Stephen Mooney’s comic series Half Past Danger was easily my favourite comic run of 2013. Not only is it a fantastic story brimming with snappy dialogue, incredible set pieces and epic artwork, but it also reads like a film. The tale is so cinematic in its nature, charting the adventures of Tommy Flynn as he investigates a nazi plot involving a mysterious island and its prehistoric inhabitants. There are monsters, gunfights, secret agents, a ninja and an inordinately strong soldier with a secret past.
Half Past Danger pays homage to all the great adventure tales of cinema. In particular things like Indiana Jones come to mind, but scratch the surface and you’ll find influences ranging from Joe Johnston to Sergio Leone in all the very best ways.
We had a chat with Stephen about the creation of Half Past Danger, its reception and his plans for the future. So without further ado, checkout the transcript of that interview:
What brought you to the decision to create your own comic book from scratch? Did it take a long time to get to this point?
About eight years I suppose, that’s how long i’d been in pro comics up until starting Half Past Danger. I guess the main element that brought me to creator-owned comics was wanting to get my own version of events onto the page. I’d been contemplating writing a story for a long time, and the timing just seemed right at that stage. I’d long wanted a chance to control every aspect of the story, both the writing and art. In order to do that, I needed to create something of my own from the ground up.
I’m sure it’s fair to say the books carry a great influence from Spielberg films, in particular Indiana Jones, but what other influences did you carry into this project?
All sorts of old-fashioned Saturday matinee-style serials and movies, from films like The Rocketeer and James Bond, so shows like Flash Gordon and The Shadow. All of that good old-skool pulpy material.
In terms of the main team (John, Ishi, Moss, Flynn), how did you go about creating the characters? Were they always in mind from the story’s conception?
They pretty much arrived in my mind fully formed. That’s possibly because in many ways the characters are archetypical mainstays present throughout much of fiction, only with my own, hopefully unique slant. The mysteriously enigmatic and beautiful super spy. The silent ninja. The American muscle-man who goes by the book. People have all seen various shades of these characters for years, so this is basically my spin on them. Except for Tommy Flynn I guess, who’s more based on an idealised version of myself, plucked from my teenaged mind.
The book has such a great cinematic quality, has there been any interest to turn it into a movie? And would you be interested if Hollywood did come knocking?
Thanks, I certainly do love telling a story that way. There have been a few tentative emails, but nothing at all substantial. To my mind HPD is a comic book, not a means to getting a film made. If that happens down the line, gravy. If not, my mortgage lingers on.
It’s apparent that Flynn is visually based on you. I wonder if any of your character traits are also similar?
Well, like I said earlier he’s a VERY idealised version of me. Sure we look alike, but that’s probably the biggest similarity. And that was pure wish-fulfilment on my part; what if this great adventurer guy who looks and sounds like me could save the world! pure boys-own stuff. He’s certainly a lot braver than I am! I’d run a bloody mile if confronted by the adversaries he faces in the book. I guess we both share a decent line in cracking wise.
With the first run now finished do you know where the story will be heading next? When do you plan on embarking upon the next issues?
I do indeed know exactly where the story is heading. The series was originally envisioned as three six-issue stories; as a trilogy. I constructed the initial outline with all three stories in mind, and they very much run into each other chronologically. I’m hoping to see the first issue of HPD 2 on shelves sometime in 2015, all going according to plan!
You’ve said before that of any comic runs, you would love to have had a crack at Geoff Johns’ Hal Jordan/Green Lantern series. Are there any other characters that you could see yourself helming if given the opportunity?
Batman, all day long. He’s far and away the character I’d most like a crack at, alongside many other comic pros. He’s just got that cool-factor, doesn’t he? Other than that, Nightwing or Catwoman. All Gotham-set books! Over at Marvel, I’d adore a shot at Captain America, or the X-Men.
What have been your favourite comics this year?
I haven’t picked up too many books this year as yet, but i never miss All-New X-Men drawn by Stuart Immonen, since I can’t get enough of his artwork. Also, Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, because it’s just a great example of exactly the right creative team on exactly the right book.
What are the next Stephen Mooney projects we should all be looking out for?
Various covers for IDW and Dynamite in the immediate future, followed by a standalone Wolverine book for Marvel. After that, I can’t say as yet! Hopefully something very cool! All while writing Half Past Danger 2 and 3.
So there you have it. With the second run coming soon there is a great deal to look forward to in the continuing adventures of Flynn. If you missed the initial run of Half Past Danger you can pick up the hardcover of the entire series, available in all good comic book stores from 29th January. Do yourself a favour and pick it up as soon as possible.