Men Chronicling Villikon...
An Interview with Bryan J. Kinnaird and Roy
went to the trouble of hiring Cheyenne Silver. You bet
we're going to post a picture of him with her.
In a strange
juxtaposition at the San Diego ComicCon, the WizKids booth sat
next to one featuring adult film star Cheyenne Silver. As we
gazed at preview figures for IndyClix, we couldn't help notice
the crowd to our left.
checked it out. Cheyenne was there promoting an independent
comic book series called The Villikon Chronicles. Though it
had been available for over a year, its creators, Bryan J.
Kinnaird and Roy Young were ramping up to do another book,
and had brought Cheyenne in to be their model and their muse.
Works for us.
all three, and you can go to the Cheyenne
Silver interview here. Bryan and Roy traded off, graciously
letting me talk to them while selling their popular poster
series featuring Cheyenne as Mystere. Writer Bryan J. Kinnaird
is an intense, focused man, with a vague resemblance to actor
Robert Patrick. After talking to him, it's no wonder that
his face shows up a few times as the model for his protagonist,
Kort Villikon. I'm not positive I ever saw him blink.
Kinnaird's intensity, artist Roy Young has a more relaxed
attitude. He's been involved with some controversial moments
in recent comics history, having gotten out of Chaos! just
before that company went bankrupt. At the same time, he worked
on the always turbulent Spawn line. Here's hoping that The
Villikon Chronicles has an easier history. As he says,
it's about karma.
both men have in common is an absolute love of the medium,
and a commitment to promoting it. But read for yourself…
McCaw: The Villikon Chronicles started out as an original
J. Kinnaird: The Villikon Chronicles started out
as an original motion picture screenplay. (Saturn award-winning,
by the way -- Derek)
more of an independent film endeavor with four principal characters
to be shot in Monument Valley.
that didn't work out the way we had planned it, I joined with
Roy Young here, who had done all kinds of stuff with Chaos!
Comics and Todd McFarlane Productions, most notably coloring
on any of the Spawn series. Roy was also involved with the
Young: I did most of the Lady Death, Cremator, Homicide,
Evil Ernie, Purgatori, WWF Stone Cold Steve Austin and
Chyna. And the Megadeth series. I have to really think
about how many I've actually done.
I joined with him because Roy also had other aspirations,
of doing production design. Together we forged an alliance
and said, you know, even though we would like to see this
as a much bigger studio endeavor, let's go ahead and turn
this into a comic book series.
started making it into a comic; it turned out to be this three
issue graphic novel. It's become sort of an underground cult
hit. We went through Diamond Distribution. We also went through
Border's Books, Virgin Megastores. We've got international
distribution in England, Australia - people know of us.
ahead, and now that the series is out and a hit, and the film
industry are now contacting us, yeah, now they're talking
again. But we never slowed down anyway. So as they're talking
to us about doing a film adaptation of the original Villikon
Chronicles series, we've moved ahead and done a poster
series featuring the character Mystere. Probably one of the
most popular characters to jump out of the series itself.
Young's rendition of Cheyenne Silver as Mystere.
going to do a prequel/sequel. We've contracted a model, former
adult film star, and now she's crossed over into some mainstream
films, Cheyenne Silver. Using her look and our talents and
the story we've already built, we've made quite an impression
on a lot of people. She's well-known. Her image and the stuff
that we've put together is a fine mix.
debuting a new website. We're introducing a lot of new stuff
here, mainly the poster series by Roy but also with a new
artist that we have, Norm Mireles. What we're going to do
is, Roy is established with a surreal, almost photorealistic,
painting style, with a traditional style which Norm does in
pencils. We're kind of fusing the two to create first a web
series with Mystere, and then later publish that as a graphic
all that, film, videogame, anything like that happens in between,
hey, the more the merrier.
Did you have to make much alteration from your original screenplay?
Absolutely not, as far as the story goes. When you take script
pages, of course, Roy taught me a lot from that aspect. You
take six pages of dialogue, it may move real fast when you're
looking at the realtime flicker of a movie. But on the comic
book page, you've got to tell that story on one page in possibly
five or six panels at the most. If you don't just do a splash,
a two page spread.
take any liberties in dissecting the story and not including
stuff. There are some sequences we may have wanted to go longer.
There's some epicness that we may have had to forego because
of time constraints and deadlines to the publishers. Other
than that, we kept the story intact, which is very sophisticated.
It's more adult-oriented, not that it's adult-oriented material,
but it's a story that's not your happy-go-lucky story.
People are going to think it's more adult-oriented with Cheyenne's
vampires are allur -- "
I'm sorry. What was I saying?
Exactly. And if that causes a stir or a controversy, we're
all about that as well.
The eroticism has a large element in the movie, too. When
you talk about her character and who she's associated with
through certain parts of the movie, it's very much an adult-oriented
theme. I don't think that kids will really get it as much
as the adults will. But there's a purpose to it; it's not
just gratuitous. There's an absolute reason why it's in there.
vampires are alluring.
Is that what she is? I don't know anything about the story.
She is one of the pivotal characters. The Villikon Chronicles
are …I wanted to do a take on what Australia was as a prison
colony to England. They cast off their prisoners there and
lo and behold Australia became a continent unto itself. A
culture developed and, well, here we are today.
Villikon Chronicles is set in a universe where religious
zealots and prophets control everything. Through a millennium
or so, they gave their power up to the military. But they
still don't really believe in killing. So they came up with
this system, "let's take our most hardened criminals and banish
them to a prison world on the outer fringes of the galaxy."
world is called Itasca. Of course, a culture starts to be
born there. Ironically, there was a slave ship that crashed
on that planet. The Mystere character was raised on that planet.
Grew up there. Because once something lands on the planet,
you're not allowed to go back for it. She's raised by hardened
really about Kort Villikon. He's just one soldier of misfortune;
he was banished on the prison world. It's the story of his
ten year crusade to escape the inescapable world. In doing
so, he meets a variety of characters, one of them being Mystere.
he fall in love with her? Well, there's kind of that Batman
and Catwoman conquest thing there. She is who she is, and
Villikon is a man who was a soldier. Of course, the arc of
the story is will they escape? Will Villikon and Mystere ever
two very different and dynamic characters. Our sequel/prequel
series, The Crucibles of Mystere, will explain more
about the origins of Mystere and give her a story of her own.
So it will be in the vein of The Mummy and The Scorpion
King. They're both kind of related, but they're stand-alone
projects unto themselves.
the things that happens to Mystere, she gets involved with
Porphyrians, which is my take on vampires. I developed Porphyrians
based on Porphyria, which is the real disease where people
believe they are vampires. There's always that allure of the
female vampire, the succubus, that can get into your mind.
Mystere kind of delves into that, as well as witchcraft on
the planet. There's a lot of facets to her personality. She's
really an intriguing character, with a little bit of edge.
She's sexy, but tomboyish. She's everything that you'd want.
She's the Elektra, Witchblade, Jessica Alba, Charlie's Angels.
that Cheyenne, even though she's breaking into the mainstream,
still has enough edge to get that same demographic. Let's
face it, the same guys that are buying your Playboys and Penthouses
also like comic book characters like Vampirella.
kind of a perfect mix. Bringing her onboard, will it alienate
people? Possibly. Will it bring more fans on? Definitely.
We've already proven that.
It was like a karmic thing. We needed someone to fulfill that
role without having to fake it. Who better than an adult film
We've worked with models before. When we attack a project,
we do a full on photoshoot against a blue screen, and we use
those as templates to make our characters.
Silver, I mean, you see her or hear her on the Howard Stern
show, you know her adult films, and regardless of what she
does, she does have that look. She's an adult film star, but
she has that innocent girl next door look, but still that
tough girl look. I don't know how to explain it. When we saw
it, we knew it.
we saw it, we knew it."
She had all the facets we were looking for.
I contacted her, she contacted me, we had a series of lengthy
conversations via phone. We met and decided that this would
be a good thing to do. So we contracted her to play the character.
We've licensed her to use the Mystere character. We've got
the poster series. We're negotiating to do the Las Vegas ComicCon
at Mandalay Bay (That has now been confirmed - Derek).
Wizard World, they're extending their expos into the Dallas
area in November. We just keep moving ahead. We're planning
ahead, even though we can't tell you what tomorrow holds.
There's a couple of studios that my agents are dealing with
now, they could call me tomorrow and say "let's make this
that change any of our plans? It could. We're not waiting
One of the methods to our madness, when we started this, after
working in the comics industry for so long, I kept seeing
artists not getting their due. One thing we wanted to do with
this was show that you could still do something of high quality
without relying on all the big entities here.
the really small guy that's really trying to bust out. They're
spending so much time, wasting a lot of time and effort, trying
to stand in line and get their stuff seen.
of the artists out there, we profess this all the time, you
don't have to wait for someone to discover you. Birth yourself
in another area. Pull together all your resources and you
can do something that is just as good as anything else out
there, and you do it yourself. The Villlikon Chronicles
is a shining example of that. We really wanted people to know,
when we did this, it was two people that created all of this.
Yeah, it was a lot of sacrificing and a lot of hard work,
but it can be done.
wanted to be one of the examples. Don't be discouraged if
you don't get hired by Todd McFarlane or Dark Horse. Don't
give up on it. Rather than waiting and waiting and waiting
for someone to discover you, go out and do it.
you take that step forward in creating it, it will evolve
itself. You establish yourself in whatever means of financing
or whatever resources that you have, pull those together and
make the best of it.
with his art come to life.
Why is this man smiling?
open about artists that come to us. We never turn anybody
down. We try to give the best helpful advice based on the
criteria or circumstances and finances that people have available.
We try to help them maximize their abilities.
Norm Mireles is absolutely new. That's how we found him, and
we're going to use him on the next series. He's an unknown,
and it's been a long time before we decided to bring somebody
else on board. That's why we're here at the Con. We notice
that a lot of the big entities, DC and Dark Horse, there's
a lot of classes they want you to attend. You've got to go
through a whole process before you can even get an artist
to look at your work. We're looking at your work because we're
looking for quality - we want to do something completely new.
We remember what it's like to be standing on the other side
of the table. We were fans. We still are fans. We play fan
geek quite a bit. We stand in lines to get our autographs
still. We haven't changed at all.
want the small guys to know - it's the small guys in here
who really polish out this industry. And there's some talent
in here that surpasses, as far as I'm concerned, a lot of
the big movie stuff that's out there. But they don't have
the money to do the advertising to get all the sales.
at the conventions, not only are we trying to sell our wares,
but we're trying to get information out to people on how to
make the process of creating a book much easier. It's like
a karmic thing. We try to put out something good for the benefit
of the people and all the artists out there, without being
completely self-centered in our own endeavors. We always get
people that are into the story. And it's the coolest thing.
It's like having somebody that wants to do work for you that
is willing to do it because they like the story so much.
that's involved with Villikon right now volunteered their
services to us. You know, some of them we had to turn down
because either they were too big for us to handle or they
were too out of the area so we couldn't really conduct good
business with them. We do a lot of work freelancing with other
artists doing submissions and stuff. We take their submissions,
look at them, and if we think they're good enough, we'll go
back to them and critique their work if they want to hear
it, set them in motion. Give them people to contact. We share
is one thing I don't see here. A lot of people don't want
to share their resources because they're making money at it.
It's a greed thing, I guess, but we're not about that. The
money is not so much the issue with us as getting the point
across of what we're doing.
a karmic thing. What you put out comes back to you. If you're
doing nothing but focusing everything upon yourself, you're
going to get tossed away eventually. People are going to get
tired of hearing the arrogant stories and stuff like that.
We're trying to help the small guys. We're trying to get people
to band together and get a stronger belief in the comic industry
right now, because it is teetering.
go on and on about that, but I won't.
Roy go on and on about that anyway? Well, the tape ran out.
But it was a pleasure to talk to the guys, and if you see
them at Las Vegas, you should absolutely seek them out.