THE AMORY WARS is the epic story created by Claudio Sanchez and now written by his wife, Chondra Sanchez. THE AMORY WARS is the concept that the prog-rock back Coheed and Cambria has based the majority of their albums on as well.

It’s a modern epic that pushes creativity across different mediums and brings together fantasy and sci-fi in an unbelievable way. With each volume based off an album, they’re revisiting Coheed’s third album: Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, which is now on issue 5 of the 12 part volume.

ComicsVerse: Coheed and Cambria have been active for about 15 years now, and nearly every song is based on the concept of THE AMORY WARS. What is THE AMORY WARS and where in the story are we picking up from with this new arc in the comic?

Claudio: THE AMORY WARS is a science fiction epic saga. It tells the story of Claudio Kilgannon, his parents Coheed and Cambria and how their choices affect the entire universe they reside in. The story really explores how the flaws of parents don’t have to define their children and that it’s possible to break the cycle of something, rather than perpetuating it.

As this arc picks up, the creator (Ryder) has become preoccupied with relationship struggles and that is causing him to blur his decision as to how the story should move forward. He comes to believe that ending the story is the only way to bring himself peace in the real world.  As Ryder struggles with his dark impulses and the story takes a turn for the worst. You see his character, Claudio, beginning to consider the concept of free will. That will ultimately affect the outcome that Ryder had written for him.

CV: How have you personified yourself into the main characters, Ryder and Claudio?

Claudio: For the record, the characters in THE AMORY WARS are very much fictional and not directly based on anyone. If I had to draw real similarities between those two characters, I’d say the Claudio character feels more like “the performer” on stage. At times there’s a confidence to him that doesn’t exist in Ryder, who is more fueled by emotion. To me, Ryder is far more insecure which is a trait I see in myself. Obviously, I’ve taken a lot of creative license with both. I certainly don’t have a 6-pack or that much drama in my life. 

CV: How does this new arc relate to the 2005 graphic novel that is also based on this album?

Claudio: This new arc follows the original storyline and that of the album, but with the episodic format. We were able to get into more detailed exploration of additional characters who, unfortunately, didn’t get much, if any face time in the original graphic novel. 

Image Courtesy of BOOM Studios and EVIL INK Comics

READ: Need to know more about THE AMORY WARS and the Keywork? Get the lowdown here! 

CV: You’ve said before that writing Good Apollo was intense for you because it was about the heartbreak with your girlfriend, who is now your wife. How did it feel revisiting Good Apollo now that you’re happily married to her?

Claudio: You know, we’re adults. It really doesn’t have much of an effect on anything. They feel like characters at this point because we’re so removed from the moments that inspired the fiction.

CV:  How does it feel to be with Claudio during this revisit to Burning Star IV?

Chondra: It’s been a lot of fun going back in time to revisit Good Apollo, actually. Though there was obviously a great deal of turmoil permeating the timeframe that the album and story were written. But, there are so many beautiful, happy moments there too; life is complicated and so is love. It’s incredible to go back in time and look at those pieces of art from a creative and objective standpoint so many years later and really ask ourselves, “How can we elevate this storyline now that we have so much emotional distance from it?”

CV: What are your contributions to the work now? I know you’ve had a major impact on the story now, what can you tell us about that?

Chondra: After working out the outline with the team, I am now on scripting duties with this series. At this point, Claudio and I have written a number of stories together. So, it has been a pretty seamless fit in terms of writing these issues. I feel like I have a good grasp of the story he intended to tell and am doing my best to bring his vision to the page.

CV: Can you give me a breakdown of the timeline and how it relates to the albums?

Claudio: The timeline is loosely based upon the album sequence. Issue #1 touches on and ends with a line from “Always and Never” which is the first actual song on the album and issue #2 “Welcome Home” which is the second song. Ten Speed makes his first appearance in issue #4 and is song 4 on the album. While we don’t force things to follow, we try to make sure there is some relevance to the album and that the current series respects the album and what I was thinking when I wrote the music and lyrics, as well as the original graphic novel. 

CV: Your side project The Prize Fighter Inferno is also part of this universe?

Claudio: No, PFI steps outside of the world of Heaven’s Fence and is its own thing. It utilizes Inferno as a narrator, but that’s the only real connection. 

CV: Do you have anything else big planned for the story? Animation or video game?

Claudio and Chondra: We are always looking at ways to expand the universe and branch out into other mediums. There are a few things in the works, but we will see how they pan out before jinxing it. 

CV: You took a break from telling the lore of THE AMORY WARS on this last album, is the story to continue?

Claudio and Chondra: It will continue. We’ve been mapping out the trajectory of the next installment, but it’s a secret.  

CV: You’re also known for other books like TRANSLUCID, and KILL AUDIO, do you have any other stories being worked on right now?

Claudio and Chondra: We have ideas — lots of them — but right now the focus is on THE AMORY WARS and a possible sequel to KEY OF Z. We’re still learning to juggle music, writing and family life. 

CV: How is the thought process of writing lyrics and songs different from writing out comic book scripts?

Claudio: Your storytelling needs to be clear when working on scripts, whereas lyrics I think, can be more inspired and left up to the imagination. A script requires a lot of clarity so that the artist knows what you’re envisioning. Although, it’s important to give them room to bring their own vision to the piece.

Image Courtesy of BOOM Studios and EVIL INK Comics

READ: Want More SDCC Coverage? Check it out here!

CV: Have there been any notable writers who have influenced your work over the years?

Claudio: Vonnegut, for sure. As they say, he writes himself into his books as Kilgore Trout, and the idea of free will seems to be a recurring theme in his work.

Chondra: I love Jose Saramago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Janet Fitch, Chuck Palahniuk — my taste is kind of all over the place, and I like to mix it up a lot.

CV: What are your favorite classic or modern comics to dive into on downtime?

Claudio: My favorites are PREACHER,  THE WATCHMEN, THE METABARONS, and BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN. Those are my classic go-to’s. 

Chondra:  I recommend Y: THE LAST MAN and DAYTRIPPER to everyone I meet. Especially people who say they “don’t read comics.” I’m also a huge fan of anything by Jeff Lemire. Currently, I’m reading PAPER GIRLS, THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE, BITCH PLANET, and like everyone else on the planet, SAGA.  

CV: Will you be attending any more cons this year to promote the book further?

Claudio and Chondra: Our next convention will be New York Comic Con in October. It’s always our favorite convention, and we will have some cool exclusive stuff. So, if you’re in the Tri-State area — come say hello! 

It was an honor to speak to Claudio and Chondra! THE AMORY WARS: GOOD APOLLO #5 is in stores now and keep an eye out for issue #6 hitting stores in September! 

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