Interview: Life is Strange Comic Writer Emma Vieceli Talks Representation

Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix’s episodic adventure game Life is Strange became a hit with critics and fans when it was released episodically throughout 2015. Telling the story of Max Caulfield and Chloe Price, it was praised for its unique time manipulation gameplay mechanic and its strong writing. While the game ended with two possible endings, the Titan Comics’ adaptation picks up after Max chose to save Chloe.

Featuring parallel worlds, romance triangles and plenty of new and old faces, the comic has lived up to the original game and its prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm. recently spoke to Emma Vieceli, the writer of the comic series, about getting to pen new situations for such iconic characters and about the series’ excellent LGBT representation.

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Check out our chat with the writer behind the wonderful Life is Strange comic below: You’ve worked on some amazing franchises. Is there much pressure when you’re taking on a series that has characters that are as beloved as Max and Chloe? How satisfying is it to know how positive the reception to the comic has been and that the fanbase has embraced your depictions?

Emma Vieceli: Absolutely. There’s always a pressure there, not least of all when it’s a title I am such a fan of myself. I want to do right by players, the characters, those who put faith in me writing and the creators of the original. So yes, the reaction has been just wonderful, I can’t express how much.

Max and Chloe have such a beautiful romance. Can you talk a bit about what that means to you to be furthering that in the comics? There are some really vulnerable and tender scenes that are just as emotional as the game.

It means a lot to me. A whole lot. It’s no secret now that I was thrown a loop when we got extended after the first four issues. I think I went through the same grieving process as some of the readers, initially…unable to believe that I’d had to switch course from my original plan.  But, oh boy, I wouldn’t change where we are now. Having this extra time to explore and to really take our time with building what these two mean to each other is so rewarding and will make the outcome all the richer. At this stage, the journey is the key. Telling a love story across worlds is special, but the analogy to processing our emotions and learning who we are is doubly so. Not to mention all the time we’ve had to look at other stories in the interim!

Life is Strange comic

I also wanted to get your thoughts on what it means to have queer representation on such a large platform. Fans are very appreciative and I have to imagine that is rewarding as a writer and contributing to that.

It’s everything. Malin Ryden and myself have spent almost a decade telling BREAKS – our queer mystery drama webcomic. We do it quietly and in the niche spaces because, when we were first looking for a home for it, publishers weren’t ready. The industry, and the world, has changed a lot since then and I can only feel happy at that. We’ve still a way to go, but to have in my hands a mainstream title like Life is Strange that is unashamedly queer, and to never have been questioned about that by my publishers, or felt forced to justify that, or highlight that as a “feature” is so far from where we were in the early days of BREAKS. Love is love is love. Who you love, your choice to love, or not to love. Who you are and how much of yourself you share. How you present yourself; your choices. They’re all YOU. They’re all US. They’re not a story gimmick or something to be explained or ever, ever ashamed of; they’re part of the rich tapestry of life.

Music is such a huge part of the game series, and you’ve done a great job of making sure that music is still seen and is a part of Max and Chloe’s life. While there are limitations to how that is conveyed due to the medium, how important was it to have that represented in some form?

The original game soundtrack was so standout. You can’t hear those songs and not see scenes from the game; feel that emotion again. So yeah, the music is always in my head as I write. Hard to get that into the comics, for sure, but having the High Seas means we can play with that connection a little.

With the parallel universes and the time that has passed since the game, you’ve been able to create some great original characters that feel right at home in the universe. Is it difficult to find that type of balance and would you like to see one of your creations in a future game if it made sense?

I mean, I would love very little more than seeing Tristan or the High Seas turn up in a game! I suspect the chances are very slim, but just to know we’ve added characters to the world of Life is Strange means so much already.

A huge thank you to both Titan Comics for setting up the interview and Emma Vieceli for taking the time to speak with us. The fourth collected volume of the comic is available now and so is a hardcover box set of the first three volumes.

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