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By Damian Smith
I’ve had the pleasure to interview Patrick McEvoy who is the artist from the up coming Hard Cover from Archaia, Starkweather: Immortal. Patrick is an artist most known for his work on various fantasy RPG’s and Card games as well as his covers for Boom! For titles like Fall of Cthulhu. Also Patrick is a podcaster for the Ninja Mountain Podcast that can be found at http://ninjamountain.blogspot.com which is a collective of artists who work mainly in the fields of Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, and comics. Talking about the business and all aspects of their craft.
DAMIAN - Now Patrick, We have your hard cover coming out from Archaia very soon after a delay since it was announced in Previews at the end of last year, so can you tell us about the book and where it has been since the first issues came out?
PATRICK - Oh, it's been quite a long and winding road for Starkweather.
The first issues of Starkweather were the zero issue, adapted from a story by Piers Anthony, then the story began in earnest with issues 1 and 2. Then we hit some delays by the creative team. :) Issue 3 was delayed somewhat but we did get it finished... at which time Archaia Studios Press (as they were called at the time) had to undergo a corporate restructuring when one of the original partners pulled out. It took over a year for them to get back up and running with a new management team, but now they are back better than ever.
Most of the creators stuck with them through that period, including Starkweather writer David Rodriguez and myself. However we didn't work on the book in the meantime, as we didn't really know for sure if it was ever going to happen. But when things completed and new contracts were agreed upon, we started up again. Unfortunately, by then, I was far too busy at my "day job" (doing game illustration) to give much time to the book right away. So we had to delay our return a bit further.
And to add one more thing into the mix - while we had the layoff Dave and I essentially replotted the entire 4th issue, adding an entirely new - and MUCH longer - ending!
Eventually it was decided that we would just skip doing single issues of 3 and 4, and go straight to the Graphic Novel collection. Since there had been such a long wait between issues we were pretty sure that would be the smartest way to go in the long run. So this is where the big problem occurred - somehow some major miscommunication happened between us and Archaia. My idea was that since I was so busy (and each page takes about 2 days to complete, for which I don't get paid until far, far in the future) I would work on the book at my own pace and we'd announce the release of the book when I was almost finished.
Unfortunately, somehow, the book ended up being solicited in Diamond Previews just weeks after I had said that. Gah! Well, I tried to fit it into my schedule but it really wasn't feasible, so we had to let it slip. When I did finally finish it early this year (and it's over 140 pages of story now, plus extras), Archaia decided it would fit best into their printing schedule to have it come out in Summer 2010, so we had to cool our jets a while longer. But hopefully, after all this, it will be worth the wait!
DAMIAN - So now we have the graphic novel coming out in a hard cover format. How was it returning to the project after the break between issue 2 and the decision to put out the collected edition? Also what does your normal illustration day job involve?
PATRICK - Returning to Starkweather after the layoff was a lot of fun, though odd in a way. My rendering style had changed a lot, so I had to try to use some of the things I'd more-or-less left behind (very close photo reference and hard outlines, mostly) so it wasn't to jarringly different, yet still use the things I had added to my style to their best effect.
But on another level, it was fun because while we had an entire story written before, now we'd really changed it, so in some ways it was an unexpected turn even to us! That was an interesting thing, almost like seeing a movie for the second time and realizing that someone had put in an entirely different third act. Very disorienting yet entertaining too.
For my "day job" I do freelance illustration, mostly. My illustration work is for games such as Blizzard's World of Warcraft CCG, Sony's EverQuest, Wizards of the Coast, AEG, and others. I also do comic book covers and other odd jobs. In addition I do design, art production and art direction for multimedia - mostly iPhone apps these days. My main client there for the past 9 months has been My Turn Mobile (www.myturnmobile.com).
Another client is Marvel's marketing division, where I was on contract for about a year and a half, and still do the occasional freelance job. That one's fun because I never know what character or even art style I'm going to do next, from a very slick "air-brushed" look, to animation style, to emulating traditional comics ink-and-color style for advertising. I like doing that sort of varied job - it keeps me hopping!
DAMIAN - So we’ve talked about Starkweather but we haven’t talked about what the book is about. So can you give a synopsis of what it is about?
PATRICK - Alex Starkweather is a member of one of the lines of witches who are the descendants of the 12 disciples of Jesus who were at the last supper. When these families were empowered, a secret group of knights were also created to protect them. But the witches were betrayed by the nights, now known as the Templars, who now relentlessly hunt the witches.
When Alex is born, he is perhaps the most powerful witch ever. In the opening pages of the Graphic Novel we learn that at a very young age he had enough power to kill a bunch of Templars, but he will need to grow and master his power if he is to survive. So the witches hide his power from him, and his memory of it, and he grows up as a normal kid.
So as he reaches manhood he's just a kind of an aimless slacker, living in his Grandma's basement. But all that is about to change when one Very Bad Day causes his powers to manifest. You can be the Templars won't be long to discover this and track him down. This sets events into motion which could spell doom for Alex, the other witches, and perhaps the entire world. Alex is going to have to grow up very quickly if he is to have a chance of survival.
Along the way we meet several other witches in the clans, the evil Templar Ignacio, Alex's foul-mouthed Iguana familiar Solomon, and Cartiphilus - immortal Roman soldier and eternal badass.
DAMIAN - That sounds like a great story, how did you come about working on a story by Piers Anthony? How much play did you and David have with the direction of the story?
PATRICK - The first incarnation of Starkweather was a limited series from Arcana (not to be confused with Archaia); this series is actually a prequel!
When David was contemplating this current story, and looking for an artist to do a more fantasy-art oriented style (me!), he had the thought that he might approach some well-known authors to do a one-shot book of short stories set in the Starkweather universe. He got hold of Piers Anthony who was very interested in doing a story about two of the supporting characters in the book: Cartaphilus and Leyla (one of the witches). And he wanted to do a whole issue's worth of story!
So with that, the "zero issue" was born. Quite incredible!
DAMIAN - Now that it’s been relisted at all good comic stores when do we plan on seeing it coming out?
PATRICK - It will be out in June, though I don't have the exact date yet. But don't count on seeing it at your local shop unless you pre-order to be sure! The Diamond code is APR100734 - just, you know, in case that comes in handy for any reason..!
DAMIAN - Well you know I have mine on order! So what’s next for you? Will we see more comic work from you soon?
PATRICK - Great news, there's one sale at minimum!
Well, in comics work I don't have anything with a specific release date at the moment. I'm excited to be doing a couple of penciled pages for the next Titanium Rain volume, and Dave Rodriguez and I are talking about an all-ages fantasy book.
But the most interesting thing right now is a project I'm working on with Chandra Free, artist/writer of The God Machine. We have a pretty detailed story in place that is a horror romance - and it's VERY heavy on both the horror and the romance. No half-measures we hope. It's called Fear of Ghosts. We'll be co-writing it and sharing the art chores as well, with her drawing and me painting over the pencils. We'll have more information soon!
DAMIAN - I can’t wait to see what else is upcoming. Now where can people see more of your work and what you’re doing?
PATRICK - The best place for keeping up with me is my web site: www.megaflowgraphics.comand that has a link to my blog, http://megaflowgraphics.blogspot.com
I also have a lot of different art and a journal on Deviant Art: http://patrickmcevoy.deviantart.com/
I’d like to thank Patrick for the time he has taken to speak with me and remember to go into your Local Comic Shop and preorder Starkweather: Immortal with the Diamond Code APR100734 and find more details about Starkweather: Immortal at www.archaia.com.
ABOUT DAMIAN SMITH: Damian is a Blogger and Podcaster. You can see all of Damian’s other work at http://www.lordshaper.com or listen to some of his podcasts at http://www.lordshaper.com/kryptographik and http://heavenside.lordshaper.com
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