Corin Howell and J.M. DeMatteis

Time is relative. We know how quickly time can fly. For Kathy Sartori, time flies, perhaps, a little too quickly. Especially after her murder.

THE GIRL IN THE BAY #1 is set to release February 6th. Written by J.M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Corin Howell, this story takes us deep underwater and through time. ComicsVerse was lucky enough to have the chance to speak with DeMatteis and Howell at New York Comic Con 2018!

Editor’s Note: This transcript  has been edited for clarity.

J.M. DeMatteis (JMD): It’s the speed with which time passes, and the speed with which our lives seem to collapse, you know? You blink, and a year goes by. You blink again, and ten years goes by. It starts in 1969 with an 18 year old girl. I’ll give you the really short version.

It’s in Brooklyn, which is where I’m from, and where Karen Berger is from. So we have a nice little Brooklyn connection in there. And she’s in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, in a bar. She meets a guy, they go out on to the docks together. He pulls out a knife. He murders her and tosses her body into the Bay. She somehow manages to get herself up through the water, out of the Bay, staggers back into the bar, and discovers that 50 years have passed in the time that she’s been in the Bay.

So there’s a whole mystery there of “what the hell happened?” Why did 50 years pass? How is she still alive? And then the topper is that she discovers that through those 50 years, someone else has been living her life. There’s a 68-year-old version of her who got married, had children, grandchildren. So it’s a story about the passage of time. It’s about identity, there’s a horror element. There’s a cosmic spiritual element. It’s got a lot of layers. It’s a really, really fun story.

Corin Howell (CH): When I first got the script, I literally made a playlist on Spotify for it. I needed music inspiration ’cause somebody says 1960s, I had nothing but 60s, 70s, and 80s music down the line. I had to get that inspiration out. And so the tone of it in drawing and all the design is very, very detailed. And the personal connection with this book, I can kind of relate to the character herself. Being kind of a rebel character. Yeah, it’s a very, very interesting book. I look forward to working on the next issue.

JMD: She’s great, so there’s been very little fiddling around. I think you sent a bunch of layouts recently. I went, “Oh, that one panel,” then we changed the angle, and that was it. She’s really, really talented, and a really, really good storyteller. Visual storytelling is what this game is all about. It’s one thing if you can draw really well. But if you can draw well and you can’t tell a story, you’re in the wrong business. But she’s really, really good at what she does.

CH: I’m so used to working on a lot of licensed projects. When you’re working on licensing issues, and comics in general, you don’t get a lot of time ’cause they’re having to turn out and keep up with the latest story, or whatever the latest story arc is. With this, we had little notes but we also had a lot of time to break down what we want this character to look like.

JMD: Right, the designs. And that’s so important.

CH: Yeah, all the designs. Like, who is our supernatural figures? What is the supernatural element? And can we take time to design that? And a lot of inspiration came from whatever movies we saw. I got a lot of inspiration from THE SHAPE OF WATER. So a lot of —

JMD: Oh, right, obviously ’cause it’s a lot of floating around in it.

CH: A lot of floating around, but it’s like, yeah, a lot of it was design elements from that.

JMD: You take a lot of baths, too, while you were drawing?

CH: But yeah, there’s a lot of communication.

JMD: It’s a four issue mini series, which will be a complete story in itself. But there will be little threads dangling at the end because I have a whole other place to take this. So if the first four issues do well enough, we’re off on the next stage of the adventure. It’ll be out in February. This idea that this woman is killed in 1969, and somehow survives and it’s 50 years later, and she doesn’t know why. I think that’s a great hook. And there’s a lot of mysteries within mysteries here. And I think that will draw people in and draw them through.

CH: If you know the original story of the doppelganger, what the legend is, is that if you find your doppelganger, you die. And if you look in the eyes of your doppelganger, you’re dead and the doppelganger takes your place. This is why I like the idea.

JMD: Oh, that’s so interesting. And I’ve never actually —

CH: I love dark and creepy things. So the minute I saw this pitch, I was like doppelganger mystery. Tell me more. That’s the way I can describe it.

THE GIRL IN THE BAY #1 will release February 6th. Remember to reserve your copy!

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