Midnight Head Games At Mad Cave
May 18, 2018
by Vince Brusio
A steady supply of Battlecats cat chow was not a well-balanced diet for writer Mark London, so he instead produced a second title for Mad Cave Studios titled Midnight Task Force, with artist Alejandro Giraldo on all aspects of graphic production. Midnight’s main character, Aiden McCormick, is a man who we’re told can wipe the floor with Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken. Read our exclusive interview with the creative team of this book, and judge for yourselves!
Vince Brusio: Mark, why Detroit as the backdrop? What gives Detroit the honor of being the setting for Midnight Task Force #1 (MAY181864)? Do you have a second home there, and you’re writing about what you already know?
Mark London: No, no second home. But if we sell tons of these books, maybe one day we’ll be able to afford one. All kidding aside, I don’t know. It may have to do with the fact that I’m a huge Robocop fan, but also Detroit just felt right. The more I did the research, reading all the industrial aspects of the “Motor City” gave me a sharp idea of what our setting should be for 2055. However, this is Detroit according to our vision, and Alejandro Giraldo (the artist) played a big part in this. I couldn’t be happier.
Vince Brusio: You’re already the writer of the fantasy/action thriller Battlecats. Now you’re giving us a book featuring a schizophrenic detective who looks like a long-lost cousin of Snake Plissken. To say that we’ve gone from driving a Ferrari to a beat-up truck in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is not much of a stretch. This is something completely different for you. So the question is: why? How did the idea behind this book light a fuse to make you commit to a series?
Mark London: Nah, Aiden McCormick, our main character, would drop Kurt Russell in a second. Well, yes, this book is very different from Battlecats, but that’s part of why we make comics. I like to challenge myself, and everyone on the team feels the same way. Plus it gives Mad Cave Studios a variety of offerings from different genres, a variety of themes, diverse characters and so on. Thematically, this is the vision for all upcoming Mad Cave releases as well. So, with Midnight Task Force, I wanted to dig deeper and go darker. There is more to the story than what's on the page and getting to know these characters will be a testament to what I’m referring to. It's about second chances, mending broken relationships, and coming to terms with who you are. It's all those things surrounding a detective who is fighting his personal demons while trying to a catch a vicious killer. A killer whose methods are different from any case Aiden has ever seen before. A case that is much darker than the rest and the only solution for Aiden is to confront his past.
Vince Brusio: Alejandro, let’s pivot to you for a bit in discussing this new book. What’s the advantage/disadvantage of “going it alone” on this book as the sole artist?
Alejandro Giraldo: I think one of the advantages of working alone is that you can visualize the final look of the comic book and keep that as a reference in the back of your mind throughout the whole process. You have more control as opposed to when you are working with other artists, but that can also be a disadvantage because you have to focus on every aspect of the process; anatomy, perspective, layout, light, color and even FX. Throw in the added pressure of deadlines and things can get difficult in a hurry. But, nothing compares to being able to control the whole artistic process, plus, there is never any downtime while waiting for new pages.
Vince Brusio: Who’s been a key inspiration on your style? And why?
Alejandro Giraldo: Stjepan Sejic has been a tremendous inspiration to me and my style. I remember the first time I saw his work was in First Born, a Top Cow book. I truly admire his realistic style and the way he adds so many details to every scene. Also, the fact that he tackles so many solo projects made me realize that it’s possible to illustrate and color an entire series without dying in the process.
Vince Brusio: What do you find most challenging in your initial drafts for layout?
Alejandro Giraldo: My biggest challenge is always portraying the writer’s vision. I always read the script multiple times before I begin to work. The first time I read it as a fan, imagining the scenes in my head and the next time I focus on technical aspects like camera angles, thumbnails, anatomy, facial expressions, etc.
Vince Brusio: Alright, Mark, so tell us about Detective Aiden McCormick. What’s going on in his head? Who wants to put something through his head? Does he walk around self-medicated, or does the man hear voices only native to his noggin?
Mark London: Aiden McCormick is a lead detective from the Detroit Police Department. He is master at his craft that deals with solving the most brutal cases plaguing Detroit. However, he suffers from PTSD because of losing an arm and so much more. This has turned him into what he is now: an angry, guarded person who wants to be left alone to solve the cases which he sees as puzzles. All of this weighs on him, and makes him vulnerable to the realities of Detroit and the criminals that roam its corrupted streets.
Vince Brusio: Who are the supporting characters in the story? Are they any freaks? Friends? Forgetful expendables that simply serve as cannon fodder?
Mark London: Every character is flawed; the city is flawed, so I would say everyone is a freak in this story. We have a decent roster of characters, though some might seem like forgetful expendables at first, I can guarantee that all of them are important to the overall story. You have to be vigilant and pay close attention to everything that is happening. This series will keep the reader guessing as they learn more about the main character and supporting cast.
Vince Brusio: How does this book get you pumped? What makes it enjoyable? How do you get a kick out of it?
Mark London: Well, it’s a dystopian future, so that’s always a fun setting to explore. But, this book deals with dark situations you would not necessarily face in your everyday life. This is an opportunity for me to “let loose” (a bit) with certain themes and push the envelope. Also, exploring different futuristic settings and all the different gadgets, cars, etc., again, all coming from Alejandro who is a master at this. With Midnight Task Force, when I put the proverbial “pen to page” I know I don’t have to hold back. There are no limits. The detective aspects are very appealing to me because I can create traps not only for the characters but also for the reader, to keep them guessing. The further down the reader goes into this rabbit hole, the more clues they’ll find. You will question what is real and what is not. Any outcome is possible; which makes it a lot of fun.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.