I’m supposed to write something about VEDA: Assembly Required to help sell the book. I don’t know how to sell anyone anything.
Normally we’d just run quotes from various glowing reviews of the book and use that to sell it. “See? All these wonderful people whose names you know like this book and you will too!” But so far we’ve been unable to get anyone to review the book or give us quotes – Here’s a secret about comics: Everyone is incredibly busy all of the time.
Instead you just get me, the writer and co-creator of the book, talking about VEDA.
VEDA: Assembly Required is an all-ages story published by darkhorsecomics about a little girl that lives in a factory who is raised by machines. It echoes both The Jungle Book and The Graveyard Book. As a child I watched Disney’s adaption of The Jungle Book (later discovering Rudyard Kipling’s stories) and as an adult I read (and reread) The Graveyard Book about 20 times.
Veda’s story started out as a simple writing exercise. If The Jungle Book was about an orphan being raised by animals and The Graveyard Book by neil-gaiman was about an orphan being raised by the dead, what other locations and nontraditional families could you use? Immediately, I settled on a factory.
(Can I just say that The Graveyard Book is kinda my favorite thing ever? If you haven’t read it, please do.)
I grew up with a blue collar background, my Dad worked at both McDonnell Douglas and Boeing (major aerospace manufacturers) in the maintenance department. I knew about factories and unions and labor strikes combined with a near fethisistic love for the visual aesthetic of well-used machinery – I had a setting. The setting informed the character.
The character had to be a girl. Mowgli and Nobody Owens were both male. I decided that the world didn’t need ANOTHER story about an orphaned little boy being raised by whatever.
I knew she had to wear a jumpsuit because I love that line from Wes Anderson’s BOTTLE ROCKET about Dignan wearing a jumpsuit and looking like a banana.
I had a setting, a gender and a costume. What I needed was a name.