Writer Christos Gage continues to put his stamp on "Stormwatch PHD," and will try his hand at another WildStorm franchise later this year when he joins artist Darrick Robertson on the "The Authority," following the creative team of Grant Morrison and Gene Ha after they wrap up their four-issue run on the title. Additionally, Gage has penned issue #8 of the Authority spin-off "Midnighter" series, featuring art by John Paul Leon, which is on stands now. The prolific Gage took a few minutes to chat with CBR News about both projects.
Gage's issue of "Midnighter" finds the title character decidedly out of his element. "Jack Hawksmoor points out that Midnighter basically has no interaction whatsoever with average people and dares him to help a normal person with a normal problem, specifically a little girl finding her lost cat," Gage told CBR News. "Of course, this being the Midnighter, it ends up involving cyborgs and extreme violence. I've always loved the streak of dark humor associated with the Midnighter, so I ran with that."
Artist John Paul Leon was already attached when Scott Dunbier contacted Gage about the project, which turned out to be an offer the writer couldn't refuse. "I've admired [Leon's] work on 'The Wintermen' and other books, so I gladly said yes!" Gage explained. Interestingly, Gage, as of this writing, has yet to see any of the artist's pages for the "Midnighter" project. "I actually haven't seen the art yet!" Gage said. "I didn't realize that until just now. I could get Scott to send me a PDF, but at this point I think I'll just wait and be surprised when the issue comes out. I'm sure it'll be great. I met John Paul at Wizard World L.A. and we had a brief but pleasant chat. He's a really nice guy."
Gage's upcoming run on "The Authority" brings the team into direct conflict with the members of Stormwatch PHD. "Stormwatch is now an agency of the US government," Gage explained. "They discover a hidden bunker that belonged to Henry Bendix, the mad genius who founded Stormwatch and created Apollo and the Midnighter, and go to retrieve its contents. But the Authority doesn't trust an arm of the U.S. government to possess such potentially dangerous material, so they seek to take it for themselves. The two sides end up fighting, and we'll see their philosophies clash, some long-simmering resentments and grudges come to the surface, and, of course, some intense action!"
At the tail-end of 2006, the WildStorm Universe underwent a continuity reboot in the form of the "Worldstorm" event, the fallout from which is still being explored. "Our arc will actually bridge the gap between the pre-Worldstorm issues and Grant Morrison's first issue. The story takes place before Grant's run," Gage clarified. "So it'll explain a couple of things like why Rose Tattoo is no longer with the team in the Morrison/Ha issues."
It was thanks to "Stormwatch PHD" editor Ben Abernathy that both Gage and Darick Robertson found their way to "The Authority," and Gage couldn't be happier. "Our editor, Ben Abernathy, mentioned Darick would be available and that he was a big fan of 'The Authority,'" Gage recalled. "I'm a huge fan of [Darick's] work, so that was great news for me! The collaboration so far has been wonderful. Darick's enthusiasm inspires me to give him ever bigger, wilder and cooler stuff to draw, so I think we're in a pretty good groove."
According to Gage, there are some distinct differences between working in WildStorm and working in the mainstream Marvel and DC universes. "Since you're not dealing with iconic characters who've been around for decades, you can get away with more," Gage remarked. "I'm not necessarily talking about adult content, though you can get a bit more edgy, but that in the WildStorm Universe there's a sense that you can blow up Maine or make significant changes to key characters, and it's not going to affect movie franchises or a dozen other titles. Don't get me wrong, working in the Marvel and DC universes absolutely brings its own creative rewards, and they're pushing the envelope in exciting ways in their own rights, but the WSU can sometimes be a nice creative change of pace in that you can fly by the seat of your pants a bit more."
In addition to "Midnigther" and "The Authority," the prolific Gage has numerous projects coming down the pike. The first trade paperback collection of "Stormwatch PHD," collecting the first seven issues, is due to be published in July, and June's issue #8 starts a new story arc and is a great jump-on point for new readers. "At Marvel, I've written 'Iron Man' #19-20, 'World War Hulk: X-Men' #1-3; and 'Quasar' #1-4 (which is part of Annihilation: Conquest), and my 'Union Jack' collection comes out in July, as well as other stuff in the works I can't mention," said Gage. "I also wrote a Red Sonja story for Dynamite that will appear in 'Savage Tales' #3. I recently got to collaborate with Jim Lee on a Flash animation short starring Lara Croft for the 'Tomb Raider: ReVisioned' project from GameTap, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the character. And there's plenty more I can't talk about yet!"
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