Cliff Hughes (on the right) is the creative director behind the newly formed Black Wing Comics which has Toy-Z, the first in a new run of titles, on Kickstarter now. I got the chance to fire some questions his way about what we can expect from the comic itself and the new venture.
You’ve recently changed from Red Dog Comics to Black Wing Comics – what will be the main differences with this new venture?
The main difference for me is that I am now teamed up the guys from Black Wing Studios. So I can concentrate on what I love most which is telling stories and collaborating with artists. This means we can deliver a much higher quality end product than wouldn’t have been possible with myself and Nicci (Thompson) going it alone.
What can we expect from the first Black Wing title Toy-Z?
Sounds cheesy but expect the unexpected. Emotional and dark stories told from the perspective of toys as they negotiate a post-apocalyptic world that no longer has a need for them.
You’ve matched up zombies & toys for Toy-Z – what was the inspiration for that?
Toy-Z was inspired by an event in my personal life that left me with not just a feeling of loss but also that I needed to reevaluate my own place in the world. This is something that I think a lot of people go through at some point, be it a break up or a loss of a loved one. I’d wanted to write about the experience for a while but had never really hit on an idea that I was happy with. Then I was watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory where they talk about Toy Story and that got me thinking ‘What would the toys do if people didn’t want or need them anymore?’, which in turn reminded me of that time in my life. Nicci and I discussed the idea and it grew from there.
Ammar’s cartoony art is an interesting fit for the story – was that how you always imagined it’d be?
Initially I’d imagined it with a look kind of similar to Big Hero 6 or Astro Boy because I liked the idea of dramatic and thrilling stories told in this way. Then at a comic con I was talking with someone about the idea and they suggested Ammar. When I got home I looked at his work and knew straight away that it was what I wanted for Toy-Z.
Do you have the whole series planned out?
We have a story arc that kicks off after The Ballad of Mr Huggles which will span four longer books. After this we have an idea of the direction we want to take it in which we will develop further.
Do you see this as part of a bigger universe from Black Wing Comics or more stand-alone?
Each Black Wing title will take place in it’s own universe separate from each other. The stories we are developing cover a range of different topics and styles that we’d prefer to develop them within their own realms. We are very open to producing spin offs and one shots that expand on the world of each title. What I’d love is one day for someone to come and tell me an idea they’ve had that takes place in the universe of one of our titles.
What other titles can we expect from Black Wing?
The second title is McKenzie a gritty noir crime thriller about a cop who’s finally had enough of the corrupt world he’s trying to work within and moves outside the law to take action. This one is packed with twists and action.
We have two more titles in development (I might get in trouble for telling you this). One is steampunk in an alternative version of Victorian London, it features a cool steampunk style cyborg. Finally, we have a story set in modern day New Orleans which will bring a new take on the more traditional superhero story. Think of a messed up Spider-man style story.
What else are you working on just now?
Outside of comics I am currently working with a screen writer called Chris Watt developing one of Nicci’s short films in to a feature length script.
You can jump on-board the campaign for Black Wing Comics first title through the link below: