There’s plenty of animals to fear in the world. That list includes shark attacks, swarms of murder hornets, and, yes, even cow flatulence. But in their brand-new graphic novel, writer Tyrone Finch (the ABC series Station 19) and artist Alain Mauricet (Star Wars Adventures) offer up another creature to truly dread: pigs.
The aptly-titled Swine follows Ellis, a man who is wrongly imprisoned for his wife’s death, and Zoey, his wife Becky’s sister who has (obviously) harbored a grudge over the last eight years. Together, the pair journey cross-country to hunt down the real murderers, demonic pigs. (You read that right.) Without revealing too much further, it’s a dark and demented tale of family, romance, Christian lore, and how people reassemble themselves through tragedy. There’s also a funny talking pig if heartfelt narratives with ample gore aren’t your thing.
Swine is due out today (October 5) via Humanoids. Ahead of the release, we spoke with Finch via email about the story’s development, the differences between writing TV and comics, working with his collaborators, and much more.
AIPT: What’s the elevator pitch for Swine? Did you draw on any specific books, comics, films, etc. for reference/inspiration?
Tyrone Finch: The elevator pitch is simple. A man who has served time in prison for killing his beloved wife teams with his sister-in-law to hunt down the demonic beings that were truly responsible for the murder. Aside from the bible story at the root of all of this, I don’t think I pulled inspiration from any particular source. I ended up discovering a few major turns in the story as I was writing it. There are a couple of small movie references in the book that ended up on the page because they made me chuckle.
AIPT: What is it about revenge films that is so compelling or intriguing? I feel like, especially amid all COVID, there’s a special power to stories like this one.
TF: It’s funny, I truly don’t think of Swine as a revenge story. For me, it’s a story about characters either coming to grips with what they’ve lost or trying to regain it. I think revenge is something that we only imagine will feel good. Once it’s achieved, I think any satisfaction that’s derived from it is very short-lived.
AIPT: You’ve worked primarily in TV. How is the transition from the screen to writing comics, and is there perhaps some direct crossover of sorts?
TF: I think the biggest and most obvious difference between writing for the screen and writing comics is the fact that nothing I write for the screen is ever meant to be read. TV scripts are meant to be seen and heard by the audience. The rhythms in the dialogue you write for the screen can be very different from the rhythms of anything that is meant to be read. There is a bit of a crossover between the mediums because both of them rely heavily on images to tell a story.
AIPT: What was it like working with Mauricet and Lee Loughridge (and the rest of the team)? What did their visuals bring to the table, and how did it impact your writing? Does your TV work help in working and managing these essential visual elements?
TF: Mauricet and I worked together on a story that we did for AHOY Comics a few years ago. When Humanoids asked me if I had an artist in mind for Swing, I blurted “Mauricet!” immediately. The script for Swine contains descriptions of the images that I believed should be in each panel. I’m fortunate because Mauricet knows when I am completely mistaken and he never mocks my poor choices. Mauricet and Lee did a phenomenal job of conveying the humor, the horror and the humanity of this story with their work. I think my work in TV is somewhat helpful when it comes to deciding upon the images but Mauricet and Lee are great at what they do, so I am happy to let their instincts and experience guide that part of the process.
AIPT: Why pigs? There’s obviously some religious affiliations and whatnot, but is the pig representative of anything personal or bigger?
TF: I didn’t have a choice about the pigs. They were taken directly from the bible. If the bible had mentioned penguins, I would have used penguins. I’m a big fan of penguins. I also like pigs. They’re very smart and much cleaner than their reputation would suggest.
AIPT: There’s a lot of (albeit, say, “weird”) romance within this book. How do you balance that nougat of humanity amid all the insanity? And is this a love story of sorts at its core?
TF: Yes! It’s a love story! Thank you for recognizing that! I grant you that some of the romance might seem a little “weird,” but I think it’s very necessary. I think love is always a powerful motivator. It becomes even more powerful in times of crisis. And a crisis is an ideal time to explore a character’s humanity or lack of it.
AIPT: Why should anyone want to read Swine?
TF: It’s got demon-pigs in it! How could anyone possibly pass that up?
Art courtesy of Humanoids.
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