From magazines to the Kardashians, The world is obsessed with beauty and self-image. People strive towards trying to obtain it every day and go to extreme lengths to get there. But what if beauty was a disease you could catch? That’s the premise of The Beauty, the upcoming Image comic by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley. Set in a near future world, an STD, known as The Beauty, has spread giving those who receive it perfect looks. As a result, many have taken advantage of this with it rapidly transmitted throughout the population with very little consequences. Until now. It has only become apparent that there is a terrible price to pay for those who have it and it’s up to Detectives Foster and Vaughn to find out what’s going on.
I caught up with co-writer and artist Jeremy Haun about this upcoming series to find out a bit more about it as well as the process behind creating the comic. I also asked him about an interesting piece of marketing around the comic.
The Beauty was originally part of Top Cow’s Pilot Season, which it won, all the way back in 2011. In the four years that have followed has the concept evolved and grown into something more than what you originally planned or has it stayed much the same?
Everything changes with time. The Beauty was no exception. We always knew where the book was going. We had an end point in mind. We’d even written a couple of issues in that time. On one hand it’s hard to devote too much emotional energy to something that isn’t going to happen for a while. On the other hand…it’s not like you can stop thinking about it. As weird as it is getting back to this series after all that time, I’m ultimately happy that it happened that way. The book is better for it.
The concept of a virus that makes people beautiful is an interesting concept, will you be using it to explore different aspects of society?
Oh, absolutely. For as interesting as our Detectives, Foster and Vaughn are, it’s the bigger world we find ourselves wanting to explore. A disease like the beauty would change the way we look at everything. It would impact politics, entertainment, religion– everything. We want to take a look at that as much as possible.
What makes procedural cross-genre the best way to explore these themes?
There needs to be a way into a story like this. Foster and Vaughn have access to elements of the world we might not be able to see otherwise. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of most police procedural stuff. It was a fun experiment for us to take something like a procedural and mash it up with this crazy, near-future, sci-fi story.
As well as co-writing this series you’re also on art duties. How does doing both alter your creative process? Does it make it easier or harder?
It immediately creates a shorthand. Hurley and I start out talking about the beats of the story, then immediately move to writing and thumbnailing the story simultaneously. He’ll sit on one side of the table on his laptop transcribing the story breakdown and dialogue, while I sit across from him frantically thumbnailing out pages.
I love the way handling both things allows me to really focus on the storytelling. I’ll sit there and end up adding a lot of bits of business and extra panels that I might not have the opportunity to do working from another writer’s scripts.
To be honest, I’m happy working either way. There’s just something extra enjoyable and freeing about doing both the writing and art.
Finally, I read a report the other day that you were giving away limited edition condoms. Based on the concept of the series this sounds like an awesome idea. Where can people find them?
Yeah. We decided that it would be something different and fun.
I’ve done a couple of Kickstarter projects over the past couple of years. One of the things I enjoyed most was stepping outside of the box and thinking about promotion and marketing projects in different ways.
When we started talking about doing The Beauty again, the idea of doing condoms made perfect sense for us. It’s unique and eye catching, yet actually promotes being responsible at the same time. After talking about it a bit we ended up adding a old style STD informational pamphlet about both the book and the disease.
We originally planned on sending the condoms and pamphlets out to a few hundred comic shops, but once we pitched the idea to Image, they got excited about it and we decided to make them available for shops to order directly from Diamond at F.O.C. (final order cut-off).
The only other way to get ahold of them will be from us at shows. We’ll try and have them as con give-aways until we run out of them.
The Beauty #1 will be available from August 12th.