Exploring The Nordic With JW HolmesA comics interview article by: David Fairbanks
J.W. Holmes is the former CEO and Chairman of a FOX News Radio affiliate, he was an executive producer and host of a local ESPN show, a broadcaster, producer, currently an author, and a U.S. Army veteran. He began his career in writing in the early 1990's. His screenplay for The Nordic was first pitched to the BBC and Sky in the UK market, later transforming it into a sci-fi book selling in 7 countries, thus giving way to the comic book series for the book of the same name. The Nordic has just over a week left on Kickstarter as of this publication, so go check it out.
David Fairbanks for Comics Bulletin: Tell us a little bit about your series, The Nordic.
J.W. Holmes: The Nordic is basically a sci-fi series that follows a character named William Davidson and the Nordic alien, Bertil, in a quest for knowledge of what's happened in the past 3600 years since the Nordics last left Earth. Their mission is to discover the truth of our human history as well as update the Nordics on how everything has changed from their teachings and shifted into a power struggle of the elite (churches, governments).
Together with some other characters, they sift through the past while fending off the men in black, the U.S. military, William's political aunt, and the Nordics greatest enemy, the Greys.
The story takes place primarily in England.
CB: How'd you meet up with your artist, Mark Brayer? While you had the idea for The Nordic before, to the point of releasing a book, has it now become more of a collaboration?
One of the most powerful things about science fiction is that there are so many possibilities for storytelling, from adventure to horror to a hard-line, classic sci-fi. Is there a particular feel your shooting for with The Nordic?
Holmes: It has been certainly growing in that direction, with the both of us now collaborating more and more on the development of the story. Mark has a lot of good ideas and lets me bounce things off of him from time to time; it's always good for a writer to have somebody like that they can toss stuff out to and see what they think. While the initial concept and storyline of The Nordic was mine, everything from here on out is really the both of us.
I first was able to talk to Mark, I believe it was last October (2011). I had gotten so much mail from Nordic fans (for the book) saying I should really look at developing it into a TV show or a comic book. Many of the comments were that they wanted something more visual to see and they saw the story as being more than only a book. Well, I had already gone the TV route having pitched the original screenplay for it the year before to the BBC and Sky (UK) without much success, so I turned my attention to developing a comic for it.
I had discovered extremely quickly how similar doing a comic book was to producing, which I had done the years before and continue to do somewhat even today, and went out searching for an illustrator. I went through several candidates, without much success, just not seeing what I was wanting, and then suddenly Mark e-mails me. I pitched him the storyline, he liked it, and we just continued talking from then on until about mid-year this year when we started working on the physical drawings for the comic.
I had already been in contact with several stores around the country developing a market base, but both of us had been waiting to clear our schedules a little more before getting in to the meat of our project, because we wanted to give it our full attention. I have to say, Mark has a lot of talent and he I couldn't ask for a better partner to have on such a story. I was very lucky he e-mailed me that day.
CB: It's possible this has come up before, since people have already experienced The Nordic in book form, so forgive me if I'm treading over familiar ground, but are you at all concerned with the implications of a vaguely Aryan individual possessing the "perfect" genetic code? It sounds like that could be a pretty big can of worms.
Holmes: We've talked about it, but he doesn't really have the perfect genes just 'perfect' in the sense they are the closest to the original Nordic alien genes, most similar. It's not perfect as in above and better than all races. I'm glad you brought that up so we could explain that!
CB: It was just one of those things that made me think "they couldn't possibly mean... could they?"
So, I know we're just in the beginning stages here, but what kind of a plan do you have for The Nordic, ideally?
You'd said that readers had recommended you publish as a comic, but did you personally have any comics that you took inspiration from for The Nordic?
Holmes: (Laughing) Yeah, we don't want fans getting the wrong meaning on that issue.
Uh, not so much comics per se as television shows. At the time I began developing The Nordic I had three really strong sci-fi shows that really inspired me and for different reasons: the Stargate franchise, The X-Files, and Doctor Who. I liked the Stargate works because I really liked what Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner did with the writing. On The X-Files, I enjoyed the strong storyline it had, and with Doctor Who, it was the "fun" sci-fi that attracted me.
So, really I tried to take the strengths from each of those shows and just mix them together to try to form a series built on those strengths.
CB: Those are pretty admirable goals; I have to admit that when I saw you list Doctor Who as an influence on the Kickstarter page, I was curious, but now it makes sense. There aren't too many comics that handle humor and fun very well; I'm sure many of us would welcome more of them!
Is there anything else you'd like to add for our readers?
Holmes: Just to say, make sure to tell your local comic book stores to keep an eye out for The Nordic or to contact us at our website, and we'll keep them updated as to when the preview issue will be available. The paperback novel for the The Nordic will be out here in August 2012. And thanks to everyone who helps us build this new series!