Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Today, we're doing a Q&A with one of the three artists who lent their talent to Unearthed! Author and artist Monica Marier supplied artwork for the stories "Disinfection Protocol," "Long Time Dead," "Ran for Your Life," "Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme?," and "The Sarcophagus."

Altrix Books: How did you choose which stories in UNEARTHED you wanted to do art for? 

Monica Marier: We were attacked in our sleep and awoke tied to a chair and with electrodes stuck onto our skin. The electrodes were connected to a single car battery. We were then told over a crackly loudspeaker that the only way we'd be freed was to yell out numbers one through 13. If we hesitated or repeated numbers, or fought over them, we'd each receive a shock as penalty. If the filthy Hello Kitty clock on the wall of that dark room was to be believed, we were there for 14 hours. I don't know how we got back, but when I awoke on my lawn, the titles of our assignments were tattooed on my arm. I can only assume Sophie's arm had the other titles. Was Ginger there? I don't remember. It's a blur.

(REAL ANSWER) There were a few stories that just leaped out at me as I read the collection. Peel's vampire, and DeCandido's Norse Gods took me back to the sort of stories I enjoyed as a kid. I think every story I illustrated tickled me in some way and reading them transported me.

Altrix: How was the subject matter compared to the sort of art you usually do?

Marier: Well, I can't say I'm a stranger to horror and gothic stuff. My supernatural comic, Skeleton Crew, has tested my mettle and my stomach for over 13 years now. I think my fascination with the gross and the weird goes back to the british comics from the 70's and 80's that were always lying around my house as a kid, giving my nightmares. The rest was comedy, and I love drawing comedy. The human face in its expressiveness has always been a source of joy to me.

Altrix: What was the most challenging part of your work on the book?

Marier: The most bated breath, heart-stopping fear involved in illustration is telling the author your vision and showing them your sketches and hoping against hope that you're not going to hear those dreaded words: "That's not what I envisioned at all! You couldn't' be more wrong!" But you talk and you move on and reach something that you both enjoy and can invest your love in. That's the process and that's how it should be. If the author isn't happy, I'm not happy.

Altrix: What was the most fun?

Marier: As I said, I love facial expressions. My favorite thing is to look in my phone camera and contort my face into these horrible shapes as I try to get raw emotion into them: terror, frustration, pain, joy, confusion, foreboding. You really have to be part actor, part film director when it comes to getting that expression just right. I also had fun putting in all those Norse mythological easter eggs into the Floridian bar. I don't get to do things like that very often in comics. No time.

Altrix: Where else can people find your work online? Anything else coming out soon?

Marier: My comics, Skeleton Crew and CRIT! can both be found on the Tangent Artists Website, and we're also uploading them onto Webtoons. On the writing side of things, my first published novel, "Must Love Dragons" will be re-released through Tangent Artists soon (kind of a 10th anniversary edition). It's a light fantasy novel about a grizzled ex-ranger who comes out of retirement while his wife is pregnant (again) and while the kobolds and dragons are still a nuisance, working with noobs and the unions are even worse.

It was a pleasure answering you, and I hope I get to work with all these amazing people again soon.

Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!


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