Nancy Collins, writer of Army of Darkness: Furious Road #5, talks with writer Phil Hester about Gold Key: Alliance #4, both on sale now from Dynamite. Interiors by Brent Peeples and cover by Felipe Massafera .
PHIL HESTER: Before she begins asking me questions, Nancy [Collins] and I need to perform the Secret Former Swamp Thing Creator Handshake (the rest of y'all, don't look, okay?). Now, let's get started:
NANCY COLLINS: Did you grow up reading the original Gold Key characters like I did? Back when they used to sell those grab-bags of 5 assorted GK comics for a buck?
PH: Oh, yeah. Although I loved Marvel and DC as a kid, I was so excited to see anything else that I would snap up whatever odd ball publishers I could lay my hands on. I remember being turned off/weirded out by Dr. Solar, though. Magnus was my guy.
NC: I shouldn't be surprised that the Gold Key characters have their own multiverse, just like Marvel and DC. They've certainly been around long enough. How many of the "variants" that we see in the series are based on previous reboots of the characters, or are they all your own creation?
PH: I tried to make an effort to at least make a visual nod to the last Dynamite reboot. Of course, I didn't delve into the Valiant or Dark Horse takes for obvious reasons, and the original Gold Key runs figure prominently. I just thought it would be fun to pretend the Gold Key universe had been churning out alternate universes and continuities since the 1960s just like Marvel and DC have, we just haven't seen it yet.
NC: I have to admit I was surprised to see Samson playing a major role in the storyline. Mighty Samson was one of the more obscure original titles from what was already a second string publisher (at least in comparison to companies like Marvel and DC). That being said, I own a copy of Mighty Samson #29, the one where he's trying to snap off the horn on a unicorn. Did you have any exposure to the character prior to writing this series?
PH: Here and there, but like most people, mostly through those insane covers. And if you read the mini closely, you'll see plenty of homages to those whacked out scenarios throughout.
NC: What about other lesser-known GK characters, such as Dagar the Invincible and The Brothers of the Spear (which was actually one of my favorite series when I was a kid)? Is there a place for them in the Gold Key Multiverse?
PH: If left to me? Yes. I even wrote them into issue #4, but the licensor had the ultimate call as to what to include and what to leave out. Sorry, Dagar fans!
NC: You're not just a writer, but also an accomplished artist as well. How does it feel, watching someone else realize your work? What are the benefits of being a writer, as opposed to an artist—and vice versa?
PH: It's equal parts frustrating and rewarding. In this case, mostly rewarding. I see Brent make decisions I wouldn't necessarily make, but often those lead to exciting results I hadn't foreseen either. I think my time as an artist has made me more conscious of what I'm asking from my artists. I know what a chore boring scenes are, even when necessary. I know what a drag car chases are, etc.
NC: Now that the original recipe Gold Key characters have made themselves known—what can readers look forward to in the final issue of the series?
PH: I hope something that both resets the Gold Key universe in a way that leaves all future takes on firmer footing and freshens it for new eyes. Of course, I hope readers find some emotional resonance in what the characters go through in the last issue, especially Erica Solar.