Moonstone Books will co-publish a cross-over one shot with local publisher Nemo Publishing to rebirth the legendary golden age hero Captain Midnight in December 2012. We’re huge fans of the collaborators, Jay Piscopo (Nemo, Capt’n Eli) and Brian Augustyn (DC Comics, Gotham by Gaslight). Jay was kind enough to take us to the skies and give us a birds-eye view of what to expect!
I am here with Jay Piscopo, from Maine! Why don’t you tell us about your Captain Midnight book?
My character, Commander X is going to meet the Golden Age version of Captain Midnight. We are also including cameo appearances of the Airboy and the Airfighters.
It’s all that Brian and I have wanted to see from an aviator World War II comic. One way we describe it is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in WWII facing Nazi Super-Science. It’s a dream come true.
I’m not familiar with Captain Midnight but you were kind enough to send me some history. He first appeared nearly 75 years ago!
He’s always been a favorite character of mine, and the reason I zeroed in on him was exactly what you just said, you hadn’t heard of it. A lot of fans and lovers of comics and superheroes don’t realize that these pulp heroes are where they all came from.
Recently with John Carter, we have a situation where since the story and characters are so original, and that everything was derived from these pulp stories, the audience says “I’ve already seen this before.” What I found relevant about Captain Midnight is that we are still in a world of war.
There are issues brought out by World War II about what democracy is, and what war is all about. We can talk about these issues today, using something from the past.
Captain Midnight is visually interesting to me as well. Like a lot of people I watch YouTube more than I watch TV now. I love watching BASE jumping. Looking at the wing suits they wear I said, “Wait a minute…that’s Captain Midnight!” I like the fun of having a dogfight between a Nazi jet and a guy with cloth wings between his arms as wings. I thought those scenes would be fun for a modern comics reader without being too pastiche-y.
Very cool. Your book will be set in the past, correct?
Absolutely. Moonstone is setting the character in an alternate universe where the Nazis won WWII. He’s an aviator, and that was romanced in the past, certainly aviation had more heightened public interest than it does now. I’m a movie buff, and doing research I watched a great movie called The Battle of Britain. All of the planes are authentic, no CGI. It’s just beautiful aviation photography. I was a big Joe Kubert Enemy Ace fan. Every panel is gorgeous.
You have to photo reference all of these planes. How do you do that?
I’ve actually got some great 3D reference right in my computer.
Are you co-writing this book with Brian Augustyn?
We’re working in the Marvel Method. We’re plotting out together, and also one of my favorite things to do is create characters together (Britannia, General Von Adler). Brittania is a new WWII female superhero, of which there are not many! She’s almost a female British Rocketeer.
Brian’s a wealth of information and the fans probably don’t realize he’s a real pulp guy. When it comes to film noir, crime and detective stuff, it’s second nature to him.
How did you guys hook up together?
We met through Facebook! Brian got in touch with me and said he liked my work.
What makes me a huge fan of your work, and I have been for a while, is that you are able to come up with tons of classic looking characters, cool stories from history and comic book history, but your work is not derivative. It is hard to put into words because the work comes from a very honest place.
I’m stealing instead of copying. It is hard for people to understand what that means. My Sea Ghost book was what I imagined if Jack Kirby and Alex Toth were working together on a cartoon.
I’m stealing the way Kirby would tell a story—a rambling little yarn—and tie it all up at the end.
Let’s talk comic market! What are your plans to get the book out there and into the hands of readers and fans of awesome art like yours?
I’m going to make a video about the history of Captain Midnight from my perspective. I did that with Sea Ghost and it worked pretty well. It wasn’t Chocolate Rain or anything, but it we did OK with the numbers on that. One of the things I’m really into is merchandise. I think the merch comes at the same time as the book. I’m making custom Golden Age and Silver Age megos for a new design of Red Panther (public domain). What’s great is I may be able to get a book going if I can get the character going. Contests with one or two custom toys for prizes are a great way to get yourself out there.
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