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“Starkweather: Immortal” Returns at Archaia

by  in Comic News Comment
“Starkweather: Immortal” Returns at Archaia
Starkweather: Immortal
“Starkweather: Immortal” on sale in October

There’s magic in the air this October, when David Rodriguez’s “Starkweather” concludes with the release of “Starkweather: Immortal,” a 144-page graphic novel from Archaia. CBR News spoke with creators David Rodriguez and Patric McEvoy about the project.

A relaunch of the original “Starkweather” series, “Starkweather: Immortal” follows the tale of Alex Starkweather, a down on his luck young man who can’t seem to get his life in order. While living with his grandmother, working at a deadbeat diner and dating a cheating girlfriend, Alex discovers that he has power beyond the scope of imagination and finds himself in the middle of an age-old conflict between the Witches and the Templars.

“In this world, what we’re saying is that Witches are people who are descended from Divine Blood – anybody who is descended from the 12 disciples of Jesus who were at the Last Supper,” Rodriguez told CBR. “At the Last Supper, Christ knew he was going to die, so he divided his power into 13 parts. He kept enough that he could come back, but he knew he needed other people to go on and carry out his work, so he broke up his power. All of these people were set out in this 2,000-year plan and were then betrayed by the knights who are supposed to protect them. During the Dark Ages, these Templars twisted the source of the Divine Blood’s power. So what the Witches are saying is they were out doing miracles and then the Templars were twisting it and saying their power comes from Hell. The Witches were hunted down and nearly exterminated. You had 12 houses descended from the groups and they’ve now collapsed into five. These five groups are vying for power and at the same time trying not to be exterminated by this order of the church that still hunts down everybody they find with Witch’s blood.”

Alex Starkweather is thrust into the middle of this battle – he just doesn’t know it. “When Alex is born, he kills a bunch of Templars, which is supposed to be impossible,” said Rodriguez. “The Witches know that if he doesn’t get a chance to grow into his power and master it, then [the Templars are] going to hunt him down and kill him because he’s putting out all this magic and that’s what the Templars track. So, the Witches decide to completely sever his connection to his power, which is a very drastic thing. It’s kind of like a lobotomy. He gets hidden, so when his power starts to break through, it has violent consequences.”

Series artist Patrick McEvoy said Alex Starkweather isn’t the only character who’ll be getting some face time against the Templars. “I like stories that go off of four different characters and that’s what we’re doing,” McEvoy told CBR. “We’ve got Alex Starkweather as the driving force and primary character, but as you read the last two issues that are going to be included in the graphic novel that’s coming out, it’s really going to concentrate on many other characters. Each one gets a spotlight and we learn a lot about other people who we thought were just peripheral when we first got into it. I love stories with that kind of complexity.”

Pages from “Starkweather: Immortal”

McEvoy, a fantasy artist by trade, has his sights set high for “Starkweather: Immortal,” making use of many subtle artistic cues during the course of the series. “As I was reading the script, I thought that we could have some very subtle changes,” McEvoy said. “A lot of times, like with flashbacks, I’ve got the script giving us context like a lot of movies do. Some movies will go into a lot of strange sequences where everything is colored differently and some comic books will go into rounded panels to show a flashback. I’ve mostly been trying to show that things are getting more magical or things are going to a flashback, I’m letting the script do a lot of the work. My end of it is subtler. In an early issue, Alex is working at his dead-end job in a diner and slowly we realize he’s meeting some magical characters that are just sitting at the diner eating. I’m on my part just making all of the colors more and more yellow until we realize these people are magical. By then, everything has turned very yellow and golden and flowy. I’m trying to do subtle things like that.”

The inspiration for the “Starkweather” series began during Rodriguez’s years as a college undergraduate. “I was taking these classes on religion, so we were reviewing historically how these stories came from, where the Bible came from – it was an interesting class we were taking,” Rodriguez explained. “There were all these parts in the class where they were talking about the grail and the spear and the shroud and every item that touched Jesus’s blood had become this artifact of power that was so engrained that certain myths even said that Hitler was looking for them. There’s this scene with the Last Supper where they’re drinking from the cup and nobody explained what happened to those people after they drank from it. Was it just a ceremony or was he actually doing something larger that had never been explored before? What happened to those people really interested me and the story developed from there.”

Although “Starkweather’s” relaunch has been keeping Rodriguez and McEvoy busy, Rodriguez said the most challenging aspect of writing “Starkweather: Immortal” has been setting aside the time. “That’s the bane of the comic book creator these days, when it’s not being funded by one of the larger companies. We’re basically self-funding. For me, that’s the biggest challenge.”

It’s no wonder the creators are strapped for time – McEvoy is part of a freelance fantasy illustrator group known as Ninja Mountain while Rodriguez is busy with his online comic “Shadowgirls.”
But “Starkweather” fans can take solace in some free previews running on “Shadowgirls,” which shares the same world as Alex Starkweather. “We’re doing a ‘Starkweather’ preview right now on ‘Shadowgirls.’ For two weeks, we’ve been running pages from issue #3 to build the tension for ‘Starkweather.'”

“Starkweather: Immortal” goes on sale in October from Archaia.

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