Saints author and playwright Sean Lewis is fast becoming a fan favourite at Image Comics. Our Gabe Golden recently sat down with Mr. Lewis to talk about the origins of Saints, as well as his writing and comics craft.
What would it be like if you were suddenly told you were a Patron Saint Reincarnate and you must save the world from a Holy War?
I talked with author Sean Lewis, well known for his play The American Life and Co-Creator of Saints to see how this amazing concept for story came to be
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GG: Thanks for doing this Sean. Can you lay out a premise of the Saints story for those who have not tuned in yet?
SL: It’s a group of everyday people who find a Holy War is erupting and they, unwittingly, are the next generation of Saints poised to fight for a heaven that God has abandoned.
GG: How did you get into the comics industry from a background writing plays?
SL: I am a big comic book fan and I wanted to send stuff in, but I didn’t know how, as a writer, to get my stuff looked at. I applied to Marvel but I didn’t get in. I met Ben through a friend in the play industry. He was a friend of a friend. We got coffee and I told him I wanted to make an original book. Ben had been making these tarot cards with these characters on them. We talked and got down details together and then I sent in my idea to Eric Stevenson from Image Comics and he loved it.
After talking to other writers I had no idea how much easier my experience was than most other people’s.
GG: Any lessons learned from creating Saints that you could pass on as advice for those looking to get into the industry?
SL: We had a fully done book to show people. We could say “here is what it will look like”, a heavy outline and a marketing plan, which I learned how to do from plays. They could see we were serious. There is a lot of hustle involved.
GG: How was it working with artist Benjamin Mackey?
SL: Its great working with him, we barely knew each other, but we trust each other. Ben does things art wise that I couldn’t ever conceive of and I could do things he couldn’t do. We are both committed to the book and trust each other to talk about new directions and give each other constant pushes. This won’t be our last piece together. Art-wise he is into the Renaissance and the Byzantine Empire.
GG: Basiel, as a character, may not be the perfect image of a saint, but he’s the perfect image of a rock star. Was there any personal inspiration there? Is it modelled after anyone? Were there any comics you drew inspiration from?
SL: Mike Mignoloy’s Hellboy. Non-superhero-wise Black-Hole Burns, I grew up on Sandman and Preacher. My uncle was a big comic book and metal fan so, as a kid, I would read his comics. The Metal inspiration would be from my Uncle. Recent books I’m reading are Garth Ennis’s Punisher, Southern Bastards, and Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye.
GG: I like how each character is, in their own way, just lost on their path. It must have been fun trying to develop them, because they are not typical of what you would think the reincarnation of saints would be like. What was it like working on each character and making them into who they became in the story?
SL: Its natural coming from play writing. Everybody wants something, but not in the same way. Blaise is not religious but is turned into a saint. Lucy is an anti-superheroine. Sebastian is shrouded in mystery.
GG: Is this band of heroes going to keep growing in the coming issues?
SL: We are going to see more of the main group, but as to why, you will have to keep reading.
GG: The story is accessible, even for those unfamiliar with Patron Saints, but can someone still pick up the new issues fresh and join in on the fun of story?
SL: Definitely. I think the series has operated well as a whole, but the next few issues are really great gateways into what’s going on.
GG: The bad guys in Saints seem so set-up and entrenched compared to a lot of other comics, where the bad guy has to slowly rise to power and the heroes seem a little late to the party. Why did you guys decide to lay things out that way? Will we get some more back-story on the villain in the up-coming issues?
SL: Blaise is in way over his head. Those fighting their way to the top make more sense. Lucy comes from a grocery store, so obviously she’s someone who no one would have thought would be a hero. The greater the obstacle the greater the pay off. It makes for great drama that way.
Belief is Interesting. In anything, not just in God. Its fun to play with disbelief, what shakes your belief and what can give you belief.
In issue #4 we will see the way in which Michael and the prophets he has collected are entwined, we will also learn what they are planning, building and how Stephen was involved with them. We are driving toward the Holy War.
Issue #4 is when war on both sides is declared. Michael’s text and journey play out as confessions, in a way, to God.
With each confession he reveals himself more.
Thanks to Sean Lewis for taking some time out to talk with ComiConverse!
Visit Sean’s website at seanchristopherlewis.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @SeanChrisLewis
Look for issue #4 of Saints from Image Comics coming to shelves on January 4th.
Gabe Golden is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @GoldenFedora