Got an email from Matt Hawkins over at Top Cow about a new weekly four-issue series they have kicking off this April and he wanted to let us at Bleeding Cool announce it. It's called Shotgun Wedding by William Harms (Impaler, 39 Minutes) and newcomer Edward Pun. The book is about revenge, jilted lovers, loyalty and lots of bullets.
This is a very rare case in that not only did they send over the announcement to us, but they also sent three of the four issues for us to read. It's December… the book is for April and they have three issues in the can with the fourth to be completed shortly. I've read the three issue, liked them a lot… and now I'm waiting for the conclusion.
Matt hooked up me up with the William Harms so we could talk about the series and how it came about.
BLEEDING COOL: I always like to start with the concept. This one comes down to a jilted lover, moving on with your life and a lot of bullets. How did you come up with the idea for Shotgun Wedding? I'm hoping it's not autobiographical.
WILLIAM HARMS: I don't remember the exact genesis of the idea for SHOTGUN WEDDING, other than I wanted to write a story about an assassin. I'm a big fan of Grosse Pointe Blank — it's probably one of my top five favorite movies — and I think the reason I love it is because of this weird moral grey area it occupies. Can someone who kills people for a living be considered a "good" person? Questions like that are a fairly common theme in my creator-owned work (IMPALER, for example, is about one of history's most notorious psychopaths fighting on the side of good).
Once I started fleshing it out, though, I quickly realized that SHOTGUN WEDDING was going to be this violent, romantic story based around a love triangle. The three main characters are Mike, our protagonist and an assassin for the United States government, his fiancé Denise, and his former fiancé, a fellow assassin named Chloe who Mike left at the altar. Needless to say, she's not too happy when she learns that Mike is going to get married to a different woman.
As soon as I figured out those character dynamics, the rest of the story fell into place pretty quickly.
BC: What can you tell us about Mike? We see him basically from his time with Chloe to his time with Denise, but this character is driven by his sense of right and wrong. What got him to the beach with Chloe that night in the first place?
WH: Mike very much believes in the "rightness" of what he does. Sure he kills people, often violently, but if you asked him if he was a murderer, he would say no. That's the distinction that he draws in his mind. He's doing the terrible things that need to be done in order to keep the world safe.
Chloe, on the other hand, doesn't have Mike's moral compass. She enjoys killing people and believes that she has the right to decide who lives and who dies. In the second issue, she gets offered a deal by a character called The Turk — which is where the beach scene you're talking about is set — and crux of that scene is that for the first time in her life Chloe is forced to accept who and what she really is. And it took a bad guy to help her make that realization.
BC: What was the collaboration process like with Ed Pun? How much was he involved in the concept and story? Once it got to him doing the pages, were you hands-on or did you give him free license?
WH: Ed's awesome. We worked together on the first INFAMOUS video game, which I wrote, and he drew all of the illustrated, 2D animated art that appears in the game. I pestered him for a long time about doing a comic together, and eventually he caved.
We have a pretty collaborative process, and there were several times when he and I would have conversations about the story, certain scenes, things like that. I really value his opinion, and it's always nice to have get a different perspective on things. On the art side, I do offer some feedback, but usually when I get a new page, my comments range from "this is awesome!" to "awesome!".
Once SHOTGUN WEDDING comes out, I wouldn't be surprised if someone tries to snatch him up. He's a fantastic artist.
BC: This is set up with Top Cow and planned as a weekly. How did you hook up with the publisher and what made you decide to go all four issues in one month?
WH: I've had a relationship with Top Cow for about four or five years now. My vampire book IMPALER was published by them, my one-shot 39 MINUTES won the 2010 Pilot Season (and was recently released in hardcover), and now we have SHOTGUN WEDDING.
The release schedule was Matt Hawkins' idea. He's always experimenting with how comics are published, and since the entire series will be done well in advance, it makes sense. There are so many great comics being published these days that you need to do whatever you can to stay on people's radars, and a weekly release seems like a smart approach to me. People pick up the first issue, and if they enjoy it, the next issue will be waiting for them at their comic book store the next week.
BC: Having only read the first three issues I don't know the ending… but do you sees characters as being one-and-done or is there a future for Mike/Clint/Chloe/The Turk or whoever survives after the first series?
WH: This story is really designed as an entire narrative arc with a definite ending … and I don't want to ruin things by saying who survives. (I will say it's called SHOTGUN WEDDING for a reason.)
That said, I love The Turk, and I think the scene between him and Chloe is one of the best things I've ever written. If there's interest, I would love to produce a prologue series that focuses on him and the agency that Mike works for, and really lay out the conflict between the two of them.
Shotgun Wedding is being solicited for April 2014 from Top Cow. Harms other work, Impaler and 39 Minutes are available on ComiXology now.