With the second issue of the Sword of Hyperborea series out next week from Dark Horse Comics, we are so delighted to be joined by the co-writer of the comic, Rob Williams. Rob Williams has written numerous titles. Some of the titles he has worked on include Cla$$war, Suicide Squad, Trinity, Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Judge Dredd and Doctor Who.
Hi Rob, happy new year to you; it’s great to have you here with us.
We have been fans of your work ever since we read Cla$$war.
Thanks! Good memories!
How did you get involved with the Sword of Hyperborea miniseries?
I’d just done a creepy gangsters-haunted-by-ghosts creator-owned book called Old Haunts via AWA Studios with Laurence Campbell. Laurence drew B.P.R.D. for Mike Mignola and Dark Horse for a number of years, and had been talking to Mike and the guys about doing a Gall Dennar barbarian story. He asked if I’d be interested in coming on to write the book, and I think the Hellboy team liked Old Haunts.
What made you want to be a part of the Sword of Hyperborea miniseries?
Working with Laurence is always a treat. He’s brilliant, and one of my best friends. Working with Mike Mignola in the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. world? Who wouldn’t want to do that? I’ve enjoyed those comics for the past couple of decades. It’s a treat to be involved in that universe.
How would you describe the Sword of Hyperborea miniseries?
The sword is an important weapon in the end times of the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. story. It’s a mythical blade much like Excalibur. Our series spans thousands of years and shows you four very different heroes who held the sword at various points before passing it on, allowing us to tell very Hellboy-world tales in a Robert E. Howard-like barbarian landscape. Additionally we’ll see stories set in World War I, World War II and finally the electric blues scene of Chicago in the 1950s.
The Sword of Hyperborea series takes place in the world of Hellboy; is the series new reader-friendly?
A: We hope so. We’ve certainly tried to make that the case. We had no interest in a big exposition-fest or historical tract. If you know the major points on the Hellboy map, you’ll get a kick out of the references. But really we have four heroes here, three of whom are brand new, and we want to send them on a journey and care about what happens to them. In introducing three new players who don’t know the key facts of this world, readers are really in the same position as them, fighting against an evil they don’t understand.
What is it like writing with Mike Mignola?
A treat, as I said. I’ve been a fan for years. It’s intimidating too, because Mike’s one of the best writers we’ve had in comics, and the level of people he collaborates with is extraordinarily high. But he was very welcoming and a great sounding board for Laurence and me. Mike had a plot in mind for Gall Dennar in issue #1, which we built out from. Then it was a case of a few Zoom calls discussing the world, and Mike leading us to a few places we should probably go. It was a really enjoyable experience.
The rest of the team for Sword of Hyperborea consists of Laurence Campbell, Quinton Winter, Clem Robins and Dave Stewart. Were they already a part of the team when you joined the series?
Laurence was onboard before me, yes. And then I think Laurence suggested colorist Quinton Winter, who lives near him. They know each other. Quinton coloured Unfollow, a book of mine from Vertigo a few years ago, which Clem Robins also lettered. Small world. Dave Stewart had coloured Laurence’s work on his B.P.R.D. run, so he colored our covers.
When you saw the art from Laurence Campbell and Quinton Winter, what did you think?
A: I’m very aware of what Laurence can do, having worked with him so often. He’s a master of mood on the page, a brilliant storyteller. We wanted issue #1 to be an epic Terrence Malick-like quest across this incredible landscape from thousands of years ago, with evil priests, woolly mammoths, immense mountain ranges, and the odd pterodactyl. Laurence and Quinton have brought all that to such vivid life here.
Do you have a favourite scene from the first issue?
A: Gall Dennar, having been alone on his quest for years and sitting by a fire in the mountains, tripping on some barbarian concoction, calls out to his love from thousands of years in the future and a giant wolf spirit comes to talk to him. Laurence and Quinton did a phenomenal job there. It really feels magical.
What can you tell us about the second issue?
We move the action through the Victorian London of Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder to the first ever zeppelin attacks on London, and then to Belgium in the First World War. A German agent called Graf Ling de Gotha is given a mission to find a cult that is undertaking strange ceremonies nearby, trying to summon something unnatural into the world…
Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
You can follow my work on Twitter @Robwilliams71 on Instagram on @Robwilliams1971 and on my website www.robwilliamscomics.co.uk Thanks!
We would like to say thank you to Rob for his time and wish him and the team the best of luck with their series.