There's always news and announcements at WonderCon. IDW has just announced that Tom Waltz (TMNT) will be writing a new sci-fi/military series, THE LAST FALL. It will be a five-issue miniseries with art by Casey Maloney (STAR TREK).
THE LAST FALL #1 (of 5)—SPOTLIGHT
Marcus Fall is a battle-hardened soldier in a long-running inter-planetary war. After multiple combat tours, Fall is finally able to leave the military and return to his beloved wife and son. But his happy homecoming comes to a tragic end when a suicide bomber murders his family. Devastated, Fall returns to the war with one bloody mission in mind: revenge against the enemy… every last one of them.
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Expected in-store date: 7/23/14
We had the chance to ask Tom some questions about the series as well as unveil some exclusive art.
COMIC VINE: What’s your quick sales pitch on this new series?
TOM WALTZ: Hmm… quick sales pitch, eh? How about, if you read THE LAST FALL, you’ll never have to worry about dandruff and/or tooth decay ever again? No? Okay, then let’s stick with THE LAST FALL is a 5-issue sci-fi/military drama that is equal parts tragedy, socio-religious commentary, love story, and action/adventure romp, featuring the beautifully rendered artwork of Casey Maloney, topped with fantastically vibrant colors from Hi-Fi Colour Design’s Dusty Yee. It won’t cure your itchy scalp or rotten teeth but it’s definitely one helluva exciting and dramatic ride!
CV: With Marcus being in an inter-planetary war, how much of a sci-fi feel will the series have?
TW: First and foremost, this is very much a character-driven tale – a human tragedy told in a sci-fi setting. A long time ago, a wonderful writing mentor of mine, Frank Fradella, pounded an invaluably important lesson into my brain, which is that genre is simply part of the setting (be it science fiction or a superhero powers or what have you) and should never be the primary focus of the story being told. That belongs to the characters, and it is exactly how I’m approaching THE LAST FALL (not to mention anything else I have to good fortune to write, including IDW’s monthly TMNT comic). This is Marcus Fall’s personal journey through hell and back, which just so happens to take place in a sci-fi setting. That said, Casey Maloney has been above-and-beyond integral to the creation of THE LAST FALL – including much of the scientific/cosmic backstory we are providing -- and I’ve no doubts readers are going to be as flabbergasted as I’ve been by his many cool equipment, environment and character designs for the series. I like to think that we’re creating a hardcore sci-fi/military drama that beats with a very human heart – something we truly hope will come through in our words and pictures.
CV: Will the majority of the five-issue series take place on planet or will he take his quest for revenge to the stars?
TW: The entirety of the story takes place between two planets – Merkonia (Fall’s home planet) and the Planet Krovin (where a pseudo-religious war is being fought). Most of the events take place in the present, while others are presented in flashback, providing the backstory necessary to show how it is Fall has come to be the cold, vengeful killing machine he is at the beginning of the story.
CV: What will be the tone of the series? With the death of his family, I’d imagine it gets pretty dark.
TW: Yes, much of the story has a dark edge to it – Fall’s family has been murdered, after all, and there is no escaping the tragic ugliness of that dirty deed and how it has affected his psyche. However, the story will evolve over its course, including excursions into social commentary, inter-personal relationships, political conspiracy, and, eventually, much more enlightened and hopeful territory. But, yeah, it’s a dark, treacherous journey we take with Marcus Fall to get there – but that’s life, ain’t it? As the Beatles said, a long and winding road.
CV: What was the process like in creating a new sci-fi world?
TW: As mentioned above, I always come at stories from a character perspective first, so for me, the sci-fi angle was something that was established once I knew what kind of story I wanted to tell and knew who the players (and their conflicts) were going to be. But… I’d be lying if I said that going the sci-fi route wasn’t exciting, because it was, especially after I presented the initial concept to my long-time creative partner, Casey Maloney. I was ecstatic to see how instantly inspired he was by the first treatment, even more so when he came back with a gazillion cool ideas as to how to take the story up a notch or two or fifty – both visually and story-wise. Casey came up with awesome ideas for character and environment designs, but he also provided shrewd insight into ways we could add to the underlying plot and backstory and the overall final product is so much better for it. This was truly creative collaboration at its finest – two storytellers working together to coax the seed of an idea into full bloom.
CV: Will the series complete the story or is there room for a return to this universe in later series?
TW: Well, the first five-issues of THE LAST FALL comprise a complete story – a reader picking up the first issue can be assured that by the end of the final issue they will be getting a full story with a beginning, middle and end. But… we ARE leaving the door wide open for more tales in this universe, definitely. Casey and I are both very passionate about what we’re building here and absolutely hope that THE LAST FALL is but the foundation for a much larger structure, so to speak. That’ll be up to readers and sales numbers ultimately, but we’re both feeling pretty good that we’re gonna convince folks that continuing this journey with us beyond this first series will be worthwhile. Honestly, I’d love to see this become an ongoing title at IDW someday… I adore the characters and nothing would be more satisfying than the opportunity to spend more time with them.
CV: What are you most excited about in telling this story?
TW: When Casey and I finished our first creator-owned series together way back in 2006 (the critically-acclaimed military/horror drama CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE, also from IDW), we were already talking about doing THE LAST FALL. At the time, we thought we would be able to jump right into it – we were definitely both anxious to do so. But real life has a tendency to interfere with the plans of mice and men sometimes, and we both found ourselves taking other creative adventures (sometimes together, sometimes separate) in order to pay the bills and establish our names within the industry. But THE LAST FALL was always on our radar – always something calling to us, and to finally be able to finish it – to purge it from our minds and hearts and onto paper – is beyond exciting. But, even more exciting than that, is the knowledge that the long wait, as it turns out, was more substantial than just circumstances dictating progress (or the lack thereof) – it also provided us with the opportunity to evolve and grow as both artists and people, and I honestly believe THE LAST FALL, after all is said and done, is better and, dare I say, more mature for it. The story we’re telling now is different than what we initially discussed way back in ’06… it’s bigger, smarter and far more satisfying for us as the creators… and we are hoping it’ll be same for readers willing to take a chance on THE LAST FALL #1 in July 2014.
Let your local comic shop know to add THE LAST FALL to your pull list. Look for it in July.