…………………………The following scenes have been deleted due to their graphic nature and content……… LOL, Just joking! Really people you know by now that these interviews are completely painless. So read on and enjoy…..Hey, Massaikur! Don’t forget that spot over there! Oh, Bleep the Bleeping recorder is still on. BLEEP!
1. Levi can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 24-year-old freelance illustrator trying to make a living off of his art. I graduated college a year and a half ago, and I’m looking for a steady job with a game studio or a comic book publisher. I’m interested in mediums where I can tell a story or describe an experience with my art.
Hobbies? I enjoy the usual: books, music, games (Skyrim is calling my name right now, I think). But Art takes up the biggest chunk of my life. Either I’m on the computer painting, or sketching in a notepad somewhere.
2. When did you first start playing Halo?
I started my own save with Halo: Combat Evolved about a year after it came out, though I had been wooed earlier than that at friends’ houses. Back then, the graphics were so impressive for its time – I thought I had strayed into a dream.
3. Of all the Halo series games, do you have a favorite, which one and why?
I really like the core trilogy and its experiences. Halo Wars, Reach, and especially ODST are fantastic spin-offs and build onto what Halo can be about, but Master Chief is where the magic happens. Halo 3 is currently my favorite for its epic battles, but Halo C.E. started this whole journey, and Halo 2 expanded the universe by leaps and bounds. Heh, I sort of drift between a favorite depending upon my mood.
4. What are your favorite UNSC and Covenant weapons to use?
Hmm, I really like the feel of the Halo 3 SMG, but the Brute Shot is a lot of fun too. The grenade launcher in Reach is sort of a successor to that, and I love that gun. Alternate fire modes? That’s a great thing to introduce into Halo.
5. Do you have a preference for any multi-player game types?
Slayer is always fun, but I love objective modes. I’m a big fan of Invasion. I like fighting for something – I think it lends to crazier, more memorable experiences.
6. How much Halo do you play on a daily basis?
Ooh, daily? I’m afraid I don’t play everyday anymore. Too busy! I was playing Reach almost every night for a couple of hours for those first six months or so, and back in the day I’d play Halo 2 online to no end. But these days, there’s just not enough time. I’m actually too busy sketching Halo to actually play it!
When I do get to play the ol’ 360 though, there always tends to be a Halo disc nearby.
7. How long have you been a member of the halo community?
I’ve been active on the Halo.Bungie.Org forums since some time after Halo 2 came out, but I didn’t really start contributing to the community until my comic “A Sangheili’s War Is Never Over” a couple of years ago. We put up a copy of it on the Fistful of Arrows site as an extra actually (http://leviathan.bungie.org/).
8. When you created Fistful of arrows, where did the idea for the story come from?
Well, obviously Reach left a big space open for me by staying quiet on what happened to Jun and Halsey after they left Sword Base. The only thing we knew was that Halsey would get to Castle Base alone not that much later, so I had this window to fill in with my own story.
After I had beaten the campaign a couple of times, I’d doodle ideas for what could have happened to Jun while I waited to be sorted into a Matchmaking game – how he might have lived or died on the footsteps of Menachite Mountain.
9. From start to finish how long did it take to make Fistful of arrows?
I started planning out the story and posting the first few pages in October, 2010, and finished in November, 2011. So just a tad over a year, working on it a few days a week. Each page took about a full day of work, on average.
10. Are there any pages/scenes that took longer to draw then the rest of the comic?
Oh yes, Page 66 jumps to mind (http://leviathan.bungie.org/afoa/archives/366). It’s a silent page of pure action between Jun and three Sangheili. I’d been dreaming of that page for some time, and I wanted it to be perfect. Took me about a week to do!
Surprisingly, the two-page spreads actually took just as long as a normal page, because there were no panels breaking up the focus – I could just sit down and paint until it was done.
11. For Fistful of arrows, did you write a script or use a different approach/process?
I had a script that had a lot of the meaty conversations in it, that would be revised over and over as I made my way through the story, but I didn’t put any of the actions or descriptions of the visuals in it; it was just pure dialogue.
Instead, what really helped me with the visuals was story-boarding the whole comic. I thumb-nailed every page numerous times to get the pacing and angles right. Some pages I’d sketch a dozen or so times before finding the right way to describe the scene.
12. Do you have a favorite page?
I’m very happy with my Menachite Mountain and Quezon two-page spreads. I also really like the climatic pages where Jun jumps from his sniper-perch to save Halsey, and the pages depicting the ship battle early on in the comic.
13. Is there any chance Fistful of arrows will be printed or will it stay a digital comic?
We got one copy printed for a charity auction with proceeds going to Child’s Play a few months ago… But if you’re asking about a full-scale printing? I’d of course love it, but it would take convincing 343i to do so (and accept the story as canon in the process), as I don’t have the money to fund such an endeavor.
14. It looks like you have started a new project that can be seen on the HBO forums, can you tell us a little about that?
Sure. “Halo: Shield and Sword” is the title I’ve given to my own personal Halo 4. It’s a ‘what-if?’ sort of thing, just for fun. I’ve loved sketching out and planning what the next Halo might be ever since the original, so I decided to make it public this time and put in a little more work.
It’s not a comic. Instead, it’s a collection of concept art, storyboards, character designs, and a lot of my ramblings as I take you through what I think could happen in Halo 4, from the main menu to the ending credits.
Right now, only the first post is up and that’s detailing the menus (http://carnage.bungie.org/haloforum/halo.forum.pl?read=1125639), but I’ve attached a sample of the storyboards from a coming update, with Chief looking out a window aboard the Forward Unto Dawn at the Forerunner planet from the Legendary ending of Halo 3.
15. Have you ever thought of making a machinima/cartoon or will you stick with comics being your medium of choice?
I’d love to do storyboards, matte paintings or even the backgrounds for an animation/motion comic or film, but I’ve never been too interested in personally going out there and making a machinima, but I enjoy watching them like everyone else.
The main reason I think I’ve used comics as my medium so far is because I can do it 100% by myself, with no waiting, and with no funding. I can directly tell a story to the audience, with nothing in between except all the artwork I have to do.
16. When it comes to game franchises does Halo have something that others do not?
I think it balances a wide range of different ideas. Halo isn’t just about one thing. Sure, there are a lot of explosions and shooting things, but behind that there is a story of humanity, aliens, and ancient civilizations. It’s about war, mystery, and pure science fiction. It’s military and fantasy; it’s game play and art – all at the same time.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen another franchise include so many disparate things, and yet keep them all unified and of such high-quality.
17. As far as Halo community creations are concerned what do you hope to see in the next 10 years?
Now that’s an interesting question. I really can’t imagine what Halo will be like in another 10 years. I guess the community would still be as creative as ever, making new things to explore and new ways to play.
Whether the community has grown or gotten smaller, I’m sure it will still be bursting with energy and creativity.
18. The release of Halo 4 is this year, is there anything that interests you over all?
I guess I’m just really looking forward to being surprised and experiencing Halo in a fresh, new way.
19. Are you in agreement with chief not wearing a cod piece or would you rather see him wearing the ‘Bungie diaper’ ?
Hah, I think maybe a compromise between the two might be best.
20. If you designed Master Chief’s armor what would that look like?
Actually, I took a stab at revising the Mark VI for Halo 4 in my Shield and Sword project –here’s a preview:
*End Note: The interrogators of this interview, Massaikur and PAraNoia817, are not sadistic people and we do not torture our interviewees (much)…Levi, Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with us and letting us share it with both our own fans, as well as, yours. Best of Luck to you!