Cho Goes BOOM! With The Sword-Slinging "Skybourne"

Frank Cho surprised many when he appeared at last year's Baltimore Comic-Con to announce a new series called "Skybourne" at BOOM! Studios. While Cho will continue working on Marvel projects and more covers than you can count, he also wants to stretch his creator-owned wings with this project that's been kicking around his head for several years.

Planned as a series of miniseries, "Skybourne" will kick off with a five-issue run this fall. It tells the story of the title character -- an immortal looking to off himself with a mystical weapon that a mysterious villain wants for their own malicious plans. Skybourne's "blood-thirsty little sister and helper" Grace will also accompany him in his journey.

At this point, details about the story and its elements are being kept very close to the vest, but Cho did talked to CBR News about the long process of creating "Skybourne," the genesis of its action fantasy concept, its close connection to Baltimore Comic-Con, setting the series up at BOOM! and the potential he sees for this property in other media.

CBR News: Very little is known about "Skybourne" right now, but what kind of run are you planning at this point?

Frank Cho: "Skybourne" is a five issue miniseries. It's also an ongoing character series. So each story arc will be told in a mini-series, very similar to Mike Mignola's "Hellboy" model. So far I have three miniseries in mind.

Are there plans to bank issues ahead of shipping the first one?

Yes. I plan on having all five issues done before I launch in the fall of 2015. The first issue will debut at Baltimore Comic-Con 2015.

Your appearance at the Baltimore Comic-Con BOOM! panel last year to announce "Skybourne" was a nice surprise. What lead to the decision to reveal the book there?

Baltimore Comic-Con is my hometown show, and it's owned and operated by my good friend, Marc Nathan. I literally live about 15 minutes from the Baltimore Convention Center. I've never missed a single Baltimore Comic-Con show since it started about 15 years ago. Also Filip Sablik, the President of BOOM!, grew up around Baltimore. So it's only logical to debut Skybourne here at Baltimore Comic-Con.

It's early yet, but can you give our readers a hint at what the book's about?

It's a story that I've been sitting on for about ten years now. "Skybourne" is a story of a suicidal immortal who seeks a mystical weapon, Excalibur, that will end his life. Unfortunately, another powerful being is seeking it for more nefarious purpose. It's a fun, action-packed thriller with lot of unexpected twists. It's a cross between "Highlander" and Cthulhu.

Do you think those 10 years helped you really nail out the details of how it all works together?

Some ideas come out fully formed and some ideas come out in fragments. "Skybourne" was, for the most part, fully formed from the start. But there were some details that clashed with certain foundational concepts. I needed time to rethink and smooth out the details. That's the problem of writing, you can't fall in love with your ideas. Sometimes, you have to cut out great ideas to save the overall story. Now, I have the first story arc completely laid out, and now I'm sketching out the pages and playing around with character designs.

You have a lot of comics in the works at Marvel and other creator-owned endeavors. What artistic arenas does "Skybourne" allow you to enter that the others might not?

I'm still at Marvel. As matter of fact, I have an exciting She-Hulk idea that I'm playing around with in my head that I want to write and draw down the road. Marvel has been great to me. I'm forever grateful to them, especially [Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso. He and [Senior Editor] Nick Lowe are both absolutely fantastic and generous with me, allowing me to play with Marvel characters.

However, I've had an itch to do creator-owned projects for awhile now. I'm planning on launching two creator-owned projects this year: "World of Payne" with Tom Sniegnoski at Flesk Publications, and "Skybourne" through BOOM! Ultimately, it's the creative freedom that drives all my projects, and hopefully with BOOM!'s help, "Skybourne" will have a life outside of comics and live on through movies and television.

Speaking of live action portrayals, do you you think of actors who might portray the characters on the screen when developing them?

It's a funny thing. Normally I don't think of actors or actresses when I create characters, but with "Skybourne" it was different. Once I came up with the initial concept, I immediately saw Jason Statham as Skybourne and Michelle Ryan as Grace, the two main leads in the story. Once that happened, the entire story unfolded in my head like a movie. 

How did you and BOOM! start talking about working together? What made "Skybourne" the right book to publish there?

I actually told Ross Richie and Filip Sablik about "Skybourne" couple of years ago over dinner just to get a gauge on if the story was any good or not. Much to my surprise, Ross offered me a BOOM! contract right there on the spot after hearing my tale. I didn't accept his offer then because I wasn't quite ready for it. Also I was in midst of writing and drawing "Savage Wolverine" at that time. Now, after having "Savage Wolverine" and couple of other projects under my belt, I have the confidence to move forward with Skybourne and accepted BOOM's offer.

Frank Cho's "Skybourne" #1 from BOOM! Studios will hit during next year's Baltimore Comic-Con which is scheduled for Sept. 25-27.

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