Mark Powers: Drafted to Stop Aliens

A comics interview article by: Matthew McLean
Mark Powers, former editor at Marvel and Devil's Due Publishing, has taken on full writing responsibilities for GI Joe as well as his own series for Devil's Due, Drafted. He took a few minutes out of his busy New York schedule to discuss Drafted, the sci-fi war story which saw its second issue released last week.

Matthew McLean (MM): Drafted starts with a bang, considering it opens (as I said in my review of the first issue) with "reports coming in of various earthquakes of unprecedented magnitude having leveled some of the world's most prominent cities". But the book is much more than just about that what can you tell us about how the story develops from there?

Mark Powers (MP): Certainly there's a lot more going on. The various natural disasters that precede the aliens' appearance begs the question to what extent are they responsible for those tragic events? Were the quakes in Berlin and Ottawa natural, or were they somehow triggered by the aliens? Or was it another entity altogether?

Given what happens to Jerusalem, it certainly seems that these beings are playing for keeps, and aren't going to waste time negotiating. As issue #2 opens, we'll see how some of our major cast members are dealing with this world-changing crisis, even as we get to know them more intimately. We'll see that wildly varying groups are not taking the aliens' demands lying down, despite their warning that a malevolent force bent on destruction is approaching. And we'll continue to get a sense of how humanity as a whole is dealing with the situation. What are the social and spiritual ramifications?

MM: Naturally, there’s some serious resistance from members of our species to being told what to do by a seemingly hostile force. How will the aliens overcome this?

MP: Basically, their technological superiority enables them to not take "no" for an answer. We'll see this quite clearly in issue #2. There will be ongoing pockets of resistance, but given the huge gap in technological know-how, there's little we can do. And once humanity becomes more directly aware of the Enemy...well, that'll certainly impact their thinking.

MM: Why is the human race useful to the aliens in the war they’re fighting?

MP: The human race may not be useful at all--for more reasons than one, which will be explored as the series progresses. The aliens' coming to Earth is an act of desperation.

MM: If the aliens coming to Earth are that much more advanced than the human species, how could we, as a species, aid them against an Enemy that is (apparently) kicking their ass? Is it an alignment of the human species large population and alien technology?

MP: Manpower, pure and simple. Our technology--weapons, etc.--would be of no use to them. However, they can arm us. Though that in itself is an it a wise decision to arm a species that's technologically inferior, and driven by emotion? It's not something they arrived at lightly, we'll see.

MM: You’ve mentioned on the Devil’s Due website that every living human fights in Drafted. How does this work for the very young and very old? Invalids? Mentally deficient?

MP: Of course, not everyone can fight. But there are many other roles to be filled in times of war--especially in a war bigger than anything we've ever imagined. And the issue of how some of Earth's infirm might be affected by the aliens begins to be addressed in issue #2.

MM: What will readers see for the aliens? Are we looking at your standard greyskin or something new?

MP: We've already seen--from a distance, at least--the aliens who are on the run, and we'll see them up close in issue #3, and we'll get our first glimpse of the other aliens in that issue as well.

MM: How did you develop the differences between the two, competing alien races?

MP: In terms of development, we knew there had to be a visual contrast, and from there we simply turned Chris loose. We'll get a sense of the scope of the conflict, and how significant a presence the "hunter" aliens have been across the cosmos, in issue #4.

MM: How did you recruit artist Chris Lie into the project?

MP: Chris came to us, actually. Josh had come up with this idea to creat a sort of "talent recruitment" contest, and when Chris read about the concept, he approached us directly. As I said, we already had a relationship with him, so it was a smooth match.

MM: The first issue of Drafted has a varied cast, individuals from different backgrounds with different beliefs. What are you hoping to accomplish with this large group of core players?

MP: To a certain extent, we're trying to go against convention as much as possible. Most mainstream books and films (and I know I'm over-generalizing here somewhat) take place in the United States. You could get even more specific and say a great number of them center on New York. Because of the nature of the story, I felt we couldn't do that, even if on some level that approach would make the book more approachable to some readers. Because we want an aspect of this book to be about how different people from different social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds interact (or fail to, as the case may be), the cast had to be constructed appropriately. We wanted there to be variation in terms of ethnicity, age, class, everything. And we'll see all that coming into play as the story progresses...while they're shooting things.

Be sure to visit Matthew McLean’s website here.

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