Much like vampires and zombies in past years, kids on bikes with flashlights have become a defining force of popular horror. Stranger Things is a streaming TV sensation. It broke box office records. Paper Girls has multiple Eisner Awards. There’s a hungry audience that flocks to these stories, and Oni Press is getting in on the action with March’s Morning In America, a new miniseries by writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Claudia Aguirre. The cover of Morning In America indicates that this book is going to have a cheekier tone than those other horror adventures, and the attitude these creators established on their Black Mask series, Kim & Kim, helps their story stand apart.
“This is my first real foray into something resembling horror, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it that, and it’s a much quieter story than Kim & Kim,” says Visaggio. “I wanted to do a book about kids biking around in the dark with flashlights. It’s that simple. I had an image in my head and sort of worked backwards from that, bringing in a lot of the kind of storytelling I love: kids on adventures, impossible odds, taking matters into their own hands, with a strong dollop of Stephen King’s It in there. There’s a lot to this book that’s stuff I wanted to do in Quantum Teens Are Go that never happened—just wanting to do this retro-infused adventure kid story.”
Aguirre has worked with Visaggio as a colorist on Kim & Kim and Quantum Teens Are Go, and they’ve developed a personal and creative rapport that makes them especially passionate about the material. “I love Claudia to death,” says Visaggio. “We talk all the time, and refer to each other as ‘comics wives.’ I’ve worked with her on Kim & Kim and Quantum Teens Are Go before this, and she always brings something special to the book. Her visual style is immediately identifiable—bright, rich colors awash in bold pinks and other eye-catching shades. You can spot her a mile away. And she’s a workhorse; she turns around high-quality work on the tightest turnarounds.”
“Mags is incredibly dynamic and flexible,” says Aguirre. “Her scripts always fast paced and full of lovely details and clues to the story. I also love having the creative freedom to construct a world that is truly ours, and that we can communicate very effortlessly on what will make the art work well with the story.”
“This is our first project where she’s handling every aspect of the art, and I just adore what she can do,” says Visaggio. “Her characters are expressive, beautifully costumed, and superbly acted. And she has great dramatic instincts that always serve the story well.”
These exclusive preview pages from Morning In America #1, on sale March 6, reveal the depth of Aguirre’s skill as a visual storyteller, immediately imbuing these characters with distinct personalities. Much of that personality comes from fashion, and one of the most exciting things about the project for Aguirre is the opportunity to dive into ’80s style. “I absolutely love drawing the girls and their style of fashion,” says Aguirre. “Ellen’s personality is always prominent in her clothes and style, and especially the little details like their choices of bands, accessories and decoration. All of them together tell the story of who they want to be, the hopes of better things to come.”