J. M. DeMatteis: Right. But what happens after enlightenment, when you come back down from the cosmic high?
Taja Cheek: Delight and confusion. It becomes really weird, really fast.
DeMatteis: Low key. Not consciously.
Cheek: Not like emptied pools, but actual swimming pools.
DeMatteis: They’re anything we want them to be.
Cheek: You can plan as much as you want, but you really have no idea what's going to happen.
DeMatteis: You lose things you hold dear, you fall, you get back up again.
Cheek: That shaped me in interesting ways, some that are very noticeable and some that are less tangible.
DeMatteis: They’re wonderful. But they can also be a thousand other things.
Cheek: It was very New York. (laughs) I remember learning a lot about trees, flora and fauna, and wildlife.
DeMatteis: Want to do three or four pages that are essentially illustrated prose and then shift into more typical, or perhaps even wordless, comics.
Cheek: I try to challenge myself to answer that question fairly regularly — to check in with myself.
DeMatteis: Why not? We’ve developed a mutual trust and respect that informs everything we’ve done together.
Cheek: So much so that the park rangers seem to know a lot about the artwork.
DeMatteis: It’s either there or it’s not.