Kristine Chester, Fanboy Comics Contributor: First, congratulations on getting Mortifera published! You must be really excited to see Mortifera reach a wider audience. You and artist Sarah Partington are best known for your work in video games. What was the inspiration for the two of you to start creating comics?
Stephan Frost: Indeed, we are excited, and thanks for the kind words. I’ve always been a fan of comics, so it seemed natural to go that route with Mortifera. I had the idea mulling in my head for a while before I approached Sarah, and she seemed intrigued by the concept of demonic-medieval-goodness.
KC: For our readers who aren't already familiar with Mortifera, would you mind giving an explanation of what it's about?
SF: Mortifera is the story of two sibling demon-hunters and a renegade demon they summoned to eviscerate occult forces in medieval Ireland.
Catherine Gregor awakes from a seemingly prophetic nightmare of her father being brutally murdered by the demon Kanisus. She alerts her brother Ethan, and they ride to check on their aged father. They arrive at a ruined castle known as the “Demons Keep” where they find their dead father has been crucified, and all of the demon blood he had watched over is now gone. By using the blood in a ritual, the possessor could bring forth a demon from Hell. Kanisus now has an army’s worth of blood. In desperation, Catherine and Ethan summon a demon of their own to help avenge their father and retrieve the blood from Kanisus.
KC: Given your background as a video game designer, have you taken any inspiration from that medium when designing Mortifera?
SF: I’d say that there are definitely some video game scenarios in Mortifera. Hunting demons, the occult, seeking powerful relics, ruined castles, and catacombs have certainly appeared in video games before. When working in creative mediums, I feel it’s important to put the audience in situations that they could never experience in their day-to-day life.
KC: We at Fanboy Comics really like that Mortifera is set in actual history during the Dark Ages, instead of the alien fantasy worlds that most stories in the genre are set in. How did this decision to use the real world come about and what challenges and opportunities has it provided?
SF: I am a HUGE history nerd. I also listen to excessive amounts of metal. I basically thought to myself “What if history was filled with the unhallowed instead of boring kings and corrupt popes?” I feel that when writers tell a fictional version of history, it immediately adds a layer of familiarity for the reader.
In Mortifera, the Dark Ages was not a period in history where millions died from the bubonic plague. Instead, those millions died at the hands of relentless demon armies that escaped from Hell. (Insert shredding guitar solo with a pitch harmonic squeal here.)
Regarding challenges, historical accuracy is somewhat difficult to maintain. People have an idealized version of what happened when, what people looked like, how they spoke, etc. I decided to ease off of the Thor-like verbiage, and create characters with more modern delivery and dialect. Places like the Vatican also looked completely different in 1307 than they do presently. Bernini, Michelangelo, and all the other contributors to the Renaissance weren’t around yet, so the Vatican was not as epic as it was in the 1500s. Does that mean that Sarah should draw it like it was back in the 1300s? Will people miss the idea if it isn’t drawn the way people have it in their head presently? Can historical figures be present in the story if they had yet to be born? These were all questions we wrestled with and were somewhat constrained by, due to our choice of an actual historical setting.
KC: Besides the Mortifera and the demons, are there any other evil hunting organizations or supernatural baddies we can expect to see?
SF: There is the Exturminata, an ecclesiastically guided demon hunting order. Unlike the Mortifera, they abstain from using the dark arts to combat the unholy.
Regarding baddies, there is a cadre of unhallowed forces that you’ll see. Demons, undead, cultists, Satanic Templars, ghosts, just to name a few.
KC: This being Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your own favorite comics?
SF: But of course! I love books like Y the Last Man, Chew, Goon, Preacher, The Walking Dead, Batman, and Deadpool to name a few. I love anything with high personality characters and evocative settings.
KC: Lastly, what would you like to tell Fanboy Comics readers who would like to learn more about you and your upcoming projects?
I also work on an MMO called Wildstar, which you can check out at Wildstar-online.com.