Luca, your inspiration for the CCTVYLLE came from a dream you had as you have already informed us of in the prelude comic… Can you please elaborate on this?

I am a fervid dreamer, I often have visually complex and surreal dreams, this one occurred sometime in 2010. I woke up that morning and I could vividly remember my dream. I was walking in London Fields Park, which features some big plane trees, as I got closer to one of them and I noticed that some creatures were gathering on its branches. They seemed to be just birds but at a closer look I noticed that part of their body was weird, their head especially looked metallic or robotic. A few steps ahead I realised I was looking at what I now call “CCTVirds”, a mix of real bird and CCTV cameras gears.
I realised this was a powerful vision, a vision from a possible future, the vision was quite surreal of course….But that was absolutely perfect for me as an artist so I decided to sketch a few ideas and after a while I started the development phase.

In the prelude comic there is plenty to suggest that there is much more to this plot than meets the eye, so, Luca, how much can you tell us about how deep the rabbit-hole really goes?

Obviously there is no chance that I am going to provide spoilers but as some reviewers have rightly understood issue number 00 is just a taster, any assumption regarding who some of these people are and what may happen next could prove wrong. CCTVYLLE issue 01 will focus a lot more on the characters’ personality and psychology and the reader will start getting a proper grasp of what is really behind the hybrids and what is happening in CCTVYLLE, which is essentially London in the UK.

Just how long have you been working on CCTVYLLE?

I have been working on CCTVYLLE project as a whole for 3 years now. The project includes the ongoing production of visual art works, animation and obviously of the comics. The second exhibition of CCTVYLLE (After the launch in London) starts on the 20th of December and will take place this time in Italy.

And how did you go about recruiting the most suitable artists?

I knew that besides myself I needed more artists to work with me so I started taking a look at the work of people I knew and asked some friends to recommend artists of the highest level. I was lucky to find most of them relatively easily and I am extremely happy with everyone involved. Chanon Treenet deserves a special mention not only because of his great talent but because he has consistently and diligently worked with me for the past two years on both the fine art works and the 2D animation.
However, once again, I am equally happy with all others: Salvatore Porcaro, Deborah Allo (Comic artists), Natale Cracchiolo (3D artists) and the latest addition to the collective, the very talented Stefania Cordone.

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This could well be a cult classic in the making. What else has inspired you to write CCTVYLLE the way you have?

Good question. The answer I am about to provide could be also intended as a continuation of the very first one of this interview. Where I live there are so many street warders, cctv cameras mounted everywhere, including on top of specialised surveillance cars, it is literally impossible not to notice the massive surveillance system in place. Observing so much control on people and things moving in the streets is, quite frankly, overwhelming. I have very little doubt that this may have affected my dream, hence my vision of a dystopian future.
I do believe that CCTVYLLE has the potential to evolve into a successful series, it brings to life never seen before characters like the hybrids and despite falling into the sci-fi category CCTVYLLE tells stories and depicts scenarios that could become reality in 60 to 80 years from now. Furthermore CCTVYLLE offers an alternative to the usual and tired superhero paradigm, bringing to the readers passionate ordinary heroes fighting against extraordinary attempts to control society and individuals to a level never seen before.

Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of the innovative way you have represented ‘the birds’ in a world consumed by technology… Could these intelligent servants of a corrupt Right wing government not turn on the human race at any given moment?

In all honesty, since I got the idea from the dream described and the overwhelming surveillance systems dominating the streets where I live, “Birds” was not really something I thought of but I certainly see why some may think of the masterpiece by Hitchcock.
The Hybrids as they appear in the first issues are indeed designed and built to dominate and practically cage citizen of a city, will they become even more intelligent? Capable to defy the orders of their “Controllers”? Follow the comic series to find out 🙂 Surely Professor Hawkins’s latest warning that AI could be devastating to human kind is an intelligent observation.

Thanks to CCTVYLLE, fear is (quite literally) in the air… What emotions did you intend to induce in your readers?

Surveillance and related consequences is nothing new and people are more or less aware of the scale of control exercised on them by the system on many levels. For example via mobile phones tracking, Facebook and internet, cctv cameras etc. I believe that overall people put up with it because after all they can simply turn off their phone, delete the app or account of a recklessly invasive social media like Facebook or simply hide and relax at home, which people consider their own un-breachable domain. Well think again, when these hybrids will truly take over they will spy you through windows and walls when and where the least you‘ll expect it. There’ll be no privacy, not even in the shower. That is an extreme scenario that could happen. And while we talk about extreme scenarios imagine what may happen if right wing governments managed to come back to power as some recent symptoms seem to suggest.

Is it safe to assume that the lead character, Damien’s dreams are based on your personal experience? And are there any other aspects of the characters that are representative of your own personality traits?

Nothing is safe in the CCTVYLLE world, Dylan but it might be safe to say that Damien does have the gift of foreseeing events from the future through his dreams, I am now trying to emulate his hair-do and that tells me that CCTVYLLE can really inspire people on many levels :-).

Are Damien’s dreams actually premonitions as it would seem, or is there more to them than that?

As said before, Damien does have the gift of foreseeing events but he does not always get it right, his dreams are often the result of his own fears and passions, which have often to do with his delicate psychological state. Wait for some surprises.

Will CCTVYLLE be sold in shops or is it only available from your website (which is extremely professional and easily accessible by the way)?

Thanks, glad you like the web site, CCTVYLLE is currently for sale at several comic stores here in UK and in Italy. To mention some, CCTVYLLE can be found at Orbital Comics in central London and at Gosh Comics from January 2015. It is also available at Forbidden Planet’s owned Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham and in several comic book shops in Italy too.

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Why did you opt to have the comic in a larger scale?

Oh the reason is rather simple, we really wanted to avoid scaling down the art works and we wanted the reader to be able to enjoy every single detail (we so hardly worked on) at its real size.

The pictures, especially those of the hybrids, have already gained high praise. Can you tell us about the CCTVYLLE art exhibitions? How did it all begin?

CCTVYLLE has been a multidisciplinary project from the outset. We strongly believe that art forms should interact and intersect, CCTVYLLE brings together fine art, comics, animation & moving images allowing one to feed the other. CCTVYLLE narrative is expressed via the comics and the animation / film language while the art works offer an almost instantaneous revelation of the concept, the aesthetic and the vision of the project.

What exactly do the art exhibitions accomplish in terms of the comic?

In our exhibition the comics are prominently featured not only with the printed books but with large scale prints of some pages and even original storyboards.
The exhibition represents yet another platform to increase exposure and bring to people the narrative aspect of the CCTVYLLE project.

Thank you for your time, Luca, it has been a pleasure talking with you.
CCTVYLLE prelude issue 00 and issue 01 are both available to buy in selected comic-shops and on the remarkable website at, 

http://www.cctvylle.com/the-project/

You will have a chance to meet Luca Bonomo at the upcoming (Summer 2016) London Film and Comic con, just look for the CCTVYLLE STALL.

 

By Dylan Butcher.