We all have secrets. Some we confide in those we’re closest to, while others we keep to ourselves. But there are also those secrets we bury so deep that we almost forget they’re there, lying in wait within our subconscious, ready to claw their way out. All it takes is someone to let them.
As CLEAN ROOM’s Chloe Pierce is about to discover, Astrid Mueller is that someone. A self-help guru with a fervent following, there’s something sinister at the heart of what she teaches—a mystery that Chloe’s determined to unlock. You’ll have to read the series when it debuts next month to learn more about Astrid, but we’re ready to solve a few mysteries concerning Clean Room’s creative team right now. Here’s what writer Gail Simone, artist Jon Davis-Hunt and cover artist Jenny Frison had to say in response to our ten questions…
Tell us, briefly, how you would describe the book you are working on.
Jon Davis-Hunt: Like a Barbarella and The Exorcist salad, with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dressing topped with a sprinkling of Hellraiser.
Jenny Frison: Creeeeeepy.
Can your main character change a tire?
Gail Simone: No, when a tire goes flat, she buys another car.
Jon: Astrid would probably intimidate the tire and shame it into changing itself.
Jenny: Chloe can. She probably learned to the hard way...stranded on the side of the road.
Astrid doesn't get flat tires. But if she did, she would have a team of people at the ready to change it...even though she is fully capable of doing it herself.
When did you know for sure that comics were the thing you wanted to do?
Jon: I was 7 and I found out people could draw comics for a job. I made up my mind then and there that if I ever had to get a “job,” it would be making comics.
Jenny: I loved comics as a kid, but I didn't start reading comics regularly until college. I took an art history course about the history of comic books and comic strips. We read Watchmen, Maus, New Gods, THE SANDMAN, Understanding Comics, etc. It was like opening up a whole new world. I knew I wanted to be involved in the industry somehow.
Gail: The first time I had a talented artist sending in pages for a script I'd written, I knew I would never want to stop making comics. So I haven't!
What music (or audiobooks or other background sounds) do you listen to while you work?
Jenny: I tend to watch a lot of sci-fi while I work. There's something magical about sci-fi where the characters explain so much of what is happening so you don't need to watch to follow along. It weirdly keeps me very motivated.
Jon: Lots of music, Netflix TV series, and The Hardcore History Podcast by Dan Carlin. “Listen to this nine-hour epic on Genghis Khan!” Awesome!
Gail: None, I can't have music or noise of any kind or else it literally ends up in the script. So since I can't have Batman quoting Kate Bush...
What is your favorite genre of comics to work in?
Gail: I love writing comedy and horror possibly the most. I miss writing purely comedic stories.
Jon: Pretty much all the genres. But if I’m pushed, sci-fi and horror.
Jenny: I really love horror. I've always been a horror fan. I feel like horror can include so many themes that I find intriguing. It can be dark, it can be tongue-in-cheek, it can be pensive, it can be empowering, it can be aggressive...I find it really compelling. And I love drawing blood!
What’s the most unusual part of your job, or something people can’t believe you do?
Gail: It's mostly thinking of horrible things to do to your characters while you are in pleasant company...a grotesque countenance appears and my husband has to tell our friends and family that I just figured out a new way to murder someone.
Jon: None of my friends understand what I do for a job. They find the very concept of me getting paid to draw comics unusual. Many of them are lawyers or accountants. The fact I do it while listening to music and watching cartoons further blows their minds.
Jenny: I'm pretty sure I'm reading this question how I want to read it and not how it was intended, but I think the weirdest thing about creative jobs in general has to do with how much of our perceived self worth is tied up in our job and what we do on a daily basis...tied up in what we put out there. In an industry where the fan voice is so relevant and unrestrained, it can be either really affirming, or kind of devastating.
You're can have one final coffee with 2 people, one living and one dead, before a zombie apocalypse. Who are they and what do you discuss?
Jon: Jamie Oliver and Noah. We would discuss recipes for the preparation and cooking of every animal known to man while we wait out the zombie apocalypse.
Gail: I have never had coffee. Can I have Tang? If I can have Tang, I'd pick David Bowie and George Harrison. They probably love Tang.
Jenny: Wait...how long before the zombie apocalypse is this going to happen? Will the dead person turn into a zombie while we are having coffee?! If so, I would pick somebody good at killing zombies for the living person and somebody feeble for the dead person...probably someone without any teeth.
Favorite Bond song of all time?
Jon: “Live and Let Die.”
Jenny: I like to sing "Diamonds are Forever" in the studio.
Gail: It's a goofy one, but I love it. “The Man With The Golden Gun,” as sung by Lulu. I love the little music hall piano and then those scorching horns. Bond purists hate it, I absolutely love it. Then “Live and Let Die.”
Favorite Bowie persona?
Jenny: Jareth from Labyrinth.
Gail: Toughest question on this list. I love “Heroes,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Life on Mars?,” “Golden Years,” and about eleventy twelve other songs and this is mean to ask me this.
Jon: Ziggy frickin’ Stardust (Hunky Dory specifically).
Favorite adage that defines your world view.
Gail: No one who knows everything knows anything.
Jenny: Never lie to yourself.
Jon: “Be Excellent to each other.” (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure).
CLEAN ROOM #1 will be available on October 21, 2015 in print and as a digital download.