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Is It Really Good To Be King?

by Vince Brusio

What if you didn’t care about your destiny? What if you didn’t care about other people’s expectations of you? What if you just walked away from it all because you decided to put yourself first? In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview with writer Peter Hogan, we find that in Dark Horse Comics' King’s Road #1 (DEC150103) wishful thinking to have a “normal” life is high on the list of priorities for a husband, wife, and their two teenage kids. But their “normal” life, to everyone else, might still look like a unicorn grazing in the middle of Times Square.

King’s Road #1 (DEC150103) is in comic shops February 10.

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PREVIEWSworld: For those not familiar with the history of this story, what was the game plan for King’s Road #1 (DEC150103) when you originally conceived it?

Peter Hogan: It’s a common thread in fantasy for people from our world to suddenly find themselves in another place – a magical world inhabited by incredible beings. Narnia’s a classic example of that, but there are hundreds of others. So, my initial idea was just to reverse the flow, and have those incredible beings show up here. I’ve been using the phrase ‘a unicorn in Times Square’ to describe this effect – by which I meant that a unicorn in an enchanted glade is kind of meh, but a unicorn in Times Square is a LOT more interesting. So, that was one strand of thought.

The other was that I was thinking about the predicament of Britain’s King George VI, as seen in the movie The King’s Speech. Here was a guy who was the younger son, who never expected to become King because that was his older brother’s job … then it all goes horribly wrong and he has to step up and do his duty. So I thought, what if the younger son of some magical kingdom, assuming he’d never become king, came to Earth and married and had a family and a career. Then one day, the summons to assume the throne arrives, together with a pack of evil creatures that are trying to kill him and his family. Those two ideas were the basis of the whole thing.

PREVIEWSworld: As King’s Road was originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents, did the idea change at all as the production stretched over time?

Peter Hogan: No, not at all … though things always tend to change slightly as you go along, however much you plan in advance. 

PREVIEWSworld: Tell us about the characters in King’s Road. Who should we cheer for, who should we watch, and who should we vote to have pushed into the wood chipper?

Peter Hogan: Well, I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s just say that not everybody in this story is what they seem to be. Our main villain is a sorceress called Malicia. She’s taken over our magical kingdom and killed its ruler, and is now trying to kill the rest of the royal family, who are our heroes.

There’s Donal, the father, his wife Sophie, and their two teenage kids, Ashley and Tyler. The kids are the ones who are going to have the hardest time, because their everyday life is being ripped apart by all this magical stuff that they knew nothing about. They thought their family was just as normal – or abnormal – as everyone else in the world, and it isn’t. 

PREVIEWSworld: What was your working relationship like with artist Staz Johnson and colorist Douglas A. Sirois? How did you three bounce ideas off of each during the production? What was some of the give and take?

Peter Hogan: Doug I haven’t talked, but I think he’s doing a great job – as is Staz, who had to follow what Phil Winslade had established in the first 24 pages, the ones that first appeared in Dark Horse Presents. So, obviously all the character designs are Phil’s, but Staz has done terrific work in embellishing and developing all that, and I’m really pleased with the way it’s all turned out. He’s also asked some interesting questions about characters and plot as we’ve gone along, and the answers have become a part of the whole thing.

PREVIEWSworld: What does this story mean to you personally? How are you emotionally attached to King’s Road?

Peter Hogan: I’ve always loved fantasy, and hadn’t written any since working on The Dreaming and Sandman Presents, so basically this is me taking a whole load of familiar fantasy tropes and hopefully putting a different spin on them, having people from the world we all inhabit having to deal with all this weird stuff, and reacting the way we would.

I’ve always felt that what makes fantastic fiction work is making it believable, and you can only do that by rubbing it up against real things, whether that’s Times Square or a person’s emotions. If you can make the readers become absorbed in it all, then you’ve succeeded.

PREVIEWSworld: If you were speaking behind a podium to explain why you were moved to create King’s Road, what would you say? How would you defend the time and energy you put into this project, and what made it all worth it at the end of the day?

Peter Hogan: This one’s got magic and monsters and a LOT of action, so I’m genuinely excited about it, and hopefully readers will feel the same way. I mean, who DOESN’T want to see trolls and ogres trashing a shopping mall?