Megan Levens is a busy lady. Her creator-owned (with writer Jamie S. Rich), series Madame Frankenstein recently wrapped up at Image Comics and will be out in trade paperback next month, she and Rich are also paired up on the digital first series Ares and Aphrodite being released weekly from Oni Press, Inc and this week she takes over art duties for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 series over at Dark Horse (Megan’s work begins in issue #11).
In celebration of Levens’ debut on BTVS Season 10 #11 the Los Angeles-based artist kindly took some time to sit down with Major Spoilers to chat about each of her projects, process and dispense advice to would-be creators.
MAJOR SPOILERS: Did you and Jamie [S. Rich] have the idea for Ares and Aphrodite while you were collaborating on Madame Frankenstein?
MEGAN LEVENS: Actually, it was the reverse! Ares and Aphrodite was our first big project together. We had done a short anthology story called Two Wheels, Two Feet that is actually going to be included in the print version of Ares and Aphrodite and after that Oni Press threw the basic elevator pitch idea of Ares and Aphrodite at us and we started working on that together and when I finished inks then Jamie said, “So, what do you want to do next?” and I threw my concept for Madame Frankenstein at him and he said, “Yeah, let’s do it!” So, Madame Frankenstein came out before Ares and Aphrodite, but it was actually our second project that we did together.
MS: So, we are getting a print version of Ares and Aphrodite? That’s very exciting.
MS: What is it like getting to draw a series set in the same city you live in?
ML: It was exciting because I have a love/hate relationship with LA, so I got to show the realistic side of some things that people might think are glamourous – like the traffic. I actually used a shot of the 405 that I drive on a lot and I made the mountains the same colour – kind of greenish-brown – that they actually are. It’s not very green here.
But, there are also some parts of it that I really love, like there’s a scene coming up where Will and GiGi go to Big Sur and that was exciting for me to draw because the drive up the 1 is so beautiful and I’ve done that a couple of times and I got to draw that environment. It was cool.
Obviously, I can go out and shoot reference for whatever scene I need, which was interesting on one day that I went to Beverly Hills to shoot some street scenes for where GiGi’s shop is and I’m out there in my ripped up jeans with my little digital camera, ratty hair and there’s all these Kardashian-types walking around with their Michael Kors and Lululemon bags looking at me like, “What are you doing?” so it was interesting.
MS: How deep into the pantheon of Greek mythology are we going to get in Ares and Aphrodite?
ML: It’s very light. That’s how we set it up, but really the characters are their own. It’s basically just to give it a little bit of a backdrop like that, but there’s a whole lot more Greek mythology in Madame Frankenstein, for sure.
ML: It was a little daunting because there’s so many people who hold this as dear as I do. I was a huge Buffy fan, introduced to it in college, and when I was approached to do it I was really excited, but there’s a lot of people who hold these characters to be extremely near and dear to their hearts and they’re very possessive over who gets to draw them and whether or not you’re handling them right, so I just hope that my own love of the material shows through.
MS: What was the most difficult thing that you had to draw for Buffy?
ML: Some of the action has been the most difficult. Not that the action itself, it’s just that it’s fantasy-based action: there’s monsters and different types of creatures that you have to wrap your brain around the design of them and think how they would move and how they would interact with normal human people and, since it’s a comic, they have so much more freedom to do wilder creatures than they could ever do on the Buffy [tv] series.
It was very challenging, but ultimately, a lot of fun to be able to draw some really out there monsters.
MS: Conversely, who or what were you most looking forward to drawing?
You know, he’s the one thing that I’ve been tweeting little sneak peeks of, but I think he’s the likeness that I’ve nailed the most and he’s got such a range of expression that he’s really fun for me to draw ‘cause he’s always either annoyed or badass or just absolutely, gut-wrenchingly emotive. He’s got a great range to play with and he’s really cute.
MS: Can you give us any spoilers for your upcoming issues of any of your projects?
ML: I don’t know beyond what I’ve accidentally tweeted or instagrammed on Buffy. Jamie pointed me to some blogs that have taken every little panel sneak that I’ve done on Instagram and they are reading into it, so I’ve got to be really careful now about Buffy.
Let’s see, spoilers about Ares and Aphrodite – they go to Big Sur. That’s a spoiler. There’s a big romantic scene up on the Central Coast of California, which is very beautiful and there’s lot of moonlight and waves and cliffs.
ML: I will definitely be at Emerald City Comicon and I may be attending Wizard World St. Louis and I’m going to try and get into New York Comic Con as well.
MS: Any last words of wisdom for young women, young men, young gender-fluid people looking to break into comics?
ML: The best advice I can give people is: just to make the time. You will almost always have to have some other kind of day job unless you get really, really lucky (which I just did in the past few months), to support doing what you really love and as long as you just don’t forget how much you love it and you carve out scheduled time for it. That’s the best suggestion I can give anyone is just don’t think, “Oh, well, my day job’s gunna get in the way.” No. You are somehow getting in your own way. You will be the person who makes time and makes the effort or doesn’t.
All of us worked full-time jobs before we got our breaks, so you’ve just got to commit.
Megan’s Official Website
Read BTVS Season 10 #11 on Comixology
Read Ares and Aphrodite #1 on Comixology
Pre-Order Ares and Aphrodite Trade Paperback
Pre-Order Madame Frankenstein Trade Paperback
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