Pronto Presents: Writer Cedrick Lui

Pronto Presents Cedrick Lui
By David Rondinelli

DSC01020Cedrick Lui is an Ottawa native whose work is showcased in Pronto’s Strange Stories #6. Feeling a creative urge and possessing a love of comics the young writer has taken the surreal approach with his first story for Pronto Comics, “Son of God.”, Lui’s character-driven approach to storytelling is paired with the dynamic art of illustrator C.H. Kim. The two have started a new Pronto Comics duo that we hope to see more of. Read more about Lui and his approach to comic book writing as he opens up about his creative approach, his inspiration, and what we can expect to see from him in the future.

Pronto Presents: How did you find out about Pronto and get started with us?

Cedrick Lui: I worked with my artist, C.H. Kim, to make a submission so that I could shop the comic around to local publishers. I had already finished the script and worked with Kim to finish 5 pages of the comic. None of the local publishers bit. I was going to New York Comic Con 2013, so we hammered out another 6 pages and I put together a bunch of ashcan copies to hand out while there. I attended the Creator Connections panel co-hosted by Pronto. I approached editor Patrick Reilly, and he said he’d pick the book up on the spot.

PP: Is this your first foray into comic writing? If so, what was it about writing comics that interested you?

CL: This is indeed my first comic. I had the idea for writing a comic for a while, and even took a night class for creative writing. This was probably due to a creative slump around the same time I fell into comics. I found myself plotting out stories in my head constantly. I’d flesh out details and jot down notes day after day, and figured I’d give it a shot. Ironically, “Son of God” is my first fully completed script, and it’s not plot driven at all.

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PP: Tell us about your writing process? What do you feel is the best way to complete a script?

CL: I’ve read and listened to a lot of creator interviews on how they go about finishing a script. The underlying message from pretty much everything I read is that lots of people start projects and very few finish them. I’ve picked up lots of tips and tricks on how to avoid this, but the most important ones were to start small and to set up a routine. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of work while overestimating your future motivation, so I made sure to cap the story off at a single issue. As for the routine, we are all creatures of habit, and it’s better to focus on setting rules for oneself instead of just trying to find time. If given a choice, you’ll always want to do something else.

CoverPreviewPP: What is your story “Son of God” about?

CL: The story follows the main character, Armand, who views the world as flawed and people as undeveloped. He sets off on a mission to change the world around him, but his own demons catch up to him.

PP: The artwork is very surreal, as is the story. When doing a story that has a lot of abstraction to it, is it difficult to translate it from word to art?

CL: Originally, I wrote “Son of God” specifically to showcase the art of C.H. Kim. He was doing illustrations in his surreal art style to begin with, and I wanted to take advantage of this. I wrote the script with some bizarre and interesting images in my head, but he clearly took those ideas and improved them tenfold.

PP: What part of your story was your favorite to write?

CL: I really enjoyed writing the moment of clarity at the end where you get some backstory on Armand. The whole story up to this point was weird and crazy, but this was a scene where I could really pull the focus in and ground the story. I like how the pacing takes a big turn here, and how Armand gets humanized.

PP: Why choose comics to voice your stories as opposed to other mediums?

CL: First off, I personally don’t like prose writing. I find it to be a bit tedious, and I’m just not good at it. More importantly, I feel that comics provide a happy middle between watching something and reading something. Images give an immediate and visceral response, while the unknowns between the panels let readers use their imagination to get engaged.

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PP: What comics are you currently reading?

CL: I, like most comic readers, have a big backlog of books I’m going through. Currently I’m reading through Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez and am enjoying it a lot. I read My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but read it through all in one night. Both are pretty dark titles, but just happened to be what I picked up recently.

PP: Who are some of your creative and personal influences?

CL: Creatively, I could list names for pages and pages. I try to take in a little of everything. Off the top of my head, I love Layman and Guillory’s work on Chew, Powell’s The Goon, Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man, and Snyder’s work on American Vampire. As for personal influences, I would never have finished anything if it weren’t for the support from my wife, Nita. Also, my cousin Kevin really helped me to be fearless when pursuing something like this.

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PP: Do you work in any other creative fields?

CL: Not really, but I have been interested in game design lately, be it board game or videogame. It’s neat to see how deliberate all the behind-the-scenes decisions are to enhance a gaming experience. A lot of great strides are being made with the indie game scene, and games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead are perfect examples of how you can make interactive storytelling work.

PP: Will we be seeing more of “Son of God?” Any future plans to continue the story?

CL: No, I don’t think so. The comic was originally written to be a one-shot and I think it’s best it stays that way. The whole issue was meant to be atmospheric and give a certain mood, but writing in that same voice for another issue would get pretty tiring and annoying for both readers and myself.

SonofGodAvPP: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can give us a sneak peek of?

CL: I worked with another artist in Ottawa named James Love (yes, that’s his real name) and we worked on a small portfolio piece together. We don’t have any plans to do anything beyond this, but you never know. I have yet to put in the speech bubbles, so you’ll have to guess what is going on. (You can see the work here.)

PP: Where can we find out more about you and your work?

CL: All of my little projects that I’ve done can be found at my website www.cedricklui.com. I also have a blog on the site that I still post to regularly. The blog is mainly there so I can curate my past and present interests like a time capsule of sorts. You can also follow me on twitter @cedricklui.

 

Click here to buy a digital download of Son of God.

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