On Monday I ran the first part of my interview with writer/editor Bryan Hill. We talked about the series Postal he is doing with Matt Hawkins and Isaac Goodhart as well as his being hired as an editor at Top Cow. In this second part of three we look at what he has in store for Postal going into the third story arc where he will be doing the writing chores solo.
DAN WICKLINE: You guys just wrapped up the second story arc and are about to embark on the third… except this time you are going about it solo. What lead to Matt stepping aside and letting you go it alone? What is the big difference between your collective voice as compared to you writing alone?
BRYAN HILL: I've been working with Matt on POSTAL for about a year, and we've built a solid creative trust between us. He read the first issue of my upcoming solo series ROMULUS and was impressed with that so with the amount of books he's writing, and the fact that I know the universe of POSTAL incredibly well, he wanted me to solo write and keep pushing the narrative forward. I have a great working relationship with Isaac (Goodheart), the penciler of the book, so we're confident we can continue exploring that world, maintaining the concepts that Matt wanted from the beginning.
Honestly, for readers, I don't think the experience will be that much different. POSTAL has never been a matter of Matt and I pushing against each other. Our synergy has been great from the beginning. Hopefully, for readers that have been following the series the experience will remain the same. The characters are the characters and the direction hasn't changed.
If anything is evolving, it's really Isaac's work. He's getting bolder and bolder with every issue, really pushing himself to get more out of every panel. People should read the book just to follow his trajectory as an artist. He's really impressive and it's thrilling to work with him and see the story visualized. The mood, the tone, those things have been praised by readers and all of that is from the mind and talent of Isaac Goodheart.
DW: Since we started talking about the third arc, what can you tell us about it? Is this a good jumping in point for new readers? And, with as few spoilers as possible, where is the Postal world now going into the new arc?
BH: It's actually a great jumping in point because this arc has a new villain, a sort of female counterpoint to Mark that tests him in very personal ways. I'm obsessed with villains, making sure they challenge us and test us as readers. In many ways, this arc represents Eden's first crisis, and watching these characters have to stop plotting against each other and start uniting against a force pitted against them all, is a fun direction to take.
As far as where it's all going, for the first two arcs we establish Mark as an observer and participant in his mother's reign over Eden. Now, we're going to explore where Mark will align as he becomes more confident, more certain. He is the heir apparent to Eden and now he's going to have to truly explore how he would guide and protect this town, an exploration that will create some distance between him and his mother. We're watching a prince start to think about what kind of king he would be, while the sitting queen fears the potential of her own son.
If that sounds a little like Hamlet, it's because I'm always ripping off Shakespeare. I'm shameless, LOL.
DW: Well, Stan Lee, Neil Simon and Shakespeare are probably the most prolific writers of all time… good people to pull from. Staying on Postal for one last question, what is the long term goal for the series. Will this be the final arc or do you see the folks of Eden carrying on for some time to come?
BH: Neil Simon, definitely. Love THE GOODBYE GIRL but I digress…Matt has told Isaac and I that as long as people are reading he wants it to keep going so we're working with long-term story goals in mind. That character triangle between Mark, Maggie and Mayor Shiffron is about the shifting of power, the ambition of youth, the expectations of gender, the manipulative power of sexuality and ultimately about the personal sacrifices necessary to lead a kingdom. In this case, the kingdom is a small, off the grid town full of criminals. It's Machiavelli by way of Cormac McCarthy. There's also the matter of Mark's absentee father, a sort of boogeyman that will continually push the world of the book into darker and darker places. We want to peel away the skin from the destructive side of human nature and explore it in its glistening, blood-wet muscle.
For me, the discipline of writing — and it is certainly a discipline — is consistently forcing myself to look at the things that frighten us, especially those elements within ourselves. My modern inspirations are Gillian Flynn, Thomas Harris, Bryan Fuller, storytellers that peer into the eyes of monsters. Writing, for me, is looking into the gaze of the boogeyman and asking myself "How am I like him?" "What of him lives within me?" "How do I keep him silent in my nature?" "What happens when characters can't?"
POSTAL gives us a way to explore all of that and Isaac Goodheart, Troy Peteri, Betsy Gonia and I look forward to exploring that for a long time to come.
Come back on Friday for the third part where we focus on his other upcoming series Romulus.