With the new Sci-Fi Special getting released this week we got hold of Alec Worley who was good enough to answer some questions regarding both his work in general and his minor contribution to the aforementioned special. You know. Nothing major.
Just THE RETURN OF ROBO HUNTER!
The collected edition of Age of the Wolf comes out later this year. Now it’s complete was this always the story you originally set out to tell or did it evolve as each volume came out?
When I pitched the first series, Tharg said he could see this as a trilogy dramatising the three ‘ages’ of the wolf, werewolves, whatever. So I always had a clear idea of where the heroine would be in each series. The sacrificial maiden in the first series, the Sarah Conner-type mother of the future in the second and an outright monster in the third, like the three Fates in Norse myth. The only series that deviated from the initial pitch was the third one. Originally, the main character was going to be this Toshiro Mifune-type werewolf warrior summoned to destroy this legendary monster that was laying siege to a werewolf stronghold, a monster that turned out to be Rowan, who had her own agenda, etc. I had in mind a sort of reverse-Beowulf. But as Tharg pointed out, taking her out of the equation like that kind of unbalanced the series as a trilogy. Plus it complicated the story enormously, having to explain what was going on to newcomers and all that.
Jon Davis Hunt has hinted at a new cover for the Age of the Wolf trade but can you tell us anything else about the collection? Are you and Jon planning on doing any signings?
I’ve seen the new cover, which looks awesome. Another great design by Jon. I’ve amended some of the dialogue so it better supports the artwork, stuff like that. I’ve also got a few ‘extras’ in mind, but I’m not sure what they’ve got room for. I asked Robo-Keef if he could do a special edition bound in a leather that sprouts hair when you expose it to moonlight. He said he’d see what he could do.
I think there’s a signing planned, but couldn’t say for sure.
The main character’s story in Age of the Wolf had a definite end but do you have any plans to revisit the world at any time in the future?
Not in comics, no.
You’re bringing back Robo Hunter in the upcoming Sci-Fi Special. Was this something you pitched to 2000AD or did tharg bring it to you?
This was a straightforward out-of-the-blue commission. 1.) Received email asking if I’d like to do an eight-page Robo-Hunter story for a forthcoming ‘New Talent’ Summer Special. 2.) Soiled myself with excitement. 3.) Got a grip and said ‘yes’.
You’ve already faced the added pressure of writing Dredd but how does that compare with Robo Hunter when it’s been so long since the character has appeared?
You can’t spend the whole time thinking ‘everyone’s going to hate me if I screw this up’ because you’ll end up pulling yourself in so many different directions that you become paralysed. ‘Pressure’ is whatever you make, to a degree, so I just made as little of it as possible and just got on with figuring out what made the characters work.
Were you given guidelines for the type of story told or was it up to you to either go back to the characters comedic roots or go all dark and moody?
Tharg specifically wanted something circa Day Of The Droids and Verdus, something of that feel and humour. Those stories rely less on clever plots than just this barrage of gags and ever-increasing craziness, so that’s what I went for.
The obvious question now is will we be seeing any more Robo Hunter from yourself as this really felt like 2000AD testing the waters for the character’s return.
I honestly don’t know. I think there’s potential for more series, if only because technology and robotics in the real world have come such a long way since the Mark Millar run, there’s so much more material to draw upon.
I really enjoyed hearing you and Al Ewing swapping notes and talking about your very different writing styles at the Bristol Expo. Has this changed the way you approach writing at all?
Not really. I’m a bit pig-headed, to be honest. Everyone has their own way of working and I know where I want to be with mine.
I actually listened to that panel recording. God, do I really sound like that? I hope I made it clear that I’m not some kind of formula-nazi. Your act breaks must go here or you vill be shot! For me, writing is like yin and yang, like a Tai Chi routine: full, empty, creator-brain, editor-brain, rinse, repeat. S’all about flow. Y’dig? When you’re coming up with ideas or writing a first draft, your crackpot creator comes in and goes hog wild. Then your editorial side steps in, tuts, and starts organising your ideas into something that actually makes some kind of dramatic sense and isn’t just a big fart-cloud of ideas.
I’ve found that the more I write and the more mistakes I realise I’ve made, the stronger my instincts get and the more they take over next time around. You get to the point where you’re not thinking and it all gets a bit Bruce Lee. Don’t fink, feeeeewl!
Have you ever considered pitching a strip to 2000AD about an aquatic hero who isn’t kinda rubbish?
Only if the Prog can get the rights to Hookjaw and I can write it without Pat Mills wanting to have me killed. Seriously, though, I’d love to write that series. Do you think you could have a word…?
And now, some questions from the Whittle :
When are you giving us more Dredd!
Soon, my child. Soon.
What’s are you doing next?
Some Dredd. Then some more Dandridge, hopefully.
Who would be your dream artist to work with?
The love child of Rene Magritte and Frank Frazetta. Could also go for a Durham Red run with Fay Dalton. Get her to totally *revamp* the character design. Heh. Seriously though, that would rock. Have you seen her portfolio? http://www.faydaltonillustration.com Beautifully designed and coloured, sexy and full of character. Have fallen in love with her work after seeing that American Reaper short she did in the Meg.
Would you like to work a collaboration style story like Rob/Ewing/Spurrier ? And if so, with who? Or whom? Or whatever.
I’m really nosy about how other writers work, so I think I’d like to do it just so’s I could spy on them. Actually, I’m really enjoying working alongside artists at the moment. Am working on a couple of Dredd pitches with artists who either wanted to draw something completely different or who had an idea for a story. It’s great taking something out the blue like that and seeing where that could go. It forces you out of your comfort zone a bit.
How come you’re soo pretty?
Very kind of you to say, but I really do have a face like a bewildered potato.