Project Fanboy just posted up my most recent interview with writer Troy Hickman. Here is a copy of the interview for all of you to enjoy. Don't forget to check out the Reviews section of Project Fanboy for the latest reviews by myself and the rest of the staff!
Eisner-nominated writer Troy Hickman took a few seconds out of his busy schedule to answer some questions surrounding his recent win of Top Cow's Pilot Season contest, and his upcoming series Twilight Guardian (due out in late 2009).
Ryan Eldridge: The Twilight Guardian seems to be the exact opposite of everything one would expect from a super-hero character. What was the inspiration for the character?
Troy Hickman: Gosh, I hope she's not the exact opposite, or she'll be out there committing crimes! You have a point, though; she doesn't really follow the standard superhero template. Twilight Guardian has some inner urge that drives her to patrol the streets at night, even though she's not necessarily going to encounter Arnim Zola or the Ultra-Humanite (and if she does we'll undoubtedly be getting a cease and desist letter!). The inspiration for her comes from my own sleepless nights walking the streets of suburbia, and from all the quirky but compelling folks I've met along the way.
RE: The character herself actually comes from another series you self-published. Why don't you tell our readers a bit about that book and what lead you to bring the character to Top Cow.
TH: Twilight Guardian first appeared in my Tales of the Pathetic Club series, which dealt with people suffering from various manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorders. The series was semi-autobiographical, as I've had some experience with OCD myself. Top Cow was interested in TG some years back when they contacted me about doing my Common Grounds series, but she sat on the shelf for a few years until Pilot Season provided the proper time and opportunity for her to return. The script for the Top Cow version of TG was basically an amalgam of her Pathetic Club appearance and the one-shot spin-off I did with her in 1995, with a bit of new material added, such as the parody comic pages.
RE: One of my favorite characters from the Pathetic Club books was Dr. Stein, any chance we're going to be seeing any of him in this series?
TH: No, probably not in this series, as the Pathetic Club stuff was not included in the Twilight Guardian deal. I would like to eventually do a recreation of it, though, in the same way I've done with Holey Crullers/Common Grounds and Twilight Guardian. I'm proud to say a lot of folks really dug that series, and I think it holds up today. I'd prefer to do it as a creator-owned series, though (my first), if Top Cow or someone else is interested (obviously Twilight Guardian would not be included in the new version).
RE: Let's talk a bit about the contest itself. Twilight Guardian developed quite a large grassroots support movement. Did you ever expect people to connect so well with the character?
TH: No, I can't say that I did. I went into this just being happy to have a new book on the shelves. I figured I'd have a nice one-shot that I could be proud of, and that, heck, maybe would manage NOT to come in last if I were lucky. And then the first week of voting came around, and TG was in third position. Since Top Cow was giving the top TWO books a series, I started thinking maybe it wasn't too crazy to believe I might have a slim chance. So I started beating the bushes something fierce, and I guess it worked.
RE: What do you think caused people to relate to her in the way they did?
TH: I think they possibly see a lot of themselves in her. She's a comic reader herself, and someone who's gone through heartbreak. More than that, though, she's looking for something out there, and I'd guess most of us are doing the same in some way.
RE: Your creative team on this book included artist Reza. Was it difficult collaborating across language barriers?
TH: Well, it wasn't too different, really, as pretty much all the "pro" comics I've done so far have consisted of me writing a script, giving it to my editor, then waiting to see the finished art. I haven't been able to really collaborate much yet, and that's something I'm looking forward to eventually. In the case of TG, though, I'm guessing there may have been some additional issues with communication, especially since my script was probably not the most conventional thing in the world, but we seem to have worked it out. I'm overjoyed with Reza's art.
RE: Artistically, one of my favorite aspects of this book was the inclusion of the snippets from fake silver age books. Are we going to see more Mantelope?
TH: We will if I have anything to say about it. Coming up with those pages was one of my favorite parts of doing this version of TG. As I went through the script, I found myself really looking forward to those pages. We'll definitely be looking at more of TG's comic collection in the mini-series, and I've got some other comic-related plans as well. And who knows? Maybe someday I can do a separate series with the likes of Mantelope, Heatnik, the Flaming Flag, and the rest.
RE: Both Twilight Guardian and your Eisner nominated series Common Grounds are based on books you wrote over ten years ago. In the time between, how much have the characters changed for you?
TH: They've actually changed very little. The scripts for the Common Grounds stories are almost verbatim from the original Holey Crullers versions, and Twilight Guardian is just a more developed version of her mini-comic appearances. The characters in both books have kind of a Silver Age vibe, so perhaps they have something of a timeless quality to them.
RE: Have you ever actually eaten a peanut butter and bologna sandwich?
TH: It's my favorite sandwich, and I've probably eaten a couple thousand of them (is it any wonder I'm the picture of health that I am?).
RE: Lastly, you've hinted that you were planning to take this series in a direction nobody would expect. Just between you, me, and the entire internet, are you at liberty to spill any secrets?
TH: Nope! Seriously, though, I think Twilight Guardian is unlike anything else on the stands right now, and I hope to keep it that way. I'll do my best to entertain the readers, and give them something that'll evoke a laugh and maybe a teary eye or two. I think that's the least we should expect out of our comics, and I'll certainly give it my best shot.
Many thanks again to Troy for taking the time to speak with us. The pilot issue of Twilight Guardian is available for free at Newsarama.