Posted May 9, 2018 by Norby Ela in Comics

Greenthumb it is with Farmhand: An Interview with Rob Guillory

New Image Comics titles are coming out left and right for the last couple of weeks and it will never stop. Well-known and exciting artist Rob Guillory has worked on Chew for almost a decade. Now, he creates a comic book of his own called Farmhand. FlipGeeks got to have a chance to interview with Guillory before the first issue comes out.

Rob Guillory 2018 1FLIPGEEKS: Hi Mr. Guillory. We’re big fans! What is Farmhand?
ROB GUILLORY: FARMHAND is my new Image comic, centering around a farmer named Jedidiah Jenkins. Jed is hit with a seemingly supernatural vision that instantaneously downloads incredibly advanced scientific data into his brain. This data leads to the creation of a bioengineered seed called the Jedidiah Seed, which when watered, grows into human body parts. So overnight his small family farm turns into a one-stop shop for fast-healing organ transplants. And of course, things go sideways, as the transplant recipients begin to develop strange side effects.

How did you come with the story of Farmhand?
The idea sort of began with the image of a tree growing human arms from the limbs. I just liked the visual, and the idea of an organic farmer growing human organs seemed pretty obvious. So I started there, and as I continued to develop it, it evolved into a richer family drama with sci-fi-fi and horror elements.

How different/similar is your approach with Farmhand from Chew? How about on art?
Well, since I’m both writing and drawing FARMHAND, my approach is pretty different. CHEW was pretty madcap and fast-paced, while FARMHAND is a bit slower moving and more grounded. Instead of utilizing a ton of comedic jump cuts like CHEW, I’m focusing on more straightforward linear storytelling. I’m focused on making each issue essentially a day in the life of its characters, so there are a lot more quiet moments to get to know the cast. It’s been a great experiment.

When did you start working on this?
The initial idea emerged back in January 2016, but the first issue’s script wasn’t complete until December of that year. And after finishing CHEW, I spent most of 2017 creating the first five issues.

Will we see any Chew-related Easter eggs in Farmhand?
Highly likely.

“Choosing an outside voice that you trust, who isn’t overbearing, is very important.”

What do you miss from working on Chew?
I miss John Layman’s scripts, as they were always a ton of fun. Collaborating with a writer is a very different animal than working from your own scripts.

How is the creating process different this time where you are both the writer and artist?
It’s a slower process, at least for me. I usually set aside a few months to work only on scripting, then when those are done, I jump into the art. So it’s almost like working with a different writer. The difference is that I don’t need to ask permission to change things in the art if I need to. When I’m drawing, I use the script as a guide, but if I find that something isn’t working, I change it on the page, then edit the script. So there’s a lot of tweaking and editing at each stage before I settle on the final product.

Rob Guillory 2018 3Rob Guillory 2018 4

How did you choose your editor? Could you give any tips for any individual who would like write & draw his/her own comic on how to choose the right editor?
I don’t have an official editor, actually. When I began FARMHAND, I decided to put together a small brain trust of writers, artists, and friends whose tastes I trusted. These were the people I’d send each script to. I’d take their two cents into account as I created the work, mostly just as a sounding board to point out glaringly bad ideas. My wife is probably the most vocal of these. Their job is to tell me if something is out of place, and that’s about it. I think it’s easy to lose objectivity when you’re staring at your own story and living in your own world. Choosing an outside voice that you trust, who isn’t overbearing, is very important. I think it keeps me grounded.

How excited are you to see Farmhand hitting shelves for everyone to read?
I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long road to get it out, but I couldn’t be prouder of the finished product.

FARMHAND #1 debuts from Image Comics on July 11.

Norby Ela

Now residing in San Diego, CA, I strive to work in art and further grow FlipGeeks around the world.