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DF Interview: Shane Davis plays a deadly game in Axcend
By Byron Brewer
When Eric Morn signed up to beta test a new online game, he thought it would be nothing more than a fun distraction from the dregs of his everyday life -- bullies in school and mourning the loss of his twin brother. But what he didn't realize was that by activating his in-game character, he would transform into a god-like hero, ready to protect the world from impending disaster.
Husband and wife team writer/artist Shane Davis and inkier Michelle Delecki bring us the story this fall of a most unusual gamer. Dynamic Forces has the lowdown after a sit-down with Shane.
Dynamic Forces: After all those years of DC work, does it feel strange, Shane, to be writing and drawing your own creations?
Shane Davis: I created a lot of characters, some without names or descriptions, that ended up going on TV and videogames. This doesn't really feel all that different. In a lot of ways, it starts with a blank sheet of paper. This is also the case for Axcend.
DF: While we are on the subject, can you give us the strengths and weaknesses of working with both brand properties and creator-owned?
Shane Davis: I think a lot of strength in brand properties is really the years of build-up in the property itself and the stories behind the character. There are decades that helped build up the mythos and helped flesh out the characters that people love so much.
Creator-owned can be a breath of fresh air. There are a lot of new ideas and energy that are put on the page that may have been unseen with other properties.
DF: So what is Axcend and what was its inspiration?
Shane Davis: Axcend is about the line where fantasy ends and reality begins. It's about power and consequences. In Axcend, we will follow Eric Morn, a surviving twin, as he is chosen to be 1 of 3 to beta test a new online world called Axcend, but the game will follow the players back into the real world. The three players are Morn; Rayne, a drug addicted pop-star; and Ruin, the mysterious viscous player of Axcend that seems unbeatable. Morn and Rayne will have to put aside their differences and, with the aid of Axcend's A.I. DOG, get to the 3rd player before he activates here.
DF: Were/are you a big fan of online games? If so, which ones?
Shane Davis: I’ve been gaming for years, dating back to Super Mario, to Tekken, Resident Evil. The Last of Us is one of my favorites.
DF: Tell us about Eric Morn and also about his heroic alter ego.
Shane Davis: Eric Morn is a teenager who is a surviving twin, We come into the story a year after his twin brother's death. So, Eric is half of a whole. His whole social skill set is built off of having a twin. We come into this character's life, struggling with the world around him... school, bullies, family... he is dealing with being on his own for the first time.
DF: It sounds like there may be some interesting supporting cast as well?
Shane Davis: Rayne is a drug abusing pop-star named RAIN. She will be dealing with bullying on a different level, with tabloids. As her video game beta, she is able to stop time for as long as she continuously hits you. Ruin is our antagonist and has the ability to take possession of ads in the game world. In the real world, this translates into possession of people, tanks, jets, etc. He will be an unstoppable force if he makes it over into our world.
DF: As a writer, you are obviously going to not be too critical of your artist. But what about that inker of yours? (laughs)
Shane Davis: Michelle is a great inker and I'm lucky to have her on board with Axcend. She really tightens up my figures and faces.
DF: Finally, Shane, you might as well admit it right now: there's going to be some kind of twist somewhere down the line with the dead twin brother. Don't deny it!
Shane Davis: Erin, Eric's deceased brother, serves a lot to the story. He will push Eric back, and push him forward. Even though we might not see him, he defines Eric Morn in a lot of ways.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Shane Davis for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Axcend #1 hits stores October 7th!
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