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DF Interview: It’s magic vs. technology in Brian Smith’s The Castoffs
By Byron Brewer
Roar Comics’ newest miniseries, The Castoffs, pits mage against machine in a battle for the ages. When three apprentice wizards are sent to help a neighboring guild, they reignite a decades-old war with a robot army that could destroy their world.
Brian Smith, New York Times-bestselling author (Stuff of Legend), teams up with MK Reed (Americus) and artist Molly Ostertag (Strong Female Protagonist) on a thrilling new fantasy adventure.
So thrilling, in fact, Dynamic Forces sought out writer Brian Smith to get the skinny.
Dynamic Forces: Brian, you created the phenomenal (IMHO) Stuff of Legend. Explain to us a little about this new fantasy adventure miniseries, The Castoffs.
Brian Smith: The Castoffs takes place in a world that started off very similar to our own, the one big difference being that magic is a known quantity – wizards and witches openly use their powers to benefit humanity. For generations this was the status quo, until what would've been roughly the time of our own Industrial Revolution. Normal folks become distrustful and decide they don't want to rely on magic, so they build machines to replicate what the mages do – until the machines grow beyond their control and become what is now known as The Surrogate. The mages fail to destroy the machines, the machines destroy the world and push magic users to the very edges of existence. Our story opens centuries later with three young mages being sent out to explore that ruined world, unsure if The Surrogate is even still active.
And thanks for the Stuff of Legend love!
DF: Can you introduce us to the three apprentice mages who are the protagonists of the book, tell us a little about them (or as much as we need to know)?
Brian Smith: Our three main heroes are a pretty motley crew at the start, lots of distrust and animosity in the air. Charris is the most capable of the three and doesn't hesitate to make that fact known. She's tough, a trained fighter with weather manipulating powers who has spent more time exploring the wilderness than most in their guild. Ursa is the group's healer (although she's not very good at it at all), confident to the point of arrogance and maybe has a secret power nobody knows about yet. Trinh is sorta sheepish and the other two tend to roll right over her at first. Her ability to turn invisible is super useful, her penchant to destroy any magical object she touches... not so much.
DF: Brian, you are sharing writing duties with MK Reed. Can you tell us a little bit about that process?
Brian Smith: Working with MK has been an absolute dream. We both pitched ideas at the same time, and our editor Adam Staffaroni had the vision and good sense to approach us about combining our stories into one. I love the collaborative process in making comics, and I'm always down to work with talented folks who feel the same way. MK really made this book click, and I can't wait for everyone to get a chance to check it out.
DF: What does artist Molly Ostertag bring to the table here? (She sure knocked Strong Female Protagonist out of the park, I can attest.)
Brian Smith: Molly's art is phenomenal. The characters really come alive, the gestures and expressions she manages to imbue them with in every panel are amazing. We completely lucked out getting her onboard Castoffs, I can't imagine anyone else drawing this series now!
DF: Brian, are there any current or near-future projects you’d like to mention to readers?
Brian Smith: I just wrapped up art chores on the Madballs series from Roar, and me and fellow Stuff of Legend creator Mike Raicht have a new OGN coming out from Dark Horse this November called Tree Mail that I'm super stoked about. I co-wrote and illustrated the whole thing, clocking in at 120-something pages. It was a blast!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Brian Smith for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Castoffs #1 from Roar Comics hits stores Oct. 12th!
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