Dynamite’s latest incarnation of the classic Gold Key characters is a new series called The Sovereigns. The project is being written by Ray Fawkes, Chuck Wendig, Aubrey Sitterson and Kyle Higgins with the #0 issue debuting April 5th. I got to talk with Fawkes about the new project, bringing the Mighty Samson to the forefront and we’ve got a first look at some of the interior pages. Art by Johnny Desjardins, cover by Stephen Segovia.
DAN WICKLINE: The Sovereigns features the classic Gold Key characters including Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Solar: Man of the Atom and Doctor Spekter. It also features the lesser known character of The Mighty Samson. What can you tell readers about the character going into the new series?
RAY FAWKES: The Mighty Samson is an adventurer on post-apocalyptic Earth, a few hundred years in the future. He wanders a post-nuclear wasteland, fighting human scavengers and mutant monsters, and is, I imagine, one of the hardest, most weather-beaten, most unkillable dudes who ever lived. When I was researching him for this book, I noticed that he would often be depicted fighting insane monsters with his bare hands – or, at most, stone-age level weaponry. This story needs him.
DW: In your part of the issue, we only get to see representatives from Solar and Magnus, but we see a very different version of Turok. One that carries the weight of leadership on his shoulders. How did we get from the young man on a dinosaur to the man we see in the story? How has he changed in that time?
RF: You’ll learn more about it in the issues to come, but Turok grew from a warrior and hunter into a conqueror, and then into a nation builder and statesman. He is truly a King, ruling the Lost Valley and its subjects – many thousands of refugees from other nations have emigrated to the Lost Valley at his behest and live there now – and he’s one of the most respected figures in the world. He’s taken all the courage and dignity he started with, and built them into the seasoned sense of responsibility, world-weariness, and pragmatism of a tried and tested leader.
DW: The #0 issue is a good set up for the series, giving us a starting point with the characters, but the story itself is still a mystery. Who would you describe the series to someone wondering if they should order it?
RF: This is the epic story of the final, globe-spanning battle of five of the greatest heroes the world ever knew. It’s a great finale for long-time readers but also totally reader-friendly to people who have only read some or none of these folks’ adventures.
DW: What made Samson the right character to add to the mix over someone like say Dagar the Invincible? What unique thing does Samson bring to the story?
RF: Dagar will actually make an appearance in the story, heh. But Samson is perfect for the story because of where he is, and when. I don’t want to give away too much, but he fits exactly.
DW: How did you get involved with this project? And what’s it like working with three other writers (Kyle Higgins, Aubrey Sitterson, Chuck Wendig) on this? How much do you talk with each other or does it all go through a central editor?
RF: I got involved with the project after Dynamite asked me to pitch on an idea for a story involving several of the classic Gold Key characters. The different writers on the project are all aware of each others’ work, but we don’t mess with each other at all. I know that sounds like we’re running in separate directions doing our own thing, but there’s a good reason for that to be the case right now.
DW: You’re working with Johnny Desjardins on the series, someone I’ve been lucky enough to work with as well. Do you adjust your scripts towards the style of the artist you are working with and play to their strength? What are some of the things you like about his work so far?
RF: I always do what I can to make sure my scripts suit the style of the artist I’m working with, and i make it clear that things can change based on how they like to work. Johnny seemed to click into place right away on issue zero – I couldn’t be happier with what he’s putting into this book. I absolutely love his sense of detail, and the way his boundless energy shows itself in every panel!
DW: You’ve got five of the classic Gold Key characters in this series that we know of, are there any others that might appear along the way? Were there any you wanted to work into the series but couldn’t?
RF: Dynamite’s been fantastic – they’ve never stepped in to say I can’t put someone in the book. Tragg and Lorn (From Tragg and the Sky Gods) will be making appearances in later issues, and Dagar the Invincible will too. Andar, Turok’s brother, plays a part in the story as well.