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Growing up in the late '90s in Bogota, Colombia, Mad Cave comics founder Mark London was a monster lover at heart. At only 10 years old, he begged his mom to let him watch The Exorcist and then proceeded to stay up most of the night crying himself to sleep, he was so terrified. Mark first fell in love with comics when he got his hands on Silver Surfer #53 (Marvel). It was when the Surfer, Norrin Radd, yelled “Death to the Emperor!” that London gave the shop his money that week, and it kept him coming back for more.
A fan for life, Mark devoured every horror movie, video game, and comic book he could get his hands on. Years later, as an adult, London put aside his dream of writing but, on his wife’s urging, decided to pursue his passion for comics and launched Mad Cave Studios in Miami, Florida. That was 2013. In just six short years, Madcave has successfully grown into a Diamond-distributed comic book company, with a small but growing library of titles.
Creating monster tales is what Mad Cave does best, and Wolvenheart is a fine one indeed. Part Doctor Who, part Bloodborne, part Castlevania with a sprinkle of Gambit thrown in for flavor, monster hunter Sterling Cross is a Romani werewolf hunter working for Wolvenheart, a Victorian-era organization tasked with hunting down Lycan and rooting out threats across time. However, Cross has his work cut out for him when the Queen in Black reveals herself as more than a legend, and the hunter becomes the hunted.
SYFY WIRE caught up with writer London and artist Alejandro Giraldi to chat about what inspired them to create this monster story, and why they included both Van Helsing and Nikola Tesla in the storyline.
Who were some of your comic book heroes growing up?
Mark London: The Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, the Punisher, Batman, and Blade. For some reason, I’ve always gravitated towards dark characters with tortured pasts.
Alejandro Giraldo: I grew up in a small town in Colombia called Tuluá. At that time, only comics I could get were all in newspapers, stuff like Superman and The Phantom. Eventually, Christopher Reeves’ Superman was released and that led to comics becoming more accessible. That’s when I started becoming a fan of different characters, like Hellboy.
Who were some of your heroes in the medium?
London: My writing trinity is Morrison, Moore, and Gaiman. Those were the guys who really made an impact on my life back in the day. As for more modern writers, I like Geoff Johns, Brian K. Vaughn, Remender, Bendis, and Tom King.
Giraldo: I love Mike Mignola's art more than anything. Also, artists like Stjepan Šejić, Olivier Coipel, and the artist Boichi have been major influences on me.
Is Wolvenheart a new series from Mad Cave?
London: It is. It’s about an organization, Wolvenheart, dedicated to monitoring anomalies in the space-time continuum. Its members are made up of slayers that have been trained and groomed to defeat anyone or anything that puts the timeline in jeopardy. So when the Queen in Black becomes an imminent threat to their lives, Sterling Cross, the top slayer in Wolvenheart, must do everything in his power to stop her.
What was your favorite page or panel to draw in Wolvenheart and why?
Giraldo: The werewolf transformation from the beginning of Issue #1 really stands out to me. I think it’s something that sets up the brutality of this universe well. Plus it was a lot of fun to draw!
Is Van Helsing really Sterling’s boss?
London: Yes! Van Helsing is the head honcho at Wolvenheart and has been since its inception.
You also wove Nikola Tesla into the story. What’s his role?
London: He is the brains of the operation. A genius whose forward thinking has helped Wolvenheart get to where it is today. We are definitely taking liberties with the character and, without spoiling too much, he has become Mad Cave’s version of Victor Frankenstein.
Can you explain Cross’s time-traveling abilities? Does everyone at the House of Wolverheart time-travel?
London: Sterling Cross can time-travel using something called a “Dimension Key.” These keys can open portals through time and space. However, not everyone at Wolverheart is entrusted with a key. There are only a select few with “permission,” and it’s Van Helsing who determines who can time-travel.
You ink and color your own work; many artists leave color to someone else. Why do you choose to do it yourself?
Giraldo: lt allows me to paint a more complete picture, no pun intended. While I do have the advantage of being in control, it’s also a time-consuming process. Interestingly enough, I was first hired at Mad Cave to color Midnight Task Force. One thing led to another and I ended up doing that entire book myself.
You two seem to have collaborated on quite a few projects.
London: Alejo has been with me since the beginning. I think he was the second artist we hired almost five years ago. Alejo and I have a great working relationship; we understand each other and it's a blessing to have someone this good in my corner. And the fact that he nails everything I give him makes my job easier. Sometimes I question myself, because I think that a scene is going to be too complicated to draw, but he always surprises me and the results are better than expected.
Does Wolvenheart connect to other universes or comics in your library?
London: I can’t confirm or deny that but … maybe …
What do we have to look forward to in the next issue?
London: Insanity. What Cross is going to face as each issue progresses is not child’s play. We are going to bring the proverbial house down on him. The first issue plays a crucial part in introducing the characters and their personalities, but in Issue #2 we see the stakes raised significantly.
Giraldo: The story really opens up in Issue #2. New threats are introduced and Sterling is put in an unbelievable situation. Without saying too much, let’s just say that, no matter what, he can’t escape his past.
Wolvenheart will hit comic book shop shelves on Oct. 30.