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Australian writer/director Greg Mclean—who delivered the
goods with the gritty blood soaked nihilistic outback slasher WOLF CREEK and
the clever, subversive and fun killer crocodile flick ROGUE—is now unleashing a
monster-hunting maverick in the vein of an Indiana Jones type with his new
creation SEBASTIAN HAWKS. But this adventurer will not be found on the silver
screen (well, not yet). Right now, he’s comic creation that needs your help.
The comic book is a work of love for Mclean and a new
Australian-based Kickstarter program called Pozible is the foundation for
donations from genre loving fans (and fans to be). Joining Mclean is critically
acclaimed comic book writer and artist Tristan Jones ( IDW’s TEENAGE MUTANT
NINJA TURTLES and GHOSTBUSTERS). Mclean and Jones spent some time with FANGORIA
talking about their new character and are happy to share a sample of what will
promise to be a wonderful independent horror comic book series that fans of the
old EC Comics will just eat up!
FANGORIA: What were the set characteristics you had initially
mapped before fleshing Sebastian Hawks?
GREG MCLEAN: I wanted to make a story about a
"professional,” a guy who had a specific skill set that could be applied
in various scenarios. Being a Creature Hunter would enable us all kinds of cool
opportunities to play with monsters from myth and legend in a fun, "tales
of adventure" kind of way. That, and he being relatively nonchalant about
the dangers he'd encounter. The risks were real, but we have a sense he's up to
any challenge; an old fashioned hero in that sense, I guess.
FANG: How much input did the writer and artist have on the
creation of the character?
MCLEAN: I had a pretty fleshed out idea of the character and
a series of adventures plotted. I pitched this idea and some others to Tristan
and he really dug this one and then he fleshed out the arc into a bigger and
better storyline and pitched that to the brilliant Chris Dibari, so it evolved
pretty organically with everyone just building on and being attracted by the
world and character.
TRISTAN JONES: Yeah, I think when I came on board, Hawks
himself was pretty much figured out. It was a matter of figuring out where he
was actually going. There were some ideas tossed about, but the more I sat down
and looked at how I could make the character something a bit different to the
adventurers we've already seen, the more apparent the direction he should be
going in became. I was actually just looking back at some of the earlier notes
I took on the trains and trams and such, and there's a pretty drastic
evolution. The seeds were definitely there but I think, story wise at least,
it's probably very different to where I think Greg was initially planning on
taking it. At least that's what I gathered from the meetings we'd have. Each
time I'd come in with something different and we'd bat ideas around, and I
could see Greg was getting pretty excited about it. Knowing I'm working with
Chris puts a definite spin on things too. I always try to write to suit the
artist as best I can. That way you get the most out of them and they bring
their all to the story
FANG: Did monster-hunter type TV shows such as KOLCHAK inspire
SEBASTIAN HAWKS at all? What did you grow up watching in relation to this
MCLEAN: I loved THE NIGHT STALKER! I grew up watching Hammer
Horror movies, Universal Monster movies and loving horror comics, which often
featured various monsters. So I'm a monster guy originally, and I love creating
this world which in which monsters are real, part of the texture of the SEBASTIAN
HAWKS universe, and we get to see lots of lots of excellent monster
JONES: Not as much. There's probably something right in the
back there, but I look at things that draw immediate parallels and find things
I would want to see done, or things that haven't been done. I love Hammer
Horror, and even a lot of the Hammer adventure films, so they're a big
influence (the core villain of the piece is essentially a love letter Peter
Cushing and the tremendous work he did at that studio). Those old Doug McClure
films—WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS, THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, AT THE EARTH’S CORE—I
used to watch them all the time! They're hilarious, but there's a real charm to
them and I kind of look at them and go "Well, taking what I have, if I
were to make something like this without worrying about a budget, what would I
Regardless of what people make of them, those Stephen
Summers MUMMY films are things I look at, but in the way I mentioned earlier. What
would I, as both a horror fan and someone who thinks RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is
one of the best adventure experiences of all time, have done instead of this? Or,
how do I think this could have been better? Those MUMMY films are fun, but I
think they fall short in a number of ways. Stemming from that, there's a sense
of adventure and heroism to a lot of those old Universal monster movies as well
that I'm riffing on. CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. KING KONG is a huge
influence, too. A lot of what's in SEBASTIAN HAWKS is a tip of the hat to Ray
Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien. Phil Tippett, as well.
FANG: Will you be involving famous movie monsters and/or
cryptids in the comic book series?
MCLEAN: There are definitely well known monsters and
creatures from world myth and legend in the overall arc, however they are
connected in a way that'd be a bit of a spoiler at this stage to reveal. It's
very cool, and Tristan's got some wild ideas for what's coming up.
JONES: Oh yeah! If the book moves forward and we reach the
funding goal, you can expect all sorts of things. This story immediately leads
into stories set in Africa, which looks at the whole Mokèlé-mbèmbé thing, and
again, nods to things like THE LOST WORLD and KING KONG, in terms of scope and
big, monster-y action. We've got werewolves, mummies, living statues (Talos
from JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS and Kali from THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF
SINBAD are seared into my childhood and development), dinosaurs, vampires. I'm
kind of in love with the idea of him interacting with other literary monsters.
There's a moment in this first story that makes a reference to the orangutan
from THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. Something else I find fascinating
(just on that historic/literary note) is the history that leads up to the whole
NAZI Occultism. I think it's been done to death, but the more I looked into it—the
Thule society and things like that—the bigger my sandbox got and the cooler the
toys became, so there's a lot of occult lore going into it as well. It's pretty
across the board. There'll be recognizable monsters, as well as pieces of
folklore taken from around the world, which often ends up tying into
a lot of the mystery surrounding modern cryptids.
FANG: Tristan, did Greg Mclean establish specific traits for
Sebastian Hawks that you will have to use as a guideline in the writing of this
comic book series? Or was his input simply the design and look of the
JONES: There were some very broad strokes. I think initially
he was much more serious. At least that's how he came across in the earlier
discussions we had. He was kind of a Van Helsing-meets-Indiana Jones-type
character. I think Greg had initially envisioned something more along the lines
of a James Bond-type character thrown up against monsters. After he asked me to
take a look at it and see what I thought, my interpretation of the character
and how he should work in the world shifted him significantly. My approach was
that it would be more fun to see him develop into that person. I
can't look at these British Lord-type characters regardless of how badass you
try to make them without thinking of Monty Python (specifically
Graham Chapman) or Stephen Fry and Rik Mayall in BLACKADDER GOES FORTH.
Since he handed the character to me, he's become something very different, but
the core idea of the character is still what Greg envisioned. I don't
think we'd be as far as we are, or I'd have been allowed to get this far along
in developing him, if Greg didn't like what I'd done.
FANG: What is the best thing about working on
something that is completely your own as opposed to writing for established
titles such as TMNT and GHOSTBUSTERS?
JONES: Freedom. I had a lot of fun working on those titles,
but working on this and perhaps more so the two books I'm doing right now that
are completely my own, the freedom to tell the stories I want to tell without
worrying about the interests of anyone but myself and the audience is the big
draw card for me. The great thing about working with Greg is that he's a fan of
my comics and the stuff I've done already, so he is essentially who I'm writing
for audience-wise. He’s given me a tremendous amount of freedom on this book
and being able to build this world around the character, and even the character
itself, has been amazing.
The flipside is that I don't think I'll be able
to go back and write TMNT the way I used to at Mirage, now that Nickelodeon is
in charge. I was very fortunate to get away with some of the stuff I did when I
wrote the Lovecraftian story for them, but there was still a lot of back and
forth about what was acceptable and what wasn't. I don't have to worry about
any of that here. In fact, there's stuff I couldn't put into that TMNT story
that'll pop up in Sebastian Hawks down the track. You start writing your own
stuff, or get given the green light to do whatever you want on something and
it's tricky going back. And I'm constantly being pushed by people like Ben
Templesmith, Howard Chaykin to go down that path. I see what they're doing, and
other friends are doing with their books and it really kind of sets your mind
in a particular direction. That said, I'd never say no to working on
something like ALIENS or TERMINATOR; properties that have been
interpreted and presented in ways that make full use of the medium they're in. I've
read ALIEN stories you'd never see on film, and I really love that and love
that both publishers and licensors are willing to take a shot on stories like
that these days.
You can donate to the creation of “Sebastian Hawks” right here.
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