Water Comics Rises Like The Kraken...
an interview with the studio...
went around Comic-Con last summer that Ray Harryhausen's
imagination was going to hit comics, riding a wave of renewed
interest in the master's work. The company that won his
heart was one out of Washington state, but not exactly an
Presents ...Cool Comics!
years, the people of Blue
Water Comics have been creating titles that you may
have some familiarity with: The 10th Muse (which had alternate
models between the WWF's Sable and internet queen Cindy
Margolis), The Legend of Isis and Judo Girl. Most recently,
those had come out from the Alias imprint, which made a
big splash then fell apart.
you can't keep a good company down. After the release of
their first Harryhausen book, Wrath of the Titans, I sent
some questions up to their office. Here are the answers
from the Blue Water bullpen, Darren G. Davis
President, writer, creator, Scott Davis,
Writer, Nadir Balan, Art Director, pencils,
Joey Campos, Colorist, Alex Garcia,
pencils "20 Million Miles More"
McCaw: How did this project come about?
G. DAVIS: I met Ray at a signing that he was doing
up in Bellingham WA for his new book. Since he was a major
influence for me in creating comics from myths, I gave him
a couple graphic novels on "Isis" and "10th
Muse". I spoke with his manager Arnold Kunert and asked
them if they ever thought about doing comics - and he told
me to send him a proposal. Within two weeks we had artwork
and stories for Wrath
of the Titans and Sinbad. They signed the contracts
right after that.
McCaw: Did you have any concerns about
Ray Harryhausen’s work and ideas connecting with new
BALAN: It connected with people before and now
since it is a new generation we thought that it was time
to bring the tale of Persues to a new audience. We were
more concerned about the pre-conceived noticions of what
we were gong to do with the tale as far as taking it out
of Ray's original vision. Hopefully, fans of the movie and
new readers will get the same love that we got out of doing
G. DAVIS: We are paying an homage to his work.
We want people who loved his films to look at what we are
doing as new stories. Both Bluewater and Arnold Kunert never
wanted to do adaptations of the films. I wanted to take
the characters that Ray created and give them a new adventure.
that's a new adventure...
CAMPOS: ..a good story is a good story. Greek Mythology
has survived for thousands of years because the stories
are great. Ray's take on them was responsible for bringing
interest to a whole new generation...which I feel these
new books will do as well. Especially if they were ever
to be optioned into films.
DAVIS: One of the hallmarks of a Harryhausen film
is that the subject matter is timeless; they are stories
for the ages, so translating them into a different medium
and making sure they resonate with new fans wasn't overly
difficult. Just like Batman, who was created in the '30s,
still resonates today, Harryhausen's creations have a similar
you boil down the concepts you find that it's good against
evil, the hero's quest, the search for meaning, the exploration
of the unknown; these concepts will always connect with
McCaw: How much influence are you letting
the original films have? Or do you feel free to explore
the subject matter in your own way?
BALAN: The world of Ray Harryhausen and the characters
in general are found in our new tales as they are in our
new work, however specific details and likenesses are our
concern and specific details were not taken from the movies.
G. DAVIS: The movies are just a spring board to
what we are doing with the comics. We have a lot of freedom
to explore new territory, but the important thing is to
keep the vision of what Ray has created. We are staying
in a PG world with these titles. I want kids to pick up
these books and then ask thier parents to rent the classics.
CAMPOS: I have a lot of the films for reference
when it comes to the colors of the characters and environments.
DAVIS: The original films serve as a template.
In the scope of Wrath of the Titans you have established
characters who are known to have certain personalities.
We take these characters and simply place them in new and
exciting situations and therefore, they become more defined.
book like 20 Million Miles More, the situation
of an alien rampage serves more as a backdrop for future
events as this book takes place 50 years after the events
in the movie. Another example is through Harryhausen's films
we know that Sinbad can't fly (at least without a magic
carpet or supernatural aid), so therefore Sinbad won't fly
in the books. We are creating new adventures in Ray's established
it feels classic...
GARCIA: As for the Ymir I was given some freedom
to draw it so I tried my best for make it look cool and
not too different from the original and I hope old and new
fans like it.
McCaw: Why start with Wrath of the Titans?
Do you plan to continue with Perseus as long as it can go,
or do you really see this as a finite project?
G. DAVIS: Since I was a kid I have loved Greek
mythology. The story of Perseus was one of my favorite adventures.
When they made Clash of the Titans, I was so amazed by it.
I loved it more than Star Wars (which I know is not very
PC to say). So there was really no question which I wanted
to start with. Go with the big guns!
DAVIS: Wrath is first because it was one of Harryhausen's
three best known works (along with Sinbad and Jason and
the Argonauts). From a production perspective, because it
was Darren's personal favorite, he solicited the creative
team, myself included, for that project early on.
McCaw: How much hands-on participation does Harryhausen
have? Are there
moments you just stop and think, wow, this is Ray Harryhausen?
BALAN: Yes of course working with Ray is a good
experience and it is a honor to to have him not only helping
us create the property but approving my artwork.
G. DAVIS: Ray Harryausen and Arnold Kunert have
to sign off on all the artwork and stories. We also make
sure to give them the final okay on the book. Arnold is
a really good copy editor as well! We are also using Ray's
original artwork on the cover of "20 Million Miles
More" and you will find more of his original stuff
inside all the books.
moment for me was sitting at comic con and doing a signing
with Ray. I was thinking how cool it was to be sitting next
to one of the people that was my inspiration. Sitting there
with him for a couple hours was amazing and he is such a
nice and humble man.
DAVIS: Ray has final say on all scripts and story
lines. One of the most gratifying moments was when I met
Ray face to face last year and he told me "I like what
you did with the Ymir." How cool was that? Here's a
guy, a virtual legend in the SF&F genre, who has read
my script and says this passes muster. Without Harryhausen
there is no Lord of the Rings movies, no Pirates of the
Caribbean...it's an honor to be part of his legacy.
GARCIA: I remember watching Clash of the Titans
or Sinbad when I was a kid, but in that time I didn't read
the credits of the movies (laughs). When I was
told about the gig I searched a little information on the
internet about the movies and Harryhausen and I was surprised
to see who he was and the movies he had worked on. I really
loved those movies when I was a kid
McCaw: Why the decision to go colors directly over
BALAN: This style lends itself to more of a fantasyland
type of book and the old style movies. Inks are always specific;
with this style we can be more ethereal.
G. DAVIS: I have become a fan of this style for
some of the books we're doing. I know that my friend and
Art Director Matt Wieman kills me for not using inkers as
much as I should - because he is an inker as well. I love
how the book came out. Joey and Nadir make a great team
on the book. Toss in Chris Studabaker who letters and it
really is perfect!
CAMPOS: On Wrath-- I guess it's because it gives
it a more painterly style..kind of like the new CONAN stuff,
which I feel works well for a classic story like WRATH.
McCaw: What are some of the other Ray Harryhausen
projects you have lined
up? You’ve included some concept sketches so…will
we see those developed?
G. DAVIS: We are launching Sinbad, Rogue of Mars
in September. We are also doing Jason and the Argonauts:
Kingdom of Hades, Back to Mysterious Island, and a traditonal
original Sinbad, Rogue of Mars sketch.
click on it for larger version.
also talking with Arnold about moving forward with some
new properties. They are going to be really a cool part
of the Ray Harryhausen Presents line. Scott has already
mentioned 20 Million Miles More which is going to be on
the DVD re-release of the original film in July.
DAVIS: Bluewater will be producing multiple waves
of Harryhausen-related projects for the foreseeable future.
At our current size and rate of production, we can produce
5-6 mini-series events per year. This year starts off with
Wrath, 20 Million Miles More, Sinbad Rogue of Mars and Jason
and the Argonauts: Kingdom of Hades. Hot on those heels,
probably starting in early 2008 you can expect new productions
of Mysterious Island, a Wrath of the Titans sequel, a traditional
Sinbad adventure and another surprise or two.
has quite the catalog of fascinating titles from the dinosaur-cowboy
epic Gwangii to Earth vs the Flying Saucers and dozens of
unrealized projects. And pen-willing, each could eventually
find its way to your local comic shop.
McCaw: You’ve also got the Legend
of Isis coming, so Blue Water is about more than just paying
tribute to a creative master. Is this the same Isis that
came out of Alias (is that the right publisher?) a couple
of years ago?
a page from the future...
G. DAVIS: Legend of of Isis was the 1st comic I
ever wrote and the 2nd one I created after the 10th Muse.
I love this character a lot and she will always be a part
of the Blue Water line. We published Isis as part of the
Image Introduces line at Image Comics, then over at Alias
we did 10 issues.
DAVIS: Over the past seven years, Bluewater has
developed a reputation of putting out quality books. The
Ray Harryhausen Presents line is just another in what we
hope are a long line of successes. Bluewater will continue
to develop new and interesting projects from a variety of
McCaw: What else does Blue Water have lined up?
G. DAVIS: We are launching a sci-fi line in 2008.
We have just signed a deal with Legend Films to develop
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, Missile to the Moon and She. We
also are bringing back the 10th Muse, Judo Girl, Blackbeard
Legacy. As part of the tradional Bluewater line we are also
putting together a couple of new stories, NINTH ORDER, KID
GLOVES, GEARZ, INSANE JANE and WATERBURY. There will also
be some more from Ray Harryhausen!
click to see Harryhausen's work in better glory!
on it! It's a beauty!