Going to Print with Chris W Kim
A few months ago we announced that we’d be publishing Adherent, a brand new graphic novel by Chris W. Kim, the incredible talented creator of Strays and Herman By Trade. We’re getting closer—this new title is now just three months away from its release date (May), and is now available for preorder!
Adherent is a poignant fable about a young woman who is captivated by a set of recently discovered notebooks and leaves her isolated community to search for their author. As she ventures into the unknown, she discovers a world both barren and increasingly complex. The closer she gets to her goal, the more she realizes that the encounter she’s been seeking probably won’t be what she wanted.
Fortunately, Chris W. Kim is the kind of creator who won’t let you down. Learn more about him in this Q&A!
5 Questions with Chris W Kim
1. You live in Toronto but your previous work Strays and Herman by Trade take place in a city that is very much unnamed. In Adherent, you almost take the “unnamed city” to its extreme conclusion. Yet you say it is not post-apocalyptic. How do you view these landscapes where you put your characters? Does living in Toronto have anything to do with it? Or are they more interior worlds?
I consider them interior worlds but they wind up being refracted versions of Toronto in a way. I guess I can’t escape the city, even in my fantasies. When I started drawing Adherent I wasn’t thinking of post-apocalyptic fiction at all, which is a bit funny when I look at how the story turned out. My idea was that the main character is walking through different stages of development in human civilization. When she reaches the abandoned city she decides to turn back, but it is implied that there may be more to see beyond those ruins, i.e. further stages of civilization. So maybe I don’t consider it post-apocalyptic because the city is only meant to be one stage among many.
2. I know the Toronto comics community is vibrant. Yet your previous books were published in the UK. Are you involved in the Toronto scene at all?
Not very much unfortunately! I know a few cartoonists here, but I’m mostly in my own little corner. When I finished my first comic, Herman by Trade, I sent it to a few publishers who had open submissions. UK-based SelfMadeHero was one of them and I like a lot of the books they’ve put out, so I was amazed when they agreed to publish my work. It did leave me in a bit of a limbo though, not really part of the Canadian nor the UK comics scene.
3. Your books almost read like fables or myths. Are there any specific fables that influence Adherent?
I didn’t have a specific fable in mind but I definitely tend toward that kind of storytelling, almost despite myself. Before I began writing Adherent I had watched the movie Vagabond by Agnès Varda, which follows the journey of a wandering, aimless woman. That definitely influenced the visuals and mood of Adherent, and fit well with a bunch of story ideas I had been mulling over for a while.
4. Though not religious there is a biblical element to the story. Would this be accurate?
I think there’s some truth to that. I was interested in the idea of ancient texts whose authorship is unknown or ambiguous, like the Tao Te Ching or the epic poems attributed to Homer. The bible, like many religious texts, definitely fits in that category. I wanted to write a story about what might happen if it were possible to meet the author of one of these kinds of works and whether that experience would be worthwhile. The story changed direction as I wrote it, but a lot of this initial idea remained in the final book. So this image of ancient texts definitely influenced the world in Adherent, one that is kind of elemental and mythic.
5. Your drawing style is incredible. Did you go to art school? Are there other artists you admire?
I went to the Ontario College of Art and Design for illustration. It was a great experience, though it took many years after graduation to actually develop any sort of drawing style. I love the prints of Goya and Käthe Kollwitz. Their line quality and feeling for form are amazing. I’m very influenced by bande dessinée artists, having read Tintin as a kid. I love Jaques Tardi’s comics… the list could go on and on.