Sunday, 20 February 2011

Fallen Heroes interview: Barry Nugent

As promised, after our review of the comic and an interview with script writer Martin Conaghan, we are delighted to present to you the creator of Fallen Heroes, Mr Barry Nugent.

Fallen Heroes started off as a novel, but did you always harbour a desire to see it as a comic?

What I wanted to do with Fallen Heroes was to try and create a modern day pulp adventure but I'll leave it up to the reader to decide how close I came to that goal. It's a globe-hopping, supernatural action adventure with elements of political intrigue, espionage and horror. The novel has similarities to shows like Heroes and Lost in that it contains numerous and seemingly unconnected characters but running in the background is a single story thread that unites them all. The main portion of the novel is about a band of heroes and anti-heroes coming together to derail the plans of a cult which has existed since the first crusade. Although Fallen Heroes is a self contained story this is the first part of a trilogy and I'm currently working on the second book 'Forgotten Warriors'.

I have to admit I harbored no secret desire for it to be a comic for me. It was a huge personal achievement to write the novel and I was happy with that. I also never believed anyone would want to adapt it as a comic so the idea never really occurred to me until I was first approached by Nic Wilkinson. In fact, I'm pretty sure I thought she was joking when she first asked me! 

Why didn't you write the comic yourself and why did you pick Martin to write the adaption?

That's a question I keep being asked both of this adaptation and now the spin offs. The short answer is  I'm not a comic writer.  I have a lot of respect for comic writers as it's a skill I can't seem to wrap my head around, it's like sorcery.  I think if I had worked on the comic myself there would have been a danger of me deciding every plot point, every character was important and must be in the comic, no matter what. I think by having someone different tackle your work they can look at with a much more clinical and less emotional eye which is what I think you need when there's so much material which will need to cut out. It's not an easy thing to do but so long as you keep yourself involved with the process, are willing to speak up if you're happy and the adaptation team is willing to listen then it should be a relatively painless process.

Martin was orginally suggested to me by Nic, when she was creative director at Insomina and it was a good fit from the beginning.  For me the most important thing was for Martin to read the book and be passionate about the project rather than doing it because he had no other projects on the go or would look good on his CV. Technical ability and experience (both of which Martin has) in anything is great but you add passion for whatever it is you're doing into the mix and you're onto a winner. Martin and I talked at length via email about the project but honestly I knew he was right for the role after we finally met at a comic convention. We talked for hours about the adaptation and I could tell he understood the characters, the story and would do both justice. From then on I was sold.

You have a spin off one shot in the works by Cy Dethan- how did that come about?

I consider Cy a good friend and as a writer he's one of the guys I look up to. His gift for storytelling, dialogue and creating believable characters is fantastic.  Cy had read the novel way before any kind of comic adaptation was mentioned and we talked at length about the book as well as chatting about each others future projects. He often said he would love to tackle one of the characters from the book. Once again we were having that same conversation earlier this week and after Nic knocked our heads together I asked him formally if he wanted to do it and he said yes. I think if you've read the novel and read anything that Cy has done then you will know that the character he has chosen to tackle in the one shot is a fantastic fit. I could not be happier.

Are there any more spin-offs planned?

There is definitely one more comic spin off being planned at the moment. I plan to announce that one at the Fallen Heroes panel at the Cardiff International Comic Expo where the comic is launching. All I'll say for now is that it's another great fit for both the character and the writer. Again it was another writer who loved the book and when he heard I was doing a spin-off with Cy got in touch and asked if there were any other spin-offs in the making and by the end of the day there was. I'm hoping that if these go well to do more. 

I would love to expand the Fallen Heroes universe even more and to that end I am now in talks to expand the Fallen Heroes into the world of audio dramas. I can't say anymore at the moment as it's early days and it's still very much in the air and may comt to nothing.

Where can we buy this fine book (comic and novel!)?

Well the comic is being launched at the Cardiff International Comic Expo with myself and the Fallen Heroes artist Steve Penfold signing copies and taking part in a panel being hosted by the awesome sidekickcast to talk about the project. 

We're a nearly at our limit for pre-ordering the limited edition first printing but if you head here you can grab some of the last copies. We are currently investigating the possibility of a second printing. Also GOSH Comics in London will be selling some issues soon, watch the Fallen Heroes Comic websitefor news for that. There is also a digital version of issue #1 coming to the Apple store soon and we are hoping to have more ways to make this comic available to people in the coming weeks.

Thanks to Barry for taking the time to answer our questions. You can catch up with him regularly by dropping by the Geek Syndicate.

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