"True Blood" fans know actor Michael McMillian as Reverend Steve Newlin, the vampire-hating evangelist who caused all sorts of trouble for the Stackhouse clan in the second season of the hit series, but next year the actor is hoping to make a name for himself in a different medium: comics.
Announced during this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, McMillian is writing a four-issue miniseries, "Lucid," that promises to combine equal parts James Bond and Jason Bourne spy games with Arthurian-era magic and mythology
I spoke to McMillian recently about the project (which is still in search of an artist), and along with spending far too much time reminiscing about Spider-Man's old "Electric Company" adventures, we discussed the actor's looming debut in the comics world with "Lucid."
In "Lucid," readers are presented with a world in which the United States has achieved a new Golden Age of sorts, presided over by President Jefferson Monday. Keeping the nation safe against evil forces is the Department of Secrets and one of its chief officers, a "covert spy and combat mage," Matthew Dee.
"It's a parallel universe that looks like our world, except we’re able to see what the real secrets are to reality and what’s really going on at the top of the pyramid, so to speak," said McMillian of the world of "Lucid."
No stranger to stories featuring superhuman characters, McMillian used "True Blood" (and the current vampire craze) as a frame of reference when describing the nature of magic in the "Lucid" universe.
"The interesting thing about the vampire stories that are going on right now—whether it's 'Twilight' or 'True Blood' or 'The Vampire Diaries'—they all basically deal with the same rules of vampires that have been established since Dracula. Vampires stay out of the light, they need blood to survive, yadda yadda yadda," he explained. "These new stories are twists on those old rules, and 'Lucid' is going to be the same thing."
"We're playing with the same rules of magic that have been established as far back as Arthurian Legend, where magicians are protectors of the realm," said McMillian. "They're the liaisons between our world and the supernatural world, and they wield magic as a weapon."
While the actor described the search for an artist as the part of the process he's "most excited about" these days, he said he's thrilled to be able to attend future comic conventions as a creator instead of as an actor or fan.
"I’ve been reading since I was a kid, and comics have always been the other medium to me—like TV, film, video games, and comic books," said McMillian. "I grew up not understanding why other people didn’t read comics, and not really aware of any sort of 'nerd' stigmas that came along with it, or geek stigmas. I just really loved it, you know?"
"I could go up on a panel and talk about a TV show 'til the cows came home, but now I'm so happy to be there to talk about an actual comic book," he said. "It really is becoming kind of a rare thing, because there is so much stuff about movies and TV at the big comic conventions, so it's really cool to say I’m actually down here to talk about a comic book."
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