Who says gods can’t be sexy? Certainly not the creators behind RED THORN, Vertigo’s new fantasy series inspired by the myths and legends of Scotland.
When Isla Mackintosh landed in Glasgow, she was hoping to turn up the truth about her missing sister. She certainly didn’t expect to fall in love and find herself living in the city for over a year. But Isla has far more tying her to Scotland than her new boyfriend. Her destiny lies in Glasgow’s hidden world of gods and monsters and within the machinations of the demigod that she accidentally unleashes—the swaggering, often shirtless firebrand known as Thorn.
To learn more about the series and the clever minds behind it, we asked writer David Baillie, artist Meghan Hetrick, colorist Steve Oliff, cover artist Choong Yoon and editor Rowena Yow to answer a few—well, ten—of our questions. Here’s what they had to say.
Tell us, briefly, how you would describe RED THORN:
David Baillie: A sexy, bloody, foul-mouthed story about ancient Scottish mythology invading modern-day Glasgow. It will break your heart.
Meghan Hetrick: I'm not a writer, and don't quite know where we're going with it, but so far, it's a dark, sexy fantasy, with a bit of horror thrown in. Old school-style Vertigo.
Choong Yoon: An epic dark fantasy comic with a bunch of badass characters.
Steve Oliff: A modern fairy tale.
Can your main character change a tire?
Steve: Isla probably could.
Meghan: Isla, yes. Thorn, no.
David: Isla can not only change a tire, she'll be able to tell you what's wrong with your car just by listening to the engine.
Thorn would throw the tire off a cliff and steal someone else's car.
If you set your series on the moon, how would the characters change?
David: The story only works in Glasgow, so it would have to be a Glaswegian moonbase colony. Set a thousand years in the future, humanity has taken its stories and myths with it—and now, awake, they're the greatest threat to the species' survival.
Choong: I think the main character could be a half-alien who is about to rebel against the Moon rabbit.
Steve: They’d have to go to Marvel’s Blue Area, which the DC brass probably wouldn’t like.
What’s your favorite quote from a comic ever?
Steve: Probably something Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen.
Rowena Yow: “Each day, we feel more distant from each other, more alone, all while being surrounded by millions. Each day we watch as our city turns into a desert, one in which we are all lost, looking for that oasis we like to call ‘love.’ The more we wait, the more everything and everyone looks like a grain of sand escaping between our fingers before vanishing into the wind. How do we find something or someone we can no longer see, but which is right there before us? And how do we hold on to what is most precious in life?” – Gabriel Ba, DAYTRIPPER
Meghan: "You have failed me, brain!" – Deadpool
What music (or audiobooks or other background sounds) do you listen to while you work?
David: I've been listening to lots of grungy stuff from the ’90s while writing RED THORN, because that's when Isla's plight really began and I feel like that period is informing a lot of the current-day story, not least when it comes to chapter titles. But when the lyrics get in the way of me conjuring up my own words I throw on something instrumental or in a language other than English. I've been working through weird obscure Japanese RPG soundtracks recently--which can veer from European death metal to electropop with no warning. I like exposing my brain to the unexpected.
Rowena: A varied mix but when I’m editing scripts, I love Yann Tiersen’s Amelie score.
Steve: The Allman Brothers, the soundtrack from Twin Peaks, and the soundtrack from Blade Runner.
Meghan: Depends on my mood, but usually some sort of electronic music.
Choong: I just listen to a Korean radio channel.
How does inspiration most often strike you?
Steve: Usually upside the head.
Meghan: Not as often as one might think.
Rowena: In the middle of the night when I’m least likely to remember my genius moments.
Choong: Bath, Bus, and Bed. Mostly, when I am not actually doing anything.
David: About 80% of the time it's when I'm already sat down, writing—as Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I think my brain has associated the physical act of typing or writing on paper with activating whatever process causes my neurons to talk to each other and vomit up ideas.
The other 20% of the time I could be doing anything—recent ideas have volunteered themselves while I'm waking up, falling asleep, in the shower, on my bike, or out running.
What’s the question about your work you wish you’d never get again? What’s the question you wish people would ask?
Meghan: Never again: "What's it like being a woman in comics?" Please ask: "What's it like being an artist who works in comics?"
David: The only thing that annoys me is when people assume that it's easy, or that anyone could do it. Actually it doesn't really annoy me, unless it's someone looking to work in comics—then I have to step away from the conversation. I wouldn’t mind if someone asked: “Do you want this suitcase full of cash?”
Steve: I just wish people would quit mistaking my last name for Patrick Oliffe’s last name.
Choong: “Who’s your favorite artist? Who inspired your art?” It’s really hard to answer because it is so difficult to pick a few. At the same time, I wish to get this question again and again because it reminds me and motivates me to become an artist like them.
What’s the most unusual part of your job, or something people can’t believe you do?
Meghan: That I'm a woman who draws comic books. Really.
Steve: People are always amazed I can work in comics and still live way out in the country.
Rowena: As an editor, my Google search history is a thing to behold. It’s a miracle the CIA have yet to burst in through the office windows to detain me.
What's your favorite shade of black?
Steve: 100% K-tone with a good 60C-60M-40Y undercolor.
Rowena: The black of my fat black cat.
Meghan: The one that matches my soul. #vintagegothkid
What is the stuff that dreams are made of?
Choong: Memories, hopes and fear?
Steve: Undigestible food.
Meghan: Energy and neurons firing.
David: The realization that they lied to us—we can do whatever we want.
Rowena: Fears, hopes, desires and the cheese I made the mistake of eating right before bed.
RED THORN #1 will be available on November 18, 2015 in print and as a digital download.