Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Without Rhyme or Reason! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what (or who) was its inspiration?
Austin Shane Wellner: Forest rangers Pepper “PG” Gallagher and rookie Jimi Noguchi bushwhack their way into a rabbit hole of criminal conspiracies, illegal goods, theft, and murder. Are these crimes connected or could it all be WITHOUT RHYME OR REASON?
On the writing front, I’m drawing from my family’s history with the US Forest Service, and blending my love for samurai, crime, and science fiction. Artistically, I’m coloring this mostly with watercolors, so there are a few panels where the impressionism influences bleed through. I’m using digital coloring for light sources, which gives it the neo-noir vibe I want.
BD: What can you tell us about your creative process in bringing this story to life, especially while balancing both the writing and illustrative duties?
ASW: I consider myself an artist first and writer second, so I usually plan a story first in page thumbnails. I work back and forth between the thumbnails and dialogue to make a coherent and solid narrative. This also gives me the benefit of crafting the specific pace I want. I can cut dialogue where I want and expand on the spaces, emotions, and character actions I want to render.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that this story will connect with and impact readers?
ASW: At a time where visual information is coming at you faster and faster, be it movies or games or the internet, there is a real value in taking the time to digest a comic page and single frames. That’s important in a mystery comic where I’m presenting the readers with visual clues! I also want to highlight natural beauty that draws form the landscape of the US Pacific Northwest.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
ASW: I’m kicking around a few more ideas, but for the time being I’d like to do a few more short crime stories in Without Rhyme or Reason. I’d also like to jump back into the next adventure for my western series, Viva La Villain King.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Without Rhyme or Reason and your other work?
ASW: I can be found on Twitter and Instagram as SAWellner. I’m on Tumblr as SAW08. All my comics are free to read on issuu.com/saw08. If I upload the comics to another digital platform, I’ll announce it on my various feeds.