Red City is new a sci-fi crime noir series from writer Daniel Corey (Moriarty), and it's available for pre-order now at your local comic shop.
It follows the story of interplanetary investigator Cal Talmage and his seemingly simple mission to rescue an ambassador's daughter from the crime ridden streets of Mars Central, a.k.a. Red City.
PREVIEWSworld got a chance to speak with series creator, Daniel Corey, to hear what he has to say about what you can expect from Red City #1 (APR140490) from Image Comics.
PREVIEWSworld: Red City is a futuristic crime noir set in the criminal underworld of Mars. Can you talk a little bit about what we can expect from this new series and the inspirations behind it?
Daniel Corey: I’ll start with the obvious: I am a longtime fan of crime fiction and detective stories. It started when I was a kid, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies on TV. As I got older, I got into the works of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, as well as their contemporary counterparts Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, and so on. Additionally, Sherlock Holmes has been a major influence on my life, as was reflected in the MORIARTY series that I did with Anthony Diecidue at Image.
While I was watching those old detective movies, reruns of the original “Star Trek” series also fascinated me. What always really hooked me about Trek is the fact that every story involved a mystery. Strange happenings were afoot on the Enterprise, or the away team would be stranded in a maze or something, and Kirk and company would have to follow the clues, which would always lead to a big reveal at the end.
“Twilight Zone” also played big in my life as a kid. Every episode had a hook, a twist, a fantastic reveal. I’d watch with crazy anticipation, just waiting for that backwards left-turn that I always knew was coming.
So, the idea of mysteries intrigued me from an early age, and the idea of using science fiction as a means of telling a mystery story became very acceptable, thanks to Trek and “Twilight Zone.”
As a teenager, I became a fan of Ray Bradbury. Even more than Trek, Bradbury’s stories brought me into a sense of “retro” sci-fi, where the future felt like a version of the future that people had seen in the past. “The Jetsons” helped with that, too, I must say.
Probably my favorite Bradbury story is “The Veldt,” which is the first story in “The Illustrated Man.”
So, all of these elements of my early life came together to form RED CITY: hard-boiled tough guys, gangsters and femme fatales mixing with aliens, spaceships and jump suits.
PREVIEWSworld: Tell us more about interplanetary investigator Cal Talmage and some of things he’ll have to deal with?
Daniel Corey: To this point, my comics have dealt with some pretty heavy and serious guys. Moriarty is practically a monk, lives the life of the mind, doesn’t mix well with others – a real stoic. He has humor and likeability, but in a dark, antihero sort of way.
With Cal, I wanted to have a little fun. He’s a very personable guy, with a sense of humor. He’s not well-liked by very many people in the story, but I think he will be easily loved by the reader, who will see in him a sort of fringe guy that is stuck in the system. Our leading lady, Angel, is the only person that really gets him. And they’ve had a tumultuous past, so even her loyalty and love of him is in question.
Paul Newman played heavy in my thinking about Cal, especially his turn as Lew Harper in the ‘60s noir classic, “Harper.” “Hud” and “Cool Hand Luke” were also influences: these likeable misanthropes that dangle at the fringes of society.
Cal has some pretty bad personal demons that he keeps buried. He’s a veteran of a recent war, where he saw some pretty bad action. Cal was a NSS Marine, a Special Forces guy. After the war, he joined NSS Security Services (sort of like an interplanetary FBI), in an effort to fit in somewhere. But he and the service aren’t in agreement, and he’s always in trouble with the brass.
Cal has not taken the time and care to deal with this post-war stress, and his mission in Red City starts to bring these personal issues to the surface. When things get really hot, Cal has to make choices that could potentially affect millions of lives, and the reader is left wondering if he’ll be up for the task.
PREVIEWSworld: With all the planets becoming state-like enterprises, will we get a glimpse of the rest of the NSS (New Solar System)?
Daniel Corey: In RED CITY, the story takes place so far into the future, the Solar System is populated by all races of people: there are Martians on Mars, Neptunians on Neptune, etc. Everyone knows about interplanetary life, and everyone has been able to adapt to each planet’s language and conditions.
The Solar System is now called the NSS, New Solar System, and the all of the planets (including Pluto, which has been declared a planet again – my personal fantasy), are now united as one country. There has been a recent war, where Venus and Neptune attempted to secede from the union. They lost the war, and the Amnesty has been established. The NSS is attempting to move on and live in peace, but old wounds still remain.
This backdrop serves as a catalyst for Cal’s personal problems, and for his mission in Red City: Big trade talks are set to take place between Venus and Mercury, and the Mercurian ambassador’s daughter, Talia, has gone missing somewhere in the city. Cal is sent in to quietly find her, but it all blows up into a huge conspiracy that could result in another war.
We get to see slummy parts of Red City, ritzy casinos, industrial areas. We go out into the outskirts and see the open deserts of Mars. Just like a good L.A. story.
We’ve got some great scenes that take us into space, and we get a glimpse at other worlds that play strong in Cal’s memory. I hope to show more of the NSS in the future. We never go to Earth in this story. Cal is human, native to Earth, but has never even been there. So there’s another interesting aspect of his character and of this universe.
PREVIEWSworld: What is your favorite part of creating an entirely new world for readers?
Daniel Corey: World-building is something that gives me great joy, and it’s something that audiences crave these days. Whether it’s “Star Trek,” “Tron,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Inception” or “Matrix,” people want to learn about places they’ve never been to. They want to know the rules.
Our society has a certain structure of politics, history, science – rules. What if the rules changed? What if there was a different sort of place with different rules, a different history? Being able to build an entirely new universe from the ground up and create new history, new rules, new manners and attitudes – well, it’s just such a joyful and fun thing.
I mean, what if “L.A. Confidential” took place on Mars? That simple question started this whole thing.
PREVIEWSworld: Talk about working with artist Mark Dos Santos and how he creates the look of the setting and characters of Red City?
Daniel Corey: Mark couldn’t be more perfect for RED CITY. He has such a lush, retro style to begin with. He draws these sci-fi, outer space characters as if they are being seen through a lens of 1940s Americana. There are trench coats and fedoras, but everything has a slightly redesigned, futuristic vibe. And this series is full of many different races of aliens, and he manages to make each one look unique and fantastic.
Mark has a good eye for literary conventions, as well. You don’t need to tell him who the femme fatale is, who the bosses are, who the snitches are. He knows the worlds of crime fiction and science fiction.
It’s funny, Mark lives just down the street from me, but I met him at the Amazing Phoenix Comic-Con last year. His table was across the aisle from me. I recognized him, because we both shop at House of Secrets in Burbank. Tony Fleecs introduced us, and I told Mark about my RED CITY script. He was on board immediately.
We’re also lucky to have Chris Fenoglio on color. Chris has a great visual sense, and really keys into the style very well. I met Chris at the very first Image Expo in 2012. He was showing his WEIRD KIDS book around, which he wrote and drew. From that moment, I loved Chris’ work, and I’m happy we were able to meet up on this project.
The venerable Dave Lanphear is on letters and logos. Dave has been around and worked for everybody, and there’s nothing he doesn’t know about comics, comic art, genres, typefaces and design. He worked with me on MORIARTY, and I’m glad to have him back.
PREVIEWSworld: Is there anything else you want to let readers know before they dive into the world of Red City?
Daniel Corey: It’s a serious, complex mystery with crazy action and world-shaking consequences. But it also has heart, and is a fast, fun ride.
I always want my work to engage people in a way that speaks to their soul, flexes their intellect, and entertains to their core. Life is hard, but life is good. And even in the worst of circumstances, you just might come out a hero on the other side. That’s what I hope people see in RED CITY.
Also available now at your local comic shop from writer Daniel Corey!
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