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Talking ‘Dune’, science, and ‘Lightstep’ with creators Milos Slavkovic and Mirko Topalski

Talking sci-fi comic ‘Lightstep’ with series creators Milos Slavkovic & Mirko Topalski.

It’s not often I’m totally swept away by science fiction comic. I’ve read my fair share of the classics by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius and, quite frankly, I was swept away by Mirko Topalski and Milos Slavkovic’s work in Lightstep.

The first issue came out November 21st and envisioned a strange future with wild cultures, bizarre aliens, and a society obsessed with stories of the past. It’s a story that is strange, but also very familiar to our world today. I was lucky enough to ask both creators a few questions about Lightstep, discuss the science in the series, and determine who would best film the movie adaptation.

Check out our exclusive preview of issue #2.

AiPT!: I understand this series started as a Kickstarter, what has this journey been like from idea to being published by Dark Horse?

Mirko Topalski: We started work on the Lightstep graphic novel quite some time prior to the Kickstarter.  Lightstep started its life as an undefined concept art project and ended as a graphic novel and a game, and we certainly hope for more. After the success of our Kickstarter, we reached out to various graphic novel publishers and to our astonishment Dark Horse replied. I actually flew over to visit them in person and was deeply impressed by their operation, communication and commitment to the art. I can only say that when we started work on the graphic novel I did not even dream that Dark Horse, whose many publications grace my library, would publish it. I am deeply humbled by this opportunity.

AiPT!: What made you fall in love with comics?

Milos Slavkovic: The ability to storytell in [both] narrative and visually. Also, unlike other visual media it is possible for one or a few men to finish a comic project. Therefore, you are allowed more creative freedom.

AiPT!: The world of Lightstep is so robust. When world building Lightstep is there a lot you were forced to leave out, or choose to leave out for story reasons?

MS: Oh yes. There is quite a lot left out. In literature, you can really get into world building, sidetrack and digress to fully explain aspects of technology, places and characters. Comic books are much more streamlined to suit the narrative. Like in the third episode, the character Templo is introduced and I had this long narrative planed that explains his everyday life, to illustrate the confined and ritualistic existence he leads. It all had to be left out.

AiPT!: I love the technology and aliens in Lightstep, what inspired their look?

MS: Some of the costume designs are actually inspired by architecture. It sounds strange, but I had this collection of Art-Deco architectural photos that I made a habit to peruse through before doing the designs. It was Mirko`s idea that the story should have an Art-Deco like outlook, so this was my way of infusing the subconscious.

AiPT!: Einstein pops up in Lightstep; will there be other science greats or science concepts used in the narrative?

MS: Not in the first five episodes, no more cameos by famous scientists. As for science concepts, naturally, they are a sort of a must in science fiction. I am mostly a layman in science, but I often read popular science texts. I can’t vouch for how these ideas would fare under serious scientific scrutiny, but I think science fiction is more about the human condition and less about the technology.

AiPT!: If Lightstep was made into a movie or TV show who would you want to produce and direct, and why?

MT: This is a super tough question. Several people have mentioned the similarity of Lightstep to Frank Herbert’s Dune. When people see the amazing machinery and world that Milos came up with they instantly say Dune. I don’t know why this is, but since Dune is one of my favorite books, and an obsession since childhood I must have somehow influenced Milos. So, probably Denis Villeneuve, but I’d rather wait for the new Dune movie before making a commitment

AiPT!: One of the biggest takeaways I had when reading Lightstep #1 was how robust and real it all seemed. Do you have more stories planned after this first arc? Speaking of which, do you have other projects you’re working on?

MS: I am currently working on the Oberon comic written by Ryan Parrott. I am doing the art part. It should be out in February, published by AftersShock Comics. But I like working both on the story and the art so in my spare time I am preparing a project that is more down to earth in terms that it is set on our planet, but ultimately the setting may prove more alien than the world of Lightstep.

You purchase Lightstep #2 December 19, 2018.

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