For a guy who's spending October sending souls to hell, Marc Andreyko sounds pretty happy go lucky. While talking about his upcoming Wildstorm series "The Ferryman," Andreyko -- the writer behind DC Comics' critical darling yet low-selling comic "Manhunter" -- had nothing but sunshine and rainbows for his collaborators on the project, including film production legend Joel Silver ("The Matrix," "Roadhouse") by way of his Dark Castle production shingle.
"All that I was given by Silver was that he's always wanted to do a contemporary version of Charon and the River Styx – the Ferryman who ferried souls across into Hades. That was pretty much it. He wanted to do something contemporary with it. Go!" explained Andreyko of the book which debuts on Wednesday, October 8, and which you can see the opening pages from below. "I came up with how that would work and how the Ferrymen today – there'd be many of them because of the world's population, and they'd almost be skip tracers. If you sold your soul to the devil, eventually that contract is going to expire. And unfortunately, most people who sell their soul to the devil don't want to go quietly."
Andreyko went on to describe the project in Hollywood terminology as "'Die Hard' meets 'The Devil's Advocate'" and noted that artist Jonathan Wayshak "is going to be a huge superstar. He's a cross between Ralph Steadman and Sam Keith. Whatever his next project is, I'm writing it because I'm never letting him go." After a few minutes more of smiles for the project, the writer stopped and admitted, "It's gone as well as a project like this can go…I wish I had some scandalous dirt to give you about it. If you want, I can make up a feud if it makes the story more interesting."
Fake in-fighting aside, Dark Castle and Wildstorm are hoping that their first four-color collaboration will be interesting enough for readers in a story sense as Andreyko's script rides the fine line of high concept and high action from page one.
"The first issue is, for all intents and purposes, one giant chase scene," he said. "All you need to know about the comic book is that our lead is a guy named Gideon Thorn who used to be a cop back in the '70s and was on the trail of a pretty gruesome serial killer known as The Bleeder. Circumstances led to Gideon's early demise and his wife was murdered, but he was offered a chance by the devil, who we call Mr. Webster, the chance to do some work for him with the promise that at the end of his contract, he'd get to see his wife again."
When Gideon is tasked to track down one last lost soul in the form of a former Ferryman known as The Outcast, things get a little dicey, but Andreyko wouldn't go as far as to reveal a promised twist for the five-issue mini series' later issues. Instead, he made a point of explaining that while "The Ferryman" shares a few commonalities with other comics on the film track, for his part only the former matters.
"While one of the reasons Joel Silver is doing comics is to develop his own intellectual property and do some development in a very public forum, I don't look at it as doing a comic book as a version of what the movie would be. I try to look at it as doing a comic book that could be adapted into a feature film, but if it never is, the story could stand on its own as a piece of entertainment."