Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Carlos Giffoni is a relatively new writer in comic, while he's made pitches and wrote a few stories her and there, STRAYED is his first published book.
Set to come out later this month, STRAYED is an interesting and unique book that is unlike anything else out there. It stars a cat, yes I said cat, named Lou that can astral project across the universe. If that doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will.
Having read an advanced copy, I could talk all day about how much I enjoyed the book. But I'll let Carlos tell you all about it.
COMIC LOUNGE: First off can you talk about how you first got into comics?
CARLOS GIFFONI: When I was 8, I bought my first comic book off a newsstand in Venezuela, a Superman issue. I was impressed by how it was very different from my understanding of Superheroes, which had come mostly from watching Superfriends re-runs. Aside from Superman, Batman, and a few newspaper strips, there weren't a lot of comics coming into Venezuela. You couldn't even find Marvel comics, let alone anything cool/independent. I fell out of comics and got into music and video games, which were more easily accessible. It was many years later after I was living in the US when I discovered Vertigo and comics like Y THE LAST MAN and WE3 through friends. At that point, I had a high-stress day job, was running a music label and a festival, and trying to tour and put out music and didn't have time to dig in. It wasn't until five years ago that I could really start digging deep into comics, and shortly after, I couldn't get enough. Particularly anything from Vertigo/Image/Dark Horse, the weirder, the better. And now I have a sizeable nerd-certifiable collection of graphic novels and single issues.
If I have to call out a moment that made me want to write comics, it had to be the first time I read FEAR AGENT. There was just something so personal and human in it. I love Sci-Fi, so the setting was very appealing to me, but it was the heart Rick Remender put into that story that made it all click for me. I wept like a baby at the end of it, and I was ready to start telling my own stories.
COMIC LOUNGE: Who were some creators/writers that inspired you growing up?
GIFFONI: Growing up? Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, William Burroughs, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe, Philip K Dick. When it came to reading, comics weren't an option where I grew up. However, there were plenty of translations of exciting books that I could get into, so those were the authors/creators that raised my creative mind.
As far as comic creators that have been truly inspiring in my adult life: Moebius, Jack Kirby, Katsuhiro Otomo, Kentaro Miura, the Hernandez brothers, Warren Ellis, The Clamp creative team, Jeff Lemire, Rick Remender, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Brian K Vaughan, Brian M. Bendis, Junji Ito, Juan Doe, Sanford Greene, Fiona Staples, Spike Troutman, Vita Ayala, Magdalene Visaggio, Toby Cypress... And the list keeps growing.
COMIC LOUNGE: Is this your first published book?
GIFFONI: Yes STRAYED is my first published comic book, issue 1 comes out August 21, published by Dark Horse. Before STRAYED, I did a few other pitches and short stories, but nothing that has been officially released.
COMIC LOUNGE: Your new book coming out this month, STRAYED, is one hell of a book. Can you talk a little about the premise of the book?
GIFFONI: Thank you. I am glad that is working for you, I can't wait until everyone out there gets to read it.
STRAYED is a Sci-Fi book about an Astral traveling cat named Lou and his owner, a genius scientist named Kiara. Kiara notices there is something different with Lou, and she makes a device that can translate his brain waves into speech. This is all happening hundreds of years into the future, where a military government organization in charge of humanity. This organization is holding them hostage and using them to scout for new planets to colonize. Lou and Kiara initially don't know this is what they are doing with the worlds they find, but eventually, they'll find out.
COMIC LOUNGE: Why did you decide to use a cat as one of the main characters of the book?