Interview/Review: Danger Club #8 with Landry Walker
by Landry Walker, Eric Jones and Michael Drake
The tale of Kid Vigilante’s mission to save the world has been a captivating and incredibly massive arc that involved grand elements. Landry Walker, with art by Eric Jones and Michael Drake, brings the series to a conclusion in this issue, as the characters look to reset their world, and return it to a much simpler and brighter time. Danger Club was a series that didn’t seem to fit any one mold. Landry Walker presented, from the very beginning, a book that was about superheroes, but about the genre of superhero comics at the same time. Though it was subtle in the beginning, the story unfolded into something that found an amazing balance between those concepts.
All-Comic.com: Hi, Landry! Thanks so much for doing this with us. A lot of people relate the “Big 2” with superhero books, while indie publishers are for other stories. What can you do under a publisher like Image with the superhero genre?
Landry Walker: We can do whatever we want. it’s funny, but for me Image was always a superhero publisher. I know that’s not what they’re best known for now – but both Eric and I worked in a comic book store in 1992. Anyway, like I said – we can do whatever we want. When you work for a company like Marvel or DC, not only are you under editorial mandates, but corporate ones as well. Concerns over really absurd bits of information are a constant. Take Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #5 for example. At the last minute, someone somewhere at DC panicked because Supergirl wasn’t on the cover, so they added her flying over the logo. More recently in my Red Lanterns issues, I had to make adjustments to what I was writing after art had already begun due to the intentions of other creators that ran in conflict with what I had written. That’s part of the job of corporate comics, you know it going in (or you should) and it’s okay. I find the challenge of working under those kind of conditions rewarding and educational. But sometimes I want to do the thing exactly how I want to do it – and that’s what creator owned publisher like Image are great for.
What superhero stories are most important to you as a writer or as a fan of the genre?
Landry Walker: I was around 14 or so when Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen came out. So those are easy targets for me. I know those books have continued to be influential, but there was something about watching them come out in a periodical format that was beyond compare at the time. Additionally I’d have to say a lot of 60’s Ditko. I like to read his Spider-Man run and ignore all the actual Spider-man scenes. It’s an amazing read just with Peter Parker.
What is so appealing about superheros to you?
Landry Walker: I’ve always been fascinated in heroic fiction. Superheroes are an interesting riff on something i feel as been around for centuries. Just look at Greek mythology – it’s full of superheroes. And what’s best (for me) about this kind of material is what it says about our own culture and history. Look at the evolution of Batman. It says something about who we are and what our mental state is – superheroes are a cultural reflection, and I love them for it.
After traveling to the underworld and facing both the spirits of the gods and Apollo, Kid Vigilante looked to set in motion a plan that would put a stop to the return of Chronos once and for all. The Titan had taken control of The American Spirit long ago and was using him to erase all versions of the Multiverse and bring about the end of all things. In issue eight, the remaining sidekicks work in tandem to keep the giant from ending all things. The creative team does an excellent job of infusion drama and weight in the story and it appears as though every member is beaten beyond reason, defeated and hanging on by a thread for the most unlikely chance of success. The experience of reading through Danger Club #8 is almost exhausting in just how well this suspense and climax is crafted. The fusion of many layers of storytelling all combine as the apex of the series is reached.
How close is this ending to what you initially envisioned when you started work on this book?
Landry Walker: The ending is very close to what was originally planned. The book’s trajectory is fairly well outlined in issue #1, and certainly more cemented by issue 2. If there are any changes that really occurred, it has to do with debates between me, Eric, and Rusty on who should die. On that note, we actually will be running two endings – each one playing off the other to some degree. The idea of the dual ending was planned from the start, though I admit we weren’t certain how we would execute it until we reached those last pages.
Landry has, from the first issue, found a way to tell a story that is successful on the surface at being a grand superhero epic, while withholding much of the plot. The story of Danger Club begins after so much has occurred, and very little is offered about these events. As the issues progressed, there exist many moments where Walker does not fully clue the reader in to what is transpiring. Eric Jones and Michael Drake have done a fantastic job creating a rich universe that has shifted very much from today. The visual components of Danger Club have kept the excitement and intrigue up, allowing Landry to develop this multilayered and, sometimes opaque, storyline. Though it is not exactly clear just what each character is attempting to accomplish in the issue, the excitement created through the writing and art drive the reader forward. Each member of the cast carry out their piece, and the control that this team have in how the panels are arranged make for impeccable tension. Finally, the climax is reached and the pages are nearly glowing in swirls of beautiful colors.
Can readers expect there to be more Danger Club in the future or have you said all you plan to say with this series?
Landry Walker: Ha… I had a plan. A plan I loved. A plan to do one more issue. A funny animal issue where the characters became self-aware that they were in a comic book and that the reader was destroying them with every turn of the page. I’ve had that planned from the start and it fits in very well with the overall theme of the main series. But it seems Grant Morrison has something way to close going on with Multiversity, so I’m deleting the script and moving on to something else non-Danger Club. Nature of the zeitgeist and what not. It’s worth mentioning that the series was always intended to be a limited run. In the body of the series, I think we really say all that needs to be said for this story – not that there isn’t some potential. Maybe someone else would be interested in running with the book. That’s something I find more interesting than writing it myself now, and I know Eric and Rusty want to explore other things creatively. Hard to blame them, they’ve been more tied down on this one project than I have.
The design of Danger Club has been entertaining throughout with the use of title pages that call back to previous eras in comics. Subtle hints in the art show shifts in costumes and others aesthetic changes that further enrich the series. This is certainly a title that will only reared those who revisit it time and again. Landry’s love of the genre and devotion to telling a tale that succeeds within the genre while also commenting on it is impressive. With two different endings, the degree to which the events ripple outward stretch beyond where readers would have ever though possible at the start. In just eight issues, Walker is able to accomplish so much. Danger Club is without question a bold effort that manages to succeed in fantastic fashion and it is a must read.
Do you have other projects in the works right now and do you have any plans with Eric Jones or Michael Drake of Danger Club?
Landry Walker: We have tons of plans for several different creator owned projects – we’ve all worked together for around 25 years, so there will be more. In the shorter term, In addition to my recent Red Lanterns DC work and IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stories, I’ve been freelancing for Sideshow Collectibles on Court of the Dead. Now that Eric and Rusty have some free time, it’s probably we’ll cook up a quick something or other together on that.
A huge thank you to Landry Walker for taking the time to do this with us. Check out Danger Club #8, due out on April 8th! And follow Landry on Twitter for his other projects!