For a long time now, I have been wanting to get into the more creative side of writing here on my blog. For a newly launched site to be more corporate than fabled in its first handful of posts is acceptable, where as too many become a trend. The press sheet writing is certainly easier, a quick report on what is happening with Big Sage Press while I devote most of my time and attention to my own interests and fascinations. But it is also a particularly sneaky form of procrastination. So, let’s change that up, shall we? Shift the tone and force this space into its intended function.
I would like to start with a review of a piece of work I might not have picked up had it not been for the connections I am making now that Babylon’s Fallen Star has been released into the wild. I’m not a big comic book reader. At least not since middle school when I went through an X-Force phase and I could not read them fast enough, especially those which featured my favorite character Feral. She reminded me very much of The Jaguar comics by Impact which I had discovered in a forgotten book box at a yard sale and purchased the first eight in the series for twenty-five cents. I loved the stories and the detailed panels, loved falling into the adventures. But, eventually, my reading habits shifted as I grew and I for one reason or another left comic books behind.
At least I thought I had until I was introduced to the Doorkickers Digital Edition by writer Scott McCullough. Again, I felt myself falling into that adventure space, that separate world which comics and graphic novels create for us as we read. The story centers on a paranormal black ops team tasked with fighting the forces of evil and secretly preserving good. While members of the Doorkickers team possess extraordinary abilities, readers should be thinking more Zero Dark Thirty than Hogwarts when these heroes take us out on a mission. The dialogue is jargon based, as it should be for the sake of realism, which can be a bit of a first day of Spanish class experience for people like me who have not served in the military or used much professional radio protocol. But this isn’t any a negative. If anything, it’s just as exciting and creates as much of a draw as when characters in a book starts speaking Elvish or Klingon, and far less boring than that weird pigeon thing they did for Cloud Atlas. It creates the world around the reader, making it firm and real while beautiful fully colored panels convey the mood of the language perfectly.
While I’m not going to lie, I have a bit of a character crush on Stilon, the Doorkickers team’s resident mystic knight, I was also drawn right in by the female lead, Jinga. Tough, smart, and capable she can hold her own with other strong classic comic women like X Force’s Domino and – here is where my memory fails me. But somewhere in the back of my mind among the half-remembered Boys II Men lyrics and the skill to use a pogo ball, I recall a fantasy series put out by DC with a killer female warrior who never flinched from a fight or withheld her help from a friend. Her name may be lost to me, but the way I felt reading her stories lingers on. Doorkicker’s Jinga has her depth and strength. And a far more logical wardrobe.
I spent some time discussing the new Doorkickers edition which is preparing for launch with Scott, and I don’t want to take away from his own words about his piece here. I highly recommend following his account and even participating in his pre-launch as I believe these characters have so much more to say to us and so many more missions to take us on. You can also join Scott and myself, along with Ryan Williamson, Mark Sibley, and Joe Dolio on the podcast Writers Fix Problems this coming Saturday 7 EST / 4 PST. Here we talk about the different aspects of the creative and publishing process, and soon hope to host guests.
Molly: So… I guess my first question is how did you find your team that you worked with in order to bring Doorkickers to life?
Scott: When I decided to pull the trigger on Doorkickers: Panzer Demon, I just started asking artists I knew if they would like to be a part of it. Luckily, Ian Waryanto, whom I had known via the internet for a few years, was available and eager to work on something different for him. Shortly thereafter I found Farah Nurmaliza, our colorist and she was an amazing talent. It’s worth acknowledging that both of them live in Indonesia so that presented some challenges but nothing that would hold us back.
Doorkickers: Panzer Demon would never have seen the light of day if it hadn’t been for the innovation of crowd funding and the Comicsgate movement. These fans that have coalesced on Twitter and YouTube around the principals that comics book creators and publishers must respect their fans and customers are an inspiration and have really shown that the culture war can work for good. Comicsgate provided a built-in marketing system and potential consumer base that allows independent creators to get their foot in the door and be successful based on the merits of their product.
Molly: In your forward you state that Doorkickers was at first published as part of Space Goat Presents. Can you give me a little of a run down as to how that came about? Did you query them as a publisher or did you have someone help press introduce Doorkickers?
Scott: I really didn’t find my way into it via the normal process. While studying short fiction in college I had my sights set on breaking into writing comics. I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a kid so it seemed like a decent fit. Anyways while I never did really break in, I made several friends in the business that I kept in touch with over the years.
Following 9/11 I got back in the Army and that put a lot of my writing stuff on the back burner but after a few years I started writing again. One of my old comic book friends had started his own publishing company and asked me if I had any ideas that would fit in a military comic and I pitched him Doorkickers.
From that pitch came the 10-page short Doorkickers: Objective Breezy Dream. It originally appeared in a Space Goat anthology book but more recently I put a remastered version in my first Doorkickers graphic novel as a 10 page back-up.
Molly: Also… one thing that I really loved reading this was the Oden being a classification of demonic entity as opposed to being a singular character…. what beautiful strange brew did you pull that concept from?
Scott: Well as I have spent a while in the service of Uncle Sam I have learned that all branches of the government love both acronyms and the classification of all sorts of things. So this made it an easy choice. But it also stands to reason that while in these stories we only see a small slice of what’s going on, there is a whole world out there to explore. I think that as writers we all strive to find little details that we can plant to both world-building but also as things we can revisit in later tales.
Molly: Also in Panzer Demon your character Stilon is vaporized, but he’s present in Objective Breezy Dream (OBD)… did I, in fact, read the two backwards of each other or is there some yet to be revealed quality Stilon possesses that allows regenerations?
Scott: This is an easy one. OBD comes first chronologically. During the pre-campaign I gave out the original version of OBD as a freebie pdf so most of the folks who got in on Panzer Demon from the beginning had already read that one prior to receiving the physical book. But, you are right, Stilon was vaporized in the last scene but let me assure you there is more to that character than you might expect.
Molly: What are your plans going forward for Doorkickers? Will there be others? Will you be working with the same team of colorists and artists or will this be a new venture?
Scott: The next book Doorkickers: Bad Medicine is currently in the works. I will be reteaming with Doug Franchin, the artist from OBD, for the next book. We will also have Farah and Eric Weathers returning as the colorist and letter respectively.
It will be a 46 page story that will find the Doorkickers investigating a situation deep in the Amazon but ultimately they will find their way to Sao Paolo. We will be taking the supernatural action to the next level and if you would like to sign up at our pre-launch page you will get an email that will alert you to when we go live and if you sign up and then back the campaign you will get a free poster, book mark, sticker, and access to a discounted tier for your trouble. You can find the pre-launch page via Indiegogo here:
Doorkickers: Bad Medicine