Ilias Kyriazis Gets His Wish With Humanoids’ “What We Wished For”

What We Wished For cover crop

When it comes to the upcoming graphic novel What We Wished For from Humanoids, writer/artist Ilias Kyriazis started wish first.

“As soon as I thought of the main concept I made a huge list of possible wishes, picked six of them (six being a manageable number of main characters) and started building on that,” Kyriazis told Comic Book Club over email. “I wanted wishes that would ring true as children’s desires and that would have the potential to completely derail an adult’s life.”

In the book, six friends get the chance to wish for whatever their heart desires as kids. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond their control, they miss their chance… And then, several decades later, the wishes start coming true. How this impacts and changes their lives in both small and seismic ways is what we follow over the course of the graphic novel.

In advance of the release tomorrow (July 9), we discussed some of the major ideas of the book, as well as how he tackles things as both writer and artist.

Comic Book Club: This book is so intricately structured… What came first: the wishes? The characters? A mix of both?

Ilias Kyriazis: Oh, definitely the wishes! As soon as I thought of the main concept I made a huge list of possible wishes, picked six of them (six being a manageable number of main characters) and started building on that. I wanted wishes that would ring true as children’s desires and that would have the potential to completely derail an adult’s life. I also mixed in “small,” inconsequential wishes and ones that’d have a lot of impact on the supporting cast’ lives. The goal was to have variety, each character’s journey being unique.

Similarly, since you’re tackling both art and writing, where do you start? And as an artist, do you find you’re tweaking your story as you start to draw?

I had a very clear idea what the book would look like thus I avoided for the longest time to put pencil to paper. I believe I’ve only drawn a handful of head sketches by the time I had a finished script. I didn’t want to get sucked in the drawing part and I didn’t want to -say- start inflating a character’s part just because I liked drawing them. Once the script was done I more or less stuck to it, only adding a few pages so I’d have extra splashes.

I’ve found that when I’m both writing and drawing it works best for me to separate the two. They’re consecutive steps in visualizing one person’s story, no reason to mix them up. When I’m only doing one of the two… then I prefer a back and forth collaboration, as you’re trying to mix two people’s visions.

Getting back to the wishes, they have to work both as a child’s dream, and an adult’s. Were there any in particular that were hard to crack?

Wishing for love was a tricky one. A third person now has to love you because you wanted to? Any of the wishes that were made for other people had to be carefully depicted. It’s an important theme of the book how what we do affects others.

The story does go in some dark places but on the other hand it’s offset by the joy of being awesome at skating.

You’re tackling some very present issues in terms of some severe skewering of the so-called men’s rights movement. Why was that an important plotline for the book?

It wasn’t the plan to broach that subject when I first started the book but this is where the character’s wish took me and I believe it ended up being maybe my favorite plotline in the comic. Obviously, it’s a matter that concerns me. I’m a man, I like being a man and I hate men being belittled and taken advantage of by hucksters and con men. Also, a woman wanting to be in that environment is a fascinating paradox to me.

I sometimes had to reign it in because I could easily fill a book about that. Taking real issues, real problems men face, and building a woman-hating club out of them is vile.

You’ve also set your characters in “late 40s” – why was that the right age for them?

I wanted them to be as far as possible from childhood to maximize the contrast between then and now but on the other hand this is a deeply personal story and it wouldn’t feel true to me to write about people much older than me. I’m in my mid 40s so I kept the main characters in that age.

Classic question, but if you personally could have one of these wishes, which would you choose?

Of the six in the book? I believe the worst person of the main cast is the worst exactly because of the way he misuses what’s probably the “best” wish of them – the one for power.

What We Wished For is in bookstores everywhere July 9, 2024 from Humanoids.

What We Wished For

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