Get ready for some seriously adorable post-apocalyptic, purple creatures to take up space on your shelf and in your heart. Michelle Gish is expanding the world of her webcomic, We Are Here Forever, through a graphic novel that hits shelves July 30. A series of short comics follow the adventures and friendships of the Puramus, who take over Earth when humanity dies out.
Ahead of the graphic novel’s release, The Beat caught up with Michelle Gish via e-mail about creating the Puramus, telling different stories online and in print, her plans for the future, and some of her favorite comics creators.
Samantha Puc: Where did you first get the idea for Puramus and how did their world develop?
Michelle Gish: It’s a creature that I have already been doodling for a few years and I wanted to put them in a story. In terms of the plot, I wanted to include all of the things I enjoy in a story: funny and cute, yet dark and existential.
Puc: How do you choose names for your characters? They’re all so creative and so fitting.
Gish: I wanted the names to be random and silly! Some are more straightforward, like being named the items on their heads, but some decide to be named after an object or word they like. In the webcomic, some have regular human names as well! They have their own logic as to how they name themselves. If it’s one of the earlier years, some may have been named by humans.
Puc: Do you have a favorite character or story in this collection?
Gish: I really enjoy making stories in Purple Planet (which are the last 3 chapters of the book, as well as the chapter Reach in the webcomic) because I have free reign to be more creative. The plot and visuals can be more fun and imaginative!
Puc: Why did you choose to write additional content for the graphic novel that wasn’t already in your webcomic?
Gish: I wanted to give readers more content that they can enjoy. The webcomic is its own thing, so I figured I could do whatever I wanted with the book. The structure allows me to insert new stories, clues, and gems that I wasn’t going to put in the webcomic.
Puc: How would you feel about existing among the Puramus? Do you think they’d be excited to see a human again?
Gish: They would be so excited to see a human! The Puramus are friendly, sociable creatures, and didn’t mind living alongside the humans when they did. I would like to hang out with a few of them, but not too many. That would be a bit overwhelming!
Puc: What are your future plans for We Are Here Forever?
Gish: The webcomic will include many more chapters with wonky adventures! There is a planned ending to the webcomic, so expect to see reveals about the Puramus’ past and future on Earth!
Puc: Would you ever want to see this story realized as an animated series?
Gish: That would be awesome. I would be in a state of shock and disbelief if that were to ever happen.
Puc: Are your stories inspired by media, real life, a mix of both, or something else?
Gish: It’s a big list of things. A lot of the stories involve feelings that people might find relatable, such as feeling incomplete, wanting to be accepted, and trying our best. I like to use different settings so everyone can get something out of each story, even if it can get very goofy.
Puc: Do you have any other projects that you can talk about or tease?
Gish: Things are always in the works! I love writing, so I’m going to continue to make new comics and stories beyond We Are Here Forever. When the comic comes to a close, I will most likely start a new series.
Puc: Are there any comics or creators you’re really excited about right now, that you think our readers should check out?
Gish: There are a lot of amazing artists and creators out there, but I’ll mention a few that I admire at the moment:
- Sam Kim (@SamKimArtTweets), creator of the Webtoon Plum
- Luke Pearson (@thatlukepearson), creator of the comic and Netflix show Hilda, as well as other amazing comics that you should check out!
- Anna Syvertsson (@sparkleboob), creator of Rule Break and other awesome comics!
- Pseudonym Jones (@pseudonymjones), creator of many amazing comics and zines!
- Lottie Pencheon (@nonolottie), creator of Summer Break and Part Time Cafe Assistant!
Puc: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Gish: Follow me on all the places (@michellegish) for more updates and info about the book! Make sure to also follow Quirk Books (@quirkbooks) on social media for all things awesome!
Check out preview pages from the We Are Here Forever graphic novel below, courtesy of Quirk Books, and be sure to grab a copy when it hits shelves on July 30. To keep up with Michelle Gish, follow her across social media.