"History can be fun."
This is a statement I would have vehemently denied as a high school student, but as an adult? Well, I've come to realize that history is just a series of stories. And stories are fun, especially when you add some embellishment.
Think about it. Why did the Titanic go down? Maybe it struck an underwater vehicle from Atlantis?
Who shot JFK? The real answer could be a highly elaborate plot involving Soupy Sales and Marilyn Monroe's agent.
What was Paul Revere really running from on his midnight ride?
I could speculate wildly on this last question, but I don't need to, for writer Ed Lavallee has taken this query and turned it into a highly entertaining comic book in the form of "Revere: Revolution in Silver." With art by Grant Bond, the hardcover collection of this story arrives in shops on July 25 courtesy of Archaia Studios Press (ASP). CBR News caught up with the "Revere" creators to discuss the process of turning a patriotic forefather into a monster hunter extraordinaire.
"A lot of it came from my love of Hellboy," Lavalle told CBR News "I wanted to write/create my own kick-ass, monster-hunting character, but needed to come up with something all-together different from what we are used to seeing in comics and other media. I decided to set the story during the American Revolution because of the lack of technology and because the time period lends itself well to the creep factor."
The "Revere: Revolution in Silver" hardcover is released by Archaia, but the four-issue miniseries was originally published through Alias Comics. "When Alias decided to change their format to an all-Christian line, a lot of creators were scrambling to find a new publisher," Lavallee explained. "Luckily for us, Alias decided to finish out our series. Once it wrapped, I immediately started contacting publishers about getting the trade set up. I had emailed [ASP Publisher] Mark Smylie a while back and then lost touch. I decided to give it another try and it just clicked from there. Working with ASP has been a breath of fresh air for us and we are really thankful to be in such great company."
Archaia has put together a handsome collection of "Revere" for fans, but for those new readers who are curious about the content between these pretty covers, Lavallee's description of the book sounds promising. "The story is about Paul Revere's struggle to save his family amidst the outbreak of the American Revolution and a marauding band of werewolves who are terrorizing the townspeople of Boston," Lavallee said. "It's a fun horror-adventure. The story starts the night Paul Revere made his fateful ride to warn of the British advance. I like to say that our story gives the real reason why Revere didn't complete his ride that night."
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean students can substitute Lavallee's book for their history texts. The writer indicated some "liberties" were taken in the telling of Revere's ride. "While there are historical facts, names, locations, etc., we're not really trying to teach a history lesson," Lavallee said. "I try to work things in historically if they fit. It helps to add a little realism to the story. Paul Revere is the main hero, though. There are some other historical figures who play a small part in the story as well; brewer and patriot Sam Adams, for one, and Dr. Benjamin Church also. There will be more history and historical figures to come as we delve further into Revere's world."
Based on Lavallee's remarks, it sounds as though this hardcover isn't the last we've seen of "Revere." Lavallee confirmed, "There is currently a second series in the works. We hope to have things rolling in early 2008."
All writers and artists will admit to certain challenges in creating a "creepy" tone in a comic book. "Revere's" writer was kindly willing to share how he feels they achieved this tone in their book: "I think, for me, the setting for 'Revere' adds a great deal to the creep factor just because it was a time of discovery, and the Colonies seem to be steeped in all types of myths and legends. Lots of history there. I also think Grant's color work on the book has played a tremendous role in adding to the eeriness of the book."
"I really think less is more," added artist Grant Bond. "If the reader is able to suspend disbelief long enough to sort of emerge themselves in the world you have created, the most subtle images can help maintain that or push it forward. Overly-rendered images to me seem to slow the story down. Once the reader knows exactly what is happening in every panel, they seem to lose that level of 'fear of the unknown.'"
Looking at the art of this book, one will notice that it's not composed of necessarily typical "horror" illustrations. In other words, it's not filled with graphic gore. Bond has taken a lighter approach to the art and coloring, and explained to CBR News his process and discussed the difficulties of drawing a book with so many night scenes.
"The coloring is painstakingly done with much tender loving care in Photoshop," Bond said. "I approach my comic art as if I were working on animation. I love that art and I enjoy recreating some of the same effects used in animation on the comic page. Night scenes are actually the easiest. So much of good storytelling is left to your imagination. Most of the night scenes leave only implied figures or objects hidden in partial darkness. In truth, I rarely draw much of anything in these panels knowing they will be too dark or emerged in fog. I basically try not to over-render these images and let the reader meet the story halfway."
For fans of "Revere," both creators have future offerings headed your way. In addition to several creator-owned projects aimed for Fall release, Bond is also drawing "Clockwork Girl" for Arcana, which CBR News covered recently. Lavallee is mostly busy with the follow-up to "Revere," but also has his hands in a few projects that are in their early stages.
This hardcover has been a long time coming, and Lavallee is thrilled about the book's imminent arrival in stores. In summing up his pleasure with "Revere," the writer looked to the future. "I get excited by the fact that there is so much history to work with – so much real life struggle to pull ideas from. The possibilities are endless as to the stories we can tell in this setting."
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