Former allies go at each other's throats for water in Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce's We Stand On Guard TP (9781534301412, $14.99) from Image Comics. Read this exclusive interview with the book's creators!
Vince Brusio: Did We Stand On Guard start out as a Brian K. Vaughan project, and then it was enter-stage-left Steve Skroce? Or did the two of you collaborate on this from the beginning? Tell us how the seed got planted.
Brian K. Vaughan: No, there's definitely no We Stand On Guard without Steve Skroce. He and I met a while back at a movie screening, and while we're both huge fans of Hollywood and are enormously grateful to have gotten to do some work out there (and Steve's contributions as a storyboard artists are much larger and more important than mine as a screenwriter), I like to think that we're both comic-book creators at heart, and that we were both looking to get back to this glorious medium in a more full-time way.
I'd originally come to Steve with a germ of an idea for a more supernatural project, one we still hope to return to someday, but it was listening to Steve talk with my wife (who also happens to be a native of Canada) that first planted the seed for this story, which I hope combines some of the harder elements of science fiction with the spectacular visuals and social relevance that Steve and I both dig in our fiction. I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing artists in my career (most of whom happen to be Canadian!), but I'd never be able to tell this one with anyone but Steve Skroce.
Vince Brusio: So the threat to America isn’t the government purchasing all of the AR-15 ammunition, it’s people from Canada that want their country back? Why Canada? They have such great beer! Does Canada has enough firepower in the future to go toe-to-toe with the U.S.? Was there an arms race?
Brian K. Vaughan: Well, Canada is to water what Saudi Arabia is to oil, and while there's an inciting incident in our first issue that leads the U.S.A. to invade and eventually occupy Canada in what the Americans claim is a war of necessity, the Canadians believe that we're really just coming to take their H2O, especially because our future United States is suffering from the kind of "megadrought" many scientists believe is a real possibility.
But yeah, Canada is definitely outgunned in this conflict. In the 22nd century, the U.S.A. is still the world's foremost military superpower, only now, we also have giant f***ing robots. So our story will involve a lot of asymmetrical battles with technologically mismatched opponents, but history has shown that those can still make for very long, very bloody wars.
Vince Brusio: We Stand On Guard is described as a “military thriller set 100 years from now.” Is this you two guys totally shooting from the hip, or were there previous works that have stayed with you since adolescence that you can cite as inspiration (comics/anime/film)?
Brian K. Vaughan: As always, I'm most influenced by my own life (in this case, friendly arguments with my in-laws during Canadian Thanksgiving, and with my collaborators at conventions), but I'd be lying if I said movies from my childhood as diverse as the original Red Dawn and the first animated Transformers weren't also part of this book's DNA. I also took a lot of inspiration from Das Boot, and an incredibly relevant old film called The Battle Of Algiers.
Steve Skroce: Yes to all that! The movies and comics of the 80's are a big influence on me, John Milius's Conan and Red Dawn are high on that list, and Otomo's Akira is a huge influence. It showed science fiction war and destruction on a scale I had never seen.
Vince Brusio: What was the most challenging aspect of creating We Stand On Guard?
Brian K. Vaughan: No challenges for Baldy! I've got the easy job. I get to work with a legendary artist doing some of the most detailed work in the history of monthly comics, an equally talented colorist, Matt Hollingsworth, playing at the proverbial top of his game, and Saga's own deservedly world-famous letterer/designer Fonographiks. All I have to do is stay out of their way.
Steve Skroce: The challenge is trying to live a balanced life when all I want to do is get back to the drawing board! I've loved Brian's work for years and I'm loving this story! Matt Hollingsworth and Fonographiks are my dream team and I'm feeling blessed having them back me up. Brian also never laughs when he hears my say 'out' and 'about'. I appreciate that!
Vince Brusio: If you had to create a grass-roots marketing campaign yourself to get people pumped up over this book, what materials would make their way into the press kit? Spent bullet shells? Recorded audio from the battlefield? What would give people an accurate picture of what they’re about to see in We Stand On Guard?
Brian K. Vaughan: I'd include a double-double, a nice two-four, and a voucher for a free month of hydro. And if you don't know what the hell any of that means, get ready, because a bunch of badass Canadian freedom fighters are coming to blow up your robots.
Steve Skroce: I'll definitely take that free month of Hydro. I'd also like to include a delicious poutine, it's an amazing dish of french fries, cheese curds and hot gravy with sprinkled bacon bits on top ( an added element of my design) Poutine is known throughout Canada as the dish most responsible for our socialized health care system.
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.