Comic Vine Interviews Joshua Hale Fialkov
Comic Vine: Congratulations on "winning" Top Cow Pilot Season. I have to honestly say that was the one I was rooting for. What's next for Cyblade? How many arcs do you have planned?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Well, thank you very much. It was a blast writing the pilot and I can't wait to dive into the series and show you guys what it's all about. I have the first two story arcs planned out, with a loose idea of what I'd do in the second year of the book. As I've said before, I think her character has had a lot of little pieces here and there of character stuff, but, really, she's just a wide open character with a great core concept. For me, the idea of exploring what's made her into the somewhat icy and incredibly deadly character she is as a member of Cyberforce. In a lot of her appearances in the core Cyberforce books, I think she comes of as aloof, and while the other characters seem to really get off on their powers, Dominique always felt like there was something else underneath.
CV: Will the series continue to be set in her "past"? Will we ever have guest appearances from other members of Cyberforce?
JHF: The book will continue to take place before Cyberforce. If you look at the old Cyblade: Origins one shot, you'll see that there's this big gap between Dominique: Awkward Superhero and Cyblade: Super Assassin. I think that's just such a plum time to explore, and I'm thrilled to get to flesh it out. As for other members of the team... just wait and see. There's going to be lots of surprises. And as I've said before, there's no way I'm not going to try and get my weasely little hands on Ripclaw somehow.
CV: A lot of people have said that the story had an "Alias" feel to it. Do you like having that comparison?
JHF: Well, I think it's apropos. The first issue was just such an all out action piece, that it's really the natural comparison. Once the series itself gets going, I really want to focus on the counterpoint to the action. Finding a way to really make Dominique a real character dealing with all of the torments that Cyberdata doles out on her.
CV: Cyblade would totally kick Sydney Bristow's butt.
A lot of your other work tends to have darker themes, is that something you might incorporate into Cyblade? Maybe have her go on a "supernatural" mission?
JHF: For me, the scariest things aren't supernatural. They're normal, everyday fears. And that's definitely going to show up in the book. Just looking at the basic concept... this is a girl who's been off murdering, stealing, terrorizing the world. And she had no idea. It's like waking up one day to realize you're also Mr. Hyde. As she tries to work through her memories and find out who she is, was, and will be, I think we're definitely on the road to some pretty dark story telling.
CV: I didn't think of it that way. Makes sense.
Are there any other" superheroes" you'd like to write or is Cyblade and her espionage adventures enough?
JHF: I actually love writing super hero stuff, and don't really get thought of as a super hero writer. I've got a few more books coming out from a couple different places this year that fall a little closer to the superhero side of the street. As a writer, I'm obsessed with identity, and, clearly, that's a key point in the world of superheroes. As for specific characters, I'd love to tackle Martian Manhunter. He's just about the very definition of an identity crisis.
CV: Now that the spotlight is on you after "winning," do you plan on using that to get more readers familiar with you other works like Elk's Run (great series that too many missed out on).
JHF: Thanks for that! Elk's Run has been a tough road to hoe. I think that at the end of the day, it's a difficult book that doesn't quite fit with what people are looking for in comics. It's neither action-adventure nor autobio, and I think because it flies in the face of the simple dichotomous nature of comics, it'll always have a select audience.
That being said, I'm finally making some progress on the follow up book with Noel, so, hopefully, it'll continue to grow my audience. I'm more concerned with bringing those readers with me to Cyblade. I try and really use a similar sensibility with my work for hire stuff that I do on my creator owned. To me, the only point in doing a book is to make sure that's it's something with a unique voice and vision. So that's been my goal with Cyblade.
CV: Any movie or tv deals in the works for either Elk's Run or Punks (that you can talk about)?
JHF: There are indeed things happening, just nothing I can talk about. I've been working in Hollywood (and the entertainment industry in general) in various capacities for over a decade now. I've literally run the gamut from being a Production Assistant to Director to Screenwriter. It's a tough business, and it's a business of compromise. Luckily, it usually pays great, so it sort of makes up for that. But, I've got my feet firmly (and lovingly) planted in comics for a long time to come.
CV: You've mentioned that you're working on Three Rivers and will release it as a trade when it's complete, any idea of the release date? Publlisher?
I think we're getting close to making an announcement on it. It's just still hanging in the balance. It probably won't be out anywhere until 2009 or so. Noel and I have both been incredibly busy, and we've been slowly searching for the right home for the book. It's really personal, and is a story I've wanted to tell since the time I was a kid. So, it'll definitely happen, and it'll be in the next year or two.
CV: You also have a one-shot issue of Friday the 13th coming out in April, do you have the urge to write any other "horror" franchise characters?
JHF: It was an absolute joy to write. And, Andy B.'s art is simply amazing. The guy is going to be such a huge star it's ridiculous. I grew up on horror movies, and getting to contribute to their universes is a complete honor and privilege for me.
CV: You come from a screenwriting background, when you write for your artists, do you give them a detailed, panel-by-panel layout or do you allow them more freedom?
JHF: It really just depends on the artist. As I get to know someone's strengths and weaknesses I'll script accordingly. I write like a director, though, for the most part. I keep an eye on pacing and motion that I think is a big part of what I do well. But, with someone like Noel on Three Rivers or Elk's Run, we just speak the same language... he pulls things straight out of my brain and onto the paper.
CV: Being a Stephen King fan and with the success of the Dark Tower at Marvel, do you feel there's another of his work that could be adapted into comic format?
JHF: I don't know. I think a lot of his classic would make great comics, I just don't know if they really need to be. There's something about the pulpiness of his writing that just makes his ideas sing. I don't know that there's ever been another medium version of his work that really accomplishes that. The closest is probably The Stand mini-series from way back when. But, again, that worked because it was eight hours long. And it's still not as good as the book. The Kubrick Shining is obviously amazing, but, clearly it very, very much not the book.
CV: You are also a musician, when you work, do you have music playing or do you prefer silence? Anything in particular that gets you pumped up?
JHF: I build massive playlists for each project I work on. Probably the saddest day of the past few years was when my computer crashed and I had to reformat the hard drive losing those playlists. I listen to a huge array of stuff, from Rachmaninoff to Rush. It's really about capturing the moment by moment emotion of what I'm writing. I also build a little mini-score for while I'm drafting. So I can line up the music to the scenes. It's a bit OCD for me, but, it works.
CV: We have a few Doctor Who fans on the site and the new comic is out from IDW, what are your thoughts on the "new" episodes?
JHF: The show is so great. I have this theory of sci-fi that in America once Blade Runner happened, that was it. All Sci-Fi is dark and dreary. The stuff that ISN'T dark and dreary ends up being cheesey and overdone. I think in the UK, because of Judge Dredd and that sort of smokey sci-fi tradition, that effect wasn't felt as strongly. There was still 'fun sci-fi.' Doctor Who is probably the best example of that. It's sci-fi dressed in schoolboy's clothes. It's fun, exuberant, and just plain hopeful sci-fi. As we get more and more bogged down in post-modernism and meta-snark, seeing a goofy, emotional rollercoaster like Doctor Who is really a valuable asset.
And how fucking rad is David Tennant?
CV: If you were directing a re-make of Smokey and the Bandit, who would you cast for the leads?
JHF: Ah, my beloved cats Smokey & The Bandit approve of this question. I don't know that you can remake the movie. It's just such a perfect window into that time. Those movies are probably the best documented example of "Famous People Having a Ridiculous Good Time" ever.
CV: Great stuff: Buford T. Justice: [to his son] "There's no way, no way that you came from my loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I'm gonna do is punch yo mamma in da mouth!"
Anything else you'd like to plug or mention?
JHF: I've got a horror book coming from Dark Horse later this year called The Cleaners, that's co-written with Mark Wheaton with art by Rashan Ekedal that's going to be awesome. It's about crime scene cleaners who specialize in supernatural crime scenes. It's very much a procedural look at that world, and horror in general. It's really something special, and I can't wait for people to check it out.
I've also been writing Vampirella for the past year or so, and I think that's a book that gets short shrift because of, well, her costume. That first trade paper back of my issues is out in a few weeks, so, please, check it out. It's got a cool 70's vibe to it, as I'm really channeling what Archie Goodwin did on the book way back when.
And of course, there's always Punks. More stuff from Kody and I in the coming months, in theory, over at http://www.punksthecomic.com