Recently I had the opportunity to read Immortal Era: Issue #1 of the brand new comic book, Immortal Era. You can read my review here of Immortal Era #1 The creator and writer of the new book gives Comic Years an exclusive interview about his new book.
I corresponded with creator Edward Davis, about his inspirations and the patience that comes with publishing our own comic book.
This is your first comic book and you’ve been writing for years. How did you go from published poet in Grade 5, to teaching writing, to published comic book writer?
It all comes down to a passion for storytelling. I started writing stories when I was 5 or 6 and never stopped. I wanted to share my passion with others, which led to a career in education. Publishing my comic comes down to Kevin Smith. I went to his comic-con panel several years ago, and he was talking about how creators have all of the power now. When I heard this, I came to the realization that I didn’t need to wait for someone else to publish my story. Instead, it was all in my control.
Davis’ motivations to become a comic book writer, after pursuing a formal education in writing, comes from comic book veterans. His influences and inspirations come from legends in the comic book industry.
What are your comic book or writing influences? Who inspired you to become a writer?
My greatest influences in Comics are Garth Ennis and Neil Gaiman. They elevated comics to new heights in the 80s and 90s. While Marvel and DC were just releasing one gimmicky crossover after another, these two were telling huge and rich stories that allowed comics to mirror novels for the first time.
For context, both Ennis and Gaiman’s works have transcended beyond comic books. With Enni’s cult hit The Boys becoming a recent Amazon Prime Video original series. Gaiman is something of a literary in many circles, and not just a comic book writer. And even Gaiman will also see his Sandman epic adapted into a new series as well.
Davis’ own Immortal Era is about a dystopian future where people no longer die. There’s obviously a hook to the premise, but it’s unlike the usual ‘zombie’ story. The dystopian future is a common trope for films and comic books. However, Davis’s own inspiration and the idea behind the story comes from unlikely source material.
Image via Edward Davis.
What was the initial idea behind Immortal Era?
Immortal Era initially came from reading Gulliver’s Travels in an English literature class. Gulliver visits the nation of Luggnagg where the people are immortal but can still age. I started writing notes for Immortal Era immediately after reading that story, and it has continued to grow from there.
Your Kickstarter mentions that you’ve had the idea for Immortal Era for the past 25 years. How did the idea go from concept to the finished product? And how were you able to be that patient?
The idea moved from concept to finished product very slowly. I initially planned on releasing it as a novel. I had a first draft, but never had the courage to submit it to any publishers. It wasn’t until I met my letterer Manny Hernandez, who told me the idea would make a good comic that I really started moving with it again.
Did the changing political and societal landscape over those years affect the idea for the story? And if so, how did that idea evolve?
It’s funny reading the notes through the years. You can really see the different political landscapes change in the writing. I can easily pick out who was in office just by looking at the notes. I try not to make the story political. But it’s inevitable that some of my feelings about the political and social landscapes will end up in the story.
Besides his comic-con panel, Davis recently appeared on a Podcast episode of Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond as part of the live audience. In that episode, Davis reveals Kevin Smiths’ influence on him, and how his words fuelled Davis’ motivation to keep pushing to create his own content in a world oversaturated with it. Knowing his affinity for Smith, who himself is a pop-culture machine, I had to ask if Immortal Era contains any easter eggs to other content. I wasn’t disappointed.
Are there any influences, homages or tributes to other works that inspired you, that you’ve referenced in Immortal Era?
There are tiny pop culture references thrown in throughout the books. In issue 1 Ari refers to the underground as a pit of despair, which is a nod to Princess Bride. She also refers to Miguel as a “Bad Mother—,” which pays homage to my favorite movie of all time Pulp Fiction.
How did you set this world apart from the (possibly) similar concept of a Zombie Apocalypse?
I think what will set it apart in the end is the mythology. In issue 2, the reason that people are not dying is revealed, and the mythology of the world begins to unfold.
At its heart, what would say that Immortal Era is really about?
I think Immortal Era is a story about finding hope in the direst of situations and the power of family.
During his incredibly well honed patience to publish his own comic book, Edward Davis has picked up many tips of the trade. Being one of the very few people to make his passion into a reality, on his own terms. He ends our interview by sharing some words of wisdom for others who may be in similar situations.
I would encourage them to do it! Creators have so much power today, and if you have a story you want to tell there is nothing stopping you from telling it.
Immortal Era issue #1 is now on sale in select comic book stores.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.