DF Interview: Pat Shand reveals a secret society of badass killer nuns who fight the forces of darkness in ‘Warrior Nun Dora’
By Byron Brewer
The Satanic Panic of the ‘80s has fallen away to a new wave of rebellious kids in rural Pennsylvania in the 1990s. Dora, a grunge-obsessed teen, is caught in the middle of what appears to be a dark ritual, and is sent away to a secret school by her devoutly religious parents. There, Dora is shocked to find a group of nuns that fight against the forces of evil – but when undead horror comes Dora's way, what will this misfit do to protect herself?
From writer Pat Shand and artist Daniel Gete comes Warrior Nun Dora! Each issue of this returning franchise has a full-length chapter of Dora, then also has a special look into the vaults to celebrate over 20 years of Warrior Nun with ultra-rare stories and art. Like fans old and new, DF is excited about Warrior Nun’s return, and so sat down to chat with scribe Pat Shand.
Dynamic Forces: Pat, before we get started with the coming incarnation of Warrior Nun with Dora, could you fill in some of the background of Warrior Nun over the years for the uninitiated? I think the character goes back to Ben Dunn in 1994, yes?
Pat Shand: Yeah! Ben Dunn started it in the 1990s and, funny story, it’s actually one of the first comics I’d ever heard of -- ever. I’m a big fan of young adult author Barry Lyga, and when I was big into the YA literature scene, I wanted to read everything he wrote. I saw Warrior Nun in his early credits, and could’ve never imagined that, years later, I’d have my crack at the story. I do want to say, though, that while I’m looking toward the past with reverence and respect, the idea is to start a brand new story about a girl who finds herself amongst a secret society of badass killer nuns who fight the forces of darkness. We’re going in with the idea to honor what came before by telling a brand new story as best we can.
DF: Warrior Nun is now a Netflix original series on the small screen. Does your book overlap or have anything to do with the continuity of the TV series at all?
Pat Shand: I haven’t had any conversations with the team doing the TV show, but I’m very excited for it. Everything in the comic was thought up by me and William Christensen from Avatar, though, so I don’t expect to see Dora show up in the show – but that’d be incredible if it happens down the line.
DF: So tell us about the world that you and artist Daniel Gete are building (rebuilding) for this book from Avatar Press. Do I understand right that it takes place in Philadelphia in the 1990s?
Pat Shand: This, I won’t answer very much because I want you to discover the world along with Dora. The basics, though, are this: The world is very much our own world in the midst of 1990s counter-culture, with the added threat of demons hiding in the darkness, waiting to possess people, drag kids to hell, get down with all types of ritual sacrifice action. This series isn’t focused that much on mythology beyond the Warrior Nuns – an elite group of female assassins that fight in the name of Heaven against the forces of Hell. My idea for the setting was to do for the 1990s what Stranger Things did for the 80s. Pay winking homage to the era I grew up in, while also telling a powerful and timeless story.
DF: Introduce us to Dora, and tell us what you can of her life … what challenges she has faced, who she is as a character, as a teen-aged girl.
Pat Shand: Dora is edgy, back when it was actually – you know, actually edgy to call yourself “edgy.” She’s a rebel before the idea of liking sh*t ironically became popular. She feels oppressed and suppressed by her religious parents, by her Pennsylvania town that still reels from the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s. She feels as if she’s caught in a time capsule, being forced to be someone she’s not. So, she lashes out and gets sent away to a convent. A very, very weird convent with a lot of weapons in it.
DF: What other characters might readers need to know going forward as the series debuts in August?
Pat Shand: There’s another Warrion Nun named Anya… let’s just say she’s a bit of a visionary. Our villain, the Saint of Decay, is one that I intend to burn deep into our reader’s minds. If he comes back to you in nightmares, we’ve done a good job.
DF: Pat, I understand this book will also have some extras looking at this group of nuns who fight against the forces of evil? Tell us a little bit about these extra features.
Pat Shand: Beyond the story, which I’ll remain secretive about, the covers themselves play out a narrative. Each cover focuses on a Warrior Nun from another time, spanning centuries of the war between good and evil.
DF: Talk about the art of Daniel Gete. What does he bring to Warrior Nun Dora?
Pat Shand: Daniel actually just sent me pages and told me that he’s connecting to this book more than any of his previous work, and I can really see that in his pages. He gets that “f*ck you” energy from Dora beautifully, and the design he created for her – she’s exactly what I imagined, but somehow better. He’s completely killing it.
DF: Pat, what other projects are you working on now and in the near-future you can tell readers about?
Pat Shand: My main focus right now is creator-owned comics and film. I’m releasing the third volume of Destiny, NY this summer, and following it up right away with Destiny, NY: Short Stories on Kickstarter, and then Volume Four next year. My wife Amy and I are working on the second volume of Prison Witch. All of those come out through the small publisher I run, Space Between Entertainment. Beyond that, I’m working on Mercy Sparx at Devil’s Due, something unannounced at Black Mask, and a ton of creator-owned pitches that I’ll be shopping around this summer. My goal is to make 2020 and 2021 big, big game-changers. Everything I’ve done so far for the past eight years is just Step One.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Pat Shand for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Warrior Nun Dora from Avatar Press hits stores August 28th!
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