Darkness Approaches in Marc Silvestri's "Rise of the Magi"

At Comic-Con International 2013, Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri teased plans to launch his new series on Free Comic Book Day 2014. The wait is over, as "Rise of the Magi" kicks off during the annual celebration with issue #0 available on May 3, followed by #1 on May 21.

As the co-creator of sprawling adventure series such as "Witchblade" and "The Darkness," Silvestri is well versed in the art of powerful fantasy storytelling. Artist Sumeyye Kesgin, a fresh talent in the comics industry, brings an expressive urban edge to the series that gives vibrancy to Silvestri's dark story.

The series follows Asa Stone, a young guard protecting the gates between his world and our reality. After discovering a secret never meant to be seen, Asa's entire life is turned upside down, leaving him with nothing more than a list of seven names -- magicians, sorcerers, thieves and killers that are the only means of protecting both worlds against a destructive evil: the Magi. Now Asa is forced to trust the untrustworthy as he fights to stop the "Rise of the Magi."

Silvestri gave CBR News the lowdown on the series, revealing more about what kind of hero Asa is going to be, the types of villains he's up against and how he manages to stay focused while telling a vast and complicated story.

CBR News: Tell me a little bit about the main character, Asa Stone. It sounds like he is poised to be a force in stopping a terrible evil. What kind of person was he before his life was turned upside down? What kind of life was he hoping for?

Marc Silvestri: Asa is a guy most people know. But he's not from around here. The place Asa calls home is ruled by magic. Literally everything about his world that is constructed, grown or eaten is "magic." Even the social structure is based on what you can do and how well. In our world Asa can do some impressive stuff, but in his world he's a pretty dull guy. The day he decides that he's over being dull is the day everything goes wrong for him. So be kinda careful what you wish for!

In the story there is a list of seven magicians, sorcerers, thieves and killers who stand as a weapon against evil -- what kind of characters are they? Can you tell me about some of them?

I really like these guys because of the very way you describe them in the question. All of them have, for various bad reasons, escaped from the world of magic and are basically on the lam here in our world. The last thing any of them want is to be found -- let alone do the right thing. When Asa shows up asking for their help in saving the world (actually two worlds) he's not very welcome.

What sort of world do all of these characters come from? Will we see any of the story take place in our world?

The story starts in the world of magic as described above and quickly winds up in ours. Asa is the ultimate "fish out of water" in that although his world and ours share some similarities, most of the day-to-day fundamentals are off kilter. For instance, Asa is truly perplexed when he finds he can't make a phone call using a walnut.

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Let's talk about the villains -- the Magi? Where do they come from? What kind of a threat do they pose?<.b>The first arc of "Magi" is a fantastical whodunit (I've described it as "Harry Potter" meets "The Usual Suspects") so I can't reveal too much about the villain(s) other than a piece of magic has been stolen and if it's not found quickly, it will end badly for us!

How did you meet your artist for this series, Sumeyye Kesgin? What has the collaboration been like with her?

I became aware of Sumeyye's work on Facebook. I do a lot of creeping around on artists' pages and have been in contact with some amazingly talented people. Sumeyye's art stood out to me immediately because of its energy and the expressiveness of her characters. Plus she's a natural storyteller, which in our business is crucial. She also has a certain playfulness in her work that is a perfect fit for what I envision for "Magi." It's been great fun writing for her.

What is the scope of "Rise of the Magi?" Is it a miniseries or ongoing?

The plan is for it to be ongoing. It's a book that switches back-and-forth between not one, but two worlds, so that's a lot of material to mine.

Do you have plans to continue storytelling in this world beyond the story of Asa Stone?

Oh, I have a trunk-load of ideas and characters both magical and non-magical so that would be a big yes!

In terms of process, how do you keep yourself focused on writing in two different places?

Since the two worlds are very different writing for both is pretty easy. The way the story is structured, bouncing back and forth not only advances the plot but it also makes for a really unusual and (I hope) entertaining ride for the reader. It's also going to be a lot of fun having a mystery unfold between two different realities. And seeing how the magic and non-magic worlds each have an advantage in helping Asa and his band of motley, would be heroes should be a lot of fun as well!

"Rise of the Magi" debuts on Free Comic Book Day in May.

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