Claudio and Chondra

Claudio and Chondra talk the Future and THE AMORY WARS at NYCC 2017!

Claudio Sanchez and his wife Chondra Sanchez are the dynamic duo of THE AMORY WARS universe. Chondra has currently been helping craft the world that Claudio created years ago with his band, Coheed and Cambria.

Now, six issues into the twelve part volume, GOOD APOLLO tells the story of the band’s third album Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. Claudio and Chondra sat down with us at NYCC 2017 to talk about the future of the series and how much life has changed since first writing the story.

ComicsVerse: How’s the reception been towards the comic now, since it’s the third graphic you’ve released?

Claudio: I mean, I think it’s positive. To be completely honest, I’ve fallen off the social media wagon. I’m getting that direct sort of thing.

Chondra: I think it’s been positive. The fans seem to think that it’s going in a good, sort of, more cohesive direction if that makes sense, which we tried hard to map out before even getting into scripting. It’s such a dense story. There’s a lot of characters. There’s a lot of arcs and character building that hasn’t necessarily had the chance to evolve in the past. So, this story, believe me, in the outlining phase put a lot of time and effort into getting that where it needs to be.

ComicsVerse: What’s it like for you since you’re writing it right now?

Chondra: Terrifying.

ComicsVerse: What’s it like for you combining from the songs into the story at that point?

Chondra: Terrifying, again. No, it’s a lot. Obviously, I’ve seen Coheed a few times. So, I feel very well versed in the lyrical content. It’s awesome. It’s cool to be able to bridge those worlds. And we’ve had enough interaction with fans over the years that we kind of know what they’re looking for, regarding things that were unanswered or characters that didn’t get enough time.

Like, what happened to this? What happened to that? So, we’re able to take the lyrical content and try to put it in there as seamlessly as possible. I know sometimes there’s like a clunky line or something that we’re like, we want this here. But, really that’s just kind of an Easter egg for fans because they’re looking for it.

ComicsVerse: Nice. Then since both Cons, you kind of, bring your own crowd to San Diego and New York. What’s that like for you guys? I mean, you as the musician, and you as the writer, bringing more direct people straight to you. I see a lot of Coheed fans here in general. What’s it like for you guys regarding all that?

Claudio: It’s certainly rewarding. I mean, it gives us a legitimacy to be here, I guess if that makes any sense. I think the goal is to try to bridge out to as many fans as possible. But, it’s always nice to have that nucleus of what we’re comfortable with. To have that family with children of the fans, as you said, in the earlier interview. It’s nice to have that because it feels welcoming in a place that you might feel a bit like an odd man out.

Chondra: Yeah. There are two: sometimes the two kinds of fans, where it’s someone will come up because of the music, and they’ve never read a comic. They’re like, what is this? And then they pick up a book. And maybe the next time you see them, they’re not only reading our titles, but they’re reading other books in the comic world. Over the years you start to see them, and this becomes their thing. And they love comic books out of somebody who came and didn’t understand what it was all about.

Claudio and Chondra

ComicsVerse: You guys kind of bridged the gap from the music into a whole different universe that you have created.

Condra: Yeah. And it’s also awesome to see people who don’t know that there’s a band. You know? And they’re like, oh man, I read this book, and I enjoyed it. It’s like, what is all this stuff? And that’s cool.

ComicsVerse: It’s such a big universe too. Do you guys think you’ll ever split off and do kind of character-centric stories branching into deeper into lore?

Claudio: Yeah. Possibly. I mean, right now, I’m working on the next record and where that story sort of falls in line with the pre-existing. And in a way, that kind of acts like that, but it is a new cast of characters. But maybe when that’s finished, sure. There could be some parallel stories, like one-shots would be awesome.

ComicsVerse: Definitely. And then, for you as an inspiration, what made you want to go, since you’re a musician, to just start writing comics and blend this whole world together?

Claudio: Well, I mean, I think it stemmed from insecurity. When I was writing these songs, I had a hard time facing the fact that they were about me. And the people would know that I was singing songs about my life. And I didn’t think my life was all that interesting to be awarded a song. So, I decided to create a piece of fiction to kind of hide my story behind.

All of these, of course, I play a role in the story, which maybe if I had thought about that a little bit more when I first started the idea, I probably wouldn’t have sung my name in the song. But, Amory, that’s the street I grew up on. So, it’s like, little things like that, there are so many hints, things that I had experienced as a kid. That’s it; it was just like a mask. But the further I got into writing this sort of piece of fiction, the more I found I had a lot of fun with it. And so I just kind of stayed in it.

ComicsVerse: Nice. And then, since you guys got married, and met, and everything, he basically sucked you into his world.

Claudio: Oh yeah. She’s been there.

Chondra: Yeah. Well, when we met I was still in college. But, over the years, when we started working on stories together, I was actually working in advertising. I was a copywriter. So, I think that was — the writing was one of my happening, and he was putting these stories together, we were spending time at night looking through them, and looking over the edits, and just kind of — it seemed interesting. So, we took a crack at it.

ComicsVerse: What made you want to take over the writing role for that? Or how did that form? How did that happen?

Claudio: I just gave it to her.

Chondra: He forced me.

Claudio: I said, “You’re going to write this one.” Because, that record, that story is big — it’s definitely embellished on, but that record was a lot of our relationship at the time, and when it was at a bad place. Erica Chord is Chondra’s maiden name, just split in half. Her last name is Eckerd. So, I was just like, I’m going to name this character after you, maybe not directly, but just split her name in half.

Chondra: I think for those reasons, I was like, I’m not writing this. Somebody else needs to — this is a little too close to home because you don’t want — I think the biggest fear sometimes is you don’t want fans to think anything was changed, or overlooked, or oh, they’re sensitive feelings.

The truth is, they really aren’t. It’s so far removed that it feels like fiction at this point, and it obviously is fiction when you start to read it, it’s definitely fiction. But, there are so many parallels that I felt like, I don’t want it to come across as disingenuous or it felt too close. But, now that we’re in it, it feels like nobody else but us could’ve written it.

ComicsVerse: That’s cool. It’s kind of cool that it doesn’t dig up any hard feelings or emotions, and everything going on at that point. That’s awesome to hear too.

Chondra: That’s like another lifetime, kind of.

ComicsVerse: Yeah. That’s great. Since you guys have a kid now too, do you think that’s going to blend more into the story, and future stories and everything? Like new inspiration for you?

Claudio: Nooooo.

Claudio: Yeah, I mean, that’s what I’m working on right now, the next arc.

Chondra: Nothing more life-changing than having a child. There just is not, regarding inspiration, and the way that you perceive the world. It just changes you.

Claudio: Yeah. I mean, look at SECOND STAGE TURBO, I believe, it’s the first record that I wrote, the first story too. Coheed and Cambria are killing their kids because the government tells them to. Now that I have a son, and going into the first story back into THE AMORY WARS, I don’t think there’s going to be any kid killing.

Chondra: I think the kids are going to be put on the pedestal. Chase does.

Claudio: Chase has a strong power character.

Claudio: I think it’s safe to say he’s a source of inspiration for any of the stories moving forward.

Chondra: Absolutely.

ComicsVerse: Are we going to have a good steady stream of comics coming out at this point since she’s running writing duties?

Claudio: We would like to. So, this is 12 issues; it’ll end — we have started to outline NO WORLD FOR TOMORROW. See, NO WORLD FOR TOMORROW, there’s a lot of things that we need to make sure and a lot of pieces we need to make sure are injected into that story to make the next story that follows that work; the one that I’m working on right now. So, the outline is there, but there’s a lot of rules that need to be implemented into that to help bridge what’s coming next.

Chondra: Our biggest challenge is figuring out how to clone ourselves to work on more things faster.

ComicsVerse: That’s great. And then since the next volumes are coming out, I mean, that’s just going to expand, I guess more on the story. ASCENSION and DESCENSION, those are prequels to everything, correct?

Claudio: Yes.

ComicsVerse: Nice. Are you guys planning on embellishing on those a little more too? I know you had that short novelization thing for it.

Claudio: Yeah. I mean, right now, the story that I’m working on, it’s a continuation — Ah, fuck it, I just — I can never keep my mouth shut. But, it’s a continuation/origin of the Key Word. And Cyra Samurai makes an appearance. Not in the first story, but in the later story. So, right now all the pieces are there, new characters are coming into play, new government situation, but things of the future are, the echoes of the past, everything comes full circle with this story.

ComicsVerse: That’s going to be great.

Claudio: So it’s like, what you think might be the future is the beginning. Yeah. Again, that’s going into NO WORLD. The idea of NO WORLD FOR TOMORROW, yeah, there’s no world for tomorrow, but we’re talking about yesterday.


Claudio: I’m so excited about the idea that I’m working on right now. I think I’m going to be totally fulfilled with it. And I think fans of Coheed and the Amory Wars are going to be super thrilled with it, because, my last record — we didn’t abandon the concept, we just took time off from it.

ComicsVerse: Yeah. Which is needed. I mean, you guys are musicians too and everything.

Claudio: Yeah. And it helped us to catch up, honestly, regarding Claudio and everywhere we needed to be story-wise, to appropriate and move forward.

ComicsVerse: And make it efficient and everything. And you guys had so many life changes at that point. It was a good break.

Claudio:  Absolutely.

Chondra: Yeah, obviously, priority — I mean, it’s like so consuming, I think everything just worked out really as it needed to.

Claudio: It is. It was needed. And now looking at everything objectively and with a clear head, it’s like all of these pieces are falling into place, and they all make sense. It doesn’t feel forced. That’s the thing — is when it feels forced, that’s when it can get exhausting. But, when it’s just falling into place, and it works so well, it does not work. It feels good? I don’t know. I’m so excited about this idea. I can’t keep my mouth shut.

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