Farel Dalrymple builds a bold future with ‘The Wrenchies’

It’s easy to get lost in the complicated, time-spanning world of “The Wrenchies,” the ambitious new graphic novel from cartoonist …

It’s easy to get lost in the complicated, time-spanning world of “The Wrenchies,” the ambitious new graphic novel from cartoonist Farel Dalrymple.

With kid gangs fighting monsters in a wasteland, a young boy who wants to be a superhero and two brothers finding evil in a cave, there’s quite a bit going on. But this dense tome is a winding, surreal journey from an accomplished artist, with 300 pages of beautiful artwork.

amNewYork spoke with Dalrymple — who will be appearing this Sunday at the Brooklyn Book Festival — about the graphic novel.

How would you describe the book?

“The Wrenchies” is a metaphysical fantasy quest within the middle of the story of a 30-something wizard and former boy hero having an existential meltdown.

This is a complicated plot — how did you manage all the different threads?

I spent a lot of time alone immersed in my own little crazy world. I compiled a lot of notes and timelines and charts, and had them all up on my studio wall at some point. Toward the end of the book was the most difficult, making everything fit, but it was a fun process and interesting challenge to have it all make sense, at least to me.

There is a “Wrenchies” No. 1 comic book in the book. Did you at all consider doing this in issues?

No, “The Wrenchies” book was always meant to be a book. I did consider making a separate “Wrenchies” No. 1 as a 20-page comic, but then I thought that might ruin some of the mystery of this floppy comic book as a magical artifact.

Is this the last we’ve seen on The Wrenchies?

I will most likely be using all the characters for years to come in whatever stories I want to draw, but I do have a straight up “Wrenchies” sequel planned. Hopefully that doesn’t take me another five years to make.

How did your time living in New York City inspire you as an artist?

I moved to NYC in 1996 to go to The School of Visual Arts. While I was there, I took a class from John Ruggeri, Drawing on Location, and that helped me look at the cityscapes. … That class helped free me up and not worry about everything being ruled out with pencil first. I grew to love looking at the tops of buildings and incorporating the city — how I saw it — into my comics.

What else are you working on?

I am currently drawing a serialized science-fiction love story called “The Earfarmer” with the writer Chris Stevens. I have also started working on “It Will All Hurt,” my Web comic on studygroupcomics.com. I have also started work again on a “Pop Gun War” sequel.

If you go:

Farel Dalrymple is  at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday as part of the panel “What Does the Future Have Against Us? Dystopian Adventure Comics” from noon-1 p.m. at the  Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St., Borough Hall, brooklynbookfestival.org.

Scott A. Rosenberg