Rob Guillory is probably most famous for his seven year run as the artist for the image book, Chew. If you’re unfamiliar with this title, which ended with issue 60, (November 2016) you might not know Guillory. He has this ability to add in quirkiness, gags and clever little things into his art. Thankfully, he has a new project that is just 5 issues in so you can easily catch up. I was intrigued by Farmhand and wanted to talk to this interesting guy. He graciously accepted and here is our interview.
Ron Cloer: The trade paperback for the first five issues comes out on January 16th and issue #6 comes out March 20th. Is this correct?
Rob Guillory: Yup!
Ron: You’ve had fun with this series so far, haven’t you? I’ve noticed crazy signs, interesting television shows, and body part puns. As you are drawing out the issues are you giggling to yourself about these things? Can we expect more of that?
RG: Yeah, I do have a lot of fun, and there are definitely times when I crack myself up. At the same time, it can be an immensely emotional book for me to make, so I try to balance it with silly little easter eggs to keep the story from becoming to heavy.
****Spoilers for Farmhand #1-5 Below This Point****
Ron: Do you have a favorite scene in the first 5 issues?
RG: The tea party scene in issue 5 is pretty big for me. A lot of the first arc leads to that scene, so it’s huge.
Ron: In the first five issues, it seems like you focused on developing a couple of characters, Ezekiel, Andrea, and Monica Thorne. Who will be the focus for the next five issues?
RG: Well, those three you mentioned are still very central to the ensemble cast, so we’ll learn even more about them. Thorne, in particular, is pretty front and center in the second arc, for obvious reasons. We also learn a good bit more about Jedidiah himself, Mikhail the Russian Kid-Spy and in time we’ll learn a lot about Pastor Moore.
Ron: There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Jedidiah, his wife and who gave him the dream. Will those be answered?
RG: Of course. I intend to answer the big mysteries in time, but it’s a matter of unveiling the truth in the right way. It’s sort of like opening a Christmas gift. Sure, I could just give it to you without wrapping it, but half the fun is in the wait and the unwrapping. It’ll be worth the wait.
Ron: Within this sometimes fun book about growing body parts are some serious issues: relationship issues, addiction issues, loss of body parts from war. I enjoy that they are included. But these could have been excluded so why did you feel they were important and necessary?
RG: These are all the things that make these characters who they are, ya know? We need these little pieces of story to shape these fictional characters into well-rounded people we want to read about. They make the cast interesting and give the reader insight into why these characters are the way they are, and that’s huge. Sure, I could’ve nixed Andrea’s prosthetic leg storyline, but it adds so much interesting backstory to her. And I approach all characters that way. I sort of feel out the general framework of who each character is, then I set up these little backstories that add intrigue to them, while supporting the primary story. It’s fun.
Ron: There seem to be several problems brewing for the Jenkins Family Farm. People trying to steal the formula. Locals upset about tainted food. People coming back to Freetown with body part issues. Can you provide any insight into any of these?
RG: Well, it’s all chickens coming home to roost. Jedidiah’s been running his business with very little thought to its effects on others for quite a while. Now all these consequences are hitting the town and his family at the same time. That’s the heart of it, really. Every single thing that’s happening has roots in Jed’s choices, and our story is how the cast overcomes or is consumed by the chaos that follows.
Ron: There is one scene where Pastor Moore says the seed’s design didn’t come from any God he knows. That panel was really dark and uncharacteristic of the rest of the scenes. (issue #3) Is that one of the benefits of being the writer and artist, telling the story in multiple ways?
RG: Absolutely. I love being able to screw around with the tone or format. That’s easily one of my favorite parts of being writer/artist. I get to take chances. Not all of them succeed, but it’s worth it for the one that does.
Ron: What about the little creature that is following them? Any hints or names for that little fella?
RG: Yeah, we get more info on that little guy in issue 7. No doubt our cutest character!
Thank you so much for your time and answers!
by Ron Cloer