While attending this year’s Comic-Con International I was able to sit down with writer extraordinaire, Josh Williamson. You know him for a certain superhero that was brought to our modern age.
UTF: My first question is: how did you get attached to the project?
Josh Williamson: Dark Horse just kind of came to me. They knew I wanted to work on some stuff and that I liked superheroes with a little bit of a twist. Whether it’s espionage or crime. So we started out with action and then they asked “What do you know about Captain Midnight?” I knew who he was, I knew a lot of the different pulp characters. We started talking about him. And at the beginning he was much darker.
In about a year, we got into more and more about what we would do, and Mike Richardson really had these big ideas. He had this vision of a world he wanted to build with Project Black Sky, and he knew how he wanted Captain Midnight to be. He brought me in and we just started going back and forth, talking about what we wanted to do. It was a good experience and it’s been fun.
UTF: As a part of Project Black Sky, how’s it been working the various creators?
Josh Williamson: It’s a lot of fun for me. When I was a kid, my hero stories were always team-ups. Whenever I’d be reading Spider-Man and Daredevil would showed up, I was super-excited because I love that stuff. I really like the nods to the fans that paid attention. I’d see those little things in the background where a character had mentioned another character. And that’s what I wanted to make sure we did with these books and their teams.
When Frank Barbiere was doing Blackout, he and I would just want to chat. I’m like, “Hey, I might do this, what are you thinking?” Same thing with Fred Van Lente. We would meet at the Cons and do signings together where we’d start talking and riffing off each other about what we wanted to do. It’s a lot of fun, and I think it’s interesting how we’re doing this, because Captain Midnight, in theory, could completely stand alone.
If you are reading everything, there are little nods and you can see what we’re trying to do. Like the big bad we’ve introduced in issue #11, who’s in the shadows and he was like, “I’m going to kill everybody.” I think it was the first time we really mentioned all the heroes, but then when Hollow was meeting with that Black Sky agent, and you could see the screens with all the heroes. I really like to do stuff like that and Dark Horse has been letting me.
UTF: The comic has certainly put Jim Albright through the ringer, especially as of late, considering his most recent loss. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts about that and where you see it going from here?
Josh Williamson: Usually for me, I like taking characters and then breaking them. Jim‘s very interesting but there’s something about his black and white view of the world that made me wanted to find ways of showing him things have changed. The death that happened in issue #10 was planned from the beginning. I feel like the ideals that certain characters, like Captain America or Captain Midnight, are out of sync and they need to see that as a country, and a world, we really went through a change after World War II.
These things happened and Captain Midnight never experienced them. He never had it in front of his face. Instead he has this weird idealism, that the death that happened in #10 made him confront. That’s why #11 opens up with that moment of him looking at that old picture, but it really is starting to set in for him. This world is different.
What we’re doing in #12 through #15 is really a lot about Cap being broken, and trying to make a decision about, “Can I be Jim Albright and Captain Midnight at the same time? Can I be the genius and the hero?” So this arc we’re working on is really trying to fix those ideas, and just make them work. I’m really happy about it.
I like getting emotional reactions from my readers and my editors,especially when I surprise them, like in issue #10 where Rick was in the mask. My editors didn’t know about that, and I actually wrote my script in such a way that they wouldn’t until they found out the same way the audience did.
You see a lot of that through #15, this idea of trying to make my editors cry and have emotional reactions, you know? In a scene in #15, we’ll go back to people who have been reading this book the whole time. And then we do #16 which is the werewolf issue and I’m really excited about that.
UTF: I have one last question. We have lots of fanboys and fangirls that come to our website. For all the potential writers out there that want to get into the comic industry, do you have any words of advice for them?
Josh Williamson: I think it’s important to be self-aware of where you’re at and really try to continue learning, even reading back issues, if you have the energy, will help. There are times that I look back and wish I’d done things differently.I’m thankful that I believe in every work I do, and that the next one is always better. I think it’s important to have that attitude, to know that it’s really rare for someone to be out of the gate amazing. It does happen, don’t get me wrong, but it’s rare.
If you’re trying to break into comics and you want to be a writer or artist, you need to know that you’re always going to learn. You’re always going to want to get better. When you first start out, you need to know that you might not be where you think you are. You need to take it in and really build a peer network of people that you trust and can be honest with you. All those things will help your talent level go up. Then worry about the social aspect and pitching ideas. Really develop that network, and your work ethic.
UTF: That’s great advice.
Josh Williamson: Can I ask you a question?
Josh Williamson: Who do you think Helios is?
UTF: I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t have a theory yet.
Josh Williamson: It won’t be revealed for a while, but there will be clues. I’m not going to give it away, but he’s a major character in the next arc and he’ll be a major player through #20. He’s a character I created through the book. And when he showed up at the end of #9, bad things happen. So you’ll see there’s clues to who he is in the next arc and some characters will face him.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Josh Williamson for chatting with me. It was a great pleasure to talk about Captain Midnight which is easily one of my favorite titles to cover for UTF month in and month out.
So what did you think of the interview my fellow fanboys and fangirls?
Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.