Tag Archives: Writer

Exclusive Interview with Saint Chaos Writer/Creator Noah Dorsey

6 Apr


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I had the chance to ask comic writer/creator Noah Dorsey some questions about the release of his comic,  Saint Chaos, his love of funny books, and terrible weeks. Check out what he had to say.
COI: When did you realize you loved comics?

ND: I can’t pinpoint the age. Probably around 10 or 11 I would guess. I am so ADD that I couldn’t focus on a particular series at all. I’d buy random Marvel and DC titles just based off the appeal of their cover but not get into the story. I got into the darker titles like SpawnShadowhawk, and The Maxx. Those were titles that made me love comics and make me think I could actually write in the medium.

COI: What do you want readers to know about Saint Chaos?
ND: I actually had written Saint Chaos back in 2006, but back then it was a screenplay. That screenplay was actually optioned by a small production company who fast tracked it. The budget was a million bucks and they got that right away. Since the money poured in so quick they decided to raise the budget and collect more investors. We got a prolific director  and started speaking to actors (some that are pretty famous now) when the peak of the recession hit at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. That’s when the whole thing fell apart. Investors pulled out and I got an email from the producer telling me they were dropping the option and going to India for a documentary or something. I shut it in a drawer until now. The screenplay and the comic they wanted have some significant differences. Actually, now that I think about, it is nothing like the movie they wanted to make. Lots of bells and whistles. Let’s just say that they were adamant that I write that Saint Chaos would do a lot of parkour moves in the movie. That ain’t gonna happen in the comic.
With Saint Chaos I wanted to write the ultimate moral rogue. Like Batman decided to make good on his death wish, set his death day, and then decided to help people in the only way he knows how in his last few days of life. Simon (the guy that becomes Saint Chaos) has no defense training, no knowledge of fighting crime, so he jumps into situations with raw, animalistic energy and brutal violence. It’s like Bruce Wayne without the training and fighting crime and he was in Fight Club. But Simon’s comparison to Batman is only a point of reference. Saint Chaos is nothing like Batman. There are no rules except that he would rather do good instead of bad before he kicks the bucket. But even that loose rule isn’t always on the table. If there are no rules that means that Saint Chaos is capable of almost anything.
COI: Simon has a pretty rough week leading up to his encounter with Honeycomb, what’s the worst week you have ever had?
ND: Oh, man… Simon has it pretty bad. The reason I thought up the story was that it was the worst of worst that could possibly happen to someone. But the worst week I have ever had is not even close to Simon. I have torn my ACL twice. That is the ligament in the middle of the knee and when you tear it you need to get it repaired. The first time I got it repaired the science wasn’t what it is now so I had to spend a week in bed for recovery. Not only that, but I had a machine that was placed under your repaired knee and very, very, slowly, bent your knee up and down to break the scar tissue. Quite a painful task. That machine ran nonstop so I could not sleep for a full week. I’d have to say that was my worst week.
COI: Honeycomb is a very dark and unique character, what was your inspiration for him?
ND: Honeycomb relishes and takes pleasure in the pain of others. He is also very intelligent. When I first created the character Hannibal Lecter was the inspiration, but that character was only the foundation. That’s when I started thinking about where he would have his lair. What would be an interesting dangerous place that hasn’t been done before? As I was thinking about it I thought about my childhood and how I worked in my family’s handmade candy factory. Making handmade candy is not an easy place to work and the environment is nothing close to Willy Wonka. The machinery was all designed during the 1940s or so. Nothing has been modernized because most candy is all conveyor belts and automated machines. Making handmade candy is literally a life or death task at times. There is one page in issue #1 that Zsombor illustrates the way Honeycomb uses the tools to make handmade candy as torture devices. That is only the tip of the iceberg of how insane this character is and how he uses his environment.
COI: Your illustrator is very talented, how does his work compare to how you visualized the characters and environment originally?
ND: He is very talented. Commonly, comic books/graphic novels are a very collaborative process. There are those talent few that draw and write their own – damn you and your talent Frank Miller – but for the most part the writer will write and the illustrator will decipher the story through their own talents. In the case of SC Zsombor killed it. And then he f*ckin’ destroyed it. His technique is something that is different from what I have seen, but he also brings ideas to the table that will blow people away. Some of the pages in this comic will look as if they should be hung in a gallery. He is capable of taking a page of dialogue and illustrating in one beautiful full page. There are a few pages in the first issue that I would rip out the dialogue, throw into a frame, and then hang in my house as a work of art. And it is only going to get better from here. I guarantee that if you are dazzled by the art of the first issue we are going to blow you away with what is coming up.
COI: What makes SC different from other comics?
ND: It is raw. We don’t hold back at all. I wrote it holding nothing back and Zsombor illustrates it without restraint. We are doing exactly what we want and I feel that it enhances the story. We draw and say whatever we want. While Zsombor tests the limits of his artistic ability, I am writing story lines that may be beyond offensive, yet relevant to the story, because that’s what I feel makes sense for the world of Saint Chaos. The story of each comic will be completely unexpected, but will be coherent to the urban epic we have planned.
COI: What else are you working on right now?
ND: I’ve got a few other comic books that are on the horizon.  There is a western that has the same feel as that gem of a television show Deadwood (which ended way too soon in my opinion) that I’m pretty excited about. There is a comic in the horror genre and one in the fantasy genre that will utilize the digital medium. We’ve got some pretty cool ideas to bring to the table that hasn’t been done yet and that we haven’t heard is being developed. The details will come as soon as we are comfortable with the presentation. There are a couple other comics that are in the very early development stages that will make an appearance.  But all of this is theoretically over the course of the next four or five years. The process is not just discovering the story, but finding the talent that fits the project perfectly. All of that takes time. I’m also working on a screenplay that I’m hoping will gain some traction in the next few years.
COI: What books are you reading right now?
ND: Scott Synder is a talented motherf*cker. I thought his stuff on Batman is pretty genius and I need to get to his Swamp Thing run. I’ll pick up anything he writes. Saga is brilliant. Nowhere Men is actually toying with the typical comic format a bit and I really dig that. I picked up Snapshot, which ain’t bad at all. I know those are three Image books in a row, and I’m not trying to promote them because Non Humans is printed through them, but, they publish purely creator-owned books. The creators make all the story-telling decisions.  There really isn’t anything between them and the press to say “no, don’t do that”. I think the Big 2 is still plagued by that. It continues to follow the old process to keep it safe. Sure, they’ve taken some chances, but for the most part they play it safe. The writers, illustrators, colorists, and letterers all have an editor that can always say “don’t do that” if they try something out of the box. More often than not it is a risk they won’t take. I really like some of the independent stuff coming out now. I love that these artists have a new idea of how to approach creating comic books and having the guts to try it. I want to do that with every comic I am involved with. I also have to admit (even though I am pretty embarrassed about it) is that I’ve been catching up on the classics. I never got to Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum and I just finished that.  It is brilliant and insanely inspiring. Pun intended.  Clearly one of the most inspiring graphic novels ever.
COI: What is the most influential comic you have ever read?
ND: Sandman. Hands down. The whole f*ckin’ series. I can’t imagine that series getting printed now by one of the Big 2 like it was back in the day. I could just imagine Neil Gaiman strolling into an editor’s office today and pitching the idea. They would scoff. They would scowl. They would shake their heads. Where’s the sex? Where’s the action? Where’s the muscle bound heroes? When Gaiman tells them that there isn’t any.
It is just all about the story, he’d be thrown out on his ass. But what is funny is that Sandman is just as popular now as it was then. I pass on my graphic novels to friends and family and they gush about how much they love it. Then they pass them on to other people. That’s exactly what happens to good novels. People lend them to other people so that they can have the experience. Sandman isn’t a novel, but it is a fantastic piece of literature. A very respected piece of literature. The storytelling – and by that I mean the writing along with the illustrations – is perfect. I won’t be surprised if at some point it is taught in higher education literature classes. I think many graphic novels should. But Sandman was the spark that lit the fire. I finished the entire series in a week or two and by that point I knew that I would have an affair with comics until my eyes rolled back for good.*
noah_dorsey_SCNoah Dorsey currently resides in Denver with his girlfriend Becky, a portly bulldog named Zeus, and an overweight puggle named Hercules.  He continues to write Non Humans with Glen Brunswick and Whilce Portacio, while also developing other projects.
Follow him on twitter @thenoahdorsey
And be sure to check out the Saint Chaos Preview here, on comicsonice
You can find me on twitter @comicsonice
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