Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Rammur: The Corvus Trilogy Part 1 through publisher Markosia! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Charles Santino: Thank you for the kind words and opportunity to talk about Rammur.
Rammur is a master thief in a future police state. He’s got two things on his mind—money and women, in that order. I don’t know if that gives him two dimensions, probably not. Readers looking for depth, complexity, character development, and the like, should look elsewhere. If you’re looking for fast-moving crime dramas with a touch of wry humor, look no further.
These are self-contained heist stories and a bit “noir” in tone. The first issue has two Rammur stories, a 24-pager and a 6-pager, both complete. The “Trilogy” name is pure marketing—the first three issues are very loosely tied together by the bad-guy Corvus, who is off-stage in #1 and not even named in that issue.
TOPS Tales of the Police State is the comic-within-the-comic; these are funky, depressing, little vignettes set in Rammur’s world, without involving him or his supporting cast. Each issue of TOPS features a propaganda poster promulgated by the GFA (Global Freedom Authority). The GFA runs the world. Dominaytra (“Dommie”) is the “Big Sister” who heads up the GFA; maybe she is a real person, maybe not. We don’t know.
My inspiration? I love heist stories and I love comics drawn in the animated style. And I really love things like wrist blasters and leg jets, so I equipped Rammur with those devices.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artists Paulo Peres, Andrew Wendel, and Joe Staton bring this story to life, and what (or who) have been some of your creative influences?
CS: Paulo Peres is the main artist on Rammur. He’s working from a full script, rather than a plot. When I see his breakdowns, they need very little tweaking. He understands what I’m looking for and he’s doing a great job of rendering the stories in the animated style of the 1990s DC Batman tie-in comics.
Joe Staton was the first artist to draw a design for Rammur. After that, the design was handed off to Andrew Wendel, who refined it further. The art then went back to Joe for a hybrid version combining his original design with Andrew’s. That version was then delivered to Paulo, who added the final touch—at my direction—Rammur’s retractable trench coat. I count Joe, Andrew, and Paulo has co-creators.
Influences? Probably the strongest is Roy Thomas & Barry Smith’s early 1970s run on Conan the Barbarian and the Conan stories they did in Savage Tales, and let’s throw in the Bran Mak Morn story they adapted in Savage Sword of Conan. Reading Conan the Barbarian #24, “The Song of Red Sonja,” inspired me to want to write comics. Other influences, particularly ones that impact Rammur, are the British comics 2000 AD and Judge Dredd, the old Gold Key comic Magnus, Robot Fighter, and a nearly forgotten series of paperbacks by Karl Edward Wagner about a wizard-warrior called Kane, with great Frazetta covers. And of course DC’s animated tie-in comics.
BD: Do you have a certain number of issues planned for the first story arc of the series?
CS: Rammur: The Corvus Trilogy will run for (surprise!) three 48-page issues and then will be collected. Each individual issue will sport the same format: a lead Rammur story, a back-up Rammur story, and the back-up feature, TOPS Tales of the Police containing a couple of very short stories and a propaganda poster, all under a separate TOPS cover. Each issue will also have a pin-up that most likely will be taken from the free digital preview comic that promotes each issue. After the initial “trilogy,” there will be another trio of 48-page issues that will collected. But, again, all the stories will be self-contained, even if very loosely connected.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CS: I write three web comics for the Edgar Rice Burroughs web comics subscription site. There are a few other things in the works that are too early to talk about.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Rammur and your other work?
CS: Your email address gets you on my list, which offers updates and freebies. You can reach me on Facebook.
The Indiegogo campaign is now an InDemand store.
The Rammur promo video is also on YouTube.
There’s also a Facebook page called: Rammur and TOPS Tales of the Police State.