With the first two issues of Image's "Sea of Red" receiving rave reviews and selling out completely, the publisher has a sure-fire hit on its hands. But fans noticed when the solicitations for issue #5 came out, the regular creative team of Kieron Dwyer, Rick Remender and Salgood Sam saw a change with "Mora" creator Paul Harmon stepping into the artists chair. What's going on here? CBR News caught up with Remender and Harmon for an explanation.
The easy answer is Salgood Sam's not leaving the title, nor is Paul Harmon taking over the artistic chores on the series. Remender told CBR news that July's "Sea of Red" #5 is a special origin story that needed to be told to deal with continuity on the regular story arc. "KD and Salgood are still hard at work on the regular story line and will be with us for many more issues," Remender told CBR News. "We've extended an invitation to Paul to join the 'Sea of Red' family and I'm confident you'll see more 'Sea of Red' with his name on it. He's a perfect fit for the mood of the series and the artistic tone set by Salgood and Kieron.
"When we realized the tale in issue #5 needed to be told sooner than later, it really wasn't an option to take Kieron and Salgood off of the main story," continued Remender. "So I immediately thought of Paul. I had approached him to do a book with me months ago, but he was busy getting 'Mora' off the ground. I was literally looking for his email one day when he emailed me to say hey. If that wasn't a sign, then I don't understand the definition of coincidence. Wait a sec..."
So, while Dwyer and Sam continue to work on the ongoing storyline, Harmon will step in to help give the two some creative breathing room. With the regular storyline, Dwyer supplies breakdowns for each page while Sam handles the rest. Harmon will work a bit differently for his story. "We were going to have me work off the breakdowns, but instead Rick and Kieron gave me a pretty tight script with panel breakdowns," explained Harmon. "That way I could I could use that as a guideline and make any changes in the layout if necessary."
"Issue #5 is all Paul," added Remender. "Kieron is knee deep doing breakdowns on the regular storyline and we didn't want to sidetrack him. Also, Paul wanted to come out and do his thing here. Salgood and Kieron have provided Paul with some basic design stuff, but Paul is doing everything. He's also designing some key characters for us and everyone is ecstatic about the work."
As readers of the series are aware, the story jumps around history a bit. The entire series is structured like this with each story arc dealing with a different era. The same can be said of the stand-alone issue #5, which sets up the second story arc of the book to come in issues #8 - 12. Remender gave us a brief description of the story. "The year is 521 A.D. and Lesser Blackthroat, assassin for a secret sect of the Catholic Church, attempts to obtain the blood of a messiah in hopes of washing clean his cursed spirit. His journey leads him to an underground cathedral in Mesopotamia where the ancient undead guard Blackthroat's prize and the secret to pure immortality. The tales focus on Lesser Blackthroat and his right hand man Omura, two characters reader of the first two issues are familiar with."
Harmon added, "There are some very cool creatures, a lot of action, and some very cool, very important characters are introduced as well."
As for the reaction to the series and those sell outs, Remender's excited by the response "Sea of Red" has received so far. "It always sounds lame to me when one of the creators of a book talks about how well series is doing, so here I go," said Remender. "Issue #2 sold out in a day. No shit. Not just some hyped up bullshit sell out, but like a literal 24 hour sell out of the entire print run and we over shipped by thousands of copies in anticipation of this. I've never had a book do anything like this before. People are really responding to a well-crafted action/horror story done by some fools who've spent as much time in the underground as they have in the mainstream. We are those fools and we thank you all for our new houses and Ferrari's."
But what of the future for Harmon and his creator-owned title "Mora?" Harmon says the book will continue on its bi-monthly schedule as planned. "I just may have a few nights here and there of serious overtime," noted Harmon. As for what's next, Harmon likes branching out and working other books, but won't be straying too far from the creator-owned field he's come up in. "I do want to do different books every once in awhile, to challenge myself to draw something a little different," continued Harmon. "But, yeah, for the most part I think I will continue to do creator owned project. I have several other stories I'm itching to tell."