To celebrate the release of The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk Volume 2, Matt Wagner did a Q&A based upon questions fans had asked. Read below to see what Matt had to say!
Can you tell us about GeistHawk Volume 2 and how it expands upon Volume 1?
Volume 1 was very much an introductory point wherein the character of John Tower remains extremely mysterious. In Volume 2, the very initial layers of veneer surrounding his mystery start to peel away and we learn some very intriguing things about his past and the mysterious, manipulative power player that shows up at the end of Volume 1 is exposed a little bit more. Of course, throughout the series, the character of Alicia Hardwicke is our main conduit into uncovering John Tower’s past – what it is that makes him click and what it is that drives his purpose. We also find out in Volume 2 that his purpose maybe isn’t as clear-cut as it might have seemed in Volume 1. There’s hidden reasons behind what he does, why he pursues these monsters, and it’s not necessarily as simple as it seems.
What can you tell us about The Tower Chronicles overall?
It’s a trilogy; the entire saga is broken up into three parts and each part is serialized in four, 68 page, prestige-format volumes. I have said from the beginning that I’m kind of following the Jason Bourne film trilogy as a template for how the story unfolds. In each of those films you felt like you got a giant dose of adventure as well as a more significant peak behind the mystery of Jason Bourne, but yet each stage was only a stage. The final mystery and resolution to his adventures and what’s happening to him doesn’t stand fully unveiled until book three. There’s plenty of time to explore his past, which is very deep and shrouded in mystery. The Tower Chronicleskeeps providing surprises for the reader but also doesn’t scrimp on his contemporary adventures. You get to see him face all sorts of cool-ass monsters here in the present time, all of which are so terrifically drawn by Simon Bisley. Every time I give him something to draw that’s monstrous, he comes back with something that’s ten times better than I could have suspected he would pull off, which is always great as a writer to have that result from your artist. Volume 2 will be a definite step in our journey with John Tower and yet we’ll definitely be aware that there are many miles to go.
What was your favorite scene to write in Volume 2? Was it influenced by Simon Bisley's style at all?
The whole final sequence – I will admit that there’s many times, especially with monsters and situations, when you gotta confront where the germ of the idea originates and I’ll say to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to see Simon draw XYZ?’ Then I have to make that work into the narrative in a logical and constructive fashion. That final scene was spurred on by Simon and he delivered in spades. It’s a great, great sequence involving the mysterious Forbidden Catacomb in Rome.
Where do you get the inspiration for John Tower’s weapons?
Some of them were my concoctions, some of them were based upon the initial meetings with Thomas Tull (co-creator) and some of them were Thomas’ suggestions that I then honed into a slightly different variation from the initial germ of an idea. His one consistent weapon is the Phasma Knife he carries that can be activated to cut through both energy and matter. It’s just a matter of me trying to figure out how these creatures would exist in reality. There is a sequence in Volume 2 where he says, ‘There’s one vital aspect of beings that exists outside of our normal sphere – what most people would call the “supernatural”. It’s not thesuper elements that are so important…it’s thenatural. In the end, any ghost or demon or ghoul is subject to a certain set of physical laws that govern in our existence – the same as you or me or a lion or a duck. Once you know those rules, you know their limitations and then…they can behunted.’ So, with each creature, I try and figure out what would be the physical limitations and realities of its existing on our plane of reality. And then we kind of concoct the weapon to suit that purpose.
And where do you find inspiration for the creatures?
With a lot of them, we’re trying to give them a different take. For instance, from the very beginning I said to Thomas [Tull], if we’re going to have all these creatures, one thing we’re going to have to address is vampires. And that’s going to be kind of tough, because vampires are so ubiquitous in popular culture now. There’s so many different versions of vampires and really if you look at them via The Vampire Diaries and True Blood and Twilight and Anne Rice’s stuff etc…between all of those there’s a certain similarity there, and I tried to really strike a completely different take on vampires in ours. In our narrative, I think it’s a cool and unusual approach about how they exist as opposed to the vast sub-secret organization, which tends to be the running norm in vampire literature these days.
Any closing comments regarding Volume 2?
As I said, Vol. 2 opens the doors of intrigue that surround John Tower a bit wider…while still providing an atmospheric roller-coaster ride that should thrill any comics fan. I’m having a blast on this series, as is Simon and everyone else involved. We’re all really proud that this is Legendary’s first all-original continuing series…and I think it shows!
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