Here's the second part of Lady Unpleasantries' interview with Chris Sims of The ISB and Action Age Comics, an interview so epic we had to split it into sections. If you missed the first part, read it here. It's so face-kickingly awesome you'll need a come-down cigarette at the end.
Let's rewind a little bit, in the event that there's an idiot reading this that isn't already familiar with the awesomeness that is SOLOMON STONE. Where did this character come from?
Solomon Stone is the star of a cycle of novels I wrote that remain sadly unpublished. I put a chapter from the first one-- THE CHRONICLES OF SOLOMON STONE: BOOK ONE: ENTER: SOLOMON: STONE ME DEADLY , which details Solomon's highly marketable difficulties in finding out that he's a wizard and uncovering a conspiracy within the Catholic Church--up on the ISB, and it really took off. In fact, the day after that excerpt went up, I got a piece of art that was based on my own crayon illustrations for it, showing Sol on his skateboard with his twin uzis . And in a very Paul Harvey moment, that piece of art came from Matthew Allen Smith, who would go on to be the artist of the Solomon Stone comic.
How has working with Matthew Allen Smith been? Do you two seem to have the same vision for SOLOMON STONE, or are there behind-the-scenes beatings over creative differences?
There have never been beatings. There have, however, been numerous threats of stabbing, and one time I looked up his house on Google Maps and told him I was watching him from space.
Aside from that, though, I think we make a pretty great team. He suggested a few lines of dialogue, including Minxy's exclamations, and it was his design for "T-Hex in Disguise" that led to me rewriting what became one of my favorite moments in the story.
That's intriguing. What did you end up rewriting?
The sequence where T-Hex gets the Saurian Stone from the museum of antiquity. He was doing design work and when he sent me a shot of her in the riding hood, it just killed me. Smithy is a national treasure.
Hell, he's a National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.
But not THE National Treasure?
Well, not OUR National Treasure. He's English, so you'd probably have to ask someone over there.
Minxy is a really fantastic character, more so knowing that an actual Englishman had input on her accent and expressions. What makes her a good match for Solomon Stone, aside from the sexy outfit?
I find that the way she serves to pout, state the obvious, and have plot points explained to her is a really empowering role that female characters just don't get that often in paranormal sex mysteries.
The giant lips help, too.
After I sent Smithy the script, he told me that if he drew her pouting any harder, her lips would have to actually detach from her face.
The end of Chapter Two leaves a very large explosion on the page where Minxy and Solomon should have been. Since it's his comic, I'm assuming he's not dead, but what could theoretically kill Solomon Stone if not magic missiles?
Hm... Well, he's a half-vampire, so maybe half a stake through the heart? Or a slightly overcast day? But I think people would rather read about explosions, so I'll probably stick with those.
So far we've seen dinosaur ghosts, half-vampire skateboard champions, and the most ridiculous English accent ever put to page. Is there anything that's too awesome for Solomon Stone? What else can we expect to see in Chapter Three?
The way I see it, Chapter One was a mystery, Chapter Two was an adventure, and now that all the players are in place, Chapter Three's all about the action, with a little romance thrown in for the ladies. I don't want to tip my hand too early, but so far, we've gotten sixteen pages without seeing any of Solomon's legendary championship skateboard skills, so that's definitely something to watch out for. And that's just the first issue!
Any chance of an ISS exclusive sneak-peek at upcoming issues?
Well, I probably shouldn't say much, but if all goes according to plan, the next issue will see Solomon and Minxy caught up in a locked-room mystery and the reappearance of a rival from Solomon's past.
With everything that's been happening with SOLOMON STONE and the work you mentioned on THE HARD ONES, have you been working on any other projects that might come to light soon?
Actually, we're going to be announcing my next project on the 29th, one week after Solomon Stone #1 finishes. It's a new title for the Action Age with some artists that I've never worked with before, but it should be a lot of fun.
Sounds very exciting. Do you have time to breathe in between all of these projects?
Breathe? Yes. Sleep? No.
You seem pretty well saturated in geek culture. Do you find yourself getting caught up in any ridiculously nerdy comic arguments?
You know, I used to, but after working in a comic shop for five years, that stuff eventually runs out of your system. You stop thinking about who could win in a fight between the Hulk and Superman, and start wondering if it would look better if Jack Kirby or Curt Swan drew it.
Which writers would you say influenced your own style the most?
As far as comics? Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Matt Fraction, Jeff Parker, Paul Grist... and tons more I'm sure, but those are the ones that really spring to mind. Thoe are all guys that aren't afraid to cram what anyone else would think were completely ridiculous ideas into stories and somehow make them work.
Is there anything that you think is too ridiculous to work in a comic?
One of my favorite comics is about a trucker who gets a CB radio implanted in his head that can also control his truck, and he fights aliens, a guy with a blimp, and his girlfriend, who is schizophrenic. And one issue is narrated by the truck.
So no. Not really.
Do you plan on writing anything soon that features a talking motor-vehicle?
There may or may not be a talking motor vehicle in future issues of THE HARD ONES. That's all I can say for right now.
Finally, I have to ask... which superhero do you most want to kick in the face?
Does Gambit still count as a super-hero?
We can count him as hero-lite. Maybe 30% of a superhero.
Throw in that guy from Youngblood who looks just like Rob Liefeld, and you've got yourself a deal.
We can make that happen. Conversely, any villains you think deserve a size ten to the jaw?
The Red Skull. It's NEVER the wrong time to kick a Nazi in the face.
Thank you very much for agreeing to an ISS interview. A manilla envelope filled with Villain Dollars and a pleading letter from King Oblivion to write for us is taped to your windshield. Any final thoughts?
My pleasure. You have a lovely lair.