The following is an interview with Eisner Award-nominated writer Nate Cosby regarding the recent launch of the Kickstarter campaign for the graphic novel, Alter Ego. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Cosby about the inspiration behind the story, the incredible back rewards available to supporters of the campaign, what readers may take away from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Alter Ego! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this story and the inspiration behind its creation?
Nate Cosby: Alter Ego asks the question: What if one man was two heroes? By day, the incredible WHIZ-BANG bounds around the Golden Age of Hollywood, battling sci-fi laser robots and magic-powered bank robbers. When night falls, brooding vigilante THE BLACK DOG prowls Los Angeles’ dark underworld. But no one suspects that Whiz-Bang and The Black Dog are the same person!
The inspiration came from mine and Jacob [Edgar]’s love of classic films and the fundamental elements of superheroes. We wanted to tell a story about a good person trying to do the right thing, and going to extremes to see that idea through…namely, pretending to be two totally different heroes with drastically different methods. And our choice of setting plays into the themes, because the idea of dressing up in a mask and cape is very much a performance. And what better play to stage a big performance, than in Hollywood?
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Jacob Edgar, colorist Kike J. Diaz, and letterer Rus Wooton to bring the superhero story to life in the golden age of Hollywood?
NC: It’s a delightfully collaborative experience. Jacob is the co-creator of Alter Ego, and the size and scope of the story wouldn’t be what it is without his buy-in to make every panel and page crackle with kinetic energy. We spoke a lot about making certain parts of the story feel cinematic for the daytime fighting, other bits cramped and noir-ish, when it’s time to stage scenes at night. The book wouldn’t be what it is without his thought and approach, and our mutual love of making places and characters feel “classic” without being “stuffy.”
Kike’s been coloring Jacob’s work for a while now, and it was a no-brainer to bring him on to bring warmth and texture, and especially develop a contrast between the different settings of the story. And Rus Wooton’s work on design and lettering is just unbelievable. I throw SO many different ideas for captions and placements and sound effects at him, and EVERY time the guy comes back with something better than I could’ve possibly envisioned. I’m so lucky to be a part of this creative team.
BD: In light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
NC: We’re giving backers the choice of covers, from the greatest artists working in comics today! You can have your pick from Jacob’s cover, along with Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight), Phil Hester & Klaus Janson (Justice League), Wilfredo Torres (Superman ’79), Chris Eliopoulos (Ordinary People Change The World) or SOZOMAIKA (Catwoman). We’re also offering each cover as a print.
AND, we have a limited amount of cameos! Jacob will draw pledgers into Alter Ego, and I’ll even give them a line or two of dialogue.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums — including stories about superheroic stuntmen! How do you feel that Ace’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
NC: Ah, #StoriesMatter is a cool idea! Couldn’t agree more, and the entire reason that Alter Ego exists is because of my personal connection to Ace Adams’s thought processes. His story, and the overall themes we’re exploring, have to do with identity…who we are when no one’s looking, when everyone’s staring at you, or when you’re just minding your own business while walking down the street. Pointedly, I’m fascinated by this idea of “acting” like you know what you’re doing. There’ve been a lot of times in my life where I felt like I had to “perform” a task, even when I had no idea what I was doing.
I read a recent interview with Francis Ford Coppola, where he was reflecting on how he made The Godfather; he said before production began, he had no idea how he was going to direct it…he learned how to make The Godfather while making The Godfather, and acted like he knew what he was doing. That resonated with me, and it relates to what I’m trying to imbue within Alter Ego. Ace “acts” like Whiz-Bang during the day, then he “acts” like The Black Dog at night. And the element I’m personally invested in is, when a person spends so much of their time “acting” like two totally different people…who are they, really?
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you’re able to share with readers?
NC: Grinding away on Alter Ego pages at the moment! And working on Fight-Bunny, the previous Kickstarter project I’m doing with Jennifer L. Meyer and Ariana Maher.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about and support the Alter Ego Kickstarter campaign?
NC: If you like bombastic superheroes, brooding vigilantes, classic cinema, and gorgeous sequential art inspired by Jack Kirby and Darwyn Cooke, I hope you’ll head over to our campaign page and grab a copy of our graphic novel! You can find it here.