Questions with... Writer and Publisher
On what project are you currently working?
A: Right now I’m finishing the script for the second issue of “The River of Blood,” my Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft inspired pulp-horror mini-series. The story is about a group of exiled Varangian Guard Vikings trying to return North from Constantinople up the Volga River. Suffice it to say that their journey home is interrupted, but this presents a chance for redemption... if they can survive it. Thematically, it’s about the contrasts between ideals and institutions, and barbarism and “civilization.” Carlos Trigo is finishing up the art for issue #1 right now, and it looks incredible.
2) Whom do you admire the most in the field and why?
A: Darwyn Cooke and Mike Mignola. I’ll read anything either one of them publish, no questions asked. Not only do they work in some of the genres I enjoy reading the most (horror, crime-noir, pulp), they genuinely seem to be producing exactly what they want to produce and nothing else. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, there’s passion on every single page of their respective works. I reread the prologue from Cooke’s “The New Frontier” about once a month. It’s beautiful. Everything you need to know about fraternity and heroism is right there.
3) How did you get in the comics field?
A: Just forced my way in, I guess? A few years ago, I was bemoaning the lack of Western comic books in the market and just decided to do something about it. So, I started Black Jack Press and released “Tall Tales from the Badlands,” our Weird West comic book anthology. We’re working on our fourth issue now. After cutting my teeth as a self-publisher, I started submitting to other publishers and have been lucky. There’s no other word for it.
4) On which title would you most like to work and why?
A: My dream gig for an other publisher would be to write a “Challengers of the Unknown” series with an “Enemy Ace” back-up. My favorite characters have ALWAYS been the ordinary heroes; the guys who have to rely on their character, wit, intelligence, ingenuity and self-discipline to get the job done. When it comes to “The Challengers,” I love the whole “living on borrowed time” origin; that these guys dedicate their lives to this suicide mission of defending the earth from the most bizarre creatures in the universe because they figure they’re dead already. I find Von Hammer fascinating because his blessing is his curse. He’s the best combat pilot in the world, but he’s incapable of doing anything else, or even functioning in society outside the war. He hates the war, but it defines him.
5) On what project will you be working next?
A: The next year is going to be busy as I try and wrap up a few things. The priorities right now are the fourth issue of “Tall Tales from the Badlands,” and the first issue of our Viking anthology. I’m also about halfway through a kids comic I’m doing for my sons called “Ruprecht,” a kind of “Dennis the Menace” by way of Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. In the next year, I hope to also finish “The Mother Lode,” a Civil War era Western that I am doing with artist Mario Guevara (Ultimate Fantastic Four).