Josh Williamson is the author of the ongoing series ‘Captain Midnight’ for Dark Horse Comics as well as ‘Ghosted’ for Image comics which are both new and absolutely fantastic reads. In the past, he has also worked for DC Comics, Marvel, Oni Press, Image, Dark Horse, and Desperado. His graphic novel, ‘Dear Dracula’ was also recently turned into an animated special on the Cartoon network.
ScienceFiction.com was able to speak with the author where he talked about his newest work, ‘Captain Midnight’, and his involvement in Dark Horse’s Super Hero Initiative.
SF: Josh, I was a huge fan of the first issue of ‘Captain Midnight’. For those who haven’t had a chance to read the first issue, can you tell us a bit about the character?
Captain Midnight was a pulp action hero that premiered in radio serials in 1938. He’s a pilot, a genius, a hero, a gentleman, and a stubborn man with a black and white view of the world. He was a ace fighter pilot and wore glider wings that allowed him to fly in the air.
For the most part Captain Midnight fought Nazis, saboteurs, and mad scientist during World War II, but he was also a great inventor, who was trying to make the world a better place.
SF: The Captain isn’t quite the first superhero we’ve seen become popular that was originally active in World War 2. What are you going to be doing to make him stand apart from the rest?
Midnight isn’t impressed by the new world around him. In fact he’s disappointed. He expected better. If you look at what a lot of people thought our world looked like during the 40’s, they expected better. And someone like Midnight who is a genius and was developing technology that should have made the world a better place he looks at what we have now and wants to know what the hell happened? So with that comes a much more morally stern man. He sees the world in black and white and is a much more clinical than most of the “Man out of Time” heroes.
SF: Captain Midnight has a higher than average level of intelligence. How is that going to factor in how he adjusts into the modern world?
It adds to his frustration. He’s thinking “Where the hell are the jetpacks?” In some ways he’s going to be more stubborn than ever before. Not as accepting of certain changes around him. Again.. he’ll be super disappointed.
SF: The tagline reads “They stole his perfect vision of the future. He’s here to take it back.”. How does that apply to the ongoing plot?
Certain enemies, like Fury Shark, stole his technology and his genius advancements and he wants to get it back. He still believes that he can build that future he saw for us. Just going to take some time.
SF: You’ve introduced a slew of potential supporting characters and villains right off the bat. Are we going to be in a world where there may be a high turn over rate to worry about as many comics are going darker these days or are we going to be able to see them sticking around for a long while to come?
It’s a bit of both. Without giving away too much, we wanted to make sure to that characters had room to grow and live with the story. But we also wanted there to be consequences, and that not everyone is safe. So I’d never say a high turn over rate, but there will be some… losses.
SF: ‘Captain Midnight’ has been mentioned to kick off a new super hero initiative for Dark Horse. What can you tell us about that?
Dark Horse is invested in creating and working with a mix of the old and new with a new super hero universe. I’m a big fan of the big universes, crossovers, and subtle connections. The “wink wink, nudge nudge” that comes with universe comics done right. And Dark Horse is doing a lot with that. But its all building to something pretty great.
SF: How much say do you have in the creation and coordination of this initiative with the other authors involved?
I talked with the editors a lot about what they have planned going forward. Mike Richardson and the rest of Dark Horse have a much larger plan in place and I’m happy to be part of the conversation.
SF: Dark Horse tends to keep a lot of universes running at the same time, are any of the existing series tied into this one or are we going to see just the new ‘superhero initiative’ titles tied in?
If you pay attention, there will be lots of hints to how the books are connected.
Dark Horse has already talked about the digital series “Two Past Midnight” where Captain Midnight, X and Ghost crossover a few months back. Eventually I hope to do a crossover in Captain Midnight with another characters. It’s part of the fun.
SF: Is there a long term ‘Avengers’ or ‘Justice League’ equivalent game plan being thrown around?
Too early to talk about it. Keep your fingers crossed. I’ve probably already said too much.
SF: You’ve both created characters and worked on pre-existing ones before. Which experience do you prefer and why?
That’s tough. There are creative benefits to both. I like the collaboration of working on pre-existing characters, because the voice is already there. You can see a story that has been built by others before you, and twist and play with it.
But nothing beats playing with your own toys. So I’d have to say the stuff I’ve created. I’m also a bit of a control freak, so that works well with my personality.
SF: I know you’ve also got a horror themed comic out there at the moment called ‘Ghosted’ by Image comics. What can you tell our readers about that?
Ghosted is my new series about a master heist planner named Jackson Winters who is broken out of jail and given the insane task to steal a Ghost from a Haunted House. We’ve been saying that it’s “Ocean’s 11 in a Haunted House instead of a Casino.” It has amazing art by Goran Sudzuka with great covers by Sean Phillip. At first it was a mini series but the response has been so strong that we changed it into an ongoing. It’s a crime horror mash up and has some pretty dark characters in it. Issue One and Two of Ghosted are already in stores.
SF: Would you say you prefer working on horror or superheroes in comics?
I don’t really like to nail down a genre, but I know I like to write darker characters. Ones that have a bit of an edge to them. A nasty attitude. Jerks with a heart of gold. Complicated people who don’t see the world in the same light as most. I’ve always been a big fan of stories where a character is dropped into an unusual situation or world. That can apply to both horror and super heroes.
If you haven’t had a chance to pick up any of Williamson’s works, I suggest you do. In the meantime, keep checking back here at ScienceFiction.com as we’ll be reviewing the ‘Captain Midnight’ series as well as other books that will be included in the Dark Horse Super Hero Initiative.