DF Interview: Bruce Livingstone begins an impossible journey in ‘The Lost City of Heracleon’ OGN
By Byron Brewer
Called to adventure, young boys Lou and Shiro find themselves on an inter-dimensional submarine captained by an off-the-hinges old man. They soon discover Lou’s missing father might still be alive as they are transferred into fully grown warriors headed straight for the battlegrounds of Ancient Egypt, the Lost City, and to 1914 Sarajevo. As the gods tinkering with fate become reckless and apathetic, the boys become part of a legion hell-bent on restoring balance to humanity.
From BOOM! Studios comes The Lost City of Heracleon, written by Bruce Livingstone and illustrated by Mike Willcox. DF sat down with scribe Livingstone to gather all the 411.
Dynamic Forces: Bruce, tell readers about how this new swashbuckling action adventure graphic novel, The Lost City of Heracleon, came to be. Is this something that has been brewing on the Livingstone backburner a while?
Bruce Livingstone: This all started when I set out to write a story for my son, Sozé. It was meant to be a short book and ended up over 240 pages. Most of my ideas in the first part of the book stemmed from a fascination with the ocean, boating and scuba diving. The story just spewed out of me as I got it all down on paper over the next two years. Most of the characters are based on friends and family, some who have left this life. This was my way of honoring then and keeping them alive in the hope that my own kids will someday feel connected to them. I feel like our modern culture doesn’t have a way of passing down our knowledge and spirit after we die, so this was partially my way of doing that.
DF: That is wonderful, especially for your kids! … Tell us a bit about the world you are building herein.
Bruce Livingstone: Isis is the mythical ship built by the gods that allow our heroes to slip between time… from the Lost City of Heracleon to Pre-WW1 Sarajevo. She is adept at air, sea and time travel, but each time she is used there is an ironic twist due to the probability of things. Similar to dealing with the devil, there is always a cost. I envisioned Isis as the taxi-cab of the gods, taking them wherever they would want to go to meddle in continuums or just to observe. Fortunately, our mostly mortal protagonists have ended up with Isis to find Lou’s missing father. In the process they are drawn into battle by the gods’ armies and called to rescue humanity from starting WW1.
DF: Introduce readers to young best buds Lou and Shiro. Without spoilers, describe their relationship and the challenges they have and are about to face.
Bruce Livingstone: Lou and Shiro are best of friends, both are fatherless. Although Lou’s father, Syd, was Shiro’s surrogate dad since Shiro’s father divorced his mother and moved back to Osaka (not in the story). When Syd goes “missing” during a dive, the boys’ friendship is deepened and the bond between them can’t be broken. In the beginning of the story, the boys are innocent and seeking adventure. Thanks to the story construct and the probability of physical change during time travel, the boys are transformed into full-sized warriors but remain innocent and immature, unsure of their new abilities.
DF: What can you tell us about the ancient gods that are a part of Lou and Shiro’s adventure? What is the relationship between the best friends and the deities?
Bruce Livingstone: The relationship between the boys and the ancient gods is somewhat an allegory for modern thought and our relationship to a higher power. The gods have been ignored by society, discounted and are now disenfranchised. As a result, Zeus and Heracles have turned on humans. They are bitter, angry and behave like spoiled children. It is the task of Lou and Shiro to convince the gods to act with some veritas, find their humility and return to a state of benevolence to save their relationship with humankind.
DF: Talk a little about your collaboration with artist Mike Willcox on The Lost City of Heracleon.
Bruce Livingstone: Mike Willcox is my creative partner and this project wouldn’t have been possible without his interpretation and comprehension of my words. I’ve never met an artist that has such a strong work ethic, diligence and he honestly just oozes coolness.
I would deliver chapters to Mike with raw text. He would then take that and put it into a script format and storyboard the scenes for us to discuss to make sure he captured the essence of what I was describing. All the descriptive text would then be removed and all that was left was the dialogue. He would then draw out each frame and page by hand, color and finish by adding the type. A great deal of research went into drawing the clothing, equipment, vehicles, cities and characters to make sure it was correct and a great deal of that research was done by him. He’s also a great editor and writer in his own right, finding and closing any loops that didn’t quite make sense or needed further explanation or development. Our partnership started when we were making t-shirts and giving the profits away to save the rainforest in Papua New Guinea. He was living in the Florida Keys at the time and I was on Vancouver Island. I didn’t meet him face-to-face until just a few months ago when he relocated to the West Coast. In a way, we’re not unlike Lou and Shiro, best buds, and there’s no doubt in my mind that if we were closer geographically we’d be inseparable.
DF: Bruce, what other projects can readers look for from you, in or outside comics?
Bruce Livingstone: Mike and I have recently finished writing the pilot for an animated series called Flip Flops. We’re just working on the trailer and hopefully we’ll see that in development soon.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Bruce Livingstone for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Lost City of Heracleon OGN from BOOM! Studios hits stores in August! Keep watching DF News and comics-related social media for more information.
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