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Once & Future #1
Story by Kieron Gillen
Art by Dan Mora
When a group of Nationalists use an ancient artifact to bring a villain from Arthurian myth back from the dead to gain power, ex-monster hunter Bridgette McGuire escapes her retirement home and pulls her unsuspecting grandson Duncan, a museum curator, into a world of magic and mysticism to defeat a legendary threat.
Bestselling writer Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Star Wars) and Russ Manning Award-winning artist Dan Mora (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Klaus) explore the mysteries of the past, the complicated truths of our history and the power of family to save the day – especially if that family has secret bunkers of ancient weapons and decades of experience hunting the greatest monsters in Britain’s history!
Diamond Code: JUN191263
FOC due JULY 22nd, 2019
In stores on August 14th, 2019
“Why It’s Cool:
“What if your Grandma used to hunt supernatural entities? And now she has to come out of retirement because some bad guys are trying to wake up the King Arthur of legend who’s return may or may not cause a bunch of even worse stuff to happen? This is the basic premise of Once & Future: Arthurian myth set against a 2019 background. And it rocks. Gillen displays his usual wit and deft characterizations, while Mora brings his clean line and eye for detail. Oh, and did I mention The Questing Beast shows up in the first issue? If you’ve liked any of Gillen’s other work, from Wicked & Divine to Dr. Aphra, you won’t want to miss this one!”
Q&A with Kieron Gillen & Dan Mora:
Tell us a little bit about Once & Future. How did everything come together?
Kieron Gillen – Metaphorically speaking, I was standing at the bar and BOOM! Studios sidled up to me and told me Dan Mora was free to do a book, and whether I’d like to do it with him. I played it cool and shouted, “DO I?!?!?!” excitedly, while shaking their shoulders.
I had an idea for a world I was always looking for a chance to develop, which is Indiana Jones-esque adventure-fiction against a backdrop of Arthurian Myth. Dan would be perfect for it, so I started to research, and swiftly had Bridgette and Duncan, retired Monster-hunter Grandmother and her naïve Grandson.
Chaos and joy followed.
Dan Mora – BOOM! Studios reached out to me, and I said yes as soon as I heard the details. Once & Future has been a really nice chance to build a whole new world and characters very different from some of my previous work. It’s been a lot of fun.
What are you reading/watching/listening to as inspiration for this work?
KG – I suspect this section is going to make you think the book a lot more dour than it is. I can’t help but Do The Work even when making a pop comic.
While Arthurian myth has been used all over pop culture, I didn’t exactly take in much fiction. The only thing I have actually watched was Excalibur, and that was mainly to show its operatic weirdness to my wife who’d never seen it. I read a chunk of White’s The Once And Future King too. The main influence was actually more academic – the Oxford guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend was invaluable, in terms of piecing together how the stories have warped over the centuries.
Heh – I say “I didn’t read much fiction” but only now I realise Morte d’arthur and The History of the Kings of Britain strictly speaking are fiction which I nosed into a little. They’re just not in a fiction place in my head, somehow, which speaks to the book. Oh – and Greg Stafford’s classic RPG Pendragon. Going back to that and thinking about it was useful – I would have done that for DIE anyway, but it’s obviously got relevance here.
And oddly for me, there was no particular theme song for the project. I half suspect one will turn up.
DM – I like finding inspiration everywhere but for this work, in particular, I’ve watched some movies set in medieval times and similar material.
When you started this project who did you have in mind as an audience for this, and did it change by the time you finished?
KG – If you look at my comics, you can basically draw a line between the intense, hyper-literary, weird ones and the pop-thrill books. Every single one of my creator-owned books have been the former. I bleed for them. With Once & Future I thought perhaps it’d be fun to do a Creator Owned book that was actually fun, like Doctor Aphra or Young Avengers. Being about diving into history and with a prickly lead, I was aware that I suspected folks who dug Doctor Aphra would really dig this. Obviously, anyone who liked adventure fiction – the thrills of The Mummy or Indiana Jones, with the volume turned up.
As we progressed, other elements came in. When the research slowly amped up, I realized that it’s not operating in a dissimilar space to something like Hellboy. The mood is completely different, but it tickles some of those urges.
Really? The core has been there all along. It’s a smart pop thrill book. That’s the sword in our stone, and it’s just been a case of pulling it free.
DM – I thought of this as mostly an action-adventure story at first, but it’s also got humor, romance, and some family drama so really anyone who likes all of those things will love Once & Future.
Can you give us an idea of what readers can look forward to in this series, maybe a little down the line?
KG – The entry of the story is Bridgette coming out of retirement as a monster hunter and dragging Duncan along with her. So, we get to go further and further into this haunted world of horror alongside the bewildered, petrified but adorably heroic boy – and the acerbic, entirely unflappable gran. It’s a great dynamic, and that’s at the heart of the book.
But it’s an adventuring archeology book too – the further we go in, the deeper we go, and the more mysteries and secrets we uncover. Plus, our playing games with Arthurian myth, moving it to a modern pop-horror context. I mean, the first issue has a serpentine monster with a belly full of yapping dogs. That’s our starting point.
It motors, further and further into the catacombs of myth. There are all kind of monsters down there.
DM – They are going to find an epic story about King Arthur and his mythology, blood, weapons, and family-a great mix.
What’s great in comics right now that you’re currently reading?
KG – There’s a lot of great books. It’s not out for a while yet, but I’ve read Fraction/Charretier’s astounding November. Simultaneously, Fraction/Lieber on Jimmy Olsen is painfully good. Fearscape and Friendo’s trades have just dropped, and are two of the best series. These Savage Shores is just as good. Coffin Bound is out in a few months at Image and just this weird Artschool Grindhouse comic. Criminal’s new volumes are just amazing to see go into practice. Emily Caroll’s When I Arrived At The Castle is awe inspiring. Giant Days wrapping off an epic run. Immortal Hulk doing nearly impossible things. Daredevil gets another classic run right now. Wildstorm is a 24-issue superhero novel, and deeply inspiring too.
DM – I’m not reading too much at the moment. I always want to read more but I just don’t have much free time (comic work and 2 babies). I’ve been enjoying Murder Falcon, which is a great read, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40 is going to exciting new places
Where do you see Once & Future in your present books?
KG – I’m having an amazing year. I’ve basically had a chance to wrap up some big long-term projects and launch new ones. The Wicked + the Divine and my time in the Star Wars universe have basically been five years projects, and I get to wrap up, and take a bow. Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt over at Dynamite was a short sharp piece of meta-comedy, just in and out. DIE is the new big project, and this bleak gothic take on fantasy, and it’s incredibly heartening to see it do so well. It’s the literary book with a pop pulse to it. Once & Future is the flip of that – the pop book with a literary underpinning. They’re kind of the flip of each other, opposite sister books. I’m very lucky I get to do both.
Who’s your favorite character from Once & Future?
DM – Bridgette McGuire, Duncan’s grandmother and retired monster hunter, is so different and unique, you just have to love her.