Z2 Comics sat down with YUNGBLUD to learn about his creative process, what spawned a second graphic novel, his music and more. Read on!
Z2: ‘Weird Times’ is your second graphic novel in the ‘Twisted Tales’ saga. Had you always envisioned these characters' stories as a multipart saga, or did the story evolve naturally beyond the first book?
YUNGBLUD: The first book was so well received and quite integral in people’s lives of the story. It blew all of our minds when we first released it. It was crazy to see the reaction, to see the kind of madness at comic con last year and the amount of people who wanted to know what happened next. It was a complete surprise but one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of. So obviously we were gonna make book two.
Z2: Outside of your own comic book counterpart, are there any real life experiences or people you can point to as the inspiration for these characters? Is the truth really stranger than fiction?
YB: Absolutely - what was crazy - I remember being on tour in Chicago and we saw The Joker. The Joker just came out on 35m film. It kind of reawakened a character I’d been obsessed with my whole life. What was so amazing about that movie is it depicted him right. It depicted him as this outside. Everyone always sided with the Waynes.
What I understood from the comic books was - why would you side with the Waynes when all they care about is the rich upper class and they forget about the other people. What was incredible about The Joker was that his whole ethos was, "I am different and why can't I be accepted?" It awoke that character that I had become obsessed with and was quite upset that films prior to that had always kind of not explained why he became truly evil.
Z2: Now that the ‘Twisted Tales’ saga has created an entire universe for people to get lost in, how do you see the relationship between your music and comic books continue to evolve?
YUNGBLUD: Always! The next album is called 'Weird.' Music is so integral. I called it Quarry Bank because that’s where John Lennon formed The Quarrymen and he played at quarry bank grammar school. Music is always going to be an integral part of my comic books because I’m a musician and that’s how I tell my story. I want you to listen to the albums I make along with the comic books because it provides a soundtrack and an other worldly experience when you listen while reading the words and looking at the pictures.
Z2: Which is more challenging to you as an artist: creating a narrative in comics or music?
YUNGBLUD: I think creating a narrative in general is the fun part. I love world building. It’s a part of what I do. With music, I always wanted to build worlds within it. I never wanted to just release songs, I wanted to build worlds where people could fall into it to avoid the bullshit that happens in this one…creating narratives, building worlds, and creating things that people can relate to to escape is my favorite thing that I do.
Z2: If the Ritalin Club were to find their way to the big screen, who would you cast in this merry band of misfits?
YUNGBLUD: Oh wow. I think Machine Gun Kelly definitely would be Joshua. That character - his life is based on Colson. I don't know who would play me.. I’d love to have misfits. Kind of a society. I’d love to have Bella Thorne in it, MGK in it, love to probably have Florence Pugh in it, put Johnny Depp in it. I [think] I’d love to... I don’t know! Those are some cool names that would be incredible in it. Tom Hardy would be good as well.
photos: Chris Breslauer
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WEIRD TIMES AT QUARRY BANK UNIVERSITY