Joshua Luna is the creator, writer, and artist of the bi-monthly Image series “Whispers.” The first issue garnered a “Buy it” rating of 7.0 from Walt, and the series has only gotten better from there. Josh was kind enough to participate in Artist August and answer some questions for us.
For those who don’t know, what is “Whispers” about?
Josh Luna: Whispers is about a mentally troubled man who discovers the ability to leave his body in “ghost” form and read and manipulate people’s thoughts. Initially, he feels empowered, but that soon changes when he begins to see sinister beings that the human eye isn’t meant to see.
JL: I’ve always been fascinated by the concepts of free will and control. Do we actually have power over our own fates or are we are all simply victims to predetermination, genetic dispositions, divine forces, etc. I felt the concepts of astral projection, mind control and OCD would be great vehicles to explore all of those ideas.
Most of your other work has been done with your brother Jonathan. What made you want to do “Whispers” on your own?
JL: Actually, ever since I was a kid, working alone has been my default. As long as I had a stack of paper and a pencil, I could keep myself occupied. But after graduating art school, I landed a full-time government job that only allowed me the time to take on writing chores while my brother handled the art. We had a great collaboration throughout “Ultra,” “Girls” and “The Sword,” but I never lost the desire to draw comics. Now, I’m finally able, since I’ve decided to make comics full time. I decided to take on “Whispers” without collaboration because I had a specific vision of the story I wanted to tell, and I knew exactly how to bring it to life.
You broke into comics with a blind submission to Image for “Ultra.” How many times did you try before your success, and did you ever consider giving up?
JL: We sent one blind submission before Ultra. It’s certainly discouraging, but that’s to be expected. This is a tough industry! But no, I never considered giving up. I’m one of those weirdos who always knew what they wanted to do since a young age– which is make comic books, whether I got paid for it or not.
You’re doing all the work on this book — writing, penciling, inking, coloring, and lettering — yourself. Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
JL: Oh God, yes.
What part of making a comic is easiest for you? What is hardest?
JL: The easiest part is acquiring a blank page. The hardest part is filling it.
You’ve passed the halfway mark on the series now. Has the story changed any from when you began the first issue?
JL: I purposefully started it with loose plot points to let the story breathe and develop more organically. I think it’s important to surprise yourself as a writer and maybe learn something new about yourself along the way. And that’s definitely happening.
“Whispers” was originally scheduled bi-monthly, but it’s seen a few delays. What caused them?
JL: I definitely underestimated the sheer potential for disaster when you’re doing a book all alone and a major setback strikes. I experienced a few–my computer dying being a big one–so, I’m currently in the process of catching up. I apologize to the fans for the wait, but rest assured, I’m fully dedicated to Whispers and am working hard on it every day.
The cover to issue 4 looks amazing. What goes into creating an image like that, and how long did it take?
JL: Thank you. it definitely didn’t take as long as Issue 2’s cover, which was the longest yet. But cover 4 was less about rendering and more about planning and design. It took about a day.
What were your expectations for “Whispers” when you started? Are they being met?
JL: My expectations were to tell a good story with good art. But that’s for the readers to decide.Continued below
You’ve expressed an interest before in writing screenplays. What kind of movie do you want to write, and do you have any in progress?
JL: It’d most likely be similar to the stories I tell in comics, but I probably won’t venture down that road anytime soon. I still have an urge to draw more and continue challenging myself with that.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
JL: I always have two or three future creator-owned projects that are in the brainstorming phase, but as long as I’m working on a current project, that’s where I let it stay and marinate–in my brain. Right now, I’m focused on Whispers.
Given the opportunity, are there any other creators in the industry you’d like to collaborate with?
JL: It’s difficult for me to entertain collaboration based solely on an artist’s work. For me, it’s more about how well we’d work together and, to be honest, I don’t really know many people in the industry so it’s hard to say. But if the right situation were to develop, I’d definitely be open to it.
What are you reading right now? Do you have any recommendations?
JL: Haven’t had time to read much lately, sadly. But I’m loving season 5 of Breaking Bad. Does that count?
Did you have something you wanted to share, but I didn’t ask?
JL: Just want to take a moment to thank everyone who supports Whispers. It’s not easy to get an indy book off the ground, but with your help, you make it possible.