Crosswind #1 — Interview With Artist Cat Staggs

Crosswind is one of the most highly-anticipated comics of the Summer, and with good reason. This ode to the classic body-swap story comes with a twist— it’s no silly romp, but a mysterious, dangerous crime escapade. This take on a familiar tale is bound to be exciting throughout the entire series. Don’t miss out on this comic— pick it up Wednesday, June 21st! 

Image Comics is publishing Crosswind,  a new espionage-filled body-swap thriller from Wonder-Team Gail Simone (Red Sonja, Secret Six) and Cat Staggs (Wonder Woman ‘77, Smallville Season 11). 

This new ongoing series features a slick Chicago hitman and a normal suburban housewife…who suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar territory (and unfamiliar bodies). Read this thrilling series to find out how their lives intertwine. 

Word Of The Nerd had the opportunity to interview talented artist Cat Staggs about her work on this upcoming series. What she has to say just adds to the anticipation for this exciting new comics. 


Image Comics

This art is extremely realistic and detailed. What are some strategies for maintaining that realism throughout an ongoing series?

Honestly, the challenge for me is almost the opposite. I love trying to capture nuanced facial expressions and emotion to give as much of that real, gritty life feeling as possible. I am actually having a harder time not fleshing out every panel to look like cover art. The challenge for me has been trying to hold some detail back. Keep it “simple” is not in my art vocabulary. 

This book is bloodier and darker than a lot of your work thus far. Did you make any adjustments or have any difficulty with the material?

It wasn’t really that big of a leap for me. I have always loved the crime genre as well as some horror. So this just felt like getting to draw stories I have always enjoyed watching or reading. It was exciting to finally get to play in that world. 

Body Switching is popular on screen, but much more complicated to convey on the page. What have you incorporated into the art for the book that will help convey the different personalities of the characters, even when they are trapped in different bodies? 

It was very important for this story that the “acting” be strong. I have a large catalog of reference material and whatever I don’t have I will shoot when I need. So much of this story relies on small gestures. Having to remind the reader that the woman’s mind is controlling the man’s body and visa versa. So I have to remember when I am drawing Cason, post switch, that he has to move like a woman would move as she tries, or pretends, to be “a man”. The opposite for Juniper. How would a man stand, hold something, etc. It has been a real challenge but a great one,  at that. 

You’re working with your own colors, and this art is extremely photo-realistic. Your covers and interiors are on the same level, which is an intense commitment of time and effort. How does it feel to have all the art completely in your hands? How has that affected the way you realize the script? 

Yeah, this is my first go at interior colors as well as pencils and inks. There was a bit of a learning curve at the beginning. I had to teach myself digital coloring, before this book I had always worked traditionally which is much more time consuming. It is nice to be able to dictate the art all the way through and make a completely cohesive piece with each issue. I have given each main character a set of color palettes to convey the moods of their journey. When I read through the script from Gail, I am watching the movie version of this book and it is nice to get the vision in my head onto the page. 

What was the process for working with Gail Simone and making Crosswind a reality? This truly seems like a synergistic partnership- what influences do you have on the book as a team?

Honesty, it has been a dream come true to work with Gail.  She is such a fantastic storyteller. When I do have an idea or question, we have such a great communication, that we are often on the same page and just end up enhancing each other’s Ideas. 


Image Comics

What inspirations did you draw from to create Cason and Juniper? They are different characters with presumably something in common- but how did they come into being for this book? 

Cason, for me, a is a guy who thinks he is James Bond. He lives a well put together life. He is respected, admired and handsome. He is a get what he wants kind of guy, but he isn’t nasty about it. He just does his job. It wasn’t 
really hard to get into Juniper’s shoes for me. I have been in that relationship (not my current one!) I have been harassed, I have been disrespected. I mostly draw off a lot of my own past experience with her. 

Releasing in June gives Crosswind the opportunity to fall in with the big Summer “Blockbusters” of comics. What are you hoping to achieve with Crosswind this Summer? Who is your main audience?

I think this book has a little of everything and would play well with a wide variety of readers. Anyone who likes a great story would like this book. I would love for it to reach a lot of eyes!

You and Gail have close ties with Wonder Woman. Does that factor into the inspiration or execution for Crosswind? 

Wonder Woman factors into everything I do. She inspires me everyday. I,literally wear her on “my sleeve”. (I have a tattoo)

What’s coming next for you in comics (or otherwise?) Any secrets for fans of Crosswind and your other works? 

For me I am spending most of my time in the Crosswind world. I do have another story written by my wife, Amanda Deibert, in John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night Vol 3 and I will, again have the NYCC cover variant for the book as well. Amanda and I have also collaborated on a story in the Secret Lives of Geek Girls. I am also still working on random cover projects, like X-Files and Orphan Black.

Crosswind is coming from Image Comics on Wednesday June 21st 2017

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About the author

Megan Rae

Megan is a pint-sized nerd in a big comics world. She loves Aquaman (not just AquaMomoa), ice cream, zines, and her idiot cat, Durin. She works for a rad comic shop in Sunny California. Her Super Powers include changing her hair color too often, awarding herself imaginary Lumberjanes badges, and always having snacks. In her spare time, she reads books without pictures and googles slang to seem cooler. How Lit!