Dark Horse’s The Order of the Forge has been on my anticipated reads list since Dark Horse announced it back in December. Twistory with the Founding Fathers? I was in, even before I even read the tag line “I cannot tell a lie. I f**king hate zombies.” Well, now I’ve read it (yes there is a review forthcoming), and then I got the chance to talk about this new series with writer Victor Gischler (you might know him from Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth, Angel & Faith, Sally of the Wasteland, or any of the five million other things he’s written). And you know when the opportunity to talk to Victor Gischler comes up, you don’t stop at his current series. So I didn’t.
Julie: How did The Order of The Forge come to be, and how did you get involved?
Victor: Donn Berdahl and his team approached Dark Horse with a treatment that outlined the general story, the characters, etc. Editor Dan Chabon suggested I might be the writer to implement their ideas in the way they’d envisioned. One of the things they wanted to accomplish was to blend irreverent humor with high octane action, and so they took a look at some of my previous work and thought I might be the guy for the job. Another one of my jobs was to take what I thought best from the extensive treatment and fit it into a three-issue run. The result is a really fast moving story which turns out to be a good thing, but I do think there’s plenty of meat on the bone to come visit this world and these characters again.
Julie: There are so many Founding Fathers to choose from. How were Washington, Revere, and Franklin chosen to be the center of the story? Be honest (like George), which was your favorite character to write?
Victor: Again, Donn’s choice here, the right choice if you ask me. George is the “father of our country” so he’s a no brainer. Paul Revere is known for his famous ride, so that just screams “action” and Ben Franklin perfectly fills several roles. He provides some great comedy, but the fact he was an amazing inventor plays an important role in the story also. Honestly, these three are perfect for the book. Donn absolutely made the right call here.
Julie: Twistory has become a pretty popular genre thanks to Sleepy Hollow, but you take it several steps further than Sleepy ever has. Can you talk about playing fast and loose with history? How did you decide what historical facts to stick to and which to forget about?
Victor: Loose loose loose. It helps to have that pool of “common knowledge” so readers all have the same starting point. That’s a cool thing. But we deal mostly with what people THINK they know about history verses actual facts. For example, we don’t really know if George chopped down a cherry tree and told his father “I cannot tell a lie.” But it’s a story every grade school kid has heard and that’s the sort of thing we want to use. We’re expanding a legend. Basically whatever we feel is useful we use. If not useful, we don’t sweat it.
Julie: In the middle of all of these Founding Fathers, you have Kate Hammond, a mixed race woman who is finding her footing in America and in her uncle’s house. That’s kind of a serious situation in the middle of a lot of laughs and supernatural creepiness. Two things: please tell me she’s going to turn out to be a BAMF, and how did the character of Kate come to be in this story?
Victor: I don’t think comedy and important issues are necessarily mutually exclusive. Donn thought it important to depict Kate as we did. I’m of two minds. Diversity is important, but I also what to make sure what we’re doing makes sense for the story. The story of our founding fathers is largely about white guys doing stuff … I don’t mean that as a knock. It is what it is. But if you step back and put things in a global context we have an entire planet of people, imperialism, all kinds of things going on at the time. Our villain is an overly entitled, elitist jerk. Casting Kate as a women of mixed race serves the story well.
Julie: You’ve worked with Tazio Bettin on Sally of the Wasteland. What’s your collaborative process like, and is it the same for Sally and Order of the Forge?
Victor: Tazio and I have great communication, so I love working with him. It was a little different this time in that we aren’t the bosses on Forge like we were on Sally. But it’s nice to have that trust. It really facilitates producing the best book we can.
Julie: This is a three issue run, but the first issue seems to leave a lot of room for you to play with these characters in the world you’ve created. Any plans for more issues?
Victor: That’s up to the big bosses. I think there’s the obvious economic reality. If it sells well, then obviously that will help bring about future issues. From a creative standpoint, Donn’s wheels are turning fast fast fast, so yeah. Plenty of material there if we get the chance to showcase it.
Julie: Who would win in a fight, Ben Franklin or Deadpool? (Asking for a friend. And some money might be changing hands.)
Victor: Well, if they met suddenly in an alley, I’d have to give the edge to Deadpool. But Ben is a pretty sharp guy. If he had time to prepare, he’d have a good chance. You really need to check out his inventions in future issues.Julie: Last but not least, What’cha Reading?
Victor: You just caught me between things, so I’ll tell you what I’m most looking forward to: THE LIAR’S KEY by Mark Lawrence. Excellent fantasy novelist.
Many thanks to Victor Gischler and Dark Horse for the review opportunity. The Order of the Forge #1
comes out next Wednesday, April 29, and we’ll have a preview/review up in the next few days, so check back soon!