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CHANDRA FREE
Creator, Writer & Artist of God Machine
Published by: Archaia Studios

Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 8/10/2009)

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Chandra Free

Richard: Why do you love the story and idea behind "The God Machine?"

Chandra: It's a personal story, and, as such, it's an attempt at expressing many of the ideas and concepts that fascinate and have had an impact on me: Concepts like personal growth, human nature, love, and, of course, pain. How do humans deal with these things? This is a question that I enjoy exploring.

"The God Machine" didn't always start off this way. Back when I was in high school, which was late 90's, it started off as just a few character sketches and a basic idea of issues high school kids deal with. I always knew I wanted it to be much more than that, but I hadn't found "The God Machine's" appropriate voice at that time.

As I grew as an individual so did the story, therefore, the way in which I wanted to express it. Even now I'm still changing and developing it as I grow. I'm happy it's worked out this way. There are now politics, and there is a larger context than just a story of a young man who's going through a difficult time- it's now about a young man who must grow beyond his narrow, inner-world, and become something more...

Richard: Who is Guy Salvatore?

Chandra: Guy is a 17 year old, struggling to make sense out of his world. The death of his girlfriend has broken his heart and shattered his sense of reality. He's our central character. There's an interesting thing going on with him, too. We quickly get wrapped up in these extraordinary things happening all around him, and it forces us to ask: Is what he's seeing real?

He's seeing monsters. Are they visions? Nightmares? Is he insane? Or is it something else?

Not all that different than high school, is it?

Richard: The art style in "The God Machine" is very unique. How would you describe it?

Chandra: ::Laughs:: Oh my, I don't know. It is what it is, you know? It's the outcome of me drawing all of my life, and being influenced by many styles as a child and young adult. If you really want a technical attempt at an explanation, I guess I'd say that my style tends to have elongated figures, ethereal and gritty splashes of abstraction, hints of my former anime style, all topped off with lush dark color palettes. All of these elements that I enjoy creating and putting together that make the world and characters in "The God Machine."

Richard: What are the Dream Worlds?

Chandra: A tricky question. As the story progresses we'll find out more and more, but essentially the "Dream Worlds" are pretty much other dimensions that are starting to bleed into Guy's world. These dimensional planes have different planets, entities, etc. A whole host of characters (including a little cranky Witchling) wait to torment and challenge Guy on his quest to find Sith. The people in charge of the Dream Worlds are the Gods: Good God and Evil God. Two very strange deities that don't exactly fit into the typical "God" role.

Richard: How do the words "psychological drama-comedy" fit this comic?

Chandra: Quite literally, actually. Guy is dealing with lots of phenomena – monsters, death, and what have you. It's very psychological in that sense. The situations are going to be dramatic in nature. How could they not be? But not all of it is serious, or dark. There are a lot of... odd characters encountered as the story moves along. Some are serious, some are not. In fact, some are downright crazy, but in a good way! So, really, it's a literal description.

Richard: Where do you see this comic going in the future?

Chandra: I'm just getting started telling Guy Salvatore's story. This is an epic tale that will span over many years. The possibilities are endless. Who knows? Someday, I hope that it will be a movie or an animated series. I'd like that very, very, much! I mean, who doesn't dream of that? What I do know is that there is a definite ending to this story and I'll do whatever it takes to tell this story all the way through!

Richard: Were you excited to find out Archaia was publishing "The God Machine?"

Chandra: Oh, of course! Archaia is wonderful publisher. My book is in good hands. Archaia is very supportive of their artists, and of the ideas artists have. What more could you want out of your publisher? Plus, "The God Machine" is in excellent company with all the other fantastic titles they publish.

Richard: What is "Sullengrey" and how did you become involved with it?

Chandra: "Sullengrey" is a comic with great art and writing by Drew Rausch and Jocelyn Gajeway. It's published by APE Entertainment. In the creative teams' own words:

""Sullengrey's" story takes place in Autumn’s Grove, a quaint little town where your fears manifest, then devour you whole. Only a few people are willing to face the madness lurking behind the façade, and not all of them will survive!"

I was involved with the book as a colorist for the first part of "Sullengrey: Sacrifice, " and parts of the 1st graphic novel, "Sullengrey: Cemetery Things." It was a pleasure to be a part of the project, and I learned a lot about coloring comics while working on it. Which this helped me become more comfortable coloring "The God Machine."

"Sullengrey: Sacrifice," will be officially available in September.

Richard: How did you come to the realization you wanted to make a comic book?

Chandra: Ever since I was little, I wanted to do art. I mean, playtime was usually drawing, and making comics with my cousin, Lindsay Cibos [artist & writer of Tokyo Pop's, "Peach Fuzz"].

What makes doing a comic so compelling is that you're telling a story with the art you're creating – a story that develops over time. It's very freeing to have that kind of liberty. I think it's one of the best ways to tell a story, especially one so personal.

Richard: How would you describe your lifestyle?

Chandra: I live in Orlando, Florida with my husband Jim and my real life monster: Adrien the cat. I drink entirely too much coffee. Perhaps this is why I do most of my art at 4am. The sun is evil. Music and the coffee fuel a lot of my late-night creativity. I also avoid onions like the plague. Evil things, onions.

Richard: What are some of your favorite movies?

Chandra: It changes from day to day. Today I'd say:

Woody Allen films, Se7en, Pink Floyd's 'The Wall', Mel Brooks films, Ed Wood, Star Wars: The Holiday Special, The Cell (visually), Milk, Star Trek [the new one], and, of course, Nightmare Before Christmas.

One of these maybe a lie. ::laughs::

Richard: What comics besides the ones you worked on would you recommend?

Chandra: There are so many! I'm probably forgetting many of them, but here's a quick list of some of my all time favorites and a few new ones:

Awakening, Killing Pickman, Titanium Rain, [really anything in the Archaia line up!], Gloom Cookie, Nightmares and Fairytales, I feel sick (a story about a girl), DE:Tales; stories from Brazil, Courtney Crumrin, Tokyo Babylon, Paradise Kiss, Clover (visually), Optic Nerve, The Dreamer, Soul Kiss, Wormwood; Gentleman Corpse, Fell, Paris, The War at Ellsmere, I Killed Adolf Hitler, and I still need to finish From Hell, but it's damn good so far.

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Chandra: witchycrankypoo@gmail.com , spookychan.com , myspace.com/spooky_chan/spookychan.deviantart.com/

Richard: Any final words of wisdom?

Chandra: "You're such a dear, friend. You know I'm here, friend. Is that a tear, friend. In your eye? Now, it's goodnight, friend. Goodnight friend. Goodnight but not..."


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