Zachary Quinto Gets Lucid at Archaia

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This report is brought to you by Tony Josepf and Jonathan Chuang.

Starting this summer the world around you is about to get a little more LUCID. A fantasy adventure set in a world where super-spies are trained in the art of sorcery, LUCID is written by actor Michael McMillian (True Blood), and illustrated by newcomer Anna Wieszczyk. Archaia entertainment, in association with Zachary Quinto's Before the Door pictures, will release LUCID as a four issue miniseries this August. LUCID is sure to sizzle this summer, so join us at Broken Frontier as we get the scoop on LUCID from a conference call with Zachary Quinto and his Before the Door collaborators.

The interview began with Archaia Marketing Manager, Mel Caylo introducing the project and the people involved.  He talked about the two Before the Door Productions comics that are coming out, the first being LUCID, and the second, Mr. Murder is Dead, which will be released later this year.  After expressing his regret that True Blood actor and LUCID writer, Michael McMillian, would not be able to join, he went on to tell us about the artist, Anna Wieszcyzk, a 19-year-old art student based out of Poland who was called “a find”.  Caylo continued by saying she had “a very unique art style.  We all fell in love with her art style. We thought it was very appropriate for the book.”  He added, “She’s awesome,” and expressed his excitement over being able to share her pages in the near future. 

While waiting for the producers, we were treated to a surprise guest who had said he would not be able to join in on the call: writer Michael McMillian.  He chatted with us a bit about his upcoming projects before we were joined by producers Zachary Quinto and Corey Moosa. 

The first question was for McMillan. He was asked where the idea for LUCID came from.  He responded by saying that he’d been “into comics culture, magic and the occult,” for a long time so when he was approached to do this comic, that was where the original idea came from.  He cited Graham Hancock’s Supernatural as a major influence as he was reading it at the time.  Originally he’d intended to create a bit of conspiracy theory comic similar to The X-Files, but as the idea developed it became more “high-adventure, pulp comic, pop-fantasy”. 

The next question was addressed to Zachary Quinto, who discussed his reasoning for picking this particular comic to work on.  He immediately attributed it to the opportunity to work with Michael McMillian, who he’d known for a long time. Quinto went on to say that one of the most important things to their company is “giving people that we’ve known for a long time and whose work has inspired us opportunities on a larger platform.”  As the project progressed, he said that everyone got really excited and the decision was made to “let this one be the one that sort of defined the direction we’re gonna go”.

McMillian was then asked where the idea of melding the spy and magic genres came from, and he expanded on his earlier answer, saying that he drew from all of the fantasy, sci-fi and fiction that he’d consumed through comics, film, TV, movies and books throughout his life.  He added that it was like he was “exorcising” all of his “pop cultural demons”.  His goal was to make a comic that he himself would want to read.  He referenced some of the elements that he wanted to include like H.G. Wells, Indiana Jones, and a James Bond.  McMillian also had this to say about the huge influence that politics had on the world he’d created: “I think LUCID on a personal level, is sort of my reaction to the state of the world right now, and is sort of a wish fantasy of longing for heroes that can kind of save us from where we are right now.”

Mediator Corey Moosa followed up by asking how literally the political undercurrents were translated in the story.  McMillian saying that the issues he speaks to aren’t completely literal, but that there are lots of parallels.  He talks a little bit about the character, Jefferson Monday, who is the recently elected black president in the story who runs on a platform of change.  When asked what issues he addresses directly in the book, he says it deal with “the real frustrations about where this country is headed.”  He also reveals that the world of magic is still hidden from the general public, a notion that is derived from “20th century folklore and conspiracy theory about secret projects the government has been doing for years.”  He adds that although this seems negative, his take is more optimistic because the reason that the government is keeping secrets is to “keep us safe…not to covet power.”

Zachary continued on to explain what makes LUCID unique from other magic stories. “There's so many things, really. The political element for me is really exciting, I think the historical element is also really exciting with the character's lineage going back to (historical medieval magician ) John Dee.” Michael McMillian expanded on this thought. “I think that without being R-rated the book is distinctly adult” McMillian said. “It's a rock-n-roll book, for me a really personal goal is to take some of these elements of magic and concepts of fantasy, and really make it fun, sexy, cool and contemporary.”


Quinto then went on to discuss how his acting background gives him a him fresh perspective when it comes to the production of his own comics. “There's a stylized aspect to comic-book storytelling that translates in a very interesting way when you bring it to life” Quinto said. Quinto added that one of the challenges in shooting Heroes was bringing the comic-book feel off of the page and onto the screen while still keeping  a heavy dose of realism.

Is it a dream come true for Quinto to work on creative projects with longtime collaborators and friends? The short answer is: Yes. The mood lightened as Corey Moosa teased Michael McMillian about only being an “acquaintance”. “You guys let me hang out, I appreciate that” McMillian chided. Not missing a beat, Quinto broke in: “Aw Corey, that's harsh man”. It was a candid moment for the group of old friends.

There is a lot on the horizon for Before the Door Pictures, including more comic book projects. The second Before the Door/Archaia project Mr. Murder is Dead. Written by another longtime friend and collaborator,Victor Quinaz, Mr. Murder with its Noir-pulp roots is a stark contrast to LUCID. “It's really exciting and very different from LUCID, but it's vibrant in different ways” said Quinto. Corey Moosa then briefly explained how Before the Door is diversifying into all types of media. “We're trying to be as diverse as possible” Mossa said. “We couldn't really define Before the Door Pictures as doing one thing, we want to do everything”. Quinto then went into depth on why Before the Door chose Archaia to produce their comic projects. “There was a completely different vibe with Steven and with Archaia” said Quinto. “What they're doing, how they're doing it, it just resonated with us on a level that is kind of hard to articulate.”

Quinto was vague when quizzed on whether or not he will be attending the San Diego Comic Con. “I'm gonna have a pretty whirlwind experience if I make it to Comic Con this year. It's gonna be crazy” he said. The group then hinted at a surprise visit from Quinto during the Comic Con LUCID panel on Friday, July 23rd , and Corey Moosa promised to do jumping-jacks for a half-hour during the panel. The Comic Con LUCID panel will certainly be a can't miss opportunity.

After thanking everyone, Quinto and Moosa signed off, and the conference call was over.

LUCID will be released in August, but the first issue will be available in the Archaia booth at San Diego Comic Con.


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