Interview - Dino Caruso (Blue Hour)

Blue Hour is more than just a tale about being sad for an hour. It's about a group of disillusioned human colonists seeking refuge on a desolate planet in a remote binary star system. The Blue Hour is when the yellow sun sets and leaves only a blue son. Writer Dino Caruso was gracious enough to talk to Omnicomic about that hour and comics in general.

Omnicomic: Where did the concept for Blue Hour come from?

Dino Caruso: I had written a script that I was referring to as a "sci-fi western". I was really interested in trying to blend those genres and see what happened. It was a fun story to work on. I showed it to Chad, and he expressed an interest in it. I enjoyed the process of working together with him and re-shaping the story to appeal to both of our sensibilities. He contributed the title and the mythology behind it, which added a strong sense of history to the setting. So, I guess you could say that the concept originated with me...but ultimately it's a product of working together with Chad (and the team) to create something unique.

Omnicomic: Humanity always seems to be looking for something better no matter the costs. How much of Blue Hour is rooted in history of various civilizations throughout the world?

Caruso: I don't think that I consciously borrowed from history, but I'm sure that the fiction or non-fiction that I'm familiar with seeped in by osmosis. I think that the story of settlers in a new world or new frontier is a classic, iconic concept that we're all familiar with. There are certain tropes that always seem to find their way into such a tale.

Omnicomic: Have either of you always been drawn to science-fiction in general?

Caruso: I've always been very fond of science-fiction. In particular, Star Trek and Star Wars have absorbed a lot of my time and thoughts over the years. Comics, TV shows, movies, books...sci-fi has been ever-present since I was a kid. I think it's the fun of speculating about how things will unfold in the future that drives a lot of my interest in the genre. Each creator brings their own approach to it. It's fascinating to compare different stories and look for influences.

Omnicomic: Comics have a reputation for being about superpowered individuals. What about the medium do you think it is that gives it leeway to be about some many other great stories and themes (such as those in Blue Hour)?

Caruso: The combination of words and pictures can accomplish amazing things. I'm a fan of superhero books, but I also like many different kinds of genres. I always appreciate when creators don't feel restrained by the medium they're working in, and tell the story they feel passionate about. Will Eisner is a great example of a creator who used the medium to tell a wide variety of stories. In comics, anything is possible.

Omnicomic: Comics as an industry has transformed significantly from the days of just Marvel and DC. What do you see as the next big shift (if any) for the medium in the near future?

Caruso: Well, I'm not sure if this counts as a big shift, but I'm very enthused and encouraged about the availability of comics in the public library. I think it's a great way for new readers to check out the medium without making a financial commitment. Hopefully, it can hook new readers and get them to check out their local LCS. I'm also really happy about all the different options there are for kids to read comics. Superhero books are great, but it's also nice to see all the different genre choices there are in comics for younger readers.

Omnicomic: Action Lab Entertainment is a smaller publisher but they’re no stranger to publishing comics that allow them to stand out. How did you the partnership between you and Action Lab Entertainment come to fruition?

Caruso: I think Action Lab is a very exciting publisher. They have a diverse collection of books coming out and they treat their creators and readers very well. I'm honoured to be associated with them, and I'm really glad they liked what Chad and I (and the team) put together. I'm very impressed with the various imprints that they have...they've got books for younger readers, books for mature audiences, and books for everyone in between. I was lucky enough to be able to hang out at the booth last year at Fan Expo in Toronto, and it was busy!

Omnicomic: Anything you want to plug while you have the floor?

Caruso: I'm going to have a few stories appear in anthologies this year. In particular, I'd like to plug the story I worked on which appears in Yonge At Heart (the newest anthology from the fine folks at Toronto Comics). Meagan Moynagh and I partnered up to tell the tale of one of my favourite events in Blue Jays history. She did a great job, as did the entire team.