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Exclusive Interview: Becky Cloonan & Andy Belanger Bring SOUTHERN CROSS at Image

Find out about the new sci-fi/horror comic coming this Winter.

On the eve of San Diego Comic-Con 2014, there's another Image Expo. Among the announcements is a new series from Becky Cloonan (BATMAN, DEMO) and Andy Belanger (KILL SHAKESPEARE). SOUTHERN CROSS is headed our way through Image Winter 2014.

What is it about? Here's the official description:

Now boarding: Southern Cross, tanker flight 73 to Titan. Alex Braith is on board retracing her sister’s steps to the refinery moon, hoping to collect her remains and find some answers. The questions keep coming though—How did her sister die? Where did her cabin mate disappear to? Who is that creep across the hall? And why does she always feel like she’s being watched?

We had the chance to talk to Becky and Andy to find out more about this new series.

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COMIC VINE: How would you describe the series?

BECKY CLOONAN: Southern Cross is an ongoing Sci-fi mystery, with a healthy dose of creeping horror thrown in for good measure. The first six issues take place on a voyage to Titan, Saturn's largest moon, as Alex Braith uncovers a mystery surrounding her sister's recent death- one that is ultimately going to change her life, and the lives of countless others.

ANDY BELANGER: What Becky said, Ha! no really for me SOUTHERN CROSS is born out of my love for 80's genre film making both in Film and Anime. Not to mention our love of 70's and 80's BD's. I'm utterly obsessed with the time period. It was experimental both on screen and on the page. I always find my self making comics for that 13 year old kid that put his tights and capes comics down and picked up his first Heavy Metal. This series is an ode to that time period for sure.

CV: How did you two both come on board?

BC: Andy and I have talked about working together for a while, and recently it just all came together. He's the one who asked me to come on this book as a writer, which is pretty cool! Image just seemed like a natural fit for the book; the whole thing came together really organically.

AB: I've been doing swords and sandals for so long (KILL SHAKESPEARE, BLACK CHURCH) I really needed to do an artistic 180. I'm totally crazy about the early work of Ridley Scott, so we might as well add Moebius, Giger and Chris Foss in there as well. I'm also an Insane Horror and Science fiction movie junkie so I really have a burning obsession to tell a story in this genre, I want to make this our Akira, our Long Tomorrow. Becky's mini comics totally have that strong subtle creeping vibe to them that I thought would be amazing done in space. So we finally found our outlet for working together. I am over the moon with everything IMAGE is doing right now. Not only with content but also their business model, they are just doing AMAZING books. We really wanted to make IMAGE our home for this series.

CV: Sounds like there’s a lot of questions for the main character, Alex Braith to uncover. Is the mystery of what happened to her sister a big part of the series? Will the answers open the door to other questions and areas?

BC: Her sister's death is a catalyst, and one mystery begins to lead to another bigger one, implicating other characters on board the ship and affecting the journey. The series builds on that-- I'd be lying if I said things don't get little out of control!

CV: Will the two of you work on the design of the characters and settings?

BC: I give Andy ideas for how I see things in my head, but he's at the helm here when it comes to the look of the book. He's such an amazing artist too, I have total faith in him to rock this. It's kind of cool to take a back seat on the art duties too.

CV: How long have you been thinking about switching gears to writing? What made now the right time?

BC: It's not a decision that I sat down and planned, it happened that a few amazing opportunities popped up at a time that just felt right. I don't plan on giving up drawing any time soon, but I am having a ton of fun writing scripts for other artists!

CV: What can you tell us about the landscape of this sci-fi world?

AB: For our first arc it may feel a bit like you're space spelunking with these characters. It will be quite tight on the ship but certainly open up into gorgeous and terrible caves of technology upon the Southern Cross.

The Characters design is definitely flowing from urban couture mixed with uncomfortably necessary tech.

CV: Have you already mapped out what the characters and horror things will look like?

AB: This is a tough question because I don't want to give to much away as far as "horror things" go. Space Twins at the end of bloody airlocks? Maybe, we have some real goodies up our sleeves. I've been designing this series and the characters for the better part of a year so there is quite a lot of stuff to show off. My studio is starting to feel a lot like Frankenstein's Lab! It's become a real passion of mine.

CV: What are you most looking forward to with this series?

AB: A few Things are really standing out for me-

A- We own it, which for me means I can really for once fall in love with my characters. The kind of thing that happens as an artist when you're sketching or warming up it's with your own characters. You get to be free to really show off your vision.

B- IT'S SCI-FI HORROR!!! AWESOME! Ships, tech, unimagined worlds, buckets of pouring out of the holodeck? maybe who knows what we'll show you but it will be crazy fun to draw! I want this series to be the one that has kids taping popsicle sticks together into crosses and sticking them under their pillows to keep the boogie men away.

C- I've hooked it up that this is the only thing I'm doing for a long time. I always seem to do 3 or 4 projects at once but SC will be my baby and I get to pour in all my time and love into it. I totally want to get Doctor Frankenstein with it!

CV: Looks like you’re working with Shari Chankhamma again? Does being familiar with the colorist help you envision what you want everything to look like?

AB: Shari is nothing short of AMAZING! we did the third trade of KILL SHAKESPEARE together and I was happy but something weird has happened on the new current run of KILL SHAKESPEARE. All of a sudden we have a totally amazing gel thing happening. We've totally clicked and even the pages Im not happy with seem to look pretty cool after she's had them. We have new plans for Southern cross for sure but as far as us as a team I think we've never been stronger!

CV: How are you approaching melding the sci-fi and horror genres?

BC: Sci-fi and horror are two great tastes that taste great together! It starts out more as a mystery because for me, horror in comics is best when it's approached subtly. There are also a few strong themes about grief, isolation that run through the book. If you are familiar with my mini comics, you know that I always try and ground what are usually fantastic stories in real human emotion. Also, Andy and I are trying to build a future that seems lived-in and real, but one that's also fun and imaginative. We are big fans of both genres, and are really just having a lot of fun.