Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jason Moody Interview

When doing your first comic book interview you want it to be someone cool, someone special. I had a lot of creators contact me about my first interview. I told Bendis he wasn’t relevant enough, Millar he wasn’t edgy enough and Brubaker that he wasn’t cool enough. All 3 great writers but when I do my first interview I wanted one of the coolest guy in comics.

I found that guy.

Jason Andrew Moody is the co-creator and artist of Scarlet Veronica. An awesome mini-series from last year that played with horror elements and had aspects of Egyptian Mythology. I reviewed it and really enjoyed it, so when I heard that a sequel series was in the works I had to contact Jason about it.

Jason has agreed to answer my questions for us all and let us in, giving you all a look into the creation of Scarlet Veronica as well as the characters future.

Q.    I’ve often heard that every story is inspired by another story, what where some of the inspirations for Scarlet Veronica?

A.     Well, obviously some of the great zombie films.  Geroge Romero and Sam Raimi (Romero High...  Raimiesville- heh heh) are big influences.  'Dead Alive' from Peter Jackson.  'Ghostbusters' is something we ended up watching
a lot in the creation process, and oddly enough 'Back to the Future' was a pretty big inspiration while writing.

Q. How long was Scarlet Veronica in the works before it got published?

A.it was just a very rough concept when we pitched it to Ape- and after they showed interest is when we really started developing it.   But- from the time we really started working on it to it's release was about a year and a half.

Q.Did Veronica’s character have any major changes from the time she was first created to when you started writing the comic?

A.Yeah- quite a bit.   She was actually created by Joshua Ruggles (original concept -http://rugdog.deviantart.com/art/Scarlet-Veronica-4142221) and the whole concept was a little more comical.   There was way more of a 'Beetlejuice' vibe to it.    Then I jumped on and started tweaking the character designs (which still went through quite a few iterations http://jamce.deviantart.com/art/veronic-through-the-years-38899203).   Along with the changes in the style of the character, we started tweaking the over all feel of the world and mythology.  It really developed from a kind of goofy goth comedy into this epic action horror.

Q. Where there any ideas you wanted to put in the first mini that got canned or you threw out later on?

A. Absolutley.  Our original concept was to really put our own spin on the Universal Monsters.   We had this whole back story for Frank that explained who and how he was.  It included an antagonist Mad Scientist (who actually built Frank) that was intended to lead into the sequel- which would've been about the Mad Scientist and this Egyptian Queen.  The Egyptian queen was going to play into the mythology of Scarlet Veronica herself, revealing an ancient connection to Ra and that she was the original "Portal" making her the Scarlet Queen.  Oh- and there was going to be cyborg mummies...   CYBORG MUMMIES!
sv series 2 design and the Scarlet Queen http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c294/jamce/Scarlet_Veronica_0078.jpg?t=1257823053

Q.A lot of heroes nowadays have catchphrases or a defining line about them. “It’s Clobberin’ time” from the Thing is an example. Do you think Scarlet Veronica has any kind of catch phrase?

A. definitely "Suck"

Q.What do you think is Veronica’s most defining characteristic?

A. Probably her enjoyment of killing dead things- lol.    She REALLY gets into it- but sometimes that can effect the people she's trying to protect.  

Q.You mentioned a few horror films through the mini, where there any horror films that influenced the story?

A.see above?  heh.

Q. Also as a horror fan myself I am curious what are some of your favorite horror movies?

A.oh man- let's see,  I LOVE Godzilla, pretty much all of them- though Godzilla vs. King Kong is probably my favorite.  The Evil Dead flicks, Fright Night, Gremlins...
Dekker's Monster Squad is a guilty pleasure.    More recently 'Let the Right One In' was an instant classic for me.

Q. What was the hardest part about writing Scarlet Veronica?

A.I think at first dialogue, we spent copious amounts of time deconstructing the dialogue of our favorite movies.  Ultimately it was letting go of some of the plot that didn't add much but was really fun- for page count restraints.

Q. Was Veronica’s character based off anyone in real life you know?

A. well- everyone tells me I subconsciously base Veronica on my wife (halloween pic! lol http://jamce.deviantart.com/art/Halloweeny-costumes-141623711)
Q. Any chance of a Scarlet Veronica ongoing in the future?
I believe Ape only does mini series installments.

Q. Was Ape Entertainment the first place you contacted to publish Scarlet Veronica or did you have to try a few times until you found a publisher that  accepted it.

A. um- actually we sent it to Slave Labor (with no response I might add)

Q. What was your favorite part of creating Scarlet Veronica?

A. character design and mythology creating.

Q. I know you can’t spoil the upcoming series 2, but can you tell us if it will be much of a departure from the first series?

A. well- I think that SV2 well be similar in feel but fairly different in quite a few ways.  First of all- instead of hordes of baddies (zombies) to fight...  it's just one villain this time.   So while there isn't as much fighting quantity wise, I think the quality of the fights are definitely higher.  In the first series there really only one epic fight with the main antagonist (Ra) in the whole series...  but in SV2 you get to see Veronica and the Headless biker go at it quite a bit.

Q. Was there a specific theme you where going with when writing Scarlet Veronica?

A.  FUN horror.

Q. With series 2 will Veronica’s character change much or have any life altering moments?

A. hee hee-  

Q.Nowadays death in comics are pretty common, any chance that in series 2 we’ll see a major death?

A. see previous question. ;)

Q. Of the supporting cast in Scarlet Veronica, who was your favorite?

A.Probably Frank-   after we couldn't fit his back story in to the first mini- there was a lot of talk about trying to do a origin miniseries for Frank.

Q. In the first series you only had one major villain, along with a couple of sub-villains.

A. In series 2 will we see more villains this time or will it be similar to series 1?
As I said before-  we're pairing it down even more- but the intensity and fun is still there.

Q. Any new characters that you’re bringing in with series 2?

A.Well- we're really taking the Sleepy Hollow story and making it our own.   So we've reinvented the main players from that story- John Heron (Ichabod Crane) Abe Brunt (Brom Bones) Kat Tassel (Katrina Van Tassel).
We're REAL excited about the Headless Biker- he's turned out pretty cool in my opinion. (

Q. With series 1 Scarlet Veronica seemed to have some limited powers. With series 2 are you planning to expand her abilities more or are they set in stone by now?

A. I think we really stretch her abilities to the limit in series 2.   You'll definitely see her do something you didn't see in SV1.

Q. Mr. Death was a pretty funny character through series 1, will he be returning in series 2?

A. I'm going to say no...   but-  there's 2 different endings we're toying with.   One of them include Death.

Q. One thing about Veronica’s new look I noticed is she seems to be wearing a lot more. She’s got a full shirt instead of a small top, a much longer skirt and big boots. What brought about this change? Where you unsatisfied with her original design? Or was this simply updating her look for a new series?

A. It's actually updated a bit from that design.  We went with those cheer booty shorts-  lol.   But yeah, we did consciously make Veronica a little more modest.  Only because we're actively pitching the property to networks as a children's animated series.    But it's also a practical change because with in the rules we set up for Veronica- her costumes is just a "dead" version of whatever she's wearing.   So if she were wearing a wedding dress and transformed- that dress would transform into some kind of cool black Victorian gown- or something.

Q. How far ahead will series 2 pick up in Veronica’s life?  

A. The end of the school year- so..  a few months.   It's Summer now.

Q. Series 1 had a good amount of gore, can we expect things to get a lot more crazy in series 2?

A. Gore is our middle name.   and Al's last name.   no relation.

Q. I remember hearing that Scarlet Veronica movie was pitched a while back, how has that been coming?

A. Still working on it.   We've gotten it the hands of a few networks and studios- we're keeping a our fingers crossed.

Q. In series 1 you pretty much kept it to zombies and a couple of mystical monsters, in series 2 will you be using a more wide cast of monsters? Creatures such as vampires or mummies?

A. Series 2 is a little more of a modest story.  It's acutally more like a One Shot story.   We're kind of treating it like an episode of a Animated Series that doesn't play into the over arching plot of the season.

Q. Are there any characters that won’t be returning for series 2?

A. Veronica, Brian and mom are the only ones returning.

Q. In series 2 will we see more of a struggle between Veronica and her darker side?

A. We actually had this whole side story of Veronica struggling with her 'Dead Mode'.  We did this Spider-man thing- but the opposite.   So instead of Veronica spurratically losing her powers, she would actually transform involuntarily.  There was a very strong theme of Self control.  Ultimately it was dropped- once again- for space...  but there are aspects of it still there.

Q. I myself have been fairly positive on Scarlet Veronica as I’ve enjoyed it a lot, but I know there have been some negative critics of the book. Have you had those critiques in mind for series 2 to improve upon what they didn’t like?

A.  We definitely toned down some of the camp and some of the cultural referencing.  But honestly- I think that just had more to do with us maturing as writers.   There were a few reviewers that I just don't think got the concept.  (which is admittedly not deep- lol)
Q. So that’s all I’ve got to ask, on a final note anything you want to let the readers know about Scarlet Veronica series 2 that we haven’t covered yet?

A. yeah- We're very excited about SV2.  We really wanted to try our hand at a horror mystery, and I think we did a descent job.   The story really revolves around the mystery of why prominent figures in Raimiesville- the former Mayor, the Police Chief, ect. are being Murdered...  Beheaded!  Veronica and Brian end up discovering a cover up that goes back 30 years.   On their quest to uncover the truth Veronica goes head to head with the ghastly Headless Biker.

the final design for veronica in SV2- http://jamce.deviantart.com/art/sv2-promo2-128727240

we're also doing a bit of a different process- coming from an animation background.
Which, the backgrounds and the characters are being painted by the extraordinary Justin Greathouse ( http://greathouse.deviantart.com ).  Justin did the colors for the first series, and he REALLY set the dark and fun look of Scarlet Veronica's world- that the critics raved over.  Justin's taking on a much larger roll in SV2- he's not only the lead colorist but he's going to be taking on some penciling duties by drawing the Headless Biker's Motorcycle.

Justin joined Robert Barry ( our head writer; http://robertbarry.com ) and I in crafting this fun twist on Washington Irving's classic.  It's a entertaining tale with a lot of action, we keep saying it's our 'Scooby Doo' mystery- lol.   We've had a lot of fun with it, and I think that if you enjoyed the first series- you're going to love this one.

btw- here's a GREAT SV wallpaper by our very own Justin Greathouse!


You can check out Scarlet Veronica and Scarlet Veronica series 2 from Ape Entertainment. Thanks again, Jason!

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