Interview: Lantern City Creators – Trevor Crafts, Matthew Daley & Bruce Boxleitner
Recently GoGeekGirl, Metal Life’s own Geek Girl, was able to connect with Trevor Crafts, Matthew Daley and Bruce Boxleitner, to have them answer a few questions about their project, Lantern City for GoGeekGirl and has offered to share it with us here.
What is Lantern City? Lantern City, as you might guess, is not only the title of the comic book published by Archaia, an imprint of Boom! Studios, it is also the name of the city the story takes place in. But that’s not all, the Lantern City comic book is just one piece of a multimedia project which we will let the creators tell you about shortly. Set in a steampunk world, it’s a story with well developed characters, and has thus far shown a blend of action, intrigue, politics and characters doing what they must to survive the challenges all of this will throw in their path. It’s been a page turner that has left this reader eager for the next issue as soon as the last page of the current issue has been turned.
But rather than go on and on about the story myself, lets see what the creative minds behind it have to say:
GoGeekGirl: We’ve read that the initial idea for the story that has grown into Lantern City came to Trevor on a flight from NY to LA with the question “How far would we go with the people that we love?” How did such a seemingly simple question grow to be such a rich and complex multimedia project?
Trevor Crafts: Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most inspirational. Love is something that everyone can identify with. Love of a spouse or a child, or even lack of love, it’s a universal human emotion. It’s the bedrock that anything and everything in the Lantern City Universe is built on. Having an unbreakable foundation is key to creating a new world. Where we are having a great time is finding all of the new ways, in this transmedia world that we are all living in now, that we can explore those infinite stories. Publishing, Audio books, Gaming, and TV, they are all purposely connected so that each can live on its own, but together they all enrich each other to create a dynamic fan experience.
GoGeekGirl: When I read the very first issue of Lantern City, after the word WOW! came out of my mouth, the next word was One-Percenters. Was it intentional to craft a universe that emulates the 1%/99% (haves/have-nots) and thus create a dystopian feel to the Lantern City universe? If so, what were the biggest influences of going in this direction
Trevor Crafts: We love it when fans have that reaction, for us that is the best reward! The city is one of the most integral characters in Lantern City. The city itself allows us to set the class struggle that Sander deals with issue after issue. It’s all a part of our bedrock. People who are in power and people who want that power has been a timeless struggle. It’s as true today as it was in Roman times. We targeted that type of world from day one. It’s the best environment for hero’s to be born. In terms of influences, we found inspiration in everything from Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey to our own World Wars.
GoGeekGirl: With issue 3 we saw the addition of Mairghread Scott to the writing team, what brought about the addition of a second writer to the book? How do you foresee her voice influencing the ongoing story?
Matthew Daley: From the inception of the comic book series, having a co-author was part of the plan. I had never written a comic book before and learning the nuances and tricks took a little time. Collaborating with another writer has been fantastic. Mairghread is such a tremendous talent and absolutely professional in every way. If we were hired to write a phone book together, I’d say yes without blinking. She influences the series greatly with her experience working in established worlds, so she understands how to stay true to a world, while enhancing it. She also does a great job with character building and making sure that we are planting seeds for big payoffs.
GoGeekGirl: Without spoiling what readers will learn in issue 4, I do have to ask… with the first four issues you have thrown challenge after challenge at Sander, often having the reader wonder if he will survive to see another issue, or even another day. How do you keep a character from starting to feel forced or unreal when they are faced by what appear to be a constant stream of insurmountable challenges?
Matthew Daley: Even though Sander has faced extreme circumstances, we never wanted him to feel like a super hero. He is resourceful and lucky – he knows how to survive. When we create characters, we always want to make them as realistic as possible. Sander is a flawed guy that’s trying to do right by his family; that’s true for most people. He will be forced to make difficult decisions throughout the series that will be, at least for him, worse than surviving a prison riot.
GoGeekGirl: How much of the visual look and feel of Lantern City is the vision of Trevor, Bruce and Matthew versus that of Carlos as the artist? How much of the look in the books will carry over to the look in the television show?
Matthew Daley: We’ve been working with artists since the early days of development, which has always been a great experience. Trevor shaped the concept art and initial looks of the world, and that is still our bible today, but everybody we’ve worked with has contributed to the look of Lantern City. I am easily the least artistic member of the development team and it’s been important for me to contribute in certain ways. My focus has always been on assuring that Lantern City feels like a real, lived-in place, much like the Los Angeles of Blade Runner. Carlos has captured this feeling perfectly. He has added so much dimension and detail to this world; I find myself flipping through his artwork regularly, amazed at his skills. We will carry that realism to the TV series and throughout the Lantern City franchise.
GoGeekGirl: In the past we have heard there were more books, a video game as well as the television series in development. Can you update us on any of these and maybe even when we might expect to see some of them?
Trevor Crafts: We are very excited to have a few new product lines developing for 2016. Other than the TV show that is in active development now, we are expanding Lantern City into the RPG game market. We are currently working on a tabletop game that will pair with a set of 20 miniatures and Augmented Reality elements.
In the fashion space, we are partnering with a jewelry design firm to produce a line of Grey Empire jewelry. Can’t tell you how excited we are about that!
We are expanding the publishing side of Lantern City too. We are working on a Cosplay book with Thomas Willeford, our creative collaborator and Steampunk artist extraordinaire. BOOM! Studios and Archaia are publishing the 1st hardcover collection of Lantern City issues 1-4 in Q1 of 2016, followed by 2 other collected editions and in Q3 we will be publishing our Anthology novel called Tales of Lantern City.
GoGeekGirl: Since this interview is also going to be carried by Metal Life Magazine, I have to ask… what kind of music do you listen to? What is your favorite music to listen to (if you do) while working on Lantern City?
Matthew Daley: I’m a huge music obsessive, owning close to 5,000 albums. Getting into my favorites is a long conversation that I’d love to have at some point, and while I don’t listen to music while I write, the contemporary metal band that I like the most is Deafheaven; I really love their album Sunbather.
Trevor Crafts: For me it’s film music all the way. The music fills your head with visuals and camera moves and visual effects. I always have music playing while I work. It’s the best way to see the wide sweeping images of the city. When you see an airship explode in your minds eye listening to Hans Zimmer, Trevor Rabin, or Andrew Lockington, it creates an epic experience.
Bruce Boxleitner: It has to be Cream—the combo of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker is unbeatable. Disraeli Gears is a phenomenal album, and always energizes me.
GoGeekGirl: Bruce, we see Lantern City will be your debut as a Producer. What drove your decision to pick up the Producer hat and how have you found the experience thus far?
Bruce Boxleitner: As an actor, you add your own unique touch to a specific character or role, but as a producer you can help to create the world in which that character lives. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some epic projects that really feature unique worlds, and now I get to help create them. I’ve always wanted to move into the space behind the camera; it’s a newfound creative freedom, which I love, and the team that we have assembled is the best in the business!
GoGeekGirl: If there is anything else you would like to add please feel free.
Trevor Crafts: If you would like to write us about the comic and see your response in an upcoming issue, send us an email at WriteLC@lanterncitytv.com. Don’t forget to put OK TO PRINT in your email if you want us to publish it.
As always for the latest updates go to our website www.lanterncitytv.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all under LanternCityTV. You will find previews of upcoming issues, concept art, our convention schedule, and updates on all of our developments.
GoGeekGirl: Thank you Trevor, Matthew and Bruce for taking time out of your busy schedules to answer these questions for our readers. We are looking forward to the continued growth of the Lantern City multimedia project, and are eager not only to continue reading the Lantern City comic but also to see these characters brought to life in the television series.
Lantern City #4 goes on sale August 12, 2015, Review: Lantern City #4 (Preview Included)
Reprinted with permission from GoGeekGirl