The following is an interview with Mark Powers and Lucius Cross, the creative team behind the digital comic, Biowars. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Powers and Cross about the inspiration for the series, the impetus for their creative partnership, their upcoming plans for the property, and more!
Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Biowars is a free digital comic that has already released 7 issues and is in the process of finalizing its first mobile gaming app. For those unfamiliar with the series, how would you describe its premise?
Mark Powers: Biowars tells parallel stories: one occurring in our world, with a college student named Alex Hawking as its protagonist. After his father dies under very suspicious circumstances, Alex embarks on a quest to expose the truth behind a high tech cabal known as the Combine; however, Alex is infected with the same laboratory-created virus the Combine used to kill his father. The parallel story unfolds in the “Biocosmos” that exists within his body and depicts the war being fought by the Biowarriors of his immune system to defeat the parasite.
BD: What initially intrigued you about Biowars, and how do you feel that it differs from your previous work with Marvel, Top Cow, and Devil’s Due?
MP: For a long time, I’ve been interested in the idea of doing comics that could simultaneously be entertaining and educational. My personal interest in that vein has always been history, but this was close enough to grab my interest. As to how it differs from my past work—well, it certainly has a more scientific basis. All the biology you see is genuine, albeit simplified in places for dramatic effect. On the other hand, it’s an adventure story that (we hope) is filled with surprises and compelling characters.
BD: How did your creative partnership on Biowars come about, and how would you describe your creative process?
MP: It’s impossible to answer this question without spotlighting how crucial the property’s creator, Gabriel Shaoolian, is to the process. Gabriel brought us together and has always played a very active role in developing the story and visuals. It would be more accurate to say that our partnership operates through Gabriel, who provides a lot of crucial feedback and direction to both the writing and artistic process. So, at the outset, I worked closely with Gabriel developing the overall storyline. He then brought in Lucius, and they began working closely to develop the visuals. We worked on parallel tracks, and from there I think the process has been pretty similar to most comic book production workflows.
Lucius Cross: My creative process is a lot like throwing darts at a dart board blind-folded. Sometimes, you hit the bullseye, sometimes, you hit the drunk guy next to the dart board . . . In the end, you just try to walk away having had a good time drawing, hoping you didn’t accidentally poke anyone’s eye out with your pencil in the process.
BD: Lucius, what initially intrigued you about working on Biowars, and do you feel that working on comic book art is similar to or different from your work in video game concept art?
LC: I loved the premise of Biowars. Taking different facets of the human immune system and reimagining them as anthropomorphic superheroes fighting to protect the world they live in from invading microbial forces drew me in instantly. I had to jump on board and help bring this world to life. Creating art for comic books versus video games is like the flip side of the same coin. It’s different, but also similar in the sense that at the end of the day you’re getting to create cool art, and that’s all that really matters.
BD: Did you have an idea in mind for the art style when you first read the script, or has the artwork developed as you have worked on the project?
LC: I definitely had some ideas in mind when initially reading through the script, but creating the art style of Biowars was very much a collaborative effort. The style really took shape during the conceptual stage of the project, where we tried a few different approaches until we found something that felt right.
BD: New issues of Biowars are being released monthly. Do you have a specific number of issues in mind for the next arc or the series as a whole?
LC: This one’s all Mark!
MP: This first arc is 13 issues—we have the basic contours of the next arc roughed out, but the number of issues is not set yet.
BD: Are there any tidbits about the upcoming storyline that you are able to share with our readers?
MP: It’d be hard to say that without divulging hints about how this first arc ends . . . maybe just think basic physics for a hint: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. We’ve revealed only a part of the world of Biowars . . . there’s a whole other aspect we’ve yet to see.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
LC: We’re currently working on a video game based on the comic called Biowars: Blastor’s Saga. Look forward to that in the next few months on iOS, Android, and Windows!
MP: I’m working on Dresden Files: Down Town right now for Dynamite and getting ready to re-launch my book, Drafted, in the next few months with Josh Blaylock, Rahmat Handoko, and Chris Lie.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about the comics that you are currently reading?
MP: For me, the books in recent years that everyone has told me are great and which I read and find myself saying, “You know what, this is great!” are Locke and Key, Revival, and The Walking Dead. I also really love Wild Blue Yonder and am waiting for another volume of The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury.
LC: Just recently started reading Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Great stuff!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Biowars?
LC: For everything Biowars related, hit up our website at biowars.com, where you can read all of the issues completely free, and keep up with us on social media at facebook.com/biowars and twitter.com/biowars!
MP: Go to the website!