|Concept sketches for “Lone” by Jerome Opena|
Last week CBR News told you about a new line of comics launching at Dark Horse in the Summer of 2003 to be published under the banner Rocket Comics. This new line features a variety of titles with a science fiction slant. One of those titles is “Lone,” a SciFi/Western written by Stuart Moore with art by Jerome Opena. CBR News caught up with Moore to learn more about “Lone.”
“‘Lone,’ the comic, is really two different things,” Moore told CBR News. “On the surface, it’s a fast-paced action-adventure story set in a futuristic New/Old West, where small groups of people have to deal with zombies, murderous mutants, would-be gunslingers, and all kinds of other monstrosities. Underneath, it’s a story about the aftermath of a devastating war and what that war has done to the survivors.
“Lone, the character, is an incredibly tough, quick-shooting gun-for-hire. As the series opens, he’s retired, preferring to live alone in the middle of the most toxic, irradiated, anthrax-saturated spot in the Western Wasteland. He’s had enough of war, of bounty hunting, of killing. But he soon accepts a new job, for reasons that unfold as the story continues.”
Of course, telling us too much more about Lone’s history would give away a great deal of the comic as that’s part of the mystery of the unfolding story, but Moore assures us that there’s more to Lone than meets the eye. And while Lone may be the focus of the series, there are plenty of other characters lending Lone a hand, and others who have decidedly different plans for the gunslinger.
“There’s a brother and sister, who hire Lone. The girl in particular is great — Luke (her real name’s Lucy, but she’s a tomboy). And Lone’s best friend is Cletus, a real grizzled old gold-prospector type. He’s great fun to write.
“Villains: Let’s see. We got yer gun-totin’ zombies, we got yer homicidal bikers, we got yer radioactive mutants, we got yer weird chemically-altered coyotes. And there’s a secret power behind the scenes, pulling the strings.
“Jerome Opena, the artist on the series, really ran with my very brief character descriptions — he’s brought the whole thing wonderfully to life. He’s a major talent — people are going to be talking about him after this.”
The Rocket Comics line is under the watchful eye of editor Dave Land who has worked directly with Moore to get “Lone” off and running.
“I was referred to Dark Horse by my friend Tom Peyer, who’s writing ‘Go Boy 7’ for the Rocket line,” said Moore. “Dave Land contacted me with a few projects and since my specialty is science fiction, ‘Lone’ was a natural. The concept was very wide open. Dave threw me a rough scenario and the character’s name, and I added back story, supporting characters, villains, and several plot twists.”
The classic Western tale is one filled with characters living a rough life in rough times. In movies, television and comics the genre seens to come in and out of favor every couple of years or so. With the announcement of ‘Lone,’ and Marvel’s recent news regarding their ‘Rawhide Kid’ title coming in 2003, it seems the Western is very much back in fashion. For Moore the attraction to the Western story lies in the rich character possibilities and gritty settings with the science fiction angle giving that extra nudge, taking the story the extra mile.
“Westerns, when they’re done right, are about a lot of interesting things: the scars left by (the Civil) War, the things a man has to do to carve out his own moral code in an uncaring, hostile world, the passing of a way of life. That’s pretty rich territory. What science fiction lets you do is up the ante on everything. In ‘Lone,’ the War has all but wiped out civilization in the west; the moral questions are complicated by half-human, mutated creatures; and the way of life that’s passing is our own. That’s a lot for Lone, and his young companions, to deal with.
“And if none of that interests you, you can just watch the fastest gun in the world up against an army of mutants and zombies. Works for me!”
Look for ‘Lone’ in comic shops from Rocket Comics in July of 2003.