Half Past Danger and Beyond with Stephen Mooney
Stephen Mooney, creator/writer/artist for IDW’s Half Past Danger, is clearly a man of many talents. You can look at some of his artistic talents here http://stephenmooneyportfolio.blogspot.ca. Seriously, go. Oogle. We’ll wait. Okay, good? Half Past Danger is Mr. Mooney’s first creator owned series and, if we do say so ourselves, one of the best that IDW has to offer. Below, this fine Irish gentlemen took the time to answer some questions about his work, his life, his influences and what might be next. Enjoy.
All-Comic.com: Thanks for taking the time do this for All-Comic.com!
Stephen Mooney: My pleasure!
What would you say inspired you to write Half Past Danger as you first creator owned series?
Stephen Mooney: I was heavily inspired by all of the movies I watched as a kid. All the matinee serials, westerns and James Bond movies my dad used to stick on to shut me up on a Saturday afternoon, as well as the more obvious fare such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park.
How has working with Jordie Bellaire been? How did you guys hook up for HPD?
Stephen Mooney: Jordie, in a very short span of time, has firmly established herself in the A-list of colourists, and I couldn’t be happier to have her. The two of us operate on a very similar wavelength when it comes to this kind of pulpy subject matter. We’re fans of a lot of the same stuff, so there was no difficulty in getting her up to speed on the tone and flavour I wanted for the colours.
I met Jordie through her boyfriend and my good mate Dec Shalvey a few years back when they started dating. I loved her art right off the bat, and actually gave her her very first pro gig on an Angel Annual I was working on at the time. When I realized, after colouring the first issue of HPD, that it was simply too much to do to write, pencil, ink, colour and letter the book, and have it come out on schedule, I panicked. Jordie saw me flailing around helplessly and offered to pull my ass outta the fire, which she did with great aplomb.
Do you have any set plan on how long you want the series to go? Would you like HPD to be an ongoing series?
Stephen Mooney: The series is set up as a trilogy of six-issue stories. So hopefully after this first six issue series you’ll see two more following it at some point in the near future. After that, I don’t know. It’ll depend on how many of the characters are still standing…
Half Past Danger has a similar vibe to old adventure films like the Indiana Jones franchise. How would you feel if someone was interested in making HPD into a movie?
Stephen Mooney: I’d certainly be interested, as many of the ideas for my book were inspired by movies in the first place. An awful lot of people are asking me if this was written as a lead-in to a movie, or as a pitch or whatever, but the simple truth is that I see HPD only as a comic book right now.
Comics are my favourite medium to work in, and I think if you set out to make something that could easily translate into another medium, you’ll be doing the initial product a disservice. So who knows? I could certainly use the payday!
Are there any species of dinosaur you want to put in Half Past Danger but haven’t yet?
Stephen Mooney: Hmm, y’know, I think by the end of issue 6 I’ll have gotten all of my favourites in there. I’d like to do more with Pterodactyls and other airborne varieties in the next series. Assuming there ARE dinosaurs in the next series…
What made you decide to use your artistic talents for making comics?
Stephen Mooney: Wow. I really couldn’t say. There’s no single eureka moment that I can point to in my childhood. I just always drew little sequences of pictures, ever since I started reading Tintin and Asterix in my very early years. So exposure to those books, I’d guess.
Is there a comic scene in Ireland? If so, what is it like?
Stephen Mooney: There is a small burgeoning scene here that’s really starting to pick up some steam, yeah. Alongside my fellow ‘Eclectic Micks’ like Dec Shalvey, Will Sliney and Nick Roche, who all work for Marvel, there’s a brand new crop of indie guys and gals on our heels that are looking to do some great things in the industry. So certainly watch this space!
Do you have fellow artist colleagues in Ireland?
Stephen Mooney: See above! There are about seven or eight full-time pros here, and we’re all very good friends. Pretty much our own support group. Certainly the lads did most of my proof-reading and whatnot on Half Past Danger. We run most of our work past each other and then tend to tear it to shreds so that we iron out any possible kinks. It’s a fantastic resource.
Do you think your Irish heritage affects your art?
Stephen Mooney: I certainly think there’s a strong innate storytelling ability that Irish folks seem to possess, as clichéd as that is. That more so than the actual style of drawing itself, which is totally influenced by classical American guys like Dave Stevens, Adam Hughes and Mark Schultz.
What were some of your favorite series you read when you were younger?
Stephen Mooney: As mentioned above, initially I devoured all of Asterix and Tintin; European albums like that. In my early teens I discovered American comics like X-Men and Batman. Once I saw Jim Lee’s work on Uncanny X-men, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
What artists inspired your style of drawing?
Stephen Mooney: Guys like Adam Hughes, Barry Windsor-Smith, Dave Stevens, Alex Toth, Sergio Toppi, Jim Lee, and Travis Charest. So many.
How about writers?
Stephen Mooney: Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Ed Brubaker, Joss Whedon, Scott Snyder; again far too many to list.
Do you have a favorite character to write?
Stephen Mooney: Hmm. Well, Irish comes by far the easiest to me, but that’s probably because he’s basically a somewhat-idealised version of me. I love writing John Noble, who represents my adoration for all of that old-skool Americana, but I also adore writing Agent Huntington-Moss’ pithy dialogue. To be honest I couldn’t pick a favourite. Ishikawa the ninja’s action sequences are always great fun to construct and execute.
Are there any other projects either in the works or concepts you hope to work on in the future?
Stephen Mooney: As far as writing goes, it’s pretty much just HPD until that’s completed. But drawing-wise, I do have a few other irons in the fire at the minute. But nothing that’s beyond the very early process, and certainly nothing that’s nailed on, save for a few upcoming cover gigs which I can’t wait to get stuck into.
Any advice for young people trying to break into comics especially those that don’t live in the USA?
Stephen Mooney: It’s all about who you know once you get past the requisite stage of basic ability. Network, network, network. Go to as many shows and cons as you can. The personal relationships that you develop will be the making or breaking of your career.
Thanks again, Mr. Mooney! We look forward to the conclusion of HPD and even more from you in the future.
Stephen Mooney: Thanks very much for having me! I appreciate the hell out’ve it.
Once again, big thanks to Stephen Mooney for taking the time to do this interview with us. Make sure you check out his blog, which can be found here: http://www.halfpastdanger.com. While you’re at it, follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Mooney and check out Half Past Danger however you can get your hands on it. There will be a special hardcover collection later this year/early 2014 from IDW collecting the whole series so, worst case, wait impatiently and pick that up. Make sure you pre-order so you don’t miss out!