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Hadrian's Wall Comic Combines Whodunit Story with Sci-Fi Elements

News Bot Aug 16, 2016

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    News Bot Chaos Immortal

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    When it comes to sci-fi stories, we've pretty much seen them all. There have been many different variations on themes and a mixing of different genres. The new series, Hadrian's Wall, which is offering a fresh take in a futuristic landscape by combining whodunit elements set out in space.
    Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis are joining forces once again to deliver a new comic series. The three previously worked together on C.O.W.L., a series looking at superhero unions in the 1960s. We spoke with Higgins to find out more about this upcoming space opera/murder mystery.
    [​IMG]
    GameSpot: What is Hadrian's Wall about?
    Kyle Higgins: It's a murder mystery in space. It's a locked room murder mystery in space. It's intergalactic noir with drugs, conspiracy, back stabbing, and murder. It's all on board a space ship. It's kind of our love letter to 70s and 80s sci-fi films. At the same time, it's a story about an investigator who is looking into this eight person crew, where everyone's a suspect, including his own ex-wife. What kind of biases does he bring to the table? How do they color his perception of events? What split them apart in the first place? I've been describing it as this exploration of broken relationship as. The backdrop to all this is, is this new interstellar cold war between Earth and its biggest colony, on Theta. We're really looking at is what breaks people apart and what it takes to put them back together. If they can be even put back together.
    You mentioned some of the influences, but this isn't your typical sci-fi story.
    No. It's sci-fi in the sense of the environment that we're setting it in. It's a retro future world. We're big fans of films like Outland, Bladerunner, Alien, and Aliens. The idea of doing something that felt reminiscent of those movies that we grew up on, was really appealing to us. Also, from a practical standpoint, it's a super-crowded marketplace. It's definitely very crowded for sci-fi stories. We wanted to do something that felt unique and specific. Rod, with the art, took the ball and ran with it. If you're looking for a reason to pick up his book, just take a look at some Rod's preview pages. Oh, my God. This guy is so good. The jump that he made from C.O.W.L., which was his first illustrated book, to Hadrian's Wall is monumental. We're really excited for people to see what he's capable of. I really feel like this book is a great showcase for that.
    When or how did you guys come up with this. When did the wheels start turning?
    It's a concept that I've had for a long time. Again, it's a murder mystery on a spaceship. There was no story there, so I never really explored things further. When I came to the idea of an investigator having to navigate his failed marriage, because his ex-wife is a suspect in a case that he's working, that's when things started to click for me. That was my way in. That concept can just be a vehicle for something much more emotionally resonant.
    It was at that point, as we were wrapping up that iteration of C.O.W.L., which we do want to come back and do more one day, I dusted off the concept for Hadrian's Wall. I started playing with it through the lens of Simon/Annabelle relationship that I just described. Alec came on to it at that point with me. Rod really responded to what we were developing. It was natural progression, coming out of C.O.W.L. I remember, I actually called Eric Stephenson at Image and said, "We're going to wrap up C.O.W.L. We've got something else that we want to just roll right into." I pitched to him. He was all in. It was a pretty easy process. This is hopefully the second of many projects that we're going to do together.
    [​IMG]You were talking about Rod's art. Did he come up with designs, the looks, the spacesuits, and everything? Did you work together on the designs?
    No. That's all Rod. Alec pulled a ton reference for him, some stuff that we really like and responded to. The design work is all Rod. It's all channeled through the prism that is Rod Reis. I stay focused through that.
    Based on the title, how would you describe Hadrian's Wall for people that have no idea what that is?
    Hadrian's Wall was actually the furthest outpost in the Roman Empire. The name of the ship, in our world, is Hadrian's Wall. It's a history reference in that regard. It was like, understandably, a pretty sh***y assignment. To go out, in the far reaches of the Roman Empire. We wanted something that would evoke that feeling of isolation and loneliness. The ship, in our book, goes out into the furthest reaches of space. It's a survey ship tasked with going into new systems and looking for natural resources that the company, Antares Interspace, could exploit. It's not exactly a walk in the park job. The ship was probably nicknamed Hadrian's Wall, initially, as a joke. It stuck.
    There's mention of the Theta Colony. There's a conflict going on. How much of that backstory do you guys have developed, since we don't see it straight off in the first issue?
    A lot of it. Without giving anything away, that's the crux of the story, as well. If you think of that relationship in terms of the American Revolution, Earth is the British and Theta is the Americans. They want their independence. It's also a little bit of a Cold War situation developing between the two with the exploitation of Theta. A lot of it is stemming from the natural resources.
    The main character, Simon, is obviously a flawed character. Is it easier, or more interesting, to write someone who's not perfect?
    I don't know that I've ever written a character who is perfect. Although, Dick Grayson is pretty close. All the stuff that makes him such an awesome character and my favorite character to read, it makes him really tough to write. He's so well-adjusted, good-looking, can do anything athletically, etc. It's always more fun to write characters that are tragic or flawed. I'm basically the last person on the planet to discover BoJack Horseman. I just finished watching the second season. Not only is it incredible, but talk about a guy who can't get out of his own way. I love it. It's just so relatable and identifiable to me. Characters with flaws are immediately more interesting and more appealing to me. They resonate. I think we can all see bits of ourselves in character like that. That's what makes for good stories. That's what make for good drama.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]Switching to a different topic, what can you tell us about The Shadow Hours and the premiere this week?
    [​IMG][​IMG]The Shadow Hours is a new live-action film that I wrote and directed. It was executive produced by my friend, Omar Spahi, who's also producing Hadrian's Wall through his OSSM comics. Basically, Shadow Hours was my return to shooting bigger projects.
    It's a psychological thriller about two identical twins who have this condition where only one can be awake at a time. They pose as one person, each only awake for half a day and work as private investigators. Then, the relationship becomes complicated. It's both a short film and a proof of concept for a feature. Actually, it's premiering tonight at HollySthanhorts Film Festival in Los Angeles in the Seven to 7-7:30 p.m. time slot. We're all very excited about that. It has Tom Riley from Da Vinci's Demons, Britt Lower from Man Seeking Woman, Loren Lester, who is the voice of Dick Grayson for Batman: The Animated Series, Elisabeth Hower, and is scored by Bear McCreary.
    There's a website theshadowhours.com that you can go check out. There's a cool two-minute clip from the film, there, a sample of Bear's score you can listen to, a bunch of stills, and a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff. It was really good to get back behind the camera and flex those muscles again. Hopefully, I'll be doing more of it in the near future.
    Since that premieres tonight, can people see it anywhere else, if they're not in the area?
    It's only one screening there. We're waiting to line up some other festivals around the country. The website will update with new screenings as they come up. At some point, way down the line after the festival run, I'll probably put it online so people can watch it. The whole thing. That won't be for another year.
    Since I got to see an early cut, it's definitely something people need to check out.
    Thanks.
    Hadrian's Wall #1 is on sale September 14, 2016.


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