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Comics2Rawk: Claudio Sanchez extends music to comics and back

By Alex Dueben     November 12, 2007

October saw the release of "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow" the new album from Coheed and Cambria. Claudio Sanchez, the lyricist, vocalist and guitarist behind the band is also the writer behind the comic book miniseries "The Amory Wars."

Originally published as "The Bag.On.Line.Adventures of Coheed and Cambria," the book was retitled "The Amory Wars" and is now being published through 12 Gauge Comics.

Alex Dueben for Comics2Film (C2F): A lot of people know the music. A lot of people know the comics. For those who know only one, what is the relationship between the two?

Claudio Sanchez: Well, they play as parts to an overall story called The Amory Wars and the comics are really just an extension of the records. For those fans who are into the band and want a little more can go that road and get the comics and the comics tell the story better inside and out.

C2F: Why make a comic, anyway? It’s an odd concept.

Claudio: About ten years ago I went to Paris and the trip inspired me to create this project, these bodies of work that would have these stories that would accompany them. At the time, the story was going to be a scifi side version of my exploration of this place cause i had never been anywhere other than new jersey, really. So that was the idea originally and then it kinda morphed.

I found out that the story wasn’t really telling that kind of story. It almost felt a little more autobiographical and the characters of Coheed and Cambria took on a lot of elements of my real parents and I became a character in the story as their son. Then I changed the name.

Originally it was called the "Bag.On.Line.Adventures of Coheed and Cambria," after the store i lived across the street from the store was called the Bag.On.Line, but then I decided to change it to Amory which has more of a significance to my everyday when I was younger.

But again, really I think it was really just going to this new place and I know from myself as a songwriter back then I always found myself writing songs that weren’t really about me or if they were they were embellished on a bit, so I thought why not create these bodies of work that work together instead of just writing songs that don’t really pertain to one thing.

C2F: How has it been working the artists? When you started the series you were very enthusiastic about Gus Vazquez

Claudio: Well Gus actually only worked on two books, the first and the second. I met Gus through 12 Gauge, through Kevin Gardner and unfortunately just due to scheduling Gus couldn’t continue after #2 so now we’ve got Mike Miller on issue #3 and continuing through issue #5.

C2F: I mentioned Vazquez because when you started the new series you mentioned that his was the visual style you were looking for and I was wondering if there was something in particular about it

Claudio: Well I had done graphic novels before. I did a graphic novel for the last record and that artist was Christopher Shy and I thought that art was great. It was more photo manipulation and looked more like painting style but when I did that book a lot of the audience was a bit confused and I know some of that has contributed to the fact that I’m telling story 4 without telling stories 3 and 2 yet, but I wanted something a little more traditional. And I think i got that with Gus.

C2F: Do you think of yourself as songwriter who also works in comics or a storyteller who primarily makes music?

Claudio: I’ve always been a musician. I’ve always created scenarios and characters before. Not necessarily a proper writer but I certainly have enough of an imagination to create stories. Even as a child. And that kinda sticks with me in a way. I was saying this to somebody the other day. It was almost like when you were watching Lucas’ "The Empire Strikes Back" and you get left on that sour note of Han Solo getting taken away. What I remember as a kid was taking my action figures and creating a continuation. The next scenario. I’ve always done that, always created some sort of story in my head. And I think this is now with music I think this is my adult way of being able to play with those action figures, if that makes any sense.

C2F: Was there a comic that you were into or trying to capture the feel of in the book?

Claudio: When I was younger I certainly had my favorites. I always found I liked characters that had some kind of a religious overtone. Like Ghost Rider or Spawn. I liked those characters. And obviously when I was younger I definitely liked traditional superheroes and still do to this day but I think more when I was younger I was more into the art than the writing. At that moment in time, I’m thinking pre-fourth grade here, I’d always wanted to be an illustrator but when I got older I realized I had just as many heroes in the text as I did in the actual art. I certainly liked Alan Moore and Frank Miller, those two are kind of the obvious. Recently I’ve been very much into Robert Kirkman and "The Walking Dead." That’s why I got Tony [Moore] involved with the covers.

C2F: How did you end up working at 12 Gauge?

Claudio: We had released books before on our own and I don’t want to say it wasn’t a success but we wanted to have a presence in the comic world. Or at least get on the shelves and we found that it was a bit difficult doing that on our own. We went to a bunch of publishers and 12 Gauge just seemed like the right fit.

C2F: So what are your plans for the comic and telling the story?

Claudio: Right now we’re going to tell them in five issue miniseries. And each miniseries will take you to a halfway point like this first five will take us to the halfway point of the second stage story. and we’ve actually started working on the continuing five which we’re hoping will come out spring of next year. And that’ll complete the second stage. And then we’ll keep going in that fashion. As far as collecting them into a trade, I’m sure we will but we haven’t really made it that far just yet. But I know I would like to have a trade in my collection.

"The Running Free" from "No World For Tomorrow"

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