Previously, on ‘Battle Chasers': Joe Madureira On Returning To His Hit Series After 14 Years Away [Interview]
Joe Madureira's fantasy adventure series Battle Chasers was a huge hit when it launched in 1998 from WildStorm's Cliffhanger imprint, but it quickly fell to an irregular schedule, with one issue delayed by sixteen months, and the series disappeared altogether after its ninth issue in 2001.
But that sixteen month delay is going to look like nothing compared to the gap between issues #9 and #10! Yes, Battle Chasers is finally coming back after a fourteen year break, to coincide with the launch of a Battle Chasers video game currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter. To celebrate the book's long-awaited return, we spoke to Joe Madureira about what he's been up to, and why readers should give the series a fresh chance! We also have an exclusive look at some of Madureira's character sketches and concept art for the series.
ComicsAlliance: Joe, what made you come back to Battle Chasers after all this time?
Joe Madureira: It’s something I’ve thought about doing for years, but I knew I had to carve out the time and do it right if it was going to be meaningful. As the years went by, it seemed less and less likely that it would ever happen since so much time had passed. But fans never stopped asking about it, and the prospect became more and more exciting. When we decided our first game was going to be an RPG, we all felt Battle Chasers would be the perfect setting for it, and it’s a great excuse to finally bang out some new comics too.
CA: What have you been up to since issue #9?
JM: Most notably, I co-founded Vigil Games, which at its peak had over 200 employees. We created the Darksiders series, and completed two games, Darksiders 1 & 2, before our publisher THQ fell on hard times, and the studio was disbanded. We also had a really awesome Warhammer 40k MMO in development.
During that same period, I banged out some books for Marvel: Ultimates 3, Avenging Spider-Man, Savage Wolverine, and Inhuman. Last year I founded a new game studio called Airship Syndicate with Ryan Stefanelli --- who also co-founded Vigil Games --- and a few key members of the Darksiders team. Since then, I’ve been hard at work on the Battle Chasers game, and planning the return of the comic series. So, yeah. I’ve been busy!
CA: It's been 14 years since the last issue, so what do readers need to know or remember if they're coming on board for issue #10?
JM: Battle Chasers #10 picks up pretty much right where #9 left off. The story is going to shift focus off of Gully a little bit, and on to the swordsman Garrison. I’ll do my best to quickly recap the events of the previous nine issues at the start of #10 so newcomers aren’t completely lost.
The original nine issues will also be reprinted --- and of course, they are available digitally on Comixology right now. #10 will be the first of a three issue story arc.
CA: Some readers might be a little cautious about picking up a book that's had such a lengthy hiatus. Do you have a long-term plan for the series, and can you offer any assurances about the schedule?
JM: I’m definitely going in to this cautiously as well. I don’t want to over-promise. I’d rather promise less and over-deliver at this point. Which is one of the reasons I’ve decided to continue the series in story arcs which are more or less self-contained. Each arc will tell its own story, but will still move the central story forward. If it does well, and the demand is there I would love to do more three-to-five issue arcs in the future.
CA: In reprinting the first nine issues in a collection, are you tempted to go back and change anything about the initial run?
JM: Yes, definitely. Like most artists who revisit their old work, I cringe at some of the stuff in the original run. Rather than mess with the past though, and potentially upset long-time fans who cherish those books, I’ll just focus on the new books and making them the best they can be.
CA: Do you think your style has changed much between issues #9 and #10?
JM: Definitely. I think my style has evolved with every project I’ve been on, even from Ultimates 3 to Savage Wolverine. And, after years of doing concept art for games like Darksiders, my work has moved a little further away from the ‘manga’ style I was known for, though I think it still retains a lot of the action and energy. I’ll probably push the art a little more toward animation. Focus less on noodily details, and more on pacing and action framing.
CA: What's your involvement with Nightwar, the Battle Chasers video game currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter?
JM: I’m creative director on the project, which means a lot of oversight on everything from art, to music, to animation. I’m also writing the story, and doing all of the key concept art, and a ton of in game art. In short, I’ve heavily involved.
CA: Do you have plans for more comics projects once Battle Chasers is done?
JM: Nothing concrete. If the first three issue story arc does well, I’d like to continue making more Battle Chasers comics down the road. After that, who knows? There are a couple ideas I’ve been kicking around for a while that I’d like to work on some day. But that day seems really far off right now.