Among the different genres being offered this fall by DC Comics comes a new one in November: Pulp adventure.
Uncharted, a new six-issue miniseries, follows the story of Nathan Drake, a modern-day adventurer with a wry sense of humor who claims to be a descendent of Sir Francis Drake.
Part Indiana Jones, part Firefly, the Uncharted comic is based on the video game of the same name, which has a new release in November for PlayStation 3 titled, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.
But the comic will tell an all-new, original story by up-and-coming writer Joshua Williamson, who got a lot of positive buzz from DC fans last year with his Superman/Batman issue that featured the odd team-up of Supergirl and Damian Wayne.
Williamson will work with penciller Sergio Sandoval, and they'll get some help from a couple other superstar artists, with Tony Harris on covers and Adam Hughes providing a #1 variant.
The writer is hoping to attract readers to Uncharted who aren't necessarily game players by tapping into the fun of "pulp adventure" and the talent of his artist. But he's also including a lot of surprises for fans of the game.
This isn't the first video game property to be picked up by DC, which used to print the properties under its former WildStorm imprint. It joins DC's other video game tie-in titles like Gears of War and World of Warcraft, but has a unique voice with its modern adventure theme.
Newsarama talked with Williamson to find out more about the comic.
Newsarama: Joshua, the characters in this story are from a video game, but could a reader enjoy Uncharted without having played the game?
Williamson: Definitely. The Uncharted comic is a whole new story doesn’t directly tie into any of the games aside from supporting characters. You can play the games or read the comic series together or separately. They do go hand and hand, but not enough that someone couldn’t just pick up the comic and start fresh.
Nrama: For people who might be unfamiliar with the game, how would you describe the comic?
Williamson: It's a pulp adventure comic starring Nathan Drake, who is the supposed descendant of Sir Francis Drake. He’s a treasure hunter of sorts who travels the world looking for artifacts and adventure. He’s like a great modern day version of Indiana Jones. Drake — along with his life-long friend, the rough-around-the-edges Victor “Sully” Sullivan — work to find lost relics and, sometimes, a quick buck.
In our story, Drake discovers that the legendary Amber Room was hidden by another great explorer, Sir Richard Byrd. The story is that many, many years ago, Byrd hid the Amber Room in the fabled Agartha in the Hollow Earth.
Drake competes with a pair of rich snobs to find clues that will lead them on a journey to the center of the earth and… you know what? I’ll just stop there. I don’t want to give away too much and ruin it for the reader.
Nrama: Let's talk about Nathan's character. What's your approach to writing him?
Williamson: It helps to play the game a bunch and listen to every word that Nathan says. The writers and developers of the Uncharted games have given Drake a very distinct voice, and I try to mimic that as much as possible. There is a bit of Nathan Fillion from Firefly in there, so I try to keep that in mind as I write him.
The biggest challenge is that Drake is a bit of a smart-ass wise-cracker, but is also crazy smart and can be antagonistic at times. Humor has always been the hardest thing for me to write, so giving Drake the best one-liners has been… interesting.
Nrama: How does the comic's story fit with the continuity of the game? Does it come before the new release coming in November, Drake's Deception?
Williamson: It's a an original story, outside the games, that takes place a bit in the past, before Drake’s Deception and Among Thieves.
Nrama: Will we learn some secrets in the comic that aren't in the game? Any hints you can give us about what they might relate to?
Williamson: I can’t really get into that all that much, but I can say we get to learn how Drake met a certain fan-favorite supporting character.
Nrama: What other characters will show up?
Williamson: Sully's there, and so is the supporting character I just mentioned. Flynn from Uncharted 2 makes an important cameo early on… really, they let me pick and choose a bit and I picked my favorites from the games.
Nrama: Is there any chance this will be an ongoing comic?
Williamson: I wish this was ongoing! I've had such a blast writing Drake and Sully, and I have a lot of ideas for it to continue past this initial story arc. But for now, it’s a six-issue mini-series.
Nrama: Let's talk about the genesis of this project. When you first heard about the comic, what was the appeal of working on Uncharted?
Williamson: The biggest appeal is playing video games and calling it “writing research.” [Laughs.]
Kidding. Not really…
For me it was a chance to work on a franchise that I really enjoyed. Ever since I finished Mirror Mirror for Kickstart, I’d been looking to do more adventure-style comics. When I heard about the gig writing the Uncharted comics, I had to jump at the chance.
Nrama: So you were familiar with the game before getting the job?
Williamson: Oh of course. I’ve been a fan of Naughty Dog’s games ever since Crash Bandicoot. They’ve always been on my radar in terms of the games they put out. Never thought I’d be working on a comic with them. It’s a real honor. One of those things where, if I went back in time and told my 13-year-old self, he’d go bananas.
Now when it comes to Uncharted, I started playing when the second one came out and was immediately hooked. It made me go back and get the first game. I became a bit obsessed.
Nrama: Yeah? What was it that pulled you in?
Williamson: With each level they build on the world and excitement. But really it’s the storyline and characters that keep me on my couch, controller in hand.
I’ve always been a big fan of adventure games and the Uncharted series is the best of the best. A few months back I got to go to the Naughty Dog/Sony offices and check out Uncharted 3. It was amazing. People are going to be blown away.
Nrama: You're one of those up-and-coming writers whose name shows up everywhere these days. Where else can we see your work?
Williamson: This fall is going to be a busy one for me. XenoHolics is a new ongoing starting in October from Image Comics. Sketch Monsters is a new line of children’s graphic novels with Oni Press. The first volume also starts in October. Then also I have a noir short story in Robert E Howard’s Savage Sword also coming out in October. If anyone wanted to check out my older works, I recommend Dear Dracula, Necessary Evil and Overlook to start.
I have books planned for 2012 and 2013 with a variety of publishers. Going to be a very interesting few years.
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about the new Uncharted comic?
Williamson: Get ready for a fun, adventure comic that offers a different look at the amazing Uncharted world. It’s my hope that people who love the games pick up this book, or people who love the comic go get the games.More from Newsarama on Uncharted:
- DC Goes Into UNCHARTED Territory in November
- SDCC 2011: UNCHARTED 3 Developers & Cast LIVE!
- E3 2011: UNCHARTED 3's New Multiplayer Modes Excite & Amaze
- E3 2011: UNCHARTED 3 Developers Show New Real-time Action
- UNCHARTED Territory: Behind Game Writing w/ Neil Druckmann