Hernandez on Soulfire: Shadow Magic
by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean
Date: 10 October 2008 Time: 12:31 PM ET
Hernandez on Soulfire: Shadow Magic
While Aspen Comics founder and superstar artist Michael Turner has passed away but the worlds that he created will live on.One of such worlds is the world of Soulfire, which tells of a futuristic world without magic. It was announced last month that Turner’s friend and fellow artist Joe Benitez was “the right person” picked to complete the last two-and-a-half issues of the first volume of the Soulfire comic book series.
Later this month, the creative team of writer Vince Hernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Aspen Comics, and artist Sana Takeda, the same team that handled the Aspen Showcase: Grace one-shot special, will delve into the past of Grace, one of the last surviving members of the Rathumi, an almost-extinct race of insect-winged humans, in a special, issue #0 of Soulfire: Shadow Magic. This will be followed by the first issue of the all-new mini-series, which is scheduled to hit stores in December. We spoke with Hernandez about the early years of Soulfire’s heroine. Newsarama: Okay, Vince, let's get straight to things, shall we? Soulfire: Shadow Magic centers on Grace and Kelsyn, right? Vince Hernandez: Grace and her lover Kelsyn are the two central protagonists of the story, yes, but there’s a far wider scope of characters this story will revolve around. While Shadow Magic is very much told and seen through their eyes, we’ll also delve into other characters’ motives and back-stories—and all of them aren’t necessarily humans. Dragons play a huge role in Shadow Magic, and we’ll be revealing the origin of a central dragon in the Soulfire universe in Shadow Magic. NRAMA: Now, Grace is one of the main characters in the Soulfire series. According to the solicits, it looks like you'll be telling a tale of two lovers in a sort of an updated version of Romeo and Juliet to me. Can you tell us more about the two protagonists? VH: You know, it’s funny, but I never really looked at it in that sense until you mentioned it. I certainly didn’t use the Romeo and Juliet model when telling the story, but I am a fan of William Shakespeare. More specifically, I’m a fan of tragic romances—a Shakespearean strength. It’s an interesting set-up for Shadow Magic because fans of the Soulfire universe know the present-day Grace, but not really her younger years and why she acts and thinks like she does. I wanted to fill-in those blanks and after going over it with Michael Turner a bunch of times, I did just that, I believe. In Shadow Magic, Grace finds herself in love with a fellow named Kelsyn, but their union is quickly interrupted by an impending war between the two races which dominate the land in that time—the Rahtumi and the Sethoru. Grace learns the deadly cost of war rather quickly once all hell breaks loose, and of course there’s the dark wizard Azar and his new form of Shadow Magic, spreading across the land—killing anything it comes into contact with. In this mini-series, we’ll be introduced to an entirely-new cast of Soulfire characters along the way and some familiar faces of course. NRAMA: Where does Shadow Magic fit in in terms of continuity? Will it expand upon the Aspen Showcase: Grace one-shot where readers saw glimpses of her life during the Crusades, World War II, and a futuristic Egypt? VH: Shadow Magic takes place in Grace’s early years so it occurs before the Soulfire proper series and Soulfire: Dying of the Light on the Soulfire timeline. Soulfire: Chaos Reign is the very first story in the Soulfire universe telling the tale of magic’s early, primal days. While Shadow Magic doesn’t expand upon any specific events in the Aspen Showcase: Grace, it will be essential canon in Grace’s timeline. NRAMA: You're re-teaming with Sana Takeda. Why do you think she's right for the job and what does she bring to the world of Soulfire? VH: I knew Sana would be perfect for shadow magic once she began work on the Aspen Showcase: Grace story. I couldn’t be happier with the work she’s produced for Shadow Magic. Every page she turns in is infinitely better than the written words I provide on the page for her. She has a wonderful sense of how to interpret what I’m going for while adding her own touches to each and every panel. And we always seem to be on the same level in terms of vision—a writer’s dream. In terms of what she brings to the world of Soulfire itself, it’s immeasurable. Mike always had a specific look and style he wanted for Soulfire and Sana has immediately picked up on that and added to it. NRAMA: You recently spoke with us about all things Aspen since founder Mike Turner's death in June. Do you have an update on the still-as-yet-unfinished Soulfire series and the upcoming Soulfire: New World Order mini? VH: Yes, Joe Benitez will be taking over art duties on the unfinished Soulfire Volume One issues and after that, Francisco Herrera’s Soulfire: New World Order will follow, along with Marcus To’s Soulfire Volume Two. Marcus is so far ahead on Volume Two that fans can expect a guaranteed release schedule for it when it launches.