In September, Zero Month introduced you to four all-new ongoing series: THE PHANTOM STRANGER, SWORD OF SORCERY, TALON and TEAM 7. With these #0 issues, you got a taste of the new characters and stories that will be impacting the ever-growing DC Universe.
This month, each of these four series will launch their #1 issue. To celebrate these releases, we’ll be putting a spotlight on each of these new titles every day this week on THE SOURCE. Next up is TALON #1. From co-writers James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder and artist Guillem March, TALON #1 hits stores on October 24. We asked March, Snyder and Tynion to tell us a little bit about their creative processes and to tease what readers can expect from issue #1.
How did you use issue #0 to help you launch issue #1? How were your creative approaches to these two issues different?
GUILLEM MARCH: We were lucky that Zero Month was right before the issue #1 launch, so it made a lot of sense that the origin of the character was told at the beginning. I love that it’s a standalone issue, so readers can read the whole origin and hopefully they’ll be interested enough in the character to learn more about him. But even if they don’t, they get a good self-contained story.
SCOTT SNYDER: We felt that with #0, we could give you a real sense of Calvin's history and who he was before the inciting event of “Night of the Owls.” That battle with Batman really hurt the Court, and that’s what #1 is about - Calvin, for the first time in years, thinking it might be safe to stop running because of what he sees on the news about this battle in Gotham between the Batman and the Owls. So #0 gave us an opportunity to show you how harrowing it's been for Calvin these past years, on the run, hunted because he did the right thing. Issue #1 is where it all comes to a head. So excited for what James Tynion IV has planned for you!
JAMES TYNION IV: Launching with a zero was a really interesting proposition from the start, because we knew that the first two issues had to be places you could jump onboard the series, without doubling down on any of the same material. So the way I started thinking about it is that issue #0 introduces our leading man, Calvin Rose, and issue #1 introduces the story in the present day that will drive our series issue-to-issue. So when the next issue comes out, people who have read the zero issue will have a special understanding of Calvin and his history that helps frame the premise of the actual monthly series. It helps to read both, but if you missed the zero issue, you should be able to jump on board with issue #1 and be fine.
What’s been the most fun aspect of writing/drawing and launching the new series so far?
GUILLEM MARCH: I love drawing dark and solitary characters, more than groups of colorful superheroes, so I love working in the Bat family. I’m also really excited by the fact this is a new character, so I’m somehow establishing his world, instead of sticking to what a previous artist has done with him. That’s a responsibility I enjoy a lot.
SCOTT SNYDER: Watching my pal and former student James Tynion IV come up with these amazing ideas and scenes and really, this whole world of story for the series. I'm serving as a co-plotter, so I help with the story, but he's the real brains behind it, and seeing him evolve and now be so so good, it's a joy. I could learn a lot from him now!
JAMES TYNION IV: Honestly, every part of the process has been a dream. I’ve had the skeleton of this story in my head for months, but as we move forward and flesh it out issue-by-issue, new storytelling opportunities present themselves every day. It’s the fact that this story, which was so much fun to plan, is coming to life as I write it. Some elements that were nothing but footnotes in the outline series are quickly becoming my favorite parts of the series. We’re doing a lot of world building in TALON, and I think it’s a world readers are going to enjoy coming back to month after month.
Do you have a ritual (music you listen to or something you eat or do to get you prepped) before approaching the writing/drawing for the series? If so, what is it?
GUILLEM MARCH: Not really. I get a coffee on the way to the studio and I read a page of script in the morning while drinking it. I used to draw one page every day – pencils in the morning and inks in the afternoon. Maybe I’ll do a warm-up sketch and then I start working while listening to some Morricone or Hans Zimmer. This job is about routine, no glamour – sorry to spoil the fun!
SCOTT SNYDER: I listen to a lot of old country and rockabilly. Sometimes old hip-hop. Elvis is my favorite of all time, as anyone who knows me will tell you :)
JAMES TYNION IV: Not really! I mean, I might pace a while muttering to myself, write some notes about what I want to accomplish in a given day, and then watch last night’s episode of The Daily Show … But ultimately, when I need to get the work done the only thing to do is start working. I just try to dive in, page one, panel one … The details might change a dozen times over before anyone sees it, but the most important ritual is just sitting down and getting to work.
Since TALON is the first book to star a character created in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52, do you feel any added pressure during your creative process while writing/drawing?
GUILLEM MARCH: Oh, I hadn’t noticed that, but now that you’ve told me, maybe I will!
SCOTT SNYDER: There's always pressure. Writing Batman is like a ton of pressure on you all the time. The only way to do it is block it out and just dive into the story - pretend you're writing it for yourself and no one else is going to read it. Just assume if you love it, and have really invested in it, emotionally, intellectually, they'll love it too.
JAMES TYNION IV: Absolutely! Rather than reinterpreting and recreating a figure known and loved for decades, we have to hook the readers from the start and show them why Calvin Rose deserves a place in the pantheon of DC heroes. I remember a conversation that Scott and I would have over and over when we were in the early stages of the book, about looking forward with the character. It wasn’t about building him up so we can reach issue #12, because we have a big story that will take us right up through the first year. It was about building a character that could last well beyond what we have planned, and about building a series that still has big stories to tell when it gets to issue #26 and even issue #58. If we were going to create this new character, it had to be someone with the potential and the personality to stick around the DC Universe for years, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth creating him in the first place. If the readers dig the series and support it, I honestly believe that there are years and years of great stories for Calvin, and a real chance that he will be sticking around for quite some time.
Below, take a first look at TALON #1 by taking an exclusive look at some of the issue’s interior art by March.