Under The Shadow Of The Big Smoke
Coming this August, Shadow Service is a new fantasy espionage series written by Cavan Scott and drawn by Corin Howell. Here, Scott fills in Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows on the new series…
TRIPWIRE: What was the genesis of Shadow Service?
CAVAN SCOTT: It’s an idea that has been rolling around my head for years, a cocktail of my various obsessions from monster movies to James Bond to noir. At its heart is a supernatural secret service known as MI666 which I’ve been writing on and off for years in short stories, some of which have seen publication but most have not. I could never find the right lynchpin for it all, but everything came together when I came up with Gina Meyer, a young witch who has been using her magic for good on the streets of London as a private detective. She’s became the heart of the book, really crystallising everything that I wanted it be. The series follows her story as she’s recruited by MI666 and thrown into a team of agents each coping with a curse of their own.
TW: How did artist Corin Howell come on board?
CS: Corin was suggested by Vault’s Adrian Wassel when I first pitched the series to him. Corin and I had already worked on Tales From Vader’s Castle and I knew how much she loved horror so it seemed the perfect fit from the off.
TW: How closely have you worked with Howell?
CS: Very closely. Right now I’m writing the script of issue 8 and Corin is working on the art for issue 4, but the later part of the story has definitely been influenced by her art for those earlier issues. It’s one of the best parts of the job, learning what brings the best out of each other, and writing to your artists strengths. And Corin is upping her game issue-by-issue which has only made me do the same. I couldn’t ask for a better partner on the series.
TW: How did it end up at Vault Comics?
CS: I’d been talking to Vault for a while. We knew we wanted to work together, but hadn’t found the right story. Then it suddenly dawned on me that Shadow Service was the perfect fit. I pitched it to Adrian with the tagline ’Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Witch’ and he pretty much greenlit the series on the spot.
TW: How could you describe the series in a one sentence Hollywood high concept fashion?
CS: It’s Black Ops meets Black Magic. Where spy craft and witchcraft collide.
TW: Shadow Service is a hybrid horror spy series. What were the biggest influences on yourself for this when writing it?
CS: There’s obviously a lot of James Bond and Mission: Impossible in there, but its fair to say that my love of classic monster movies has also played a part, especially Hammer and Universal horror. BBC TV shows such as The Game and The Hour also played their part, as did the work of Mike Mignola and Guillermo Del Toro. And Corin has brought her love of anime and manga to the book too. We shift between high-octane spy action to personal character-led moments, with plenty of betrayal and intrigue along the way.
“It’s Black Ops meets Black Magic. Where spy craft and witchcraft collide.”
TW: It is set in a magical London. How much of a series bible did you create before you began scripting it?
CS: Oh, I have reams and reams of notes scribbled in various journals, combined with a life-long fascination of arcane folklore. This thing really has been percolating in my head for a long, long time. We have a lot of the mechanics of the world mapped out behind the scenes, including a long list of spells and curses!
TW: And if it is a limited series, do you leave things open for future adventures with Gina and Co?
CS: The first run is planned at 10 issues, but we have definite plans beyond that. This first arc – ‘Dark Arts’ – introduces all the major players and starts to explore their world, but we know exactly where they’re heading. This is only the first chapter into a much darker story.
Shadow Service begins in August from Vault Comics