G’Day Crusaders and Flipsiders!
Dodgy in mix, before airing Flipside Focus Episode 2.
I had the privilege of catching up with the creative team from Warrior Innkeeper Creative Edward Ellsworth and Benjamin J. Kreger who wrote The Black Suit of Death Ides of March.
D: What inspired you to write BSD?
EE: Ben and I met through a mutual friend back in the late 90s. We were all big movie geeks, living in a small town with nothing to do. The Wes Craven film Scream had just come out, and those faceless masks were everywhere. I had also dressed as the grim reaper for Halloween a couple of times, so we had this dark robed costume. So one night, trying to find something to occupy our time, we decided to make a parody of Scream. We filmed a bunch of nonsense and called it Scream, Sugar Daddy, Scream. It was basically this guy in a dark robe running around killing people with a cardboard knife. We had a lot of fun doing that, so we decided to actually write a script for this dark robed character.
What we came up with was the Black Suit of Death, a story about a guy who finds the Grim Reaper’s robes and then becomes Death. Of course, we had no money, no professional equipment, and no real idea what we were doing. So, that movie never became a reality. We all grew up, got married, moved away, etc. But the idea of this character stuck with us. Fast forward roughly twenty years, and Ben had started publishing indie comics. He called me up and said, “you remember that silly script we wrote all those years ago? What do you think about making it into a comic?” We started fleshing out the idea, and I came up with this wild sci-fi back story for how the BSD was created. The script we developed became Ides of March.
BJK: There’s two answers here: I got into comics the same way a lot of geeks got into comics, my parents divorced. Later, when I really got into comics, as in making them, it was after I had divorced. Comics, at least in my experience, are a healing force. As a child Peter Parker’s struggles and his ability to meet the extreme challenges in his life, allowed me to believe, I’d get through the turmoil of my home life, as well as of my school life where I was constantly mocked and bullied.
As an adult, in an unhealthy marriage, having just returned from a tour in Iraq, I chose to end my marriage… shortly there after depression took hold and my PTSD kicked in as if it were fair game.
It was when a friend who asked me to write a short story for his comic anthology that I rediscovered the healing properties of this medium.
There is something about reading comics and creating comics that, for me at least, gives me the courage and/or strength to fight my battles, to fight my personal demons.
Short answer, divorce led me to comics. LOL
D: How did you get into comics?
EE: Ben is really the one who got me into comics. I think there’s something about the legacy of the Big 2 that always kept me from getting into them. I just don’t want to read Batman #6000, if you know what I mean.But in working with Ben on this comic I’ve discovered a lot of indie titles that are just getting off the ground, and I love that. I love backing a new idea on Kickstarter, thinking that this person could one day go on to be the next Robert Kirkman or even the next Stan Lee.
D: Is the story based in the present or the past?
EE: Ides of March takes place on another planet (Utopia 9) roughly ten thousand years ago. Issue #1, along with the rest of the series, takes place here on Earth in the present day, although we will reveal some of Utopian history throughout the story.
D: how does the BSD work?
EE: Great question! The BSD has an advanced computer system using DNA data storage and sophisticated algorithms to determine who is worthy and who isn’t. These algorithms are based on the ideals of the suit’s creator, Dr. Seitsan, but also incorporate the ideals of the pilot. The BSD comes with a scythe that can not only slice people up, but also absorbs all of the electrical energy contained in their body. Sort of like the pods from the Matrix, but without the hassle of keeping the victim alive. The suit can store that energy, and transmit it wirelessly into a suitable battery.
The suit can also communicate in a pseudo telepathic fashion using a wireless neural transmitter.
D: Is this planned to be an ongoing series?
EE: Yes, we have roughly 24 issues planned.
You hear that folks? 24 issues, I cannot wait!
Benjamin’s story is a sad series of issues for most returning soldiers from their service.
Vets out there, you are not alone.
In crisis can also call the national suicide prevention line 800-273-TALK
Go to http://www.dva.gov.au/need-help-now or lifeline.org .au ,
call 1800 011 046 or 13 11 14.
Along with the creative team of Kreger and Ellsworth, with art by Dexter Wee and colors by Bryan Arfel Magnaye.
Issue #1 also features cover art by Brett Weldele (Surrogates, Parriah, The Hammer Trinity) and a Bonus comic, Li’l BSD by Fred Hembeck (Petey).
Check out our review by Dawn of Comics: http://www.comiccrusaders.com/review-the-black-suit-of-death-the-ides-of-march/
Do ya’self a favor and check it out!
Listen to Flipside Focus Episode #2 HERE