When Dynamite Entertainment's Prophecy event begins in June, it will bring together a legendary assortment of heroes & heroines -- including Vampirella, Red Sonja, Dracula, and even Herbert West the Reanimator. Prophecyscribe Ron Marz, of Top Cow's hit Artifacts, is no stranger to titanic crossovers, and we chatted with the writer about the upcoming miniseries and why mega-crossovers can work!
MTV Geek: How did you get involved with Prophecy?
Ron Marz: Dynamite set up a meeting with me at the Baltimore Comic Con last year and offered me the gig. The story was always based around the concept of the Mayan 2012 Prophecy, but it took a few months of discussion to nail down the available characters and story details.
Geek: What is the plot of Prophecy, in a nutshell?
RM: Red Sonja's nemesis, the sorcerer Kulan Gath, discovers the Mayan doomsday prophecy and propels himself to 2012 in order to turn the cataclysm to his advantage. Sonja follows, trying to stop him, and a lot of other characters are drawn into the mix. So, you know, the stakes are literally the end of the world.
Geek: Does Dynamite have a self-contained, inter-connected universe, in the same way that DC and Marvel does? And will the events of Prophecy impact that universe going forward?
RM: Well, many of Dynamite's characters are licensed from other sources, so obviously it's a different scenario than having Batman and Superman meet, or the Avengers fighting the X-Men. There's another layer of approvals, assuming we get permission for particular characters to be involved. The logistics are a little more difficult, but the goal is the same: telling a story that matters, with characters the readers care about.
Geek: You've had experience writing a cast of characters this large with Top Cow's Artifacts -- but were there particular challenges here due to the wide-ranging nature of those in Prophecy? For example, weaving together a narrative that brings together the likes of Vampirella, Red Sonja, and even Dorian Gray? How do you prepare for that -- is there a lot of research involved?
RM: With Artifacts I had the advantage of all the characters already existing in the same era. For Prophecy, we're bringing together characters from disparate time periods. That's not a difficulty, per se, it's just another element to be solved. The research involved is more about getting the characters portrayed properly than any ticky-tack continuity details.
Geek: Did you have a favorite character to write in Prophecy?
RM: So far, Red Sonja has served as the point-of-view character for the reader, the way "in" to the story, so she's been my favorite. Though I will say the opening sequence of issue #1 gave me a chance to finally write a character I've always wanted to write.
Geek: Is Prophecy a good introduction for the new Dynamite reader? Could they dive into this event and come out with a pretty good understanding of who the major players in the Dynamite universe are?
RM: Readers won't need to bring any prior knowledge with them. My job as a storyteller is to give you everything you need to know within the pages of the story. If you walk away scratching your head, not understanding who's who or what's what, it's my fault. All that said, we're also going to include bonus material in the issues that will provide all sorts of background information.
Geek:What is it like working with artist Walter Geovanni?
RM: Walter's been doing great work. As good as his stuff on the Red Sonja monthly has been, he's stepped up his game for Prophecy. In the first issue alone he's had to draw a wide variety of characters and eras, and it all looks amazing ... not to mention authentic.
Geek:Recently there was an editorial on the comics blog "Kleefeld on Comics" called "Why Crossovers Don't Work," specifically mentioning the Prophecy announcement.
You've written several successful event/crossover type titles: Artifacts, Batman/Aliens, and DC Vs. Marvel. Why do you feel that crossovers indeed *can* work, given the right circumstances?
RM:I guess I'd have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Kleefeld. If your objection is "they're not in the same universe," or a crossover somehow offends your sense of continuity, I'd suggest you're missing the point. More than any other medium, comics are about unfettered imagination, about making the impossible possible. If you're going to let some perceived "rules" prevent you from telling an exciting story, you're just not trying very hard. Having a sense of wonder, of discovery, is much more important than following some set of perceived rules and regulations.
Geek: Are there any other projects you're working on now that you'd like to mention?
RM: I'm continuing on Artifactsfor Top Cow, which has become a monthly series, and my creator-owned, vampire-samurai mashup Shinku is coming out through Image. I have a few more projects scheduled to debut in the second half of the year, but they haven't been announced quite yet, so keep your eyes peeled.