The Beauty is Image Comics’ latest smash hit series that dares to ask the odd question “What if physical beauty was a sexually transmitted disease?” In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is attainable. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but at what cost? We caught up with writer/artist Jeremy Haun and co-writer Jason A. Hurley to find out more.
STARBURST: Tell us about The Beauty?
Jason A. Hurley: The Beauty is a sexually transmitted disease that makes people beautiful. It’s hit the mainstream in a big way, and it’s one of the first diseases that people are actively trying to catch.
Jeremy Haun: The first arc followed police detectives Foster and Vaughn as they unravelled a conspiracy to hide the truth about the cost of the disease. The second arc opens the world of The Beauty up a bit. We’re taking a look at life and love in the criminal world of The Beauty.
How would you explain the premise to your grandmother?
Haun: Well, I’d probably sit her down in the kitchen, make her a nice cup of tea (she likes Sleepytime), and tell her “PLEASE DON’T READ THIS BOOK.” Like most grandmas, she likes to support me. While I’m pretty sure she’s seen some stuff and had her share of adventures, I’m not sure she could handle some of what we’re dealing with here in The Beauty. People get old. You don’t want to have to explain that your funny book might’ve been the reason for a loved one’s untimely demise.
Hurley: Oh, I wouldn’t, I haven’t, and I have absolutely no intention of doing so. I mean, Jeremy drew a LOT of weiners in there.
Where did the idea for The Beauty come from?
Haun: I was out in LA looking at all of the beautiful people and wanted to tell a story examining the lengths that we go to in order to look good. I got back from the trip and pitched the idea to the only other person I know that’s average looking enough to tell the story with me. After a four-hour car ride together, Hurley and I had almost all of the first arc figured out. The rest was history.
How inspired is it by real life issues?
Hurley: On a worldwide scale, it’s very inspired by the headlines that we see, the way celebrities are photoshopped and glamorized, and the way big pharmaceutical companies act in the public eye. On a personal level, Jeremy has far more experience with STDs than I do, so I’ll let him cover that one.
Haun: Some of us went to college, lived life, and came out the other side a more worldly individual. Some of us sat around and played a lot of Nintendo Virtual Boy. It’s a good thing one of us is writing what we know.
Why do the themes of sex and death make for such compelling stories?
Haun: Well, it’s the two things that most of us are really good at... most of us.
Hurley: It’s what most people want more than anything, and what most people dread more than anything. You can’t get much more compelling than that?
How did the book end up with Image?
Haun: I’ve had a relationship with Image since the beginnings of my career in comics, nearly fifteen years ago. My first few projects were Image books. Over the years, I found myself mostly working for Marvel and DC. While I loved working for the big two, I wanted to get back to doing creator-owned work. Telling my stories my way is where my heart is at. Image is the place to do that.
Hurley: We pitched the book to Image, and they got behind us in a big way. They’ve been great to work with, and have really let us do exactly what we want with the book.
Where do you predict the series will go?
Hurley: Well, we’re wrapping up the production side of things on the second story arc, and starting in on the third. Things are planned out to about five arcs right now, and more if we can swing it.
Haun: There are a lot of stories we can tell with this concept. More and more all the time. As for predictions, I’m thinking this thing is going to be bigger than the Beatles. I’m no fortune teller though.
Haun: We can’t talk about that, can we?
Hurley: No, that would be telling.
Haun: Mum’s the word. Sorry. I can’t say anything more than it’s really, really big. Like Mark Millar bragging big. But not another word.
What story do you still need to tell?
Haun: There’s a hell of a list of them. That’s the blessing and curse of being storytellers. We’ve both got some new things we’re working on, but for the time being, our main focus is The Beauty.
HURLEY: I think every writer has a notebook full of ideas that they’re always trying to work toward. Like Jeremy said though, The Beauty is the biggest thing on our plates right now.
Volume One of The Beauty is out now.SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
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