The streets of Quad City contain many dark corners. Monsters, both man-made and supernatural, lurk in these corridors preying upon the unfortunate souls who stumble into their territory. Time is growing short for the fiends of Quad City because beginning this April they'll find themselves stalked by hunters who are just as big and twice as bad as they are. One hunter is the star of "Arkadian: No Witness" and the other is the protagonist of "Nightwolf." CBR News spoke with Stephen Antczak, the writer of both titles which will be released by Visible Light Entertainment and Devils Due Publishing.
"Arkadian: No Witness" and "Nightwolf" are just two of the four titles from Visible Light that will be published by Devil's Due. The relationship between Visible Light began simply. Antczak constacted Devil's Due and referred them to his company's Web site. Devil's Due checked it out and expressed interest "Nightwolf" and "Arkadian."
"Arkadian: No Witness" sprang from Antczak's love for celluloid hitmen. He cites films like "The Professional" and "Ghost Dog" and Hong Kong films such as "The Killer" and "A Better Tomorrow" as his major influences.
"I long had an idea for a darkly comical hit man movie in which a hit man is ordered to carry out a job and leave no witnesses," Antczak explained. "And he winds up having to chase down and kill witness after witness in a never-ending string of them..."
Arkadian was born when Antczak decided that his hitman would specialize in a unique type of contract killing. "The character has evolved and is now someone who specializes in killing supernatural beings," Antczak said.
Arkadian's origin and just how he came to be "the hitman of the bizarre" will be revealed in future tales, but in "No Witness" readers will get to know the cynical killer and the principles that govern his life. "He only has faith in money and the effect it has on people," Antczak stated.
Arkadian lacks scruples and, if the price is right, will pursue any target good or evil. In "Arkadian: No Witness," his business ethics will plunge him into a world of trouble. "Arkadian is hired to kill a girl who is a witch who put a curse on the man who hired him," Antczak said. "In the book, Arkadian will come to the realization that he is not as in control of the situation as he thinks."
As he shadows his target in "No Witness," Arkadian will interact with a variety of intriguing characters. "There's Senator Haskell, Celeste the Witch, and Mark Leiter, the go-between for Arkadian and his clients," Antczak said. "Leiter will likely return in the future...he wishes he was the cool hit man instead of the middle man."
"No Witness" is a dark toned action story with bursts of humor and Antczak is brainstorming the next Arkadian story. Instead of another one-shot, the next chapter of Arkadian's life will most likely be chronicled as a mini-series.
Arkadian's primary hunting ground is Quad City. The metropolis is also home to another night stalker, Davey Doyle the lycanthrope star of "Nightwolf." "This is a fictional city about the size and layout of Hong Kong," Antczak stated. "About where is it located? Good question! We're trying to decide where to put it. We're using New Amsterdam as New York. Quad City is on the ocean and has cliffs, so maybe the Pacific Northwest, but not San Francisco because that's where other werewolf things are set. Besides, it snows in Quad City, so maybe we'll just invent a geographical locale. What's life like there? Busy, hectic, just like any major city-- with super heroes, and werewolves."
Quad City's chief werewolf, "Nightwolf," was inspired by Antczak's love for werewolf legends and how they are depicted in popular culture. "The movie 'Wolf' inspired me somewhat, but only peripherally," he said. "Other than that, the whole realm of werewolf mythology and movies."
Antczak has incorporated and tweaked many werewolf myths to create his own mythology in "Nightwolf." "A werewolf changes only on the night of the full moon, at the stroke of midnight," Antczak explained. "A werewolf must hunt and kill another human being before turning back into a human, otherwise he/she stays a werewolf and gets wilder and wilder until it is impossible to become human again. He/she is very difficult to kill. The only sure-fire way is with a silver bullet or dagger or sword with the user's symbol of faith etched on it. The longer he/she stays in wolf form the less human-like they become."
Davey Doyle is trying to use his monthly time in wolf form to do some good. "He's a mild-mannered accountant with a nasty werewolf curse," Antczak said. "He enjoys playing hero as Nightwolf, despite having the curse."
Davey's story begins in April's "Nightwolf" #0 and continues in June's "Nightwolf: The Price," a five-issue mini-series. "Issue 0 is set-up for the character, his world, and future Storylines," Antczak stated. "'The Price' introduces us to the price Davey and his loved ones pay for his being Nightwolf as well as having the werewolf curse."
Davey's loved ones are just a few of the members of "Nightwolf's" varied supporting cast. "His brother Kip both hates and loves Davey, and fears him but also wishes he were the one with the curse," Antczak said. "His girlfriend Shannon just wants things to be normal again, but she is secretly aroused by the dark side of Davey's persona. King Minus, as the press calls him (which he hates) considers Davey a friend as well his accountant. Minus' wife was killed in the crash of his private jet, and his daughter was paralyzed. Minus believes the werewolf ability of regeneration can heal his daughter. Mako, his bodyguard and lover, wants to become the greatest fighter ever and loves violence for the thrill of it."
Justinian "King" Minus and Mako will also be Davey's primary enemies in "Nightwolf." In addition to Minus and Mako, Nightwolf will face a variety of threats which include supernatural monsters, ordinary criminals and supervillains (although they won't be the spandex clad kind). However, Antczak revealed that the biggest threat to Davey is his growing addiction to the time spent as his lupine alter ego.
Since "Nightwolf" is about a man cursed to be a werewolf, some people might expect it to be a very dark toned book. "It is, but there's also humor and romance and intrigue and good old fashioned action," Antczak said.
"The Price" won't be the last time Davey Doyle is howling at the moon. Antczak is currently planning two follow up "Nightwolf" mini-series. One is titled "Quad City Nights" and the other is called "Hour of the Wolf."
Antczak had a blast crafting the scripts for "Nightwolf" and "Arkadian" and is excited by the finished artwork of the artists tasked with brining both series to life. "Our artists for Nightwolf, Nick Marinkovich and Nick Postic (cover) have really added a lot to the tone of the story. Without them; Nightwolf would be much, much different. And the logo, which was created by Georges Jeanty in an early incarnation of the character, is killer. Riq, the artist for 'Arkadian,' really gave that comic a lot of style and we hope to work with him in the future."