Comics to Buy for November 1Matt Lesniewski’s new comic, FACELESS AND THE FAMILY, is out this week via Oni Press, delivering perhaps the most singular comic of the year. Everything from the stunning design aesthetic to the character’s honest motivations sets this one aside, making it a real stunner and a must-read.

And ahead of its release (out now!), Lesniewski was kind enough to take some time out to discuss the new book with The Beat. Check out our conversation below!


ZACK QUAINTANCE: This story is set on basically a hand floating in space (which made me think of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld…). What made this an interesting setting for this story?

MATT LESNIEWSKI: The Hand Planet was a world I dreamt up while writing another story that never worked out. I knew the idea was too good to let die so I saved it. Fast forward to working on Faceless and the Family, it was originally set in a nondescript desert where characters would all encounter an abandoned house, and that was it. Eventually the story evolved and I needed to expand the world and I remembered the Hand Planet. It instantly felt right. It was already a desert in a lot of ways. And it just worked as a story world. Everything starts in The Palm, where all the common, everyday people reside who we relate to. And eventually a journey takes place across the desert all the way to the finger cities that are larger than life and also not easy to gain entrance to. It was just set up for stories from the start.

ZACK: I felt like breaking from a rut or starting to question your circumstances was a major theme in the book. How aware of that theme were you while creating this story?

MATT: There’s definitely some of that going on, especially for Faceless. He eventually comes to a point where he’ll no longer waste his days just surviving and chooses to forge ahead, despite the risks he may face. He won’t endanger his family, but the story opens with him being done with the routine he’s put himself in and is finally ready to deal with whatever new challenges will come his way. He doesn’t even have a tangible goal in the very beginning aside from just taking the first step in whatever is next, moving forward and being done with the situation he was dealing with. He’s finally ready to live or die.


ZACK: Similarly, I also felt like understanding each other’s experiences and accepting them as important was a major theme — how aware of that were you?

MATT: It’s a big part of the story. Each of the main characters are odd balls on the fringes of society within this world and never felt they were able to be themselves. It’s the main thing that ties them together and how they relate. Through that they’ve formed a new type of family.


ZACK: The designs in this book are really intricate and impressive. How did you design these characters, and how (if at all) difficult was it to keep their looks consistent as action unfolded?

MATT: The designs were a mix of functionality and style. A combination of what works and makes sense mixed with what looks cool and is fun to draw. Faceless and the Family went through several iterations. I knew he needed a disguise of some kind (for obvious reasons), and eventually it hit me that utilizing his environment was a combination of what I mentioned above. He used the pipes around him as a mask/helmet and a melee weapon so he could finally take on the world. I could also visualize a lot of his look before even sketching it. I wanted his look specifically to be distinct. I might not have a crystal clear idea of what a character might look like, but a semi solid view of them is usually needed in my head before putting pencil to paper. I usually do a lot of the work in my head, then work out the final details in a series of sketches. Keeping them consistent within a lot of action can be a fun challenge, especially these characters. There’s a lot going on with them. So many objects and shapes that all need to make sense to some degree within this reality. It’s part of the fun though.


ZACK: Finally, looking ahead, what can you say about where this story goes? This issue felt very much like an assembling the crew sort of chapter, and I was wondering if that’s how it functions?

MATT: Yeah it’s definitely getting things together and connecting the main characters. If you’re not on board at this point, you probably won’t be going forward. I think that’s the best way to set up an issue one. The characters are all there, the journey is set in motion and the way things are headed and why should be pretty clear by the last page.

See what Faceless and the Family #1 is one of our Top Comics to Buy this week!