind works and how powerful it can be. I believe in energy exchange or transfer in the universe. The idea that we are all connected is astonishing to me.
S.M.: Christian, as a co-writer and movie Producer, what is your artistic vision for it?
C.S.: All I can say for now, Guardians of the Galaxy meets Hunger Games. Stay tuned!
By the way, profit-sharing and commissions can also be discussed when in the right time. And, last but not least, film work is a long-term commitment so there will be ups and downs through the entire production and even after the film is released. Knowing that this is part of the ride and being able to have fun and stay positive along the way can add a more profound meaning to the relationship.
S.M.: With the Holidays coming up, everyone obsesses about unique Christmas gift ideas. Do you have any fun keepsakes for your fans?
C.M.: We do! You can receive the poster of one of the Lab 99 characters or even become part of the Lab 99 cartoon cast! Certainly, the digital and printed copies of the first issue are available. Check it out on our Indiegogo page.