Following the release of issues #00 and #01, Multimedia artist and Film-maker Gianluca Bonomo, took to Kickstarter to fund CCTVYLLE #02. Set in London in the not too distant future, CCTVYLLE shows a life with thousands of super-smart hybrid birds belonging to a government-run agency that keep an eye out for any crime in the city. The hybrids,half machine and half bird, consisting of a very sophisticated CCTV-like camera build that boosts an intelligent cybernetic chip while the bird's wings are actual bones and organic tissue. The line of misuse with these CCTV birds is exceptionally thin and within a short period the hybrids become so dominant that no picture or view of the city is without them. They're creepy as hell, yet are incredibly fascinating, adding a whole new dimension to the dystopian future where the Government can watch you all the time.
With issue 02 of CCTVYLLE on the horizon, we took the opportunity to speak with Gianluca about the project.
1) The idea of using birds as CCTV cameras is pretty grim and creepy. They're the star of the series so far because of this. You decided to use all birds though by the looks of things, not just ones that are everywhere, like pigeons. Where did the idea come from? Are there any normal birds left?
Not as creepy as having Theresa May and the Tories respectively as prime minister and ruling party! Ahahah Sorry I couldn’t resist.
The idea came from a real dream I had back in 2010, in the dream I saw the trees of London Fields in Hackney (London) populated by weird birds. They looked strange from a distance so I got little closer and I realised that the heads of all birds were replaced by a CCTV camera. I was pretty shocked to see such unusual creatures, I thought it might be just a premonition of a possible future.
Even though in the comics we see predominantly these sinister hybrids, normal birds do live in the city of CCTVYLLE. On some occasions they get harassed by the super-smart hybrids.
We have recently created a new art work featuring both a hybrid and a normal bird, can’t wait to reveal the drawing to the public at the earliest opportunity.
2) Is there some rationale behind different birds having different types of cameras? Is there a different between them other than just how they look?
Yes, each species and CCTV gear have specific advantages and purposes. Smaller birds are primarily used for spying and following targets. Bigger ones can harass and even help capture suspects. Furthermore, each species carries specific hi-tech CCTV features. Some of the “cctvirds” have IRT (Infrared thermography) capabilities. Others a whopping 500x optical zoom, which allows the hybrid to read whatever you are writing on your computer from almost a mile away.
3) Are we going to get to see more about the CCTV birds? Like how they're made, how it became possible to do?
Yes, in issue 01, page 2, behind Commander Reese and his assistant we see an assembly line through a large glass but with issue 02, now in production, we are going to discover something even more chilling about first attempts to install CCTV devices on breathing creatures. Generally speaking Diego Blanda, the scriptwriter and I are keen to gradually reveal more about these society-changing creatures. Watch this space.
4) How did you go about selecting the artist for the series? There's no doubt that you got the right one, as it's stunning and detailed.
Three factors influence the way your art is going to look like: Your vision, your skills and experience and your contacts. For CCTVYLLE Comics I had a fairly clear vision. Realistic and tangible images, absolute, almost obsessive care for details, thin pencil/ink outline and slightly de-saturated colours. My skills and experience set the standard however finding excellent artists is not that easy. Luckily, one of my best friends, Giuseppe Franzella, happens to be one of the best comic artists in Italy and even though he was busy working for the biggest comics publisher there called Bonelli, he helped me find some amazing artists like Salvatore Porcaro (who now also work for Bonelli) and Deborah Allo.
More recently I also started collaborating with another very talented artist, his name is Vittorio Garofoli. He takes care of pencil and ink while I do all the colouring...Which requires an epic amount of work.
5) You mentioned in your Kickstarter campaign for issue 02 that this is the first mini-series. Does that mean you're already planning to do more? Can you let us know what we can expect going forward if you do?
CCTVYLLE is an ambitious project. Every announced end in most cases indicates that something new will start from that end, like a new chapter of a book. We do wish to deliver to our fans and readers a first complete story consisting of 5 episodes as soon as possible without compromising quality. What will happen after that? One thing that I’m willing to say is that we will not exclude the possibility to step up the level and collaborate with an established publisher. However, I prefer for now to concentrate on next final three issues of CCTVYLLE to make sure we keep up with the standard and strength so overwhelmingly acknowledged by the public so far. The response we have received by reviewers, comic cons visitors and online communities until recently are great encouragement for us.
6) How did you find the Kickstarter process and are you going to keep using it for the rest of the series?
Building and advertising a serious Kickstarter campaign is no joke, it really requires a considerable amount of time and some skills. However, all the work and time put into it paid off and our first ever campaign achieved a pretty successful result. Inevitably the idea to rely on the amazing support of fans and backers out there in the future is tempting and I cannot rule out that we might launch new campaigns in the future.
7) Apart from CCTVYLLE, do you have any plans for other comic series?
I am considering that, yes, I’ll be having some meetings soon, which could indeed lead to new projects. It would be far too early at this stage to provide details but things are certainly moving in that direction. The completion of the first CCTVYLLE mini-series is an important mile stone to reach and it will receive all the attention it deserves while the foundation of other projects is laid.