From Prairie books NOW Fall 2011 issue:
Has She No Shame?
Comic explores good, evil, and all things in between…
“What would Batman be without the Joker? How about Van Helsing without Dracula?”
These are questions Lovern Kindzierski muses on when explaining why he prefers villains to heroes. But for the Winnipeg comic creator, it is also an aesthetic decision.
“The villains always had the best designed costumes. Think of Maleficent. She was so much more attractive than the dumpy fairy godmothers.”
It was on his honeymoon that Kindzierski first conceived of the story of Shame, which has now come to fruition in the first of three graphic novels, Shame: Conception. He entertained his new bride with a tale “about the nastiest woman that ever lived.” His wife then held him hostage with a pen and notepad the next morning until he’d written this first arc of the story.
Shame, an outwardly beautiful child was born to physically hideous, but kind, Mother Virtue, when the healer allowed herself one selfish wish—a child of her own. It was from this wish and the meddling of the demonic entity Slur that Shame came into the world. Mother Virtue knew what her daughter would become and so locked the child away in a personal Eden, a place named Cradle. Only there could Shame be safe from the influence of her father.
“I very much like the idea that shame would come from virtue.” Kindzierski says, noting how exhilarating it was to tell this story for the first time. As he was making up the tale, he rolled through the associations of the word shame, and the story became clearer and clearer to him.
“The power of such loaded archetypes just swept me along like a straw being driven by a tornado,” he says.
When Shame embraces evil, Kindzierski’s words are given unsettling weight by his artist collaborator, John Bolton. Cradle’s idyllic cage becomes twisted and bizarre.
“He is a genius,” Kindzierski says of Bolton, feeling there could not be any artist better or more appropriate to illustrate Shame: Conception. “John is able to portray all of the extremes of beauty and horror of the story and do it all masterfully. As an artist he has no weaknesses.”
Kindzierski, an artist himself, is best known in comics as a colourist.
“I had been writing my own stories for my comic art from way before I broke into the industry,” he says. Nothing came of these first efforts, but eventually Kindzierski’s art got him work in the field. A short story for a Marvel Comics fund raiser was well received and “as I wrote more I got more to write,” he says.
To Kindzierski the great strength of comics as an art form “is that they mainline directly into your understanding of the story,” working on a conscious and unconscious level with their combination of imagery and the written word.
Our understanding of this particular story will deepen in the next two books of the trilogy. Shame’s corruption “has become like a cancerous growth on the face of the world,” Kindzierski says, teasing at a swelling body count now that Shame is free from her prison.
“I like my heroes dark and my villains darker.”