Freelancers Are Taking Over

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Boom! Studios'  newest series Freelancers  will chronicle the adventures of Val and Cassie; two women trying to make it in L.A. in the ultra-competitive world of bounty hunting. Eric M. Esquivel is the new writer and BF talks to him about his title, the characters and his writing style.

BROKEN FRONTIER: So, you are taking over Freelancers? How did that came to pass?

ERIC M. ESQUIVEL: I'm a huge Sam Humphries (writer of Uncanny X-Force, Fanboys Vs Zombies, and Higher Earth) fan. Huge. I had the good fortune of meeting him at San Diego last year. In between awkward declarations of love, I managed to slide him a copy of my book Blackest Terror. Sam passed it off to Matt Gagnon (the Editor-In-Chief of BOOM! Studios, and the co-creator of Freelancers--along with artist Felipe Smith), Matt dug it, asked to see some more samples, dug those too, and then invited me to audition for the gig. I did. I got it. And here we are.

BF: Can you tell us about the premise of Freelancers?

ESQUIVEL: Freelancers is the story of Cass and Val--two lethal young women with nothing to lose. They're orphans who were plugged into the system at an early age, raised by defrocked Shaolin monks in a martial-arts-centric orphanage until they were eighteen, and then opted into a career of glamorous pseudo-crime after that. Cassie runs on logic, Val runs on emotion.  They could both beat up your dad.

BF: What is the term Kung Fu Orphanage all about?

ESQUIVEL: Cass and Val were raised in a place called “The House of Little Fortunes” that is equal parts dojo and orphanage (a “dojorphanage”, if you will).

Little Fortunes is run by three misfit Kung Fu champions:  Master Pierce (a Zen master with a heart of gold), Master Drachmann (a stern warrior with a fist of iron), and “Big Sister” (a sadistic slave driver with a tongue of whichever metal is the bitchiest).

The three masters' goal with Little Fortunes is to produce human beings who are strong enough to play with the hand that fate dealt them. It's an orphanage that isn't in the business of producing victims—it breeds lions.

BF: How did Val and Cassie end up bounty hunting?

 Val and Cass took up the Freelancer lifestyle because it was the only one that was available to them.

They're two messed up kids with empty pockets, a heart full of rage, and a head full of combat training.  They were never going to grow up and become neuroscientists.

BF: So Val and Cassie are bounty hunters or is there more to it?

ESQUIVEL: Freelancers aren't really bounty hunters, in the conventional sense of the word.

In this world, saying that someone is a “freelancer” is civilized way of saying that they'll do anything for the right coin.  Freelancers are treasure hunters, private eyes, assassins, escorts, and enforcers all rolled into one.  They're equal parts James Bond, Boba Fett, and Honey West.

BF: A city in a story most of the times is an important item. Why is L.A. a perfect setting for your story?

ESQUIVEL: Los Angeles is a Mecca for people who are in the process of reinventing themselves.  It's a city where your past doesn't matter, so long as you can get the job done.  It's a congregation of dreamers and sinners, where decadence and superstardom is juxtaposed with crippling poverty and human debris.

Who needs some made up Metropolis when we've got a place like that in the real world?

BF: How is the artist taking to your script so far?

ESQUIVEL: Joshua Covey was born to draw this book.  If you thought his gorgeous women and cholo machete gangs were something to see, wait 'til you see the ninja assassins he whipped up for issue three!  The Foot Clan can go nunchaku themselves.

BF: Can you tell me how the artist will tackle your script? Do you let him go wild or do you have a manner of writing that lets him only carry out your very wishes?

ESQUIVEL: I write full scripts, but this book is very much a collaborative effort.  Joshua, Vladimir Popov (colors), Pat Brosseau (letters), Bryce Carlson and Chris Rosa (edits) are all equal partners in bringing this story to life.

You take any of those guys out of the equation, and Freelancers doesn't exist.  Period.

This is some pretty hardcore writer nerd stuff, but: I like to provide my artists with visual references whenever possible. Writing takes about half the time drawing a book does, so I endeavor to do anything I can to make my collaborators' jobs easier. 

The way I communicate page breakdowns (the “1.1” to indicate “Page One, Panel One”) was entirely reverse engineered  from a page in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's Phonogram Vs. The Fans 'zine.

I write in Open Office, 'cause I like to keep it ghetto.


BF: So with this Freelancers comic you start 2013 off with a bang!

ESQUIVEL:  It's certainly a great start! I'm thrilled to be working with Boom, and I hope Freelancers is just the start of our professional relationship... and I'm crossing my fingers for an Adventure time crossover.


Freelancers #3

Artist(s): Joshua Covey

Val and Cass’ search for their former instructor puts them on a collision course with the woman at the top of the Freelancer chain, Kathy Rushmore. Our heroines are outgunned and out of cash, but they literally can’t afford to fail. The fight that began way back at the Kung Fu orphanage spills out into the streets of L.A.!

Diamond Code: OCT12 0889

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