A writer from Los Angeles, Enzo Palma has wanted to write comic books since he realized as a kid that he couldn’t be a superhero in real life. He studied graphic novel writing at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and released his debut graphic novel, Manhattan: Manhunt, in 2022. Enzo also writes prose, teaches and makes music.
His short comic, “How She Came Into the World,” is coming soon in the Cohorts Anthology, with art from Diego Albuquerque.
Tell us about yourself, Enzo! How did you come into making comics?
My love of writing comics began when I was a little kid and I realized that I couldn’t actually be a superhero. I figured that writing superhero comics was the next best thing!
I studied graphic novel writing at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and my debut comic, Manhattan: Manhunt, was released last year. Now I live in Los Angeles, where I write, make music and teach.
What are the main themes of “How She Came Into the World,” your comic for the Cohorts anthology?
“How She Came Into the World” is really a story about how we define “hero.” Our main character, Lyda, is struggling with her own definition of the word. Her elders are espousing a very old-fashioned, violent and traditionally masculine version of hero—a version that specifically excludes her—and when she meets Astaroth, he reinforces a lot of that archetype. At its heart, this story is about Lyda’s search for what it truly means for herself to be a hero.
“How She Came Into the World” is not your first comic, right? Tell us more about other comics you have released.
Yes, that’s correct! My debut graphic novel, Manhattan: Manhunt, came out last year. It features art by Joshua Swaby and Diego Albuquerque (who drew “How She Came Into the World”).
Using a gritty sci-fi story about a vigilante hunting an alien monster through and under the streets of New York City, the book explores themes of immigration, otherism and the American Dream. It was such a fulfilling experience to create this comic from start to finish, and it’s something I’m looking forward to doing many times again!
What is the inspiration for “How She Came Into The World,” specifically?
This story was based on the 1920s German expressionist monster movie The Golem: How He Came Into the World, itself based on the titular creature of Jewish mythology. The Golem is a warrior made out of clay that, when given instructions on a scroll placed in its chest, fights to vanquish its creator’s enemies.
The movie ends (spoiler alert for a 100-plus-year-old film) when the Golem picks up a little girl and she absent-mindedly reaches out and pulls the scroll out of his chest, killing him. I saw that movie when I was young, and that image always stuck with me, so it popped into my head as a starting point for this comic, which uses a flipped version of that moment to retell the story of the Golem.
What messages, if any, do you try to convey in your comics?
What I love about genre literature is its ability to explore new parts of human existence. It would be difficult to write realistic fiction about differing philosophies of war between a young wannabe knight and an ancient stone monster. But I think stories like that help us understand ourselves more. Through science-fiction, superhero or fantasy comics, I try to dive into those aspects of humanity. What can we learn about identity and individualism from aliens? What can we take from a superhero’s gut-wrenching choice between devoting themselves to fighting evil or living a real life? How can we identify with wizards on impossible quests through strange worlds? None of these are situations anyone would encounter in their daily lives, and yet they are experiences I believe can help us all grow.
What do you think comics bring to the world that other media can’t?
Comics have a truly unique mix of words and visuals that no other media has. Sequential art, as cartoonist Scott McCloud calls it, really allows writers and artists to intertwine themselves creatively and create an experience for readers that no other medium can.
What comic book character do you most identify with and why?
I have to go with Spider-Man. Like him, I feel like I’m still trying to figure everything out. On some days, I feel like I’ve got a handle on everything. And on others, I’m the recipient of the “ol’ Parker luck.” That’s where the similarities end, though, since I’m pretty scared of heights…
Do you do any creative work outside of writing comics?
Yes! I write prose, too, and I’m a musician. I play lots of different instruments in lots of different genres. Right now, I’m playing mandolin in the LA-based folk band Corporate Bike Culture. Check us out!
Is art important in the world?
Incredibly! Art allows us to explore ourselves and understand ourselves better. It provides catharsis to help us work through our emotions. It’s also a very important creative outlet for everyone, even people who aren’t professional artists. Art is one of the purest forms of human creativity. Each new work of art makes the world just a little bit better.
Where can readers find you and your works online?
Support Enzo: Follow the Cohorts Anthology!
And thanks times one zillion to Chris Byers for helping us put together these interviews!
Get free comics in the heckin’ coolest mailer around!
Get the opening chapters of each of our top 4 comics direct to your inbox absolutely FREE! With new art and stories every couple weeks, just tell us where to send them!!
visit: oneshipress.com/4free for more info