The first volume of No One Left to Fight will be released shortly, which gives us a great excuse (not that we need one) to sit down with the creative team once again and take a deep dive into the world of the FightVerse and its characters. If you want to find out more about their collaboration, check out our first interview with Fico Ossio, Taylor Esposito, and Aubrey Sitterson.
The first volume of No One Left to Fight is available on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, from Dark Horse Comics.
Rouges Portal (RP): Let’s start on the first page of the first issue: there are a lot of bilingual signs. Are those actual translations?
FICO: Yes, actually! I wanted to have a multilingual splash page. I did Google translate all words … Not sure I can fully trust that though XD.
RP: Something I missed the last time: Krysta always wears her cool headphones with those glasses in them. What is it called, and why does she wear it all the time? Are they improving her hearing?
FICO: Krysta is super active and is always doing stuff, so she likes to listen to music while on tasks. But she also drives the Mudskipper a lot, and that one has a mean engine roar. So the extra protection comes in handy! XD
AUBREY: I don’t have anything to add to this other than the fact that, even years after we first started working on this thing, I’m still in awe of Fico’s character designs. Not just how rad they look, or how all the disparate elements combine together into a whole, but the level of THOUGHT that he’s put into each and every one.
RP: What do you think Timór got Krysta as a wedding gift and vice versa?
FICO: I would imagine both give each other “the twins” as a wedding gift.
AUBREY: Hahaha. I think Tay and Tor were probably wedding NIGHT gifts!
RP: With its roots clearly in the manga-genre: What makes a good fight scene?
FICO: I think you must have dynamic angles, as well as be able to show speed and the blunt force of the punches or energy blasts. And it all should be happening in a huge scenery. It has to look epic … over-the-top scale.
AUBREY: It all comes down to two things: Progression and character. A good fight scene needs to have an escalation of action, such that each punch or kick or energy blast is a meaningful choice, of the creators as well as the characters within the story. And just as importantly, the scene needs to say something about the characters doing the fighting, with the way in which they fight communicating something crucial about who they are as people.
RP: Fico, as Vâle walks out of Krysta and Timór’s house in issue #2, what inspired all those different people and creatures? Are there some hidden Easter Eggs? Because I think I saw Bane, the Easter bunny, and the Aquaman-inspired-fish-creature from Invincible.
FICO: Haha. I’m a big fan of Robert, Cory and Ryan’s Invincible, so it’s definitely possible! This was an important page for us. It tells a lot of the type of world our characters live in. The main inspiration for this was Dragon Ball Z. We wanted to capture that “freshness” and unexpected vibe DBZ and many other mangas have where there seem to be no rules and anything is acceptable. Like a bunny and a fish lady being regular citizens. Also, it shows that our trio–Vâle, Timór, and Krysta–is not wearing a costume. Vâle and Timór are dressed as fighters but in tone with the “FightVerse” fashion.
You missed the pink demon by the way! XD
RP: NOLTF has a three-dimensional feel to it, which, I think, comes from the different layers in each panel. Characters act in the front, while the background is filled with beautiful landscapes, creatures flying and running around, hints at antagonists, and more. How do you go about creating such a rich world? Do you have a map or something like that?
FICO: HA! A map! THAT would be a great thing to do … Not a complete one though. You have to leave some mystery! I think it’s just how great a team-up or fusion we accomplish with brother-Aubrey. Everything flows. And to be working on our first creator-owned book; it’s something I always aspired to. So it really kicked my creative into overdrive. And all those details and background creatures is what make this FightVerse so rich. I find each panel and extra space an opportunity to build up on that and tell more of it. There are some Easter Eggs that will take on much meaning in the future of the story.
AUBREY: Fico hit the nail on the head. The depth of NOLTF comes entirely from the fact that we’re both so very stoked. To be riffing on one of our favorite subgenres, to be doing a creator-owned book, to be doing it together, to be doing it at Dark Horse … having this kind of freedom to tell the exact story we want to tell has always been the goal for us as creators. So layering in all of the backstory and details isn’t a chore or even work; it’s a JOY to keep building on what we’ve already created, riffing off of each other and fleshing out the FightVerse.
RP: One thing I adore in NOLTF is the acting of the characters, so to speak. I know some artists use photographs of themselves as inspiration or those wooden figures you can manipulate, and others Google actors. Fico, do you use something like that when drawing characters’ postures and facial expressions, or do you see them in your mind?
FICO: I always see things first in my head. Sometimes that’s enough to go straight into drawing. But we talked about this with Aubrey, and the acting was gonna be key on the way we wanted to tell this story and to give life to the characters. So I always check with pictures or do a random search on a particular expression to pick the small details that make it work better. Actors. Sometimes. I definitely have my cast set for most of our characters. Henry Cavill would be a perfect Vâle!
RP: What was important to you regarding the collection?
FICO: A new Billy Von Katz splash obviously! XD
Single issues are great; it’s how I started consuming this genre. I love those. But … having it all in a graphic novel format. It has a different value all together and it’s also timeless in a way. As opposed to how single issues have almost a week span.
AUBREY: That big old “1” on the spine! Because we are absolutely DYING to come back and do more of these things!
RP: Let’s dream a little: NOLTF is optioned for a movie or limited series. Cast the main characters? Any preferred director?
FICO: Oh, no way. Now I gotta answer this fully Wizard Magazine-style! Can’t miss this opportunity!
For director, I would go with Christopher Nolan. He’s a master at handling increasing tension and emotion. And he uses music in such a fantastic way. I’m curious to see how we would handle the action, though.
AUBREY: I’m gonna go a different direction than Fico! So much of what makes NOLTF is the amazing color approach that he and Raciel have pioneered together, and I just don’t know if I could see it working the same way with live action. So I’d want an animated series, which is appropriate given all the inspiration we’ve taken from manga or anime. I sadly don’t know enough about voice acting to cast the thing other than demanding that David Lee Roth voice Billy Von Katz. In my dream world though, the series would be storyboarded and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky.
RP: Many sub-genres make up the superhero genre. What other kinds of stories would you like to explore (maybe even within the NOLTF universe)?
FICO: I’m personally fully focused on delivering the stories of Saga 2 and 3 of the FightVerse. Heheh … Saga 2 is pretty much settled. But, can’t comment on that. Spoilers! But I’ll say this. These kinds of stories, same as this first saga, are character-driven. So the more we build on this world, the better they get!
AUBREY: This first volume is only half of the first FightVerse saga. As Fico mentioned, the second is pretty much laid out, and we were just talking about stuff for the third today. But while we don’t ever want to deviate wildly from what makes NOLTF work, I’m really eager to explore some aspects we only briefly touched on in this first arc, such as romance and family drama. And let’s be honest with each other: You can’t do a fight comic but for so long before a TOURNAMENT breaks out.
Oh, and I am absolutely aching to do The Billy Von Katz Galactic Jamboree! I’ve got the story planned out, and I guarantee it’s not what you expect!
RP: And speaking of superheroes: Which superpower would you never want to have?
FICO: Elastic powers. I find them sooo lame.
AUBREY: Keep your telepathy. I got enough bonkers ideas bouncing around in my skull trying to find a way out as it is!
RP: And, finally, Timórs’s Kamehameha-like attack is called “blast barrage” — what would you call yours?
FICO: HA! I’m terrible at finding the right words. Which is not a problem, ’cause Aubrey always does fantastic work with that. I like to find the poses and moves to match that! I play around at my house working some moves before drawing them. I should film it lol. But I can’t say I have Gin-yu’s Force grace …
AUBREY: Oh man, this is tough. Since I come up with the names, they’re ones that I’d actually love to scream out as waves of energy shoot out of my hands. And conversely, anything I’d come up with here is something I’d eventually like to use! I’ve actually added a couple options to the running list I keep while I’ve been sitting here thinking about this!
So, instead of giving away the name of a never-before-seen special move, how about I share a little secret? One of the FightVerse’s most iconic moves, the Harga school’s Bambalam Cannon, is a reference to both one of my all-time favorite rock songs AND one of my all-time favorite comics. Bonus points if you can figure out both!
RP: Thank you for taking the time and answering my questions again!
FICO: Anytime, man! Thanks so much for having us! Always a pleasure!
AUBREY: Of course, Christoph! As you can tell, the only thing we like better than making NOLTF is TALKING about it!
This interview has been edited for clarity.