Read Part One here.
Airship Ambassador: Looking behind the scenes, how did you keep the characters relatable to the readers yet still grounded in the circumstances of the story?
Scott Wilke: Issue #1 I wasn’t able to really dive too deep into the inner workings of each character. Truth be told, I didn’t want to at this point. I want there to be mystery yet for the sake of the reader experience. A friend told me, after reading Issue #1, that he could see Forge being either the hero OR the villain. I thought…good! I purposely left out narration in my work too because I want to create an uncertainty in the reader. Is Forge the hero of the story? Is Omega really the villain?
Similar to the Old West, there is this blurring of the lines between good and evil. For instance, if you ask most people whether or not the Earps were “good” guys, they’d say yes. But, if you read more about them and what actually transpired before O.K. Corral, you’d think, “Hmmm, well maybe they weren’t THAT good.” Same for Forge, he’s not a hero. He’s not an anti-hero either. He’s somewhere along the spectrum and I want people to determine his place themselves and not be told right off the bat. Wow, what a digression! So, long story short, there really wasn’t an opportunity to make these characters relatable yet, because we don’t really know who they are yet.
AA: May they aren’t totally transparent in Issue #1, but neither are they quite black-and-white stereotypes, either. What kind of steampunk tech plays a role in telling the story?
SW: Tech plays a pretty large role in the story. I wish I could get into more details on the specifics, but I don’t want to give anything away. Let’s just say there is an airship that plays an EXTREMELY large role. Check out our Facebook page and Kickstarter to get a look at it!
AA: You’ve done really well avoiding the spoilers so far. What interesting things will readers find in the upcoming issues?
SW: There are lots of cool things up ahead. Airship battles, pirates, and giant mechs…just to name a few!
AA: Toys! Was there a scene which was really memorable to write?
SW: There’s a scene coming up in Issue #2 with Forge and his friend/mentor, Aces King. It is the first time we’ll see the two of them together. It’s memorable in that with every re-write the relationship between the two morphed. At first, I imagined their relationship as one of just friendship. But, as I wrote it, the relationship played out more like a father-son relationship. I struggled to correct this as it wasn’t my intention, but I realized the reason why I couldn’t correct it is because it was natural and organic. It just made sense. Knowing their history, knowing what both of them went through, I realized that…yeah, Aces King views Forge as his son and Forge looks to King as a surrogate father. It just goes to show you how sometimes your stories take on a life of their own.
AA: That idea of ‘characters taking over’ and telling the author what the story really is comes up a lot in these interviews J Was there any scene that you loved but which just didn’t work in the story?
SW: In issue #2 there will be a scene between Forge and his father. A pretty emotionally tense scene. There was a passage that I really wanted to keep but ended up scrapping because it removed some of the emotional weight from a later scene. I wish I could go into more detail than that, but I don’t want to ruin anything!
AA: What kind of back story is there for Legend which didn’t make it into the final story?
SW: To be honest, not a lot of the back story was revealed in issue #1. That was all intentional. I wanted Forge to be shrouded in mystery when you first meet him. I want people to be curious about what happened between Forge and Omega? What set Forge off on his path to vengeance? Why does Omega have a soft spot for Forge? Who is Angel of Death? These were the questions I wanted people to have. Issue #2 will definitely include more back story and explain pieces of all of those questions.
AA: Did aspects of your own life find their way into Legend?
SW: A number of characters in Legend are inspired by people in my life. Aces King, Forge’s friend/mentor, was inspired by my dad. So much so, that my dad actually dresses up as him at conventions. Forge’s other friend, Willa Sawyer, was inspired by my wife. I have a character named Penny who was inspired by my mother and a character named Raven who was inspired by my niece. So, as you can see, Legend has turned into quite the family affair. Beyond that I think some of the hardships I’ve gone through and my family have gone through have sort of bled through onto the pages. Not always in a literal sense of course. For instance, my dad battled cancer back in 2012. A lot of times I feel like Forge’s story is representative of my dad because he faced some pretty unthinkable odds but was able to come out stronger on the other end.
AA: What was one memorable story while writing this story?
SW: There was one cry in the corner moment I think and that was after my first failed Kickstarter. There I was, finally having the courage to bring this story to life, a story that had been in my head for 10 years…and no one was interested. As a writer, I had come to terms with rejection pretty early on. But, that was an especially brutal blow. But, thanks to my family, I brushed myself off, got back up, and tried again!
AA: That is really hard, sort of a public judgment. Sometimes though, it’s other factors which play into why a given effort isn’t successful. What research did you do to create the Legend world?
SW: I am constantly doing research as I write. I realize I’m writing a Steampunk Weird West story, but I still want the environment and the history to feel authentic and be grounded in some level of reality. Whenever I give ClickArt Studios new things to draw, I like to provide them with photographs of the actual item from the 1800’s and then have them build the “Steampunk” on top of that. For example, Forge’s guns in the first issue are Magnetic Accelerator Revolvers. The gun itself is actually a Colt pistol. So I had ClickArt start with that design and add the Steampunk pieces on top of it. I think it makes the gun look more believable.
That’s a great idea, and a great way for other people to imagine items for their own props and accessories.
Time for a pause in our chat with Scott. Join us again when Scott talks about writing the story.
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