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ZACK KAPLAN
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DF Interview: Zack Kaplan brings us a bloody family affair for the ages in his thriller, ‘Kill All Immortals’

 

By Byron Brewer

 

A thousand years ago, Viking explorer Erik the Red and his four adult children discovered a mysterious source of immortality. Now, in our modern world, they are an enigmatic billionaire family with a powerful banking empire. But when Erik's only daughter, Frey Asvald, seeks to finally be free from her family's influence, she must be prepared to reveal their supernatural secrets and confront her well-trained siblings in a deadly and epic struggle for power.

 

Get ready for a bloodthirsty immortal fight like no other! From Dark Horse Comics comes Kill All Immortals, written by Zack Kaplan with art by Fico Ossio. I sat down with my friend Zack and we chatted about the coming comic. Here’s what the scribe had to say.

 

Byron Brewer: Zack, the storylines for the books you write and the manner in which you handle them never cease to enthrall me. We’re bringing the Vikings into the present in your coming Kill All Immortals, but in a very very non-Thor way. Before we hit the book proper, what was the muse for your creation of this coming comic?

 

Zack Kaplan: I’ve always been fascinated by Vikings and the large-than-life aura around them. They’re defined by their noble culture, their mythical lore, but most of all, their nonchalant dedication to violence for their pursuits. And there was just something about their intense aggression that felt very…modern. I think we live in a time now where formalities are being abandoned for far more aggressive temperaments and actions. And so giving immortality to a family of Vikings and bringing them into the modern world of billionaires felt like an interesting way to explore violence, aggression and wealth in our times. The Asvalds are very different because they are Vikings, but in other ways, they are no different than any other power-hungry aggressive family of billionaires. It’s a real dynamic, intense and fascinating world to go into. A billionaire business family with axes to grind.

 

Byron: Instead of the high Nordic seas and mythic realms, the battleground readers will be sat down in come July will be family eating table and the boardroom. Can you give us a taste of this “world” you and artist Fico Ossio are building?

 

Zack Kaplan: Super yachts at sea. Private planes on private tarmacs. Nightclubs emptied out for a party of one. It’s a modern array of luxury landscapes that one affords with all the wealth and power in the world. And our combatants are dressed in the high fashion trends of the day, Armani suits, Tom Ford sweater vests and D&G evening wear. Right off the magazine cover and into the fight of their immortal lives. Fico Ossio has been absolutely amazing in not only bringing these locations to life, but dazzling with these fight sequences. And with our colorist Thiago Rocha bringing noir moments and then Jon Wick intensity, it’s a beautiful comic with some truly incredible action sequences. I will add that even though we have this modern gambit of locales, there is some mystery to the story that does take us into some Viking lore as well, with some globe-trotting vistas to match. You all are going to be wow’d.

 

Byron: Introduce readers to Erik the Red, who he was and who he has apparently become in our modern world. Without spoilers, can you give us the backstory of his present-day billionaire status and powerful banking empire? What is his relationship with his three sons, also Vikings from a thousand years ago walking the concrete canyons of today?

 

Zack Kaplan: Erik the Red was the Viking warlord and explorer who settled Greenland. But for some mysterious reason, he’s now immortal, along with his four adult children, and they are all living present day as a billionaire family. Their business is expansive: banking, commerce, arms, politics, media, you name it. They control the world from the shadows, like so many other billionaire legacy families. His eldest son is Thorvald, or Thor, a hulk of a man responsible for wielding death and strength whenever it is required. The next son is Leif, the most capable and strategic of the sons, and clearly his father’s successor, were there to be one. Finally, the youngest is Thorsteinn, or Steinn, the reckless misfit of the group who lives life fast even a thousand years later. All of them are dangerous and powerful in different ways, and together, they make for one ruthless family.

 

Byron: What is Erik’s relationship with his only daughter, Frey Asvald? What is her present place in their world of banking and billions, and what pressures have pushed Frey to contemplating the revelation of the family’s long-held secret of immortality to the masses?

 

Zack Kaplan: Long ago, Frey removed herself from the family’s business and present day lives to a private life out of the spotlight. She does what she can raising money for charities and giving back to war-torn regions, no doubt a small way to rectify the negative impact her family has on the world. We definitely get the impression that she is a bit estranged from her family, but at the same time, she knows her place and knows never to go against her family. But these are modern time, and yes, unknown circumstances in the first issue will give way to a rising desire for her independence and prompt her to do just that – go against her family. But what secrets she’ll uncover, and how she must face her family, that’s when the real excitement begins. It is a one non-stop ride of chaos and thrills.

 

Byron: With the cast involved, I am imaging this battle between Erik and his three sons and Frey will not only take place in the boardroom and stock market but in some bloody confrontations as well?

 

Zack Kaplan: Yes, Frey is tragically set on a course against her family and it’s a dangerous one. Each of her brothers is daunting strong and better equipped than she is, and she will have to face off against them one by one. Not to mention this family has an army of mercenaries at their disposal. And finally, when it’s all said and done, Frey will have to face her father, the most dangerous warlord on the planet. And I cannot wait for you all to see what Fico brings here, because the fights get more and more epic with each issue. Seriously, it’s going to be one of the most badass comics of the summer. Get ready!

 

Byron: Talk about the awesome art of Fico Ossio and your collaboration here.

 

Zack Kaplan: Fico comes from a lot of DC Comics like Mister Miracle and Action Comics, but he’s also done No One Left To Fight at Dark Horse, a very different creator-owned book. Kill All Immortals is the energy and intensity of that book, but in a modern noir style that is really intoxicating. And Thiago Rocha is a newcomer to coloring, but this canvas is just beating with atmosphere and presence. It’s gorgeous. And then of course, we have the Eisner-nominated Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou doing some impressive lettering around all of this dynamic art, just making for an effortless read. I’ll also mention Tom Muller does the amazing logo and book design, and we have a cadre of cover artists, from Vincenzo Riccardi, Ivan Tao, Jacob Phillips, Skylar Patridge, Rafael Albequerque, and on an impressive A cover series, Oliver Barrett. The covers are so sick.

 

Byron: Zack, I hear this may be a busy summer for you. What can you tell us about coming projects like The Midnight Shadows and others in which you may be involved?

 

Zack Kaplan: In addition to bringing the last two issues of Vault Comics’ Beyond Real to shelves, with talented artists Jorge Corona, Dennis Menheere, Liana Kangas, Luana Vecchio, Fabiana Mascolo, Jordie Bellaire and Mattia Iocono, and then dropping the graphic novel in August, I’m also getting the word out on a full graphic novel and collab with synthwave band and icons The Midnight, through Dark Horse. With Stephen Thompson, Jahnoy Lindsay, Thiago Rocha and DC Hopkins, it’s a synthwave Peter Pan into cyberpunk Neverland. Whether you are a fan of the Midnight or you’ve never heard of them, this book will absolutely amaze you. It’s beautiful and thrilling, and is a real thought-provoking journey about escapism and video game culture. So excited for readers to see this. And if you hold your breath, any day now, I just might have more new fun things announced. Stay tuned! 

 

Dynamic Forces would like to thank Zack Kaplan for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Kill All Immortals #1 from Dark Horse Comics is slated to be on sale July 10!

 




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