Interviewer: Anthony Andujar jr AKA ComicSurfer
Interviewees: Aubrey Sitterson and Fico Ossio Sent: 3/15/22 Received: 3/31/22
- After writing the first installment of No One Left To Fight, what were the challenges that came with writing the latest installment? What were the inspirations that came to mind?
AUBREY: From jump street, Fico and I envisioned No One Left to Fight as a full saga, with everything building up to volume II’s explosive, extra-sized, all-fight final issue, so we came into the second arc with a pretty clear roadmap for what we wanted to accomplish. That said, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t just bringing fans more of the same, which meant introducing new characters, exploring more fantastical settings, and leaning into the more science fiction and mystical aspects of the FightVerse. I don’t want to give too much away but anyone who thought we were just doing Dragon Ball pastiche is going to be very surprised when they crack this baby open!
- After establishing the world of the series and the characters of Tímor and Vâle, were there any initial changes that were made to their character arcs in the second series? If so, what was changed in comparison to what remained?
AUBREY: With the type of meticulous planning and plotting we did for this thing, all our pieces were pretty much in place by the time we started working on the second volume, so very little changed. That said, after five full issues, Fico and I had developed a better understanding of not only the characters but one another as well, which better positioned us to ratchet up the emotional drama while also playing to one another’s strengths. The biggest change is that NOLTF II is even better than the first volume! Beyond that, the only real additions were some seeds for future FightVerse stories…
- As usual with a second installment, there was a massive expansion of the universe that readers were exposed to in this series compared to the first. What was the world building process like? Do you feel you have a better idea of the world compared to the first go around?
FICO: Most of the characters and world building we showed in this new installment were thought up and created when we came up for the story and characters in the first arc, so it was mostly an exercise in patience and keeping our anxiety checked until we were able to showcase them in this second part of the first Saga! But yes, we revealed to the readers that there was more to the Fightverse and more key characters like Mistress Rielda! It was great to finally be able to have these new characters help tell more about our main trio and bring new dynamics to light. We always wanted to have a diverse and unexpected character line up in NOLTF and having more room to showcase them was great.
- Tímor and Vâle are the Goku and Vegeta, the Ryu and Ken of this series as readers have come to know. What were the challenges that came with writing these two protagonists that set them apart from those that they are inspired by? And what were the challenges that set them apart from where readers last saw them in the first installment of the series?
FICO: From an aesthetic point of view, I tried to have that “manga” feel to the characters but keeping an American comic style or still close to it. Those characters you mentioned were definitely an inspiration when hitting the board but only at the early stage. It quickly became about trying to tell as much about this world through their clothes and elements. There’s a lot of things in their outfit that have meaning. Like Vâle’s championship belt. The scarfs they have on their waists, both signify their “fight school training” of choice. It was a super fun project, the freedom of creating something without limitations. That’s the best part of a creator-owned project and it was a wonderful experience to do so with such an amazing and talented partner as Aubrey is.
AUBREY: The development process for No One Left to Fight was something else; it was truly unlike any other project I’ve ever worked on because of how we let Fico’s designs take the lead. We knew that we wanted to do something that worked like Dragon Ball Z does but that we wanted to put our own spin on it, bringing a heightened level of emotional turmoil and angst without losing any of the big fight payoffs. That meant that, while we definitely started with some familiar archetypes, the plan was always to use them as a kind of shortcut to flesh the characters’ inner lives out in a truly unique way. We spent the entirety of our first arc doing just that, laying the groundwork for the series’ real conflict, and in No One Left to Fight II, we pay it all off.
- You and Fico Ossio have been working together on this series since the beginning. What was the creative process like coordinating script, thumbnails to illustrated pages this time around? How did you both coordinate the fight sequences for the latest installment that was different from the previous?
FICO: I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll never tire of it: Working with Aubrey has been an absolute pleasure. We just really click together and lean on each other’s strengths. We first have a talk, where we hash out ideas for the story, tone, type of characters and vibes we have and then I leave Aubrey to work his magic on plot and dive into character creation. From there is a back-and-forth development, sharing ideas and trying to make it as awesome as we can think off. But we build upwards on each other’s ideas and keep making the FightVerse bigger and better!
For script and and thumbnails I think we both trust each other and give room to do what we do best! Aubrey lets me be creative and make decisions when working on the thumbnails and I also like to adjust those to Aubrey’s thoughts. But all in all it is always a super smooth and fun creative ride. We just get each other and know what we are going for with NOLTF. And on this second installment we just learned more from the first one and we just improved on the time it took us to do things. It’s simply a lot of FUN!
- In regards to the color aesthetics and lettering process, how did you all collaborate together on that process compared to the first installment? Was it any different than the process of the first installment?
FICO: The color was a big part of setting NOLTF apart and a way to find its own style. I first did all the coloring myself, for the initial concept art and the first two issues of the series. Then, of course, when we started to work with tighter deadlines, plus working on another comic at the same time, it became clear that I needed a partner to help me out with the work; that’s how Raciel came onto the project. We quickly found a great way to do the colors together. He did the first pass on all the pages and I did the final one, making sure the colors were in tune with NOLTF’s aesthetic. Working with Raciel was fantastic in the first part; he’s a super talented colorist and I felt he brought a lot to the book. So, when starting the second part, I wanted him on board from the start. I only did the main covers on my own this time and teamed up with him for the whole series and the massive variant cover. For this second part I think it was easier; we just dove back into it, already having developed a working groove on the first installment.
AUBREY: Taylor Esposito letters all of my work and it’s because we have a working relationship very much like the one Fico described between him and Raciel; we’re in simpatico. Over the course of so many issues of not only No One Left to Fight, but Savage Hearts, The Worst Dudes, BEEF BROS, and Stoned Master as well, Taylor and I have developed a type of shorthand for me to let him know what I’m looking for in terms of lettering. And, of course, sometimes I just write “TAYLOR MAGIC” and he knows that it’s time to go absolutely bananas. What I love about working with Taylor is that he views lettering not just as an element that you slap onto a comic page, but as an integral part of the page layout and design, so not only can I discuss overall aesthetics and tone with him but I can also rely on him to harmonize with what everyone else is doing on each page.
- Were there any characters that you wanted to explore more of but couldn’t within this installment that readers will get to see more of in the following installment?
FICO: YES! I could name so many as well as new characters that we have in mind, ready to pop into the Fightverse. But if I had to choose one, I would say Winda. We have big plans for her.
And of course I can never have enough of Billy Von Katz. Aubrey is an absolute genius when it comes to giving BVK his voice.
AUBREY: Winda and Billy Von Katz are my answers too! Though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have entirely too much fun writing dialogue for D.A.D.
- Timor and Vale were the dynamic duo of this series but after the turn of events that transpired in the final issue of the latest series, it seems that things will be vastly different the next go around. What will readers expect to find in the following installment and when will it be released?
FICO: I think stories should keep readers on their toes. Or at least that is the way we feel about our Saga. If they can expect what’s going to happen, I feel we did something wrong. So yes, things will have some big shifts and hopefully surprise our readers in great ways. Obviously., you have to keep consistent with what this is about and, well…I would say this type of story needs to have a TOURNAMENT!
AUBREY: No One Left to Fight was always envisioned as an ongoing concern, something we can return to and check in on all of our favorite FightVerse characters. But in order to keep a soap opera like this one fresh and engaging, stuff absolutely has to change. And Fico’s 100% right; you can’t do a fight comic without eventually getting to a tournament, but how that tournament comes to be and who’s competing in it is going to knock absolutely everyone on their asses.
As for a release date…stay tuned!
- Are there any other projects that readers should check out by you and the rest of the creative team?
FICO: This is the first and only book Aubrey and I have created together! We have a few ideas for new stories and universes; we’ve had such a great experience working together that we are constantly throwing ideas for new books.
I also contributed to Aubrey and Tyrell Cannon’s BEEF BROS! I did the colors along with Raciel for the first installment and Raciel is working on the colors on the second one! You should definitely check that book if you haven’t; it is AWESOME.
And I’ve been busy working for DC. I recently did Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom with a script by Brandon Easton, with colors by Rico Renzi. You should check that too! The trade paperback came out a few days ago!
AUBREY: Since Fico already did such a great job plugging Tyrell and my aspirational superhero comic BEEF BROS, I’ll suggest that folks hunt down a copy of my other Kickstarter book, Chris Moreno and my Stoned Master! If you dug the martial arts action and comedy in No One Left to Fight, you’re going to flip for Stoned Master. And, of course, my other Dark Horse comics: Tony Gregori and my raunchy scifi mystery The Worst Dudes and Jed Dougherty and my jungle fantasy romantic comedy Savage Hearts, both now available in graphic novel format!