Alternate realities often perform very well within the realms of literature and film. The thing about, “PET HUMAN” is that it takes a normal reality and topsy-turvies it onto its headtop. The illustrations by Alex Heywood really magnify the environment and delineate the details.
The story by David Guy Levy takes us through what it might be like if humans were similar to domesticated animals and what words, actions and thought processes might look like.
Check out our interview with the author David Guy Levy below
Fresh News Now: What has your journey been like?
David Guy Levy: I went to film school, graduated in ’03 & thought – How do I cut the line and not be someone’s assistant for 10 years? So I started producing my own indie films.
FNN: This project has been in the works for 2.5 years. Could you take us through some of that process?
DGL: It was very similar to making a movie where you have to put a team together and take your time – literally go shot by shot by shot through the entire story. Then you have to release it just like a movie – it was a very positive experience. I got to work with an indie label that really showed me how to do it.
“It was more like a calling card when I wrote it”David Guy Levy
FNN: What was your first experience within the comic book medium?
DGL: In 2005 I came across a script called Corn Boy. I showed it to everyone I could & it never got made. Before the rights lapsed, I talked to the writers and let them know we need to tell the story – let’s make a comic book. Atleast it’ll be beautiful. It’ll be exactly the vision we have. And it’ll be out there as a story. So that was my first experience with the medium.
FNN: So how did the idea for Pet Human originate?
DGL: In 2014 I was with my dog – it was the last year of his life. And I said – What do you think is even happening here? I had this trippy moment with my dog like – What is your life like? There’s a lot of things going on here that you just accept, but you don’t really understand.
Then I wondered what life would be like for me if I was on an alien planet and I was the pet. I was in a writing group at the time & we were all looking for stories, right? That was the idea I had in my head that week & I just started writing it from there.
FNN: What type of vibes were you searching for when seeking an illustrationist?
DGL: I was going for Jim Henson vibes combined with Maurice Sendak and Mobius.
FNN: How does your comic differentiate itself?
DGL: Comic books usually start with a really complex cover. Then every 15-20 pages, there’ll be a really detailed page. Then it’ll be a lot of ABCD 1234 quick panels & then back to a detailed page. That way, companies are able to get their books out rather quickly. But the vision we had was to make every page detailed.
“There’s almost like this, Where’s Waldo aspect to it. You can look at it, read the book, pick it up later & see 1000 creatures you hadn’t seen the first time around.”David Guy Levy
FNN: What turned you onto this trippy stuff? Was there something in your childhood – maybe Alice in Wonderland that flipped the switch & made you want to do something super radical?
DGL: I was dragged to the New York Film Festival as a five year old. I knew I wanted to be a storyteller. I knew my medium was film. It wasn’t until I was reading comic books when I realized there’s many mediums I can approach in this way. Back to the Future blew my mind. Also Holy Motors by Leos Carax – just the surreal stuff like Brazil by Terry Gilliam was huge for me.
“The stuff I want to focus on is the bizarre, curious, humorous, and pure.”David Guy Levy
FNN: In Pet Human – most of the words are not meant to be intelligible. If you could put meaning to some of the words what might they mean?
DGL: As I write the second book I will recall what I was trying to say. Phonetically, I liked how a word sounded and then I would go from there. The aliens are intentionally unlabeled. So what Buster (protagonist) won’t understand – we won’t understand.
FNN: I found the line, “Humans are so easily amused” quite humorous. At this current point in time, what might it take to simplify human stimulation?
DGL: I think it would take a solar blast that destroys all electronics. I have vivid memories of my childhood being a lot simpler and happier. I was okay with the quiet. I was okay with the silence and I was more in the now. Today, I really have to work toward that. On the flip side, as a storyteller I get to tell stories that I would have to ask for permission to tell before.
FNN: I can definitely relate to that. Have you guys given any thought to minting characters as NFTs?
DGL: This is a very expensive and time-consuming process. NFTs seem to be a very good solution to getting what you put into it back as a way to recoup your money. If NFTs are going to help us make our money back so we can make more books – let’s do it.
FNN: When Buster is traveling throughout this universe, setting up platforms so that he can climb over the ledge – was this reminiscent of the barbaric nature that we saw at the beginning of 2021 at our state’s Capitol?
DGL: That wasn’t on my mind but the great thing about art is that it typically comes out at a time when the universe dictates it should. As a reader the book is no longer in the storyteller’s hands. The book is whatever you take it to be – I do believe that what the reader is getting out of it is the truth.
FNN: How did you decide what objects to use for those climbing platforms?
DGL: The world we created on that planet is more ecologically friendly & sustainable. Things are advanced, but also rooted in an organic place where nature is still appreciated as much as the advancement of technology. I think the scene that you’re talking about is when he is searching for blue crystals.
FNN: There are a lot of unknowns – was this by design?
DGL: I purposely haven’t explained what some objects are exactly, I leave a few hints later in the book. In the second book, there’s going to be more explanation of what these things are. Because as a human by design, I wanted there to be things that he didn’t understand. And maybe the reader wouldn’t as well.
AUTHOR RECAP: Great questions man I like that – it was fun. This is my first interview for the story and normally it takes me a few interviews to get the answers built into my head.
The sequel is about a stray pet that doesn’t find a home on this planet. Make sure you tune in to the next edition as it ensures to be quite the spectacular ride!