So we hit a slight snag last week, but this week Black Ship got a chance to interview another creator from the massive MEGABOOK 4. All eyes are on Andrew M. Henderson, who has some major credits under his belt, from writing comics to producing films and television series.
Black Ship Books: So, can you tell us about your comics Soulless and Mirror Image?
Andrew M. Henderson: Hey Marc, first off, thanks for the interview! Sure… Mirror Image is actually something I first conceived as a short script several years ago. The short script turned into a short film (currently in post-production), and I’ve since developed the project into a T.V. Pilot, which a producer from a major Netflix show is interested in now. The comic is essentially the short script, part of which became the opening act of the pilot. Mirror Image is a true and blue sci-fi about a future where cloning is a major black-market business. Those that can afford the price have their consciousness stored at facilities such as (in the comic) Imago Labs. When the client perishes, their stored consciousness is implanted into their physical clone, then activated. However, in Mirror Image, there’s a slight mix-up…the memories of one man (Monos Kratos, who is alive and well) are placed in another man’s (Michael Kraten, who died) body. So this tough as nails, small-time gangster wakes up in the body of a frail scientist, and obviously, he ain’t too happy about that! Michael’s sister shows up, and she wants her brother’s body back. Of course, at this point, Clone Monos is alive and he intends to stay that way. From there, things get fun… and violent! The piece asks a lot of philosophical questions about identity, such as what it really means to be human. Is it your body? Your memories? What happens when this clone has the memories of one man, but then forms his own new memories? It’s hard sci-fi and thinking sci-fi, which I really enjoy.
Soulless is a gritty, dark, crime/thriller project. The comic featured here in MEGABOOK 4 is actually also the opening scene of what I later wrote into a pilot, and what I’d like to develop as a graphic novel. It’s the story of a tormented FBI agent hell-bent on revenge for the loss of his partner who begins to question his sanity as he obsessively pursues an enigmatic serial killer with a rare disease, who is targeting the world’s deadliest murderers and assassins. It’s a little bit of Se7en, Sin City, Dexter, and True Detective. This opening scene features the main antagonist, an enigmatic man who lacks the ability to feel pain. He captures elite killers from around the world and essentially challenges them, hoping to finally feel pain. Through flashbacks you eventually discover that this killer is tied to Agent Nyx, the FBI Agent hunting him, and their fates are really intertwined.
BSB: How do you know of Mike Rickaby and CE Publishing?
AMH: I first got started with Mike back when he published MEGABOOK 1. I had a sci-fi project called the Unnamed Planet featured there. And I’ve subsequently been in every MEGABOOK since, including this one. Mike is a great guy who has a genuine passion for comics and indie creators. He pours his heart, soul, and time into these beasts for no profit…simply his love of the craft. He’s a great guy and I look forward to continuing to be featured in his yearly MEGABOOKs.
BSB: You are also a poet, a screenwriter, and a video game writer. Where do you draw your inspiration for your poetry and for your comics, movie, and game scripts and which of these comes easiest to you in practice?
AMH: Poetry is something I really do as a side, passion thing. Mostly it’s an expression of deeper, more vulnerable feelings. I’m a rather taciturn individual and don’t really talk about these things too often, so it can be cathartic to express them in an artistic medium. All my work is generally based on ideas that come to me, sometimes inspired by real life, sometimes a single character, a thought, a scene, or a feeling. I would say I tend to dictate my writing through my personal world viewpoint, which is why most of my stuff is so dark! I don’t know if I can say which is easiest, as it tends to vary from project to project. Each one is different with unique variables and challenges.
BSB: Out of the poems that were published in M4, do any still speak on a personal level or come from a personal experience?
AMH: Yes, with the exception of CTHULHU (which is merely a fun little homage to my favorite Elder God), they’re all rooted heavily in personal feelings/experiences. Like I said above, they’re sort of cathartic renderings of my emotions, particularly emotions I don’t often share with others.
BSB: Outside of writing comics, video games, screenplays and poetry do you have any other talents?
AMH: Writing aside, I love sports. Basketball is my favorite and I still play once a week at my gym on Hollywood Blvd. I had a couple DIII offers back in the day, so it’s a talent I’ve always had. I also practice MMA training a bit (though not as much as I used to), and fought in an amateur league back when I lived in Dallas. More esoterically speaking, I’m very good at discerning minute details and observations, and reading people in general. Once, I took a test where you were shown 15 people and you had to say if they were a serial killer or a computer technician. I got all 15 correct. Growing up, there was a man who volunteered at our church. I hated him and knew he was off. I would tell my mom he was a pedophile and she’d scold me. One day, my brother and I come home from school, she’s pale as a ghost and says, “Andrew was right…the FBI arrested *insert name*. He had dozens of hard drives of young girls.” So after that I kind of gave her a hard time when I’d make baseless, gut assertions about people.
BSB: You have numerous credits to your name, including your own comic series, Noctua. What is that about?
AMH: Noctua is a true genre mash-up. Sci-fi, action/thriller, crime, horror. It’s a “Vampire” piece…but rooted in science and social commentary. The “Vampires” of this world are genetically mutated individuals called “Transhumans”, who form their own minority within society, reluctantly accepted by the people at large.
Here’s the pitch: “The year is 2051. A new strain of virus has mutated five percent of the Earth’s population into creatures of the night. ‘Vampires’, as they’re called by their detractors, tentatively co-exist alongside humans thanks to Aeternus Eternus, a synthetic form of sustenance created by biotech giant Imago Labs. But for some, nothing can truly replace the taste of fresh blood…fresh human blood. As the illegal blood trade rises, a new predator takes to the streets. One which even the Vampires themselves fear. Those who have seen him and lived to tell about it can only utter one word to describe the winged avenger, hell-bent on ridding the world of their people. ‘NOCTUA.’”
It’s a really fun, unique piece, and I’d really recommend everyone check it out. Here’s the link to Issue #1…it’s only 99 cents!
AMH: I had a little sci-fi film called Flashes (well, it got re-titled Alternate Realities…but it will always be Flashes to me), premiere last year, featuring Tom Sizemore. So seeing my work on the big screen, that was a fun achievement that I’ll always be really proud of. Hopefully it’ll be out on DVD/VOD soon. You can see more on the project here.
BSB: What was the first comic you read that made you want to be a writer?
AMH: Well, I wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. When I was five, I wrote and illustrated a book of fictitious monsters. Fortunately, my writing skills evolved while my illustration skills did not. The first comic I ever read, while cliché, is Frank Miller’s Sin City. I fell in love with it immediately…the dark, gritty tone…and that made me want to write comics. Kraven’s Last Hunt is another favorite of mine. I love dark, morose stuff like that, and Kraven has always been a favorite.
BSB: Since founding Fenrir Productions, what are some of the challenges you have had as a writer and producer?
AMH: The waiting. Things move at a snail’s crawl in Hollywood. Waiting to hear back on a read, waiting for something to go into production or not. I’m incredibly impatient and it kills me having someone say they’re interested, then not hearing back for months (or at all). It’s an incredibly complex business with so many intricate, moving parts. I’m working on a novel right now as a side project, and I might just self-publish it because the f**king waiting kills me.
BSB: Are there any final thoughts or words of inspiration you’d like to share?
AMH: I’d say this… be confident and write what you want. And never put too much stock in one opinion. Writing is one of the most subjective things out there. Someone might hate your project and tell you it’s garbage. And at the end of the day, that’s just one dude’s (or dudette’s) opinion. F**k em’. I’m not saying shun all critique…sometimes it can be helpful. But ultimately, if you know it’s good, and you believe in it, then stick to it. I have one feature script…it’s one of the most polarizing things I’ve ever written. Some people absolutely hate it, some people absolutely love it. But a reaction is better than no reaction. I’d rather write something some people hate and some people love than something everyone just says “meh” to and forgets about. Just keep doing you.
BSB: Thanks so much for your time and words of wisdom, Andrew! Please check out the links for more of Andrew’s works! Also check out more from Andrew and others in MEGABOOK 4 and be on the lookout for the next M4 creator next week!