NYCC Interview: Christa Faust and Mike Deodato talk about how ‘Redemption’ came to life

Cover of Redemption
Redemption is a gritty, sci-fi Western graphic novel. Courtesy: AWA Studios

When it comes to graphic novels, Christa Faust and Mike Deodato are a dream team. Having previously collaborated with one another on the series Bad Mother, these two continue to challenge the status quo through their work.

Their latest project is the five-issue, Western sci-fi graphic novel Redemption which was released as a trade paperback on September 29, 2021. This series, published by AWA Studios, takes place in a post-apocalyptic town called Redemption.

Summarizing the power-plays and conflicts in the novel, the studio writes: “The dusty desert town of Redemption survived the apocalypse but is hanging on by a thread. A despot rules the town with an iron fist and controls its most precious resource: water. When that strongman marks her mother for death, young Rose Obregon ventures into the perilous wasteland to seek the help of the legendary gunslinger Cat Tanner, only to discover that the so-called “Butcher” is long retired, living in solitude, far from what’s left of the world, and preferring to keep it that way.”

As the story develops, it brings forth a hearty dose of corruption, crime-fighting, and feminist themes.

Talking about how this cross-genre graphic novel come to fruition, acclaimed writer Faust shared with Monsters & Critics, “When Axel Alonzo [Chief Creative Officer, AWA] pitched the bare-bones concept to me, I was excited and on board right away. There just aren’t a ton of comics out there that center the voices and stories of women over 50. Even less that give our queer elders center stage, so I felt compelled to take the story in that direction.”

“The majority of queer comics focus on young characters figuring themselves out and fighting to be seen and live authentically for the first time, but you almost never get to see the other end of the road. I wanted to write a character who is living with her own profound loss and regret and difficult choices made over decades of hard luck and trouble. To take the classic Western archetype of the grizzled old, male gunslinger and turn it on its head,” Faust continued, speaking about her Redemption character Butcher, who she later fan-casts Terminator’s Linda Hamilton to play in a live-action adaptation.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the post-apocalypse genre, so it felt like a no-brainer for me. Of course, getting another chance to work with Mike Deodato made it even more appealing.”

Weighing in, illustrator Deodato added, “Axel Alonso has known me for years, he knows that I love westerns and post-apocalypse genres and that I would be thrilled when he offered me Redemption. He also knew how much I enjoyed working with Christa Faust on Bad Mother, so there was no way I would say no.”

Monsters & Critics had the opportunity to chat with Christa Faust and Mike Deodato about the trade paperback release of Redemption, which was timed to the 2021 New York Comic Con.

The duo continued to gush about the creation of Redemption (both citing the Mad Max series as a source of inspiration) and what they’d like to see happen next in the series’s future. AWA Studios was also kind enough to share a few pages of the novel.

A page from the Redemption graphic novel
A page from the Redemption graphic novel. Pic credit: AWA Studios

M&C: What inspired you to create Redemption?

Faust: I took inspiration from post-apocalypse flicks like The Rover and the Mad Max series as well as more traditional Westerns like Death Rides A Horse and Unforgiven.

I also have to give a hat-tip to William Gibson for his concept of the Jackpot, a multifaceted apocalypse that stems from the alignment of various factors rather than one single catastrophic event. Of course, I also can’t help but be influenced by current events and thorny issues like religious zealotry, rampant xenophobia, and aggressive attacks against women’s reproductive rights.

Deodato: For the post-apocalyptic side, my inspiration came from movies like Mad Max and everything I read on those Warren books, like Creepy and Eerie, and also from Heavy Metal in the eighties.

For the western side, movies like Unforgiven, Silverado, Broken Trail, and comics like Jonah Hex, Ken Parker, Comanche, Matt Dillon, Cisco Kid, and others. My goal was to make it look like a classic western, even though the background was in a post-apocalyptic world.

M&C: What’s next for the Redemption storyline? Should fans expect any sort of continuation or adaptation?

Faust: We don’t have anything currently in the works as far as sequels, but know I’d love to do more with Rose in that world. As far as an adaptation, we’ll just have to wait and see, but I certainly hope somebody snaps up the option while Linda Hamilton is still available to play the Butcher. My other dream cast members would be Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs as Rose, Veronica Falcón as Inez, and maybe Stephen McHattie as Stonewater.

Deodato: I would love to draw a prequel with stories of a younger Butcher or a sequel with Rose taking the mantle of the Butcher.

M&C: Tell me a bit about the collaboration process. Seeing as you both previously collaborated on Bad Mother, what was it like coming together to create a brand new project?

Faust: It was an honor and a blast to work with Deodato again. This time he was really able to cut loose, be more creative and have fun with Redemption in a way that wasn’t possible with the mundane suburban ranch houses and Walmarts of Bad Mother. I felt like we inspired each other along the way and we were able to create a world from scratch together this time instead of just telling a story in the world that already exists.

Deodato: I just love the way Christa tells stories. The way she builds suspense and gives depth to characters inspires me to bring my best. I can’t wait for the chance to collaborate with her again. 

Check out a few pages from Redemption.

A page from the Redemption comic book
A page from the Redemption comic book. Pic credit: AWA Studios
A page from the Redemption comic book.
A page from the Redemption comic book. Pic credit: AWA Studios
A page of the Redemption comic book.
A page of the Redemption comic book. Pic credit: AWA Studios

Redemption is available for purchase in comic book shops and book market outlets.

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