Comic artist, writer, and illustrator Liana Kangas has come a long way in the past few years. Since participating in ComicMix’s Mine! A Celebration of Liberty and Freedom for All Benefitting Planned Parenthood—which came out in early 2018 and won the Ringo Award for Best Anthology—they have gone from primarily doing illustrations to having seven series come out through various publishers like Black Mask Studios, Vault Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, and IDW Publishing. In addition, they have done cover work for intellectual properties such as Stranger Things, Star Wars, and Star Trek.
Kangas is the co-creator of the recently published comic miniseries Trve Kvlt and Know Your Station. “[They] are labors of love—they’re my babies,” Kangas said, speaking at New York Comic Con’s Artist Alley. “My collaborator Scott Bryan Wilson on Trve Kvlt, he’s a delight, and so’s my collaborator Sarah Gailey on Know Your Station. They are wonderful. And both books are totally different, and they were just such a fun time to work with, the entire creative team.”
Trve Kvlt (pronounced “true cult”), which Kangas describes as “a Satanic Panic fast-food heist crime novel,” came out in August from IDW Publishing. “Trve Kvlt actually was a book that we pitched to a different publisher, and due to the pandemic, it ended up being canceled,” they said. “So we actually ended up crowdfunding it on Kickstarter… It’s very bizarre, very fun, [and] there’s a lot of friendship building. It’s really weird… I hope readers get out of it what they would get out of watching Pulp Fiction meets Good Burger, essentially.”
They described Know Your Station, released in September by BOOM! Studios, as “a space murder mystery whodunit.”
“I was approached by my editor, Elizabeth Brei—she’s a wonderful human being—to work on this mini-series at BOOM!” Kangas said. “Phenomenal opportunity… Essentially, long story short, all of the billionaires on Earth leave the Earth and head up into the sky and go into space, and they’re essentially the last one percent. And suddenly, all these billionaires start dying off one by one, and we meet our main character, Elise, who is the quote-unquote ‘security liaison’ to try to investigate who’s killing all these billionaires on the ship. And you’ll just have to read it to find out who did it!”
Kangas developed their distinctive visual style after studying a variety of art techniques. “I’ve been doing art since I was a kid,” they said. “My grandfather was an art teacher, and he was a fine artist, and I think I’ve done a whole range of different types of art. So I would say [my style comes from] my background in studying, like, oil painting, acrylic… life drawing… that kind of stuff, and also just an amalgam of all my favorite artists’ styles kind of rolled into one. I think that’s the best way I can describe it.”
To anyone looking to get into drawing for comics, Kangas has some straightforward advice: “If you want to work in comics, just draw a comic, I know that sounds very plain and simple, but truly, putting yourself out there will give you the best opportunities. And just, artists in general—what you create is something special. No one else can do what you do. And keep doing it.”
Kangas’s latest release is Chilling Adventures Presents… Welcome To Riverdale O.S., an Archie horror one-shot. To keep follow their work and keep up-to-date on their newest project—and receive rewards—check out their Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lianakangas.
You can also learn more about Kangas on their website: https://www.lianakangas.com/