We asked you to tell us your favorite moment from the Farscape television series or comic book series as part of the Farscape Contest last week. There were a lot of great Farscape moments that you all reminded us about, so it was difficult to choose a winner.
We’re excited to announce that we’re sending Will Sliney’s original sketch of Scorpy (pictured here to the right) to Dewayne in Petersburg, Indiana who posted his favorite moment via Twitter. Here’s Dewayne’s favorite Farscape moment:
“@TFAW Issue 0 of Scorpius, wth nary a word spoken Scorp comes to terms with his exile, pure genius. #Farscape“
Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks again to Will for providing the sketch!
With only a few short days left of BOOM! Month at TFAW, we’re breaking out the big guns and finishing it in style. We tracked down Farscape writer Keith R.A. DeCandido and artist Will Sliney for a frelling awesome interview and the accompanying Farscape Contest. Here’s how it all went down. –Warning, some spoilers below–
TFAW.com:What was it like, moving from writing the Farscape novels to the comics, Keith?
Keith R.A. DeCandido: Well, just in general, the transition from prose to comics has been fascinating. In prose, you’re a lone wolf–everything rides entirely upon the writer’s words. But in comics, you’re only part of the storytelling, with the art, the colors, the lettering all playing a big role. Plus the storytelling space is much more proscribed.
In a novel–even in a short story–you have a certain flexibility of length. But in a comic book, you have to tell the story in 22 pages–no more, no less. That presents all kinds of challenges, as it dictates the pacing and forces you to boil the story down to its essence and its most important elements.
TFAW.com:As with many sci-fi shows, Farscape has a dense history in terms of plot and lots of regular and recurring characters. What do you focus on, when fleshing out new stories?
KRAD: Depends on the needs of that particular story. Farscape is a sufficiently broad franchise in the types of stories that can be told and in the sheer volume of interesting characters that the focus changes depending on the needs of the story.
TFAW.com:What’s the creative process like between you and Rockne O’Bannon? How involved is he now?
KRAD: Up until the current “The War for the Uncharted Territories” storyline, the process was as follows: Rockne wrote a very detailed plot of each four-issue arc–usually about 20 pages of a PDF–then I’d write a page-by-page breakdown, which might add some details. Rockne and I would go over that, and then I’d write the script, which would go to Rockne, and he’d then give me notes on the script.
That changed with “TWftUT” arc because Rockne’s situation changed: he became Supervising Producer on the new V television series, and suddenly he no longer had the time to go over so many specifics with me. But Rockne also–very generously–trusts me with the characters, especially after two years of working together, so he wrote an overview of the 12-issue storyline (one that was about as detailed as the four-issue arcs of the past), leaving me to fill in the blanks of the plot and write the scripts. That’s why I have a co-plotting credit on this particular storyline. The broad strokes are Rockne’s, as are some of the details, and the remaining details and the script are mine.
But Rockne and the Jim Henson Company have final say over everything.
TFAW.com:How much influence do you have on how the stories develop?
KRAD: I’ve had more as time goes on. And sometimes I’ll make a suggestion that Rockne will like. As an example, it was my idea to bring Sikozu back. Rockne wanted to bring back Grunchlk, and since he was last seen with Sikozu in The Peacekeeper Wars, it seemed a natural that she be there too. And he liked the dynamic she added to the storyline.
TFAW.com:Will, has KRAD been pretty hands-on, or have you been given a lot of freedom to leave your mark on the franchise?
Will Sliney: I’m lucky to have gotten to know KRAD as the series went on. He definitely knows how to write for artists, and at the right time every once in a while I get a note telling me to go crazy on a page, which of course I like. The guy loves Farscape, and if there ever is any specific direction from him on how to do something, then it’s going to be the right way to handle it.
TFAW.com:Will, you have a lot of Farscape issues under your belt, what have been your favorite moments in the series so far?
WS: I have a few. Getting to draw the crew on the bridge of Moya for the first time was a special moment for me. Aeryn taking over the Peacekeepers is probably my favourite story moment. I read the plot and got real excited when I knew that moment was coming up, because it’s such a profound moment in Farscape history. As for fun moments, that’s gotta be issue #17 of the ongoing, which stars just Rygel and Scorpius. I love those two guys.
TFAW.com:Keith, you’ve been writing Farscape comics for years now–what has changed in that time for you, as a comics writer?
KRAD: I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with the medium. I recently re-read my first comics work, which was way back in 1999–a Star Trek: The Next Generation comic book for WildStorm–and it was painfully awkward. After doing this for almost three years, and with more than 40 Farscape comics under my belt, I’ve settled into a nice rhythm. I think the issues are better paced now and I have a much better sense of what the medium can do and how to write properly within the form. Those old Trek comics read way too much like a prose writer trying comics for the first time . . .
TFAW.com:Were you a fan of the TV show before you started working on the comic, Will?
WS: Yep, absolutely. I watched Farscape back when I was in college. My roommate was a huge sci-fi fan and converted me onto it. I had seen a lot of it on the BBC, but that was the first time I got to watch it chronologically. I was just about caught up before the Peacekeepers war hit.
There is a line in the DVD of the movie which I distinctly remember, where someone at Jim Henson mentions that they hoped Farscape continued in some form some day, so it was great as a fan to be part of that continuation.
TFAW.com:Keith, there have been some huge changes to the Farscape universe under your pen: Aeryn is now the Commandant of the Peacekeepers, and characters like Kirlix and Sikozu are dead. What have been some of the most controversial developments, in your mind?
KRAD: Well, besides Aeryn becoming leader of the people who kicked her out, and away from whom she thrived, I’d say the most controversial is having Chiana get together with a killer who’s going after Crichton and Aeryn’s son.
TFAW.com:How did you come to work on Farscape, Will?
WS: BOOM! pretty much plucked me from European comics. I had a trial for another series, and thankfully they chose me for this one instead, as it has gotten quite a healthy run.
TFAW.com:Keith, when we interviewed you at SDCC last year, you had a fan come up who was pretty fired up. Does it surprise you how invested fans are in your work?
KRAD: No, because I was part of Farscape fandom long before I became involved professionally. I used to post on the old Sci-Fi Channel Boards on their Dominion website back in the mists of prehistory, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and “wireless” was what people used to call radios in the early 20th century.
I still participate in the discussions on the boards that continue to talk about Farscape to this day. I know exactly how passionate the fans are, because I’m one of them. It’s why a comic book based on a TV show that had been off the air for half a decade has been a success.
WS: Yeah I do. I’d get to meet tons of fans at comic cons, and they all seem really happy that Farscape was brought back. Those are definitely the best moments. Some have even gone as far as to send me reference imagery of the Farscape props and original costumes that they own.
TFAW.com:So the events of Farscape: Scorpius have converged with the regular series, bringing the godlike, villianous Kkore to the Uncharted Territories. Were you excited to have Scorpius to play with?
KRAD: Amusingly, I was initially against having Scorpius even show up in the first miniseries. I got over that, though. I also wanted to have Rygel condemn him to a dungeon on Hyneria rather than exile him. But after reading what Rockne and my buddy David Alan Mack did with him in the Scorpius series, I was thrilled at the notion of getting him to write for.
A part of me thought that Scorpius’s story was more or less finished when the Command Carrier blew up at the end of the third season, and I was never entirely comfortable with having him on Moya in the fourth.
But the Kkore storyline has done a wonderful job of showcasing what makes Scorpius such a fantastic character, and he’s been a joy to write. In fact, my absolute favorite issue of any Farscape comic book to write to date has been issue #17 of the ongoing series, which is basically a Rygel and Scorpius road movie.
TFAW.com:So far, the Kkore seem unstoppable: they have the technology, the will, and the intelligence to do whatever they wish. Even Scorpius feels they might be his superiors. What is the point of pitting our heroes against an omnipotent force? How can they possibly succeed?
TFAW.com:It seems that Scorpius doesn’t always agree with the Kkore’s directives–such as destroying peaceful planets–but so far he’s fine with carrying them out. Scorpius knows their power and capabilities, but I can’t picture him not trying to subvert them in the future–am I right?
KRAD: There’s a comment Scorpius makes: “Reflected glory is no glory at all.” There’s only so long he’s going to serve an agenda that isn’t his own.
TFAW.com:Sikozu underwent such a journey, as a character. She sacrificed everything for her people, was shunned because of it, and just as she was finding her feet again, she discovers that her people are dead, then sacrifices herself for the greater good. When was this decided, and why did she have to die?
KRAD: Rockne, our editor Ian Brill, and I all agreed from the outset that this storyline had to have consequences, that characters we knew and cared about had to die in order for this to be effective as a story in the Farscape universe. Trust me, Sikozu’s not the last death we’re going to see . . .
TFAW.com:We’ve received some answers as to how Deke’s mutation occurred–systematic poisoning of the Peacekeepers’ food supply–but does that mean that there are other children out there who share it? Can they also affect time?
TFAW.com:Deke is still an infant in the comics. Will he experience any rapid aging, as many kids on TV shows do, to move his story forward?
KRAD: I see no reason to. Honestly, there are plenty of ways to tell Deke’s story without the artificial aging. Besides, right now we’re still in the “past,” as it were, since the comics take place in the first couple of years after PKW, which took place in (roughly) 2003-2004 or so. So all we have to do to age Deke is to jump ahead a few years into the actual present of the second decade of the 21st century . . .
TFAW.com:All in all, we’ve only read the first part of The War for the Uncharted Territories, which will be a 12-part series. Can you tell give us any hints of what’s ahead?
KRAD: Lots more death and destruction. Actions having consequences. Rygel and Scorpius together again. And copious uses of the word “frell.”
TFAW.com:Do you have a favorite character to draw, Will?
WS: Well, it used to be Crichton, but as the series went on, and because it was a long long time before he came into the ongoing, Scorpius is definitely my favourite.
TFAW.com:I’m really tickled by Scorpius’s lizard friend, “John.” Is there any significance to his name? Also, could you please assure me that nothing bad will happen to him?
KRAD: It was Dave Mack’s idea to name him John, and why not? After all, nobody has been a bigger force in Scorpius’s life the past couple of cycles than John Crichton, and while Scorpius isn’t renowned for his sense of humor, he does have one, and I think he derives some satisfaction from naming a helpless creature that he rescued from a frigid wasteland after Crichton.
And I have no plans to do anything to John, though he will go through quite a bit in issue #17 . . .
TFAW.com:In “Gone and Back,” in an alternate timeline, John Crichton and Scorpius are friends. What do you think it would take for them to be friends in the original timeline? Is that even a possibility?
KRAD: I don’t see any way for them to be friends in the mainline timeline because their relationship started with Scorpius torturing Crichton for, y’know, a while. And there’s likely never going to be a circumstance under which Scorpius will ever regret that particular action, nor the many reprehensible actions he’s taken since then (killing a bunch of Banik slaves just to get at Jothee, leaving Crichton with his brain exposed and his language center frelled, threatening Deke).
It’s possible that some day, Crichton might consider the possibility of forgiving Scorpius, but that’ll be a very very long time from the present, and that still doesn’t mean he’d be willing to befriend him.
(Scorpius and Crichton are friends in the “Gone and Back” timeline because they didn’t meet on the Gammak Base. They only went there to save Aeryn, after all. Scorpius never tortured Crichton, and they encountered each other later on in the timeline.)
TFAW.com:What are you most looking forward to in the Farscape universe?
KRAD: The fan reaction to issue #17, which is the Rygel-Scorpius road movie I was telling you about . . .
TFAW.com:What other BOOM! books are you digging right now, Will?
WS: All the books from the Irredeemable universe are pure gold, and I was delighted to see that their Stan Lee superhero books are great too. 28 Days Later is great too, but my favourites are the Mark Waid books.
We’re psyched that Will offered up this sketch of Scorpius for our Farscape Contest. All you gotta do to enter is post your favorite Farscape moment (from the comic or the TV show) by March 31, 2011. For complete rules and alternate entry methods, please visit the Farscape Contest page.
What has your favorite Farscape moment been? Post your comments below to enter to win this sketch!
BOOM! Month presses forward today, and we’ve got something very special for you horror fans out there! We’ve got an exclusive interview with Christopher Monfette, who’s teamed with Clive Barker to pen the new Hellraiser comic book series, which kicks off with today’s release of issue #1. Throughout the interview, you’ll find preview pages from the first issue, so be sure to check those out in greater detail by clicking on each image.
I got the chance to read an advanced preview of the first issue, and I was completely blown away. The whole team knocked it out of the park. I couldn’t be more excited for the story that Barker and Monfette have set up, and Leonardo Manco delivers stunning visuals.
Before you dig into Monfette’s interview, you’ll want to check out the link below. We’ve got access to an original eight-page Hellraiser story that serves as a prelude to the first issue of the series. It’ll put you in a good place to read the interview.
Now, on to the main event. Warning, some readers might find the images below disturbing. Not recommended for younger readers.
TFAW.com:Can you tell us a little about the new Hellraiser comic book series?
Christopher Monfette: Despite all that’s come before–the films, the comics, etc.–this series is the true continuation of Clive’s vision as he presented it 25 years ago. This Pinhead is Doug Bradley’s Pinhead; this world is the world of Kirsty Cotton, of the Channard Institute. Our canon is simple: The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser, and Hellraiser II.
The story finds Pinhead at the height of his melancholy. He’s murdered the masses; he’s solved the riddles of the flesh. And because he secretly clings to the ambitions of his former humanity, he constructs a plan to claw his way up out of Hell.
He makes a literal deal with the Devil. But that notion requires the unwilling participation of Kirsty Cotton, who’s been busy battling against the Lament Devices alongside the Harrowers since we last saw her in Hellbound. Thus begins a very deadly game of chess as these two characters spiral toward each other . . .
TFAW.com:So the Harrowers play a pivotal role in the series?
CM: The Harrowers do, indeed, make an appearance in this series, but not necessarily in the same incarnation as we’ve seen them in past comics. This is a more grounded, realistic ensemble–a group of men and women working together to track down and destroy LeMarchand’s devices. Who they are, and where they’ve come from–not necessarily as comic book heroes, but as damaged human beings–all plugs directly back into Kirsty’s story, Kirsty’s experience. The human toll. So in that sense, we’re using the word “Harrower” as a general term; Hunters of Hell, so to speak. Readers will learn much, much more about them in issue #3.
TFAW.com:How did Leonardo Manco come to work on the series?
CM: Manco’s work had caught Clive’s eye somewhere along the way, and I can only imagine that it was his gritty, stark, brilliantly illustrated realism that made him perfect for the series. My own experience with Manco as writer–and–artist has been a revelation.
Working with an artist for the first time, you can never be certain whether your visions of the world will be the same, or the degree to which they might pluck a description from the page, an imagined image from your head, and make it rise above.
Fortunately, Manco’s work has elevated my own and opened up possibilities for me as a writer because of his jaw-dropping ability to communicate these increasingly bizarre and twisted visuals on the page. But that he can do so in a way that makes them feel like they’re appearing in a real world–our world–is what makes him the only choice for this series.
TFAW.com:What’s been your favorite part about working on the comic so far? Have you been a fan of the Hellraiser series for awhile?
CM: Long before I ever met Clive–and decades before I got this gig–I grew up with Hellraiser. Of all the horror icons that popped up in the early ’80s, Pinhead was the one figurehead that really spoke to me as a younger, emerging genre fan.
The design, the mythology; there was a sense of something new, something deeper and more interesting than wholesale slasher villains. And a sizeable part of that–aside from Clive’s contribution as a visionary–was Doug Bradley’s portrayal. The voice he brought to the character, deep and resonating. Moreso than having the opportunity to craft and sustain a Hellraiser narrative, there’s a childish glee I find in scripting Pinhead’s poetic eloquence and passing it through the filter of Doug’s voice.
If I can’t imagine how Doug would deliver a particular line, I’ll likely change it, and since this story happens within the cinematic world that Clive created, that seems like a both a fitting and necessary tribute.
CM: The process has been surprisingly organic, but it’s never an easy task to sustain horror within a serialized format. These aren’t simply one-off issues, after all, but rather one continuing narrative, and that comes with a unique set of demands.
Granted, this is Hellraiser, so it might have been easy to simply toss a few odd visuals and a metric ton of gore onto the page and call it a day, but everything in this series stems first from character. Pinhead, Kirsty, the Harrowers–each of these figures have their own motivations, their own melancholies, their own fears. Demons, literal and figurative. And we, as creators, have a responsibility to deliver our trademark horror alongside actual characters and challenging ideas.
You do a disservice to the genre when you downplay drama in favor of two-dimensional bloodshed. So delivering upon the demands of terror while offering up substantive characters–with the potential to actually move the reader–all while threading one main story through eight issues–which each must offer something new, something terrifying–is no easy feat . . .
CM: In a sense, the series is really a torch-passing, a transition from the Hellraiser that Clive created 25 years ago into a completely new vision of Hell.
By the time you really get into the series, the themes, the characters, the aesthetic are going to be very, very different from where they first started, but you can’t make that kind of transformation lightly, or abruptly. We’re not rebooting the series; we’re evolving it. And in creating something that would invite new readers into the Hellraiser mythology, it felt somehow appropriate to begin in a place familiar to the fans who’ve been there all along. A mid-point between one circle of Hell and another.
Consequently, it never seemed to me that Kirsty’s story was complete, and since we were only using The Hellbound Heart and the first two films as our canon–and since we were embracing the actual time that had passed–and since we were exploring Pinhead’s personal melancholy, his desire for a challenge–it seemed fascinating to bring back the one character who’d bested him, to explore the effects that wearing your stepmother’s skin, or falling face-first into to the flayed corpse of your father, or battling demons in Hell, might have had on Kirsty over the years.
CM: Clive and I have known each other for about six years, and I’ve scripted feature adaptations of two of his short stories for his production company: “Down, Satan” and “Son of Celluloid.”
In 2009, we collaborated on a beautifully strange–or strangely beautiful–comic for IDW called Seduth, a surrealistic 3D horror one-off. So when the opportunity came to resurrect Pinhead–Clive’s Pinhead, the ever-real and only Pinhead–on the illustrated page, I got the phone call to come aboard. And that Clive would trust me with this iconic character, and allow me such sprawling, creative space to shape the series, is absolutely an honor.
TFAW.com:What is it like working with Clive Barker on his beloved story?
CM: Clive is a fantastic collaborator not only in that his impulses are furiously creative, but in that he truly listens. Clive’s original thoughts for this series were wildly different from what you’ll see on the page, and when I offered up my own–about Kirsty, about the eventual endgame–he took them in, considered them, and together we developed an arc that combined themes and images and narrative elements that were important to both of us.
As creator and fan, he’s exceptionally generous and uniquely open to the creative, collaborative process. The ideas that go into the mind-factory don’t exclusively have to be his own, but what comes out the other side will certainly have his artistic fingerprints. As I deliver these scripts, he’ll come back with minor notes, with sketches, that push the weirdness a bit further, that heighten the horror, that challenge the expectations of the reader.
TFAW.com:Were you worried about joining the franchise?
CM: Not at all. Largely because I wasn’t going in blind. In fact, I was fully armed with 25 years of ideas and a long, abiding admiration for the series. I knew from having worked with Clive in the past that I’d have a voice in the process. It’s certainly intimidating for a creator to say, “What would you do with my creation?” but the opportunity to shape the fate of an icon isn’t one that allows for much fear. And between Clive and the folks at BOOM!, the landscape was one of confidence and creativity.
TFAW.com:What characters/elements have you brought to the story? Have any of them wowed Clive?
CM: Certainly, the collaborative process is organic, but I felt passionately from the beginning that Kirsty needed to be a driving force behind the series. And having watched Pinhead be cinematically abused for nearly two decades on-screen, it felt to me that the tiredness of the character deserved exploration, as well.
Those two things suggested a story in which Pinhead, having solved the mystery of the flesh–bored with the tortures of Hell, half-remembering his own discarded humanity–must manipulate the puzzle box back into the life of the woman who once escaped him. Not simply to service the diehard fans, but to be the catalyst for a massive transformation that would offer Clive a new Hell to imagine; BOOM! a fresh vision, a continuing series; and readers a little bit of something familiar before charting an entirely new territory. Clive really responded to that creative challenge and offered up particular themes, suggested the Harrowers, etc . . .
TFAW.com:How would you describe the comic to a new reader? Who’s going to dig this series? What kind of reader are you looking to hook (no pun intended)?
CM: How does one describe Hellraiser? That seems like an impossible task! But this series is a character-driven horror tale of tremendous scope that serves as a mid-way point for both new fans and old.
New readers will meet Kirsty and Pinhead at a pivotal time of change–as if they were new characters with a mysterious, unspoken past–launching them both into an entirely original vision of Hell. Long-time fans, however, will watch these aging nemeses–with so much history between them–expand into a much deeper, more complex mythology than Hellraiser has ever explored. And make no mistake, if this series is successful, this will mark the beginning of a much larger, much stranger, much more terrifying story.
We want to thank Christopher Monfette for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about Hellraiser.
We hope you’re as excited about this series as we are. This first issue definitely delivered. What did you think about the prelude and preview pages you saw here? We want to hear what you have to say–post your comments below.
Last week, we launched our 28 Days Later Contest. We asked you to tell us your favorite moment from the 28 Days Later movies or comic book series, and you did not disappoint.
Now it’s time for us to follow up on our end of the bargain. We’re sending Ale Aragón’s original sketch of Selena (pictured here to the right) to Mike C. who commented on our blog. Here’s Mike’s favorite 28 Days Later moment:
“My favorite moment is from issue #8 when Selena and her allies are on a catwalk and the infected are down below hoping to get ahold of them. The boy falls off but is momentarily protected by a fence. As the infected start to break the fence down Selena ties a jacket to a rail and lowers herself down. She saves the boy and they both climb back up to safety just in time as the infected break the fence down. This sequence is a testament to what a bad a** Selena is. She never hesitates. I love her character. I want someone like her on my side when the infection hits. Also, great tension and suspense in this sequence as well.“
Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog next week for another awesome BOOM! Month contest!
We’ve got another exciting BOOM! Month interview for you today. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning of Starborn took some time from writing the book to answer a few of our burning questions. Here’s how it all went down:
TFAW.com:How did you get involved with Soldier Zero?
DnA: We were invited to come on board by BOOM! editorial, an invitation that we were delighted to accept.
TFAW.com:What’s Stan Lee’s involvement with the series at this point? What’s it like to work with him?
DnA: Stan looks at every we do and has complete oversight. That’s a little scary and intimidating because he’s, well, Stan Lee! His feedback and notes are amazing, though. It’s a real pleasure to get the feedback.
TFAW.com:The main character, Stewart, is a former soldier who has lost the use of his legs. How do you think that enhances the story?
DnA: It’s an interesting dynamic, and addresses a lot of issues. We’re working to find the most interesting and relevant places to take it.
TFAW.com:Stewart isn’t particularly bitter about losing the use of his legs–he’s more annoyed by the reactions of people around him, and the limitations of his environment. Is this going to be a continuing theme of the book?
DnA: Yes. Also, just because the suit “gives him his legs back,” there are other prices to pay. Stewart has to decide if it’s worth it, or if he’s content being where he is.
TFAW.com:You guys get to delve deeper into the Soldier Zero mythos. What do you have up your sleeves for the alien soldiers? Why is Soldier Zero on the run?
DnA: That story is really opening out now. There’s some very big and very alien surprises in store, and everything is heading for a major set of reveals by the end of the first year of issues.
TFAW.com:It seems like Stewart and Soldier have a more equitable relationship than Soldier Zero has has with past “hosts”–Stewart can resist him and take more control. Are you planning on exploring that a bit more?
DnA: Yes, again! In fact that’s the primary theme of the very important developments that happen in issues #7 and #8.
TFAW.com: In issue #4, James loses an arm. How is this going to affect his character, and his relationship with his brother?
DnA: Not in the way you might expect, actually. It could have, tragically, helped him to understand Stewart’s situation, but things get a lot more complicated than that.
TFAW.com:How is Kaylee going to figure into the story? For now, she seems like the traditional love interest-damsel in distress.
DnA: Actually, there are three strong female characters orbiting Stewart. None of them are going to fulfill “traditional” roles.
DnA: Javier’s great. He’s a total professional, he gets what we want, and he keeps giving us great images. Stuff in issue #8 we’ve just seen? Wow!
TFAW.com:This isn’t your first book with BOOM! Studios, is it, Dan? What’s it like working with the folks at BOOM!?
Abnett: They’re lovely, and I had so much fun last time I was happy to be invited back.
TFAW.com:Andy, this is the first book you’ve done with BOOM!, right? How does BOOM! compare to the other publishers you’ve worked with?
Lanning: BOOM! are great, we’ve been truly welcomed into the fold and are having some really exciting creative back and forths with Bryce (Carlson, Editor), which is producing some interesting ideas and storylines that will play out throughout the BOOMverse! More than that, it’s great fun too!
TFAW.com:What other BOOM! titles are you reading right now?
Thanks again for your time gents! Really excited to see what you have up your sleeves.
We want to thank Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for taking the time out of their busy schedules to chat with us about Soldier Zero. What have you thought of Soldier Zero so far? Where do you think it’s going? We want to hear what you have to say–post your comments below.
We’ve got another fantastic BOOM! Month interview for you today! 28 Days Later has been a big success for BOOM!, and a really popular series at TFAW, so we tracked down writer Michael Alan Nelson and artist Ale Aragón. They’re the creative muscle behind one of my favorite books out there right now. Here’s how it all went down. –Warning, spoilers below–
TFAW.com:Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk with us about 28 Days Later.
TFAW.com:The 28 Days Later comics take place between the events of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, and center around Selena, one of the survivors from the first film. We’re 20 issues in, and the story has had a lot of highs and lows already. Can you bring new readers up to speed on the series?
MAN: For those who haven’t seen the film, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic Britain following the rampant spread of the Rage Virus. It’s a virus that induces uncontrollable rage and ebola-esque bleeding in those infected. And Infection occurs within 15 to 20 seconds of contact with the virus. The population has been practically wiped out. Those few still alive are most likely Infected.
Our hero, Selena, escaped the island at the end of the film 28 Days Later. This series that I’m writing is about her return to Britain, acting as a guide for an American journalist. But after the crew sets out, all but three are killed by the time they make the mainland. From there, Selena, Clint, and Derrick struggled to make their way south toward London, where American forces hope to repatriate British citizens exiled due to Infection. They battled Infected, rogue military agents, crazed survivors, and even a king. The journey wasn’t easy, and it ultimately claimed Derrick’s life along the way. Now, it’s just Selena and Clint, the American reporter, who are finally about to reach London.
TFAW.com:Captain Stiles was a formidable antagonist in the series. With the explosive ending in issue #20, can we expect some breathing room for Selena and Clint?
MAN: I wouldn’t say breathing room, but they definitely do have a chance to catch their breath. For a moment or two, at least. Selena will finally get a chance to do what she came to London to do (and no, it wasn’t for the money she’d earn as a guide). This will create a different kind of tension for Selena and Clint. The final arc runs parallel to the second film, 28 Weeks Later. So if you’ve seen the sequel, you know that the repatriation of London turns out to be a little less permanent than people had hoped.
TFAW.com:What are the biggest challenges to bringing 28 Days Later from the screen to the page?
MAN: There are several challenges, from staying true to the universe and the characters from the film to coming up with storylines that everyone approves of. But the biggest challenge for me is maintaining a level of story quality on par with the film. 28 Days Later is a simply brilliant movie. The chance to have written a series within that universe has been an honor and a treat.
That said, I’m always nervous about my work not living up the standard of that film. Part of that is just professional pride, obviously, but another part comes from being a big fan of the franchise. I want fans of the film to read my series and enjoy it just as much as they enjoyed the film. The last thing in the world I want is to diminish anyone’s enjoyment of the franchise. It’s my job to maintain a level of quality this franchise deserves. Of course, whether I’ve lived up to that or not is up for my readers to decide.
TFAW.com:What’s been your favorite moment in 28 Days Later so far, Alejandro?
AA: Ouch . . . good question. I’ve had luck working with Michael, he is a writer who brings a lot of brilliant moments to work on. I really enjoyed the moment where Selena and Stiles are arriving to the city of Manchester. That was a big event for me. It felt like entering the movie. But I think my favorite moment so far, it is coming soon on issue #22. I can’t talk about it but, I am only going to say it is a fight. Issue #22 is one of the best scripts I have ever read.
TFAW.com:What are the best parts about working on 28 Days Later for you, Michael?
MAN: I get to be horribly, horribly cruel to my characters. Having a story in a post-apocalyptic world opens up so many different aspects of humanity that aren’t always realistically available within a story otherwise. People, both good and bad, do some pretty strange and oftentimes horrific things once the veneer of civilization has been stripped away. Those extraordinary actions allow for some interesting ideas.
Captain Stiles is a perfect example. Blaming Selena for Major West’s death and hunting her down across an apocalyptic wasteland for revenge might not seem to make a whole lot of sense. But this is a man, a soldier, who has lost everything. Everything. His job, his family, his friends, his home, his country, his culture, his very way of life. What would that do to someone? Especially someone who has spent their life finding enemies and killing them? For a man of action, all of that loss, all of that rage needs to be directed somewhere. Preferably at an enemy. But how do you fight Infection? You don’t. So he goes after the only enemy he can find: Selena. And he goes after her with such zeal because it’s the only thing he has left.
Selena’s ultimate reason for agreeing to go back to London is based on a similar mindset. When everything is taken from us, we hold on to the last tenuous piece of that lost world in a death grip. And that grip makes us do things that we might not even consider under normal circumstances. But these aren’t normal circumstances, and I think that having a universe like 28 Days Later allows me to take characters to those extremes that I might not normally be able to in a non-apocalyptic setting. I’m not saying it can’t be done (I’m sure it has been and done well), I’m just saying I personally find it more freeing.
TFAW.com:Selena’s a really strong, hardened character. She knows what it takes to survive and doesn’t pull any punches. Recent events have shown us a softer side of Selena we haven’t seen too much of. Was it difficult to make these tonal shifts?
MAN: It’s always difficult trying to make a character well-rounded and relatable. I think the trick to making it work is to do it gradually, so when that softer side finally shows itself, it doesn’t seem completely foreign and out of place. From the start of the series, we see Selena slowly poke her head out of her shell from time to time, but when she does, it’s usually followed by some tragedy. Naturally, she’s going to wall herself off, get harder, get stronger. But everyone has limits. Everyone. If your character, no matter how bad or tough they are, doesn’t have a breaking point, they’re going to come off as pretty two-dimensional.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some stories where the hardcore hero who can kill anything with his pinky finger is a lot of fun to read. But for a series like 28 Days Later that’s more grounded, I needed to make sure Selena had some vulnerability, even if she did keep it buried too deep for anyone to see. So what we see throughout the series, is Selena’s armor slowly being chipped away by what she has had to suffer. This allows those occasional moments of vulnerability to sneak through.
TFAW.com:Clint and Selena are getting pretty close–to the point where they embraced after their time apart in issue #20. Was that planned from the beginning, or did the story evolve that way?
MAN: The relationship between Selena and Clint was planned from the very beginning. It was part of Alex Garland’s original story outline. The hard part, of course, was getting that relationship to come about organically. Though, it makes it easier when you’re dealing with two people who are, for most of the story, the last two people on earth.
TFAW.com:Do you have any plans to give us any updates on Jim or Hannah?
MAN: No, the vague mentions from Captain Stiles are all there is. Sorry. I didn’t want to go too deep into those characters, since I have no idea if the franchise has other uses for them or not. Since what I’m writing is considered canon, I didn’t want to hamstring any future projects or come up with something the creators didn’t like. Also, this was a story about Selena and where she is now. We know that Jim and Hannah were basically taken away from her, but that is just one tragedy in a long line of misfortunes she’s had to deal with. They were a part of Selena’s past, but they weren’t the most important. They’re not the part of her history that gets her to take up her machete again.
The look and feel of the book is absolutely in keeping with the films. Can you tell us a little about how Alejandro came to be involved with the book and what his work brings to the table?
MAN: I’ve never been directly involved with choosing artists, and for good reason. I have no idea what I’m looking for. Thankfully, the girls and boys over at BOOM! do know what they’re looking for and are able to find the right people for the job. I do know that Alejandro came on after Declan left around issue #12 or so. Declan really created a mood and a tone for the series, so when he left, I was worried there would be a tonal shift in the art. But Alejandro came in with guns blazing. He’s got the tone down and really does a great job in capturing the emotion of the characters. He does a fantastic job of making me look like a better writer than I really am.
TFAW.com:How did you come to work on 28 Days Later, Alejandro?
AA: I always wanted to work with BOOM! Studios (I wanted it really bad ?). I was fan of a lot of books they were publishing like Cthulhu Tales, Fall of Cthulhu, 28 Days Later, Unthinkable and many others. So, I went to BOOM! Studios’ website. I visited their forum and I found there is a section where you can make a post and upload your stuff, experience, and personal information. Ian Brill (my editor right now) contacted me a few weeks later, and since that day, we kept in touch. One day, after five or six months, he emailed me asking if I’d be interested about work on one issue of 28 Days Later and just . . . I couldn’t believe it. I still remember that day like one of the most amazing moment of my life.
TFAW.com:Were you a fan of the movies before you started working on the book?
AA: Yeah! I am really fan of both movies, especially 28 Days Later. The truth is, I am a big fan of Danny Boyle’s movies. When I found that he was working on a horror film I couldn’t wait to put my eyes on it. I only had to see Jim walking alone on the empty streets of London, those shots of the buildings, all in complete silence, to know I was in front of a brilliant movie (of course, I never thought I would have the chance to work on the comic about this film some day).
TFAW.com:You’ve done some really powerful stuff, like Derrick’s goodbye in issue #14. Do you feel affected by your own work after you finish a panel or a page?
AA: Wow, thanks. I am glad you like it, but I think that was all merit of Michael. Speaking about that scene, I remember I followed the script 100%. Working with him is always an honor.
And my answer for your question is “Yes.” Not always, of course, but the truth is sometimes it happens. It all depends on how much you identify with a character. I believe in the art like it’s some kind of exorcism, and working on crime noir and horror books is like being getting out the trash every day. Sometimes I ask myself why I enjoy working on crime noir and horror books so much, and to really get to the truth, I think this is the way I have to deal with a lot of things. When you put your heart in your work, and when you work from your heart and give everything you have, there will be always emotions involved.
TFAW.com: You’re from Argentina, right? What work do you do to capture Britain’s landscapes?
AA: Yes, I am. When I got my script, the second thing I did (first I read it, of course) is my research. Movies, books and Internet, too. Then I try to focus on those details which make the buildings or landscape looks unique and different respective to other places of the world. Sometimes I got it, sometimes not, but I always try. I will quote a few words of Eduardo Risso which express clearly what I feel. One time he said: “I am not historian, I am comic artist” ? That was really cool and I am agree with that sentence. I work hard so the readers can feels the characters are in Scotland or England, but I am sure, if you seek obsessively, you will find a few mistakes too.
When I am working on any story, my intention is not get a perfect representation of reality. I feel happy if I can create the right mood and atmosphere, if I can transmit emotions. That is my goal on every page.
AA: I usually count 30 days since I get the script. Then I have to read it and do my research. I usually spend a couple of days working on the thumbnails, these must be approved by my editor, and then it’s time to start! I can get a few days more or less but, generally, I have between 25 and 28 days to get done the book (penciled and inked).
TFAW.com:Michael, you got the gig because you wrote a six-page story about Selena, right? Have you incorporated any of that story in the comic?
MAN: No, that “mini” took place during the original onset of Infection. It was about Selena and Mark, along with a man named David (not Selena’s husband, David) trying to escape a parking garage. I’ve used bits of its tone and similar situations throughout the series, but I never put it in whole cloth anywhere. It was really just a character study on Selena and her ability to survive.
TFAW.com:Do you have a set ending in mind? Has it changed since you got started on this adventure? Where are we in relation to the ending you have in mind?
MAN: Yes, in fact I just finished the final rewrite of the last script. This last four-issue arc, “Homecoming,” is all that’s left, and then it will be over. Some of the specifics have changed since I started writing the series two years ago, but we always knew where we were headed and what would happen once we got there. Some of the scenes are different than I originally had anticipated, but the outcome is still the same.
TFAW.com:You’ve been working with BOOM! since they started back in the day. How has it been to see your books help push the company to the success that they’ve achieved in such a short amount of time?
MAN: Well, first let me say that as much as my ego would love to say that yes, it was indeed my books that helped propel BOOM! to success, the truth is Ross Richie is the reason BOOM! is where it’s at today. He knew the right people to hire, from creators to editors to marketing managers, and how to shape the vision of his company into a success. I’m just very fortunate that he likes what I do and has let me tag along for the ride. And I’m very proud of the work I do for BOOM! It has been such a joy to see my work in print, not to mention how incredibly thrilling it is to know that people actually read my books.
TFAW.com:What other BOOM! books are you digging right now? Do you have any other projects on deck?
MAN: Obviously, anything with Mark Waid’s name on it is a must read. His “I” books are fantastic, but I’m in love with his Potter’s Field and Unknown series as well. For my own projects, I have Insurrection v.3.6 and Malignant Man coming out very soon. As for more Hexed, there is nothing in the world I would love to do more. Hopefully, with the release of the softcover very soon, we can hook some more readers and really get some demand going for Hexed to return. But it all depends on Hexed fans getting the word out. If there’s enough interest in the series, we’ll be able to bring it back. So if anyone out there reading is a fan and wants more Hexed, spread the word far and wide. Shout it from the rooftops. I’d do it, but my neighbors already think I’ve stopped taking my lithium.
AA:Irredeemable, The Traveler, Dracula: Company of Monsters and I can’t wait for: Hellraiser, Planet of the Apes, and Insurrection (and yes, I am still a big freak comic reader).
TFAW.com:Anything else you want to let us know about?
MAN: If you like what I do, I have a huge back catalog of books at BOOM! that you should check out like Dingo and Fall of Cthulhu, just to name a few.
TFAW.com:Thanks for talking about 28 Days Later with us guys!
We want to thank Michael Alan Nelson and Ale Aragón for taking the time out of their busy schedules to chat with us about 28 Days Later.
We’re also psyched that Ale offered up this sketch of Selena for our 28 Days Later Contest. All you gotta do to enter is post your favorite 28 Days Later moment (from the comic or the films) by March 22, 2011. For complete rules and alternate entry methods, please visit the 28 Days Later Contest page.
What has your favorite 28 Days Later moment been? Post your comments below to enter to win this sketch!
I’ve loved ’em ever since I was four years old. Now my hobby has become my career, and I’ll tell you, there’s nothing better than doing for a living something you’d do for free. (But don’t tell that to my bosses at BOOM!)
If Plutonian is a Superman archetype, who’s the archetype for Max Damage?
Provided we ever see her again? Oh, okay, we will. But first, you’ll be introduced to Max’s NEW new partner, his third, coming up shortly!
When plotting out a story how often does your initial plan change based on reader reaction and/or your own personal whims?
Based on reader reaction, not often, if only because Internet feedback is so rarely a true representation of the readership as a whole. But based on my own personal whims? All the time! Otherwise, where’s the fun? I’d rather be the master of my stories than have them be the master of me.
Congratulations to Zach, Jon, Hugo, Evico, and Jeffrey! You’re the winners of the signed copies of Irredeemable TPB Vol. 1. We’ll get those out to you soon!
Never to be one to leave people out, Mark also answered other questions that readers posted as well:
Hi from old Italy Mark, I have been a fan of yours since the great Flash days, I’m wondering if Irredeemable & Incorruptible have a planned ending (or sort of) or will go on as they will sell, I know you’re a great marketing man!!
Thanks! I have ideas in mind for ultimate wrap-ups, but hopefully no time soon, certainly not so long as they continue to sell!
How long can you see yourself writing Incorruptible & Irredeemable?
I still have plenty of stories to tell. You keep buying, I’ll keep writing.
For someone who has not yet read Irredeemable, would the first TPB be a good starting point?
It would, but I think you can pick up any volume and enjoy it–artist Pete Krause and I work hard to make each new TPB accessible!
Do you plan to turn your works from BOOM! into movies?
I’d love to, but that’s up to Hollywood! Tell Michael Bay to give us a call.
Will Max Daring’s next sidekick have any powers of her own of will she just be a normal human? Are we going to see any more of Gilgamos?
Powers, yes! And yes to Gilgamos–he’s going to be a major player in the next few months.
We want to thank Mark again for taking the time to answer these fan questions and sign each winner’s copy! Many thanks also to Peter Krause for signing these volumes as well!
BOOM! Month marches on at TFAW.com, as we bring you our exclusive interview with Chris Roberson! If you’ve browsed our site lately, you know he’s got a lot going on. One of his most exciting titles right now is Stan Lee’s Starborn.
TFAW.com:What’s it like getting in on the ground floor of a bonafide new Stan Lee comic?
Roberson: Are you kidding? It’s amazing, it’s astounding, it’s spectacular!
Sorry about that, I slipped into bombast for a moment, no doubt inspired by Stan. Seriously, though, it has truly been an amazing experience from the beginning. When I was growing up, Stan Lee was “Mr. Presents” behind some of my favorite comics (and the voice of the narrator on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, to boot!), so the chance to work with him on a project like this was really once-in-a-lifetime.
TFAW.com:How hands on is Stan Lee? What does you collaborative process look like?
Roberson: I’ve actually been really surprised at the level of involvement that Stan Lee has had, since day one. When the project was first explained to me last year, I suspected that Stan would be fairly hands off, and that maybe it would just be someone in his office rubber-stamping things. But in actual fact, Stan has been very involved from the very beginning. It was at the point that Mark Waid was calling me at home to give me Stan’s notes on the first issue of Starborn (Mark Waid, calling me, to tell me what Stan Lee thought about my story) that I knew there weren’t going to be any rubber stamps here.
TFAW.com:Stan has, of course, created some of the most iconic comic book superheroes ever. What is it about his characters that resonate so strongly with readers?
Roberson: This will sound like a hoary old cliché, but it’s true: Stan’s characters resonate because they are human. They inhabit a real world, and they have real-world problems and concerns.
Of course, these days characters with real-world problems and concerns are a dime a dozen, and it’s easy to find stories set in the real world. But it’s important to remember that Stan was doing it way before most of us were even born, and he’s forgotten more about characterization than most will ever learn (but he probably remembers more about characterization than most of us will ever learn, too!).
TFAW.com:I’ve definitely always loved the wish-fulfillment aspect of his characters, and that’s certainly present in Starborn. Here, Benjamin is introduced as a wannabe fantasy writer stuck in a dead-end job–but it turns out he’s actually an alien from another planet who has been writing about his memories the entire time, and now he must return to save his home planet. Isn’t that what everyone secretly wishes–that their ordinary lives are lies, and they have a greater destiny?
Roberson: Or if they don’t wish that now, they almost certainly did when they were younger. What kid doesn’t dream that they have some secret destiny, just waiting to be uncovered?
TFAW.com:In issue #1, Benajmin is crushed after being rejected by a publisher. It seems like he was pretty naive about the publishing industry–already planning for a sequel after sending off his first script to his first publisher. Is that pretty true to life, even in the days of the Internet?
Roberson: I am definitely drawing on my own experiences in Starborn, but as much from the early days of abject failure as from my years as a science fiction novelist. I’m always amused when people point out that Benjamin’s naivety about the publishing process is just so unbelievable in Starborn #1, since of course no aspiring writer in reality could ever be so naïve. Speaking for myself and for dozens of my friends who went through the same experiences, I can say, “Yep, they sure could be that naïve, and frequently are.”
TFAW.com:How do you envision the character of Tara Takamoto evolving? Clearly, in Benjamin’s mind, she’s a love interest. She seems pretty cold and all-business, however. Has spending 20-odd years on Earth changed her at all?
Roberson: Spending a lifetime (well, Ben’s lifetime, at least) on Earth has changed Tara, but perhaps not in the ways you might think. There are reasons why she seems cold and businesslike, but they have more to do with her life before she came to Earth, and her relationship with Benjamin’s family. That’s something we’ll be exploring quite a bit as the series unfolds.
TFAW.com:Does Tara see Benjamin as a friend at all, or merely a responsibility?
TFAW.com:Benjamin’s stories are a lot like those of another writer, Kirk Allen, before Benjamin was even born. Will we receive any hints about what the connection might be?
Roberson: By the end of the second arc, we’ll have learned a lot more about Kirk Allen (though there will still be a secret or two about him left to be revealed).
TFAW.com:Allen’s stories are darker and more depressing than Benjamin’s–can you give us any hints as to why?
Roberson: There are two sides to every story, and the history of the Human Civilization is no exception. Or to put it another way, the glory and grandeur of a star-spanning empire might look very different if you aren’t on the winning side . . .
Roberson: The Pride is the informal name for the “Beastmen,” the fiercest warriors and most skillful hunters in all of the Civilization. In other words, they are an entire planet of badasses.
TFAW.com:You’re currently writing several comics, including Superman, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, and iZombie. How do you juggle so many titles at once–especially those that are so different?
Roberson: It actually makes it easier, since this way I never get burned out. I can work on Superman for a week, then go and do a week on iZombie, and so on. And the whole time that the front of my brain is working away at whichever title I’m doing that week, I’ve got ideas bubbling away on the backburner for all of the scripts coming up. Last year I tried writing batches of scripts at a time, doing a handful of Cinderella scripts and then a bunch of iZombie and so on. But I found that the work suffered for it, and in the end I had to go back and rewrite the later scripts a lot before I was happy with them. Switching mental channels every few days allows me to keep fresh. And considering that I spent the better part of the past decade writing prose novels, where a single project could take months to complete, if not longer, the luxury of working on things a week at a time seems like bliss to me.
TFAW.com:What’s it like working with BOOM! Studios?
Roberson: Why? What have you heard? I didn’t say anything about them, honest!
That is . . . *ahem.*
Working with BOOM! Studios has been one of the most rewarding creative experiences of my career thus far. They make great comics, and their staff is friendly and courteous, and would never, never dream of shackling their creators into small, cramped, unlit rooms with only bread and water for sustenance, with the promise of release waiting them only after they have all of their scripts and pages turned in on time.
(*How was that, Matt? Can I get out now? Please?! I promise I’ll turn my next script in on time, honest!*)
TFAW.com:What other BOOM! titles are you enjoying right now?
Roberson: I’ve been following Mark Waid’s grim little superhero universe since day one, with Irredeemable and Incorruptible (and Peter Krause’s work on the former has been stellar since page one!). And lately, I’ve been loving the work that Kurt Busiek, Daryl Gregory, Scott Godlewski, and Damian Couceiro have been doing on Dracula: The Company of Monsters, and I recommend that anyone who hasn’t yet checked out that book do so immediately. And, of course, there are all of the fantastic titles from BOOM!’s kids line, in particular things like Ian Brill’s fantastic Darkwing Duck title.
TFAW.com:Where do you see Starborn in the next year or two?
Roberson: I hope to see it listed in Diamond Previews every month, on the shelf in stores across the country, and clutched in the hands of customers as they pay for their purchases and take them home to read!
We want to thank Chris Roberson for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about Starborn. He’s a class act. What have you thought of Starborn so far? Where do you think it’s going? We want to hear what you have to say–post your comments below.
We’re kicking off BOOM! Month in style today with an exclusive interview with Mark Waid, writer extraordinaire and creator of the epic Irredeemable and Incorruptible series. Irredeemable is the story of the world’s greatest superhero, The Plutonian. Thing is, The Plutonian snapped and he’s killed millions of people–including several of his old teammates. It’s an incredible ride that Mark’s taken us on for nearly two years. I can’t wait to read this one each month.
The companion book to Irredeemable is Incorruptible. Few made it out of Sky City (the city that The Plutonian used to call home), but Max Damage was one of the lucky survivors. Max was one of the worlds foremost super-villains, but after witnessing The Plutonian’s destruction, he decides to turn his life around. He’s out to stop criminals, and he refuses to let himself slip into his old ways, no matter what the cost! Incorruptible is also one of my faves right now and completely stands on its own feet.
So, now that everybody’s on the same page, let’s get to our interview with Mark Waid!
TFAW.com:With the Plutonian off-planet since issue #19, the Paradigm is trying to put the world back together. They’ve pardoned ex-villains to help in the relief efforts. That’s not going to go well, will it?
Waid: Yeah, that trick never works. Just ask all the Wall Street billionaires we failed to send to jail last year. On the other hand, the results may surprise you–and some of those results will be the focus of Incorruptible and not Irredeemable. Just what is Cary planning . . . ?
TFAW.com:The Vespa realized that they underestimated The Plutonian’s power and jettisoned him onto a star where another alien race has found him. Can we expect to see him awake anytime soon?
Waid: It would be a crazy-dull series if it were all his fantasy world. Yes, he awakens at the end of this arc–and what he (and we) find there with him at the heart of a star will stun Tony to the core.
TFAW.com:It feels like the Qubit/Survivor tensions are building and something big is coming up. Do you plan on pushing another hero to his breaking point?
Waid: That’s the fun of it all, isn’t it? Look, stories are never interesting unless the people in them are making interesting decisions–and the most interesting decisions are made when the stakes are the highest or the moral issues are at their thorniest. But who’ll break first?
TFAW.com:It seems like The Plutonian really wants to be redeemed. I mean, he trapped himself in a dreamland where he was able to bring everybody he killed back to life and they all trusted him again. That’s the world he wants to live in. Do you plan on leading him down a long road to redemption? Will you change the title to Redeemable and later Redeemed?
Waid: Where’s the fun in that? Of course, in asking, (in all seriousness) you’ve hit upon what, to me, makes this series something more than Yet Another Caustic Genre Deconstruction–there is hope in this book. It’s sometimes a very faint ember, but it’s not shot through with cynicism. I’ll tell you flat out that I honestly thought Qubit would be the heart of this book and the soul of humanity–but I’m fast discovering that someone else in the cast fits that bill even better, and it shocks me.
TFAW.com:Couldn’t Tony just go see a psychiatrist to work out his issues, or do you feel he’s incapable of moving past his childhood and forgiving himself for what he’s done?
Waid: I think so long as he feels, at heart, unworthy of being loved, there’s not a psychiatrist in the galaxy who could talk him down. Keep reading.
TFAW.com:If an even bigger threat arrived at Earth to stake claim, would Tony stand up for his territory?
TFAW.com:22 issues of Irredeemable have been published to date (including the special), how has The Plutonian changed since your first concept? What (if anything) have you tried to make sure didn’t change?
Waid: The Plutonian hasn’t changed, but my approach morphed dramatically with issue #5, and I remember the exact moment that it happened. It was when I was writing that opening scene designed to introduce new readers to the concept and fill in the backstory in an interesting way that wouldn’t be repetitive for existing readers. I wanted to show Tony being a villain, but I’d just had him sink an entire nation and spent a week trying to figure out how to top that spectacle. And suddenly I realized that wasn’t the answer.
It dawned on me that I was trying to write violence when what I wanted to write was evil, and the former is easy and the latter is powerful. So instead of having Tony, say, burn Philadelphia to the ground with laser eyes, I instead had him address the people of the world directly and talk to them in a way that instilled global paranoia and all the attendant violence it brought, all without having to lift a finger. Random acts of violence, after a while, make Tony look like Mr. Mxyzptlk gone dark. Yawn. Acts of evil are more character revelatory.
TFAW.com:Is it too late for new readers to jump in to the ongoing monthly series, or are you actively trying to provide accessible entry points?
Waid: In fact, knowing that each four issues is collected into a trade edition, I make extra-sure that the first pages of every trade bring you fully up-to-speed. And for those who are collecting monthly and miss an issue, there’s always a detailed “Previously in . . . ” on the inside front cover. Same applies to Incorruptible, by the way.
TFAW.com:At San Diego, there was mention of the potential for an an Irredeemable hardcover. Is that in the works? Still on the table? Not going to happen?
Waid: That’s up to BOOM! I’d love to see it, but I predict we’ll have to sell out of all the trade paperbacks first so as not to cannibalize those sales. That said, we’ve sold a lot of trade paperbacks. Volume 1 is the third- or fourth best-selling book I’ve ever written, and that’s coming from the guy who gave you Kingdom Come and JLA: Tower of Babel.
TFAW.com:Do you have an ending in mind for Irredeemable? Is that a long way out, or closer than we think?
Waid: Yes. And that would be telling. Isn’t part of the fun of the series never knowing where we’re going?
TFAW.com:We haven’t seen much crossover of Max Daring (formerly the villain Max Damage) from Incorruptible in the pages of Irredeemable. He’s said to be one of the three keys to Earth’s only hope. Will we see Max joining The Paradigm?
Waid: They show up to recruit Max in the very next issue of Incorruptible. It does not go well.
TFAW.com:Speaking of Incorruptible, Max’s first sidekick, Jailbait, ran off and Headcase joined him as his new sidekick. It seemed like Jailbait was in love with Max, is it safe to assume that she won’t be happy to see him with a replacement?
Waid: That would be a very safe assumption, but she’s going to hate Max’s next sidekick even more, trust me. Following the Final Fate of Headcase, soon approaching, we’ll introduce you to the sensational character find of 2011, and if you’re very, very good at Hangman, you might guess her name if we give you two vowels: _ A _E_ _ _ _ E
TFAW.com:Do you have any new projects with BOOM! in the works?
Waid: At the moment, my plate’s pretty full, but we live in hope.
TFAW.com:What are your favorite BOOM! titles that are not your own?
Waid: Right now? I think 28 Days Later is supremely underrated because Michael Alan Nelson’s really a good writer. Likewise, Chris Roberson’s Do Androids Dream spin-off [Dust to Dust] is top-notch. Of all time? I think Necronomicon by William Messner-Loebs and Andrew Ritchie is one of our overlooked gems; ask your store to order it!
We want to thank Mark Waid for taking the time out of his insanely busy schedule to talk with us about Irredeemable and Incorruptible. Sure, I’m now chomping at the bit for the next six month’s worth of comics, but that’s not a bad problem to have.
We need your help! We know there are more burning Irredeemable and Incorruptible questions out there, so we’re holding a contest to complete our interview. The prize: copies of Irredeemable Vol. 1, which Mark has generously agreed to sign for us. We’ll choose five lucky winners and Mark will answer their questions. Click here for details on how to enter.
Remember to visit the TFAW Blog all month long, because we’ve partnered with BOOM! to bring you exclusive interviews, previews, and contests! We’re kicking off the month in style tomorrow with our exclusive interview with Mark Waid. He’ll be talking to us about Irredeemable and Incorruptible! Longtime fans and new readers definitely won’t want to miss this one.
Plus: Learn how to get your own signed copy of Irredeemable Vol. 1 during tomorrow’s interview with Waid!
What’s your favorite BOOM! book? Let us know below!