In “Illegal” I wanted to take that same sort of story - a girl from Mexico who has an abusive father and no future worth speaking of makes a split second decision with her mother to leave it behind in favor of a chance to do or be something better. But what I also wanted to do was bring in the current landscape of modern technology, government surveillance, and the increasingly ridiculous state of immigration reform in the US.
The thing that always bothers me about sci-fi stories is that we come in so late in the story. We only really see and learn about the government corruption and abuse when it threatens the life of our well to do young white and male protagonist. That’s not the beginning. First they isolate the outsiders: the poor, the sick, the powerless, the minorities. If the government is turning against the young strong white men, then a lot has already gone down. Where are the stories of the sick who were experimented on? Where are the stories of the minorities whose cries of racism were ignored? Where are the stories of the ones who aren’t missed when the government turns on them, because the government convinced you that their very presence was illegal?
What resulted was “Illegal”, a story about Gianna Delrey - a young woman who is living outside the system and in constant danger of being arrested and detained just for daring to exist in America. But the America she knows is one where the rich live high above the ground in rooftop villas and build themselves neighborhoods they never have to leave hundreds of feet in the air. One where the poor and undocumented are forced to live off the scraps and face constant harassment from the authorities.
But in a world where every move of every citizen is tracked - from their location to their purchases to who they meet - being invisible can present an interesting opportunity in the right hands. And when one of her upper class employers decides to turn on her, Gianna finds herself on the run and falling in with a group that deals in black market identities.
I wanted to see the insane chases through the skyscrapers the make up the city. I wanted to add elements of parkour and sci-fi action. In a world that’s packed full of people stacked into massive buildings, it’s possible to have a foot chase hundreds of feet in the air. Gianna will be jumping out of apartment skyscrapers and onto rooftop gardens with no net and no chance of rescue. Gianna and her new friends will be using the skyscrapers under which they’ve been buried as their paths weapons and escape routes.
When Jeremy pitched to me Illegal I was immediately grabbed by the concept, and the fact that GIanna was the female lead. For a while I had wanted to draw a comic with a woman main character, and I was glad that I was able to collaborate with Jeremy on the project. The script was very in depth and explored a lot of politics that we deal with today –racism, sexism, abuse, and the immigrant system. It was a very powerful piece that I think comic books fans today would thoroughly enjoy. Illegal is smart, daring, and different. It stood out to me, and I I am confident others will feel the same.
Crossing fingers. Nononono, MAKE IT HAPPEN.