A Fanboy Interview With Joshua Dysart, Part 2
take on Citizen Pain
from Violent Messiahs.
One of this interview, Josh Dysart talked about his experience
working on new DC mini-series, The Demon: Driven Out, and his
hopes for its future.
we hadn't talked much about the project that put him on the
map: Hurricane Entertainment's Violent Messiahs.
Dysart shares a little more insight into his time on those
books, and gives us a little bit of info about his next (and
yet old) project, Captain Gravity: The Power of the Vril,
currently scheduled for release this December.
McCaw: Since Madonna's Maverick Productions has the rights
to Violent Messiahs, how would you do the movie differently
from the book?
Dysart: Well, they'll probably turn it into THE CELL or
worse, some crap like SWAT.
I'd like to see it take an entirely different turn. I'd like
to see a really interesting narcissistic director completely
make it his/her own. I'd like to see it torn down and re-fashioned
into something separate from the book all together. I'd like
to see someone make some crazy deeply personal creative decisions
that have nothing to do with my original intent.
a David Lynch, Takashi Miike, Wong Kar Wai, Stanly Kubrick
(I know, RIP, it makes me sad) or Alejandro Jodorowsky on
it. Hell, even a Jane Campion - can you imagine, all the dripping
Victorian romance of THE PIANO applied to VIOLENT MESSIAHS!?
That'd be nuts!!
someone like that inside my little comic book, someone who
will just rip it to shreds. This is not what Madonna's company
has in mind, I'm sure, but it'll be cool either way.
While we're there, any screenwriting aspirations of your own?
I love cinema, but I hate Hollywood and the whole game. Still,
a single screenplay sale would allow me to stop living month
to month, so now it's just a matter of finding the time to
write another one (and then there's the little business of
the EVIL ERNIE Screenplay for Brian Pulido about two years
ago. We got the first draft done right before the bottom fell
out of Chaos! Comics. I've written a screenplay for VM that
more or less follows the book, but its five years old and
I've gone through a lot of growth since then.
it's packed to the gills with the suggestions of every Hollywood
crapshooter who managed to attach themselves to the project
over the years (and there've been a lot). I'm sure I'd cringe
if I went back and re-read it. It lost its sense of itself
somewhere along the way. I'd love to sit down with a director
and start from scratch on a new VM script. I don't think that'll
Driven Out had a high concept from DC. Violent Messiahs
seems to be very much Bill's creation. How much freedom do
you feel you have working to someone else's vision? Or are
you able to just completely step away into your own?
Well, honestly, the only thing in VM that came from Bill was
the idea of vigilantes on an island being hunted by a female
cop. He had the title, two character designs (Pain and Cheri)
and a high concept pitch, "Silence of the Lambs meets
Batman". I had no desire to write that. So I took his
stuff and made it something completely different.
I went our separate ways creatively a long time ago and I
sort of took VM with me, I'd done almost all of the work at
that point. So, while there are elements of VM that I wouldn't
have naturally employed, it really is, at the end of the day,
me stepping away into my own.
To a lesser
degree there's The Demon. I was given the concept, "Fast
and Furious meets the Demon" and then left to my own
devices. I went out and rented the FAST AND THE FURIOUS. I
couldn't sit through it, but it did focus my intentions.
before his first cup of coffee...
watching most of it, I realized I wanted to make my series
relentless, not relentless in style like their empty little
movie, but in content. I wanted to make it pulse with violence
and action, but also with ideas new to the Etrigan mythos.
Every element had to be something fresh. I wanted to constantly
introduce structural changes and new characters and somehow
still resolve it all at the finish line. I don't know if I
pulled that off, but that's the intent
started thinking about Etrigan. He's obviously a symbol of
duality (a staple theme in comic book fiction), so I sat around
contemplating duality. Male/Female was obvious, but a more
interesting one that stuck with me was East/West. So Etrigan
quickly became a symbol in my mind for the victory of the
western aesthetic over the eastern, as well as, to a lesser
degree, the occupation of the female psyche by the patriarchy.
of that heady s*** was figured out the story just constructed
itself. So again, I was able to use a single phrase or piece
of data to springboard into something that interested me,
which isn't really so different from the creative process
when it's based on your own first notion.
very long answer to your question is, yes, I do feel I've
been able to step off on my own. However, I still look forward
to the day when all the elements in a story are chosen by
the artist and myself.
You're also working on Penny-Farthing Press' Captain Gravity.
I'll admit I don't know much about it. Is that a situation
where there's an overall game plan, like The Victorian or
Decoy seem to be?
Not to my knowledge, although if this thing ever comes out
and people dig it, I'd love to keep working on the character.
I think he's great and deserves his own monthly. Creating
revisionist pulp is a blast.
How did you get involved with PF Press?
Courtney Huddleston, PFP's creative director (and creator
of Decoy), was a reader of VM and a friend from the convention
circuit. He brought me in. I dig working for them. I just
want to see CAPTAIN GRAVITY come out. I wrote it two years
ago. In all fairness, it's nobody's fault that it hasn't hit
yet, it's just one of those things.
From the little material I have on it now, it looks like this
is a change of pace for you. What are you willing and able
to say about Captain Gravity to get the average reader to
look for this book in December?
huge change of pace, which is what I love about it. It's my
first super hero work, my first period piece (I'm a research
hound so that was jazzy) and the first time I consciously
took the elements of old pulp and actively embraced them.
I haven't read it in a while, but I remember having a blast
out very light and then, with each issue, gets more and more
emotionally complex as we explore the psychological weight
of being a hero. Now splash that up against a canvas that
already includes the Los Angeles OTO, British spies, mutant
Nazis, alien technology, archeological digs, WWII style dogfights
and Russian submarines.
literally spans the globe, exploring what was happening in
Northern Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Java sea in 1939
- as the world geared up for war. It's fun and a little thoughtful.
I'm looking up Vril, check this cover out...
Is the Vril in your book the same that Roy Thomas was
using in the last days of All-Star Squadron/Young All-Stars?
I've never read any Roy Thomas. I couldn't say, but it's possible
we hit upon the same notion.
found throughout fiction as far back as the 1800's. And is
still relatively discussed (especially in relation to the
Nazi's) in the deeper occult circles. A Google search will
yield all kinds of interesting results, you should check it
Yes, there are Fanboy Planet staffers now doing cartwheels
that I've been caught short on that one. You're given free
rein to write whatever book you want, with whatever artist
you want. What's the concept, and who do you get to illustrate
I'm going to be super f*****g indulgent on this question.
Given those fantasy parameters, I'd have to use that opportunity
to execute some of my least commercially viable ideas. When
I start thinking that way a list begins to form, and it goes
something like this
my 12-issue study of Jesus Ben Joseph as a Jewish political
revolutionary in Roman Occupied Palestine, Steve Lieber on
the pencils. This is not a viable project because Frank Miller
is currently working on JESUS! (I love Miller, but that exclamation
mark kills me.)
SHEEP DALI; art by Eric Powell.
& TIMES OF CHARLES MANSON; Ho Che Anderson doing the art
cool to do a comic book biography of Stefano Delle Chiaie,
master neo-fascist organizer who was inextricably linked with
almost every major right-wing scandal and terrorist outrage
to have rocked Italy from 1960 to 1980. His life is practically
the history of modern Nazism; art would be by Charles Burns
with surrealist sequences symbolically depicted the rise of
fascism throughout this century by Lorenzo Mattotti.
comic of the Venice Beach homeless culture; art by Allan Gladfelter.
my story about the puppy dog who steals an orange and is chased
by the Devil, the skeleton of a pelican, a ballerina and a
French sailor; art by Tony Millionaire.
What's the most embarrassing movie recommendation you've
The French flick MARQUIS. Have you ever seen it? You should.
It's the story of the Marquis De Sade done with puppets. The
Marquis is a dog who talks to his penis. I'm embarrassed.
And yet I'm intrigued. Finish the following: My guiltiest
Writing overindulgent answers to interview questions. We all
struggle with ego.