In a post-apocalyptic world where energy and oil reign supreme, a band of special forces agents keep the peace in New San Diego.
If you’ve been reading the news the past few months, you’re more than aware of how capable a group of Navy S.E.A.L.S. can be when given a job to do. But what If they’re tasked to protect an entire city in a post-apocalyptical world where the U.S.A. is no more?Set to debut this Wednesday, the six-issue series Marksmen takes place in a world sixty-odd years in the future where oil wells ran dry and the economy fell off a cliff. The ensuing second American civil war splintered the country into warring fiefdoms situated in the major cities that escaped complete destruction. For the coastal city of New San Diego, their primary line of defense is a group of former Navy S.E.A.L.S. dubbed ‘Marksmen’ who protect its borders and patrol the outlying countryside. But when a city-state from the Midwest called Lone Star sends an army to steal the city’s precious energy technology that brought it back from collapse, one Marksman must pull things together to keep his city whole.
Priced at just $1, Marksmen #1 provides an easy entry in a whole new world laid out by writer David Baxter and artists Javier Aranda and Garry Leach. Newsarama spoke with Baxter about the series and how he’s fair in a post-apocalyptic world like in Marksmen.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about Marksmen, Dave?
David Baxter: Before I jump into the story I want to acknowledge the amazing team that’s brought this title to life and give a heartfelt thanks to Newsarama for getting the word out. This all started when publisher/producer Michael Benaroya came to me with the idea for Marksmen and gave me the freedom to create what I thought could be a plausible and realistic dark future for America. Once I had the words on paper our amazing Editor Dave Elliott matched them with the best artists a writer could hope for: Javiar Aranda and Garry Leach for the interior art and Tomm Coker on covers. I am so over the moon about the visuals these guys came up with. You just have to see them and you’ll understand my enthusiasm.As for the miniseries itself, I’d say on the surface Marksmen is an action heavy military team story set in a future America where society has pretty much collapsed. The Marksmen are the descendents of Navy S.E.A.L.S. who allied themselves with a group of scientists to seal off and protect what was left of the city of San Diego after the government fell apart and the country was plunged into a generation long civil war. In the sixty years since “The Big Collapse” the scientists and their protectors have created what would seem to be a technological/eco-utopia – A totally self-sustaining city. The conflict begins when survivors from another city decide they want the technology New San Diego has created.
Nrama: What’s the world like here 80 years in the future?
Baxter: It pretty much sucks for anyone outside the walls of the city but inside it’s a gamers’ paradise. The Marksmen don’t really treat survivors living outside the city as even being human anymore. If you aren’t already part of their club, chances are you aren’t getting in. Think about it this way, what if Steve Jobs had decided to save a city but wanted things just his way. Instead of ubiquitous iPhones the citizens of New San Diego all have Shades. Heads-Up-Display devices (that look like cool sunglasses ‘natch) that can track your eyes and convert anything you say into text instant and send it on to whomever you want.
Nrama: And the standout Marksman for this is someone named Drake McCoy; what can you tell us about him?Baxter: He’s the top reconnaissance Marksman in the city and a total loner despite being the privileged son of the city’s military leader Leo McCoy and lead scientist Sharon Heston. Unlike the vast majority of the city’s populace Drake has an untamable wanderlust in him that makes him volunteer for all the most dangerous recon missions because they take him away from the city where he can enjoy some solitude. In a city where everyone is totally “connected” via wireless technology, Drake chooses to stay off the social/gaming “grid” as much as he can. This attitude puts him at odds with his fellow Marksmen but also gives him unique survival skills that he’ll need as the story unfolds.
Nrama: From the solicits, we know that an “oil-rich” competition city called Lone Star is coming down fast on New San Diego for their technology. How can Drake McCoy hope to stand up to that, no matter how well-trained he might be?
Baxter: That question gets at the heart of the story. One man can’t hope to stand up to that, he needs to connect to his own people and somehow galvanize them into action after years of complacency.
Nrama: You mentioned at the beginning that you developed this from a story idea Michael Benaroya had. How’d it develop into what it is today?Baxter: Michael Benaroya is a very creative film producer/publisher, and I had worked with in the past and approached me about writing the series. Michael wanted me to take a post-apocalyptic superpower based world he had developed and take it in a totally different direction. He pretty much gave me full freedom to build a world anchored in a real possible future, but he liked the title Marksmen and the concept of a military team lead by a character named Drake. I just ran with it. I had been doing some writing for some commercials for the U.S. Navy and was totally intrigued by Navy S.E.A.L.S. They were just so badass! I wanted to incorporate them somehow into the narrative. Once I got started, Dave Elliott came onboard and he really added a lot to the whole mix, especially thematically. The series really coalesce around the idea of what it takes to unite people with disparate ideas.
Nrama: How’d you come from doing movies, television and commercials to here in comics?Baxter: Actually, my first love was always comics. I was a huge collector back in Detroit and I think they actually helped me become a better screenwriter. Comics are first and foremost visual. That’s really important in screenwriting. If you can’t see it or hear it, it’s not getting on the page. I’m just happy I finally got a shot at doing a cool comic book series like Marksmen. I have Michael Benaroya to thank for that.
Nrama: Last question, Dave – say you were living in the world set out in Marksmen – where do you think you’d end up?
David: I guess I’d be living in New San Diego enjoying the fruits of technology but if push came to shove I think I could handle myself okay in the badlands outside the city. At 6’8” I’ve got the build to do some damage with a makeshift sword or mace.