HYPED UP! A Q&A with writer john staats...
Q: Apocrypha Now offers quite an imposing vision of evil. What makes it all the more compelling is the historical setting that this Hyper Epic is placed in. When did this idea first take shape for you and kindly describe the research that went into making this come to life.
John: This was originally written as an entry for a short screenplay challenge that had the theme of 'Apocalypse.' I figured everyone would jump on idea of the four horsemen and I just wanted to be different. I looked up apocalypse in the dictionary and saw apocrypha. I liked the idea of unaccepted doctrine, which made me think of religious freedoms and colonists. Throw in a recent article on Roanoke and BAM!
Q: What do you feel it is about the mashup of history and myth that makes stories like these so appealing?
John: I've always had an affinity for historical myth and mystery, especially when it involves the courage of explorers and, at times, their ignorance. Roanoke is a fascinating story that may never have it's mystery of their fate answered. So it's up to someone to prove to me that this version didn't happen!
Q: There are a number of dueling forces in play here and it shows a conflict that escalates to, well, epic proportions! Takes us inside some of the characters here, specifically Stryker and the Croatoan chief. It seemed that they were both in over their heads as the story progressed!
John: I'm not sure Stryker ever intended for his congregation to ever meet this end. They escaped religious persecution and came to the new world to practice what they believed. Due to certain acts of 'converting' the indigenous, they became cornered beasts and came out fighting. Chief Powhatan and his Croatoan braves were threatened and defended their world and way of life. Neither expected the ultimate outcome of the Dark Lord's arrival.
Q: This was your second entry to the Hyper Epics universe, and both submissions are impressive bodies of work. Tell us about the initial challenges you faced when asked to pen larger than life tales into a 3 page comic format? Also, what do you feel the potential win is here for a writer?
John: Switching gears from screen to panel was not an easy feat. Three pages...wow, what a challenge. Ensuring adequate context and backstory without being too 'on the nose' takes some creativity. What a payoff though! Being able to see your mental images transformed and shared is so satisfying. I've been so fortunate to have been teamed up with Sean Bova for my first two stories. Amazing how he can see what I put to paper.