Comic Vine: Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with the story?
Scott Lobdell: The idea for the comic came from an amazing and very talented storyteller herself, Gail Anne Hurd. I've worked with her development executive Ben Roberts on other projects, and when he suggested she was looking to develop a comic-to-screen project I jumped at the opportunity. The high concept was, initially, the skies above Manhattan filled with gargoyles! Yep, a hundred million dollar gargoyle movie -- how could I resist?! Then the who, what, where, why and how of it all fell upon me to flesh out the beginning, middle and end of the story. With solely creator owned properties like BALL & CHAIN, HELLHOLE and MANIFEST ETERNITY, I can write up the story and it gets drawn and published. But THE SCOURGE has more of a Hollywood style of comics -- where every word can be picked apart and tweaked by several producers, development execs and, I suspect but can't prove it, the intern! I got a note the other day telling me to please not refer to the gargoyle as an "it". (Who knew gargoyles were so sensitive?!)
== TEASER ==
CV: Where did you draw your inspiration?
SL: Not to get all heavy, but I was in New York City on 9/11 (having flown in on the last plane that was allowed to land that morning!). At one point late in the day I managed to get on a subway that let me off at 4th Street, ten blocks below the cordoned off 14th street and on the other side of the city where my wife and I were going to be staying with friends. Walking across the city that day it really felt like a horror film tries to -- streets empty of people and traffic for blocks at a time, and the people I ran into just sort of stared blankly in the direction of the pyre downtown. There was an occasional siren. When I was writing THE SCOURGE I kept in mind how quickly an entire city can turn upside down on a dime. In this case the outbreak of this pandemic creates a widespread panic as people turn almost instantly into gargoyles. There were notes in the beginning that the chaos was spreading too quickly, but I think we've seen first hand how fast chaos can spread in city that is so jam packed with people. Heroics, yes, certainly... but also chaos.
CV: What is the series about?
SL: Someone accidentally brings what can best be described as a sentient virus from the mountains of Europe to the concrete canyons of Manhattan. Within an impossibly short amount of time, a NYPD SWAT officer is all that stands between this pandemic -- which is turning ordinary people into leathery skinned gargoyles -- and the rest of the world! That is, unless he can somehow stop this outbreak here and now in New York City, it would certainly spread across the globe in a matter of days. All this, and he has to try to get find his estranged son and keep him from succumbing to the virus!
CV: Who are the main characters, setting, time period?
SL: Jon Griffin is the police officer and he's the one we follow throughout. He's a no nonsense guy who isn't given to the dry quips of your average action adventure hero. He's just a cop trained to fight terrorists and bank robbers who suddenly has to duke it out with a city of gargoyles. He winds up partnering with a Persian cab driver named Astor, as well as his son's grade school substitute teacher, Ali. Yeah, it isn't the Legion of Super Heroes but they turn out to be a lot more resourceful than you might imagine.
The setting is the aforementioned NYC and it is happening right now! (Quick! Look out your window! In fact -- don't look! Just run for your lives!)
CV: What was it like working with Eric Battle as artist on the book? Did you give him a lot of creative freedom?
SL: As with most artists, I try to give them all the freedom in the world. When you think about how many hours a day an artist has to spend staring at a page he's working on, for months and months in the case of a mini-series, I think an artist will do his best work when he has the freedom to be his most creative. All I really do is indicate the action and images I need to tell the story. Then it is up to the artist to do that and be artsy at the same time. Fortunately for me, Eric Battle is not only artsy, he's dynamic, exciting, dramatic and an awesome story teller! Its been a total joy working with him -- and based on the art it seems he's having a blast too!
CV: The book seems very different than many Aspen titles, is it?
SL: Honestly, I think Aspen is way more diverse than people give it credit for! Yes, the earliest books at the company seemed to focus on this epic adventures of really hot and complex women... but you have one series that spends a lot of time under the ocean, another in search of magic in SOUL FIRE, then you have the comic stylings of SHRUGGED and the religious conspiracy of DELLEC and the world of high finance espionage with EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT. Is THE SCOURGE different from all that? Sure, but I think the exciting thing about Aspen is how different it is from itself! Um... you know what I mean!