K. Patrick Glover and Amanda Hayes Discuss The Invisible Skein


K. Patrick Glover, is a regular contributor to Hypergeek, and writes the weekly ‘Four Color Memories’ column, about comic book nostalgia.

Together with Amanda Hayes, Kevin recently launched the webcomic The Invisible Skein, a story that centers around the theme of conspiracy theories and urban legends, featuring the characters Robert “Digger” Deveraux, an ex-FBI agent, and his field agent Ali Leighter.

As the series has now been running for just over a month, we decided to catch up with Kevin and Amanda and find out a bit more about this project, and how they are enjoying their foray into the world of webcomics.

K. Patrick Glover
  • Let’s start with the most obvious question first, what is an/the Invisible Skein?

KPG: Well, a skein is basically something long, wound in a loose coil. For instance, yarn is sold in skeins. In past times the word was used a bit more flexibly, for things that interconnect in long and twisted patterns. In this case, The Invisible Skein is a hidden pattern of connections that lies beneath the surface of all the urban legends and conspiracy theories that permeate modern society.

  • How would you describe this story to the uninitiated, say on the dust-jacket of the collected edition?

KPG:A riotous romp? Actually, one of the few things I’m really uncomfortable writing is cover copy, it always feels kind of silly to me. If asked in conversation, I usually say it has elements of The X Files or more accurately The Lone Gunmen but told with the sensibility of something like Moonlighting or Castle. And a pinch of Scooby Doo thrown in the mix.

  • The protagonists of the story are Ali Leighter and Robert Devereux Can you tell us a little bit about them?

KPG:Not much without spoiling a couple of major story arcs. Robert is a former FBI agent, now living underground as this weird, counter-culture internet figure known as Digger. He never leaves his house and the authorities have no idea who or where he is. Ali is his field agent, she does all the leg work. The relationship is part Nero Wolfe / Archie Goodwin and part Doctor / companion.

  • The first story arc ‘Not loving the Alien’ involves the team investigating reported alien abductions in Iowa. Can you tell us much about the direction this story is set to go in?

KPG:Well, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying the little gray guy running around isn’t really an alien. What’s actually going on? Nope, not saying. I will mention that coming story lines feature a haunted house, reptilians, black magic and the 911 attacks.

  • Who or What would you say is your greatest influence as a writer?

KPG:It’s tempting to start rattling off names of my favorite writers, but the honest answer here is everything I’ve ever read or seen and everyone I’ve ever met. They all go into the melting pot.

  • As a follow-up question, what inspired you to write this particular story, and what would you say it was influenced by? (Notes the ‘Mulder was right’ poster).

KPG:I tried to write a variation of this as a novel about 7 or 8 years ago. What I had was the agoraphobic FBI agent living in a cabin in the woods, and a young woman who comes to him for help. In that version he was an expert in occult crimes and the story was essentially about a serial killer. The only thing that worked in it was the relationship between the agent and the young woman. The story didn’t work at all. So I scrapped the project, but that whole mentor / protégée relationship stuck in the back of my brain.

The primary influence on wanting to do a webcomic was FreakAngels by Warren Ellis. No question about that. But the story was actually reworked from that failed attempt at a novel.

  • As the first webcomic that you have written, what would you say the greatest challenges have been?

KPG:Well first off, I’m not a web developer. I have very little in the way of HTML skills and I struggle a lot with basic stuff. So the technical aspect has been very challenging. Pacing has been something I’ve tried to keep an eye on. Every page needs to feel like a good stopping point when you’re only posting a page at a time and that’s a lot tougher than it looks.

Also, as the writer, I have to constantly remind myself that I’ve got the easy job. I can pound out a page of script in a really short period of time. It takes Amanda hours to turn those words into pretty pictures and I have to struggle to keep that in mind.

  • How many pages are in the first story arc, and what date will that take us up to?

KPG:Each “issue” runs 35 pages, although there may be arcs that run through multiple issues. We’ve just decided to cut our posting back to two pages a week to give Amanda a little more breathing room and to let us work on another project as well. That should bring the first issue to a close around the end of March

  • How far ahead do you have the story planned out?

KPG:Six issues are firmly outlined at this point. I’ve got rough plans for the following three.

  • Are you going to make ‘issues’ or collections of the webcomic available to buy as each arc is completed?

KPG:Yes. Print singles will be available shortly after the conclusion of each story and trades collecting several issues at a time will be available down the road.

  • Are you working on anything else right now?

KPG:Yes, we’re working on a graphic novel that we can’t say much about yet. We’re actually pitching this one to a print company so there won’t be any announcements until all that legal type stuff is sorted out.

Amanda Hayes
  • Is this the first comic project that you have worked on?

AH: Yes, or at least it’s the first one that has ever made it beyond my sketchbook!

  • How did you come to be involved with this project?

AH: Kevin just asked me one day if I would be interested in illustrating a web comic for him, and I had always wanted to try doing something like that, but I could never come up with a story I felt happy with.

  • What sort of challenges have you faced so far?

AH: Time management, I am terrible at setting and keeping a schedule, and I get very easily distracted.

  • What artists influence your style?

AH: I’d say that Disney is my biggest influence. I grew up watching the films and that’s why I started drawing, to recreate my favorite characters.

  • With the character design, how much was specified by Kevin, and how much was down to you?

AH: With Ali he was more descriptive in how he saw her, he described her as a curvy, tough, punk/goth girl who was into skateboarding and free running, and she HAD to have blue hair. Even with all of that I still went through a lot of concept sketches before I got to the final version of Ali. With Robert, he didn’t have anything in particular in mind, but I knew exactly what he should look like almost immediately.

  • How do you produce your artwork? I.E. Do you work traditionally or digitally, and what programs and tools do you use?

AH: Usually I sketch things out on paper, then scan them and color them in Photoshop.

  • Where else can we see your artwork, and are you working on anything else right now?

AH: I post a lot of my sketches on DeviantArt.com (whogirl9.deviantart.com) I am working on another project with Kevin, but we can’t say too much about it yet!

  • Is there anything else you would like to say to fans?

AH: Thank you all for reading the comic, and for your nice comments!

Thanks to Kevin and Amanda for joining us today, and remember to head over to http://theinvisibleskein.com/ to read the comic.

Related posts:

  1. The Invisible Skein Goes Live - a New Webcomic by K. Patrick Glover and Amanda Hayes
  2. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Eighth, In Which We Briefly Look Forward and Not Back
  3. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Ninth, in Which Who is Most Definitely Not on First
  4. ‘Four Color Memories’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Seventh, In Which We Speak With Gerry Conway
  5. ‘Four Color Memories’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment The Sixth, In Which We Happily Spend Money Like Good Little Consumers


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