Fans of the 1980 cult classic sword and sorcery adventure film Hawk the Slayer have an exciting new miniseries to look forward to thanks to writer Garth Ennis and Rebellion Publishing. The film starring John Terry and Jack Palance centers on two brothers warring for control over a magical sword.
The tale left an impression on a young Ennis, and now the writer known for The Boys and Preacher gets to share a continuing saga with art by Judge Dredd artist Henry Flint and covers by Magic the Gathering artist Greg Staples.
Ennis chatted with us about the miniseries, which will start with a 32-page issue in April. (In January, however, it will also run as the bagged supplement with issues of Judge Dredd Megazine.)
Deanna Destito: Since you’ve been a huge fan for so long, have you had this continuing story cooking for some time?
Garth Ennis: Very much so. I let various publishers know I was interested in Hawk over the years – you often get asked if there’s a franchise you’re particularly interested in, something they’re hoping to relaunch and make a fortune off, and then you get to watch their faces twist in bewilderment when you say Hawk the Slayer. Beyond that, when it’s a movie or book you love, there’ll be questions you’ve been wondering about the answers to since the first time you encountered it. In this case, forty years.
Destito: What about this character and film attracted you, especially at a young age?
Ennis: I think I saw it at just the right age, just the right moment. Hawk is one of a kind: it’s a British sword & sorcery movie, so it obviously features our ever-inspiring climate. You get a lot of stuff happening in the deep woods, rather than the usual deserts and mountains that other entries in the genre seem to use as locations. The characters are memorable. The heroes are a pretty dangerous bunch, far less upstanding than your typical fantasy characters, and the villain really is one for the ages. The story goes in a reasonably straight line and manages not to falter. All in all, Hawk The Slayer has stuck with me in a way that no other movie of its kind has managed to.
Destito: How did this creative team come together?
Ennis: Once Rebellion heard I was interested they brought out the big guns. Henry Flint is very much 2000 AD A-list, and Greg Staples has been doing astonishing, movie poster-style covers for as long as I can remember.
Destito: What about this miniseries will attract new fans?
Ennis: I imagine they’ll come for the genre and/or the creative team, and hopefully stay for the characters and story. Hawk the Slayer is very much its own peculiar beast; there’s nothing else quite like it in the genre. One thing I wanted to do was focus heavily on the characters, to continue the existing story rather than expand the world of Hawk into a typical fantasy world of warlords and power bases – I honestly think you can get that stuff anywhere, and one thing I didn’t want to do was lose the unique tone of the original. So you get a good chunk of the original cast, but also some new characters who will work well alongside them, and they don’t get lost as the narrative unfolds.
Destito: Besides Hawk, who is your favorite character in this world to bring to life?
Ennis: Hard to say. I like Crow, the utterly lethal bowman who’s pretty much a one-man artillery regiment. Gort the giant is as good a stoic right-hand man as you’ll find anywhere. New girl Bella is good fun, as is the mysterious woman known only as Woman. But I think pride of place has to go to Voltan; Jack Palance made him something very special, and it’s been a hoot having him chew up every bit of scenery in sight as he howls his evil at a trembling world (not to mention committing unprovoked assaults on baked goods). Voltan doesn’t look the same, he’s evolved- or perhaps devolved- quite a bit. But I think fans of the movie will see he’s the same monster under what’s left of his skin.
Destito: The issues that are hitting in January as a supplement to the Megazine: are they full issues or mini previews of the full installments starting in April?
Ennis: They’re full issues, but we’re saving Greg’s covers for the US format release in April. They’ll be worth the wait.
Destito: Do you have any more plans to create in this universe in the future?
Ennis: Not at the moment. I pretty much scratched the Hawk The Slayer itch with these five issues. But something may well occur once the series sees print. Sometimes the way people respond to a story will get you thinking about it in a different way.
Check out a sneak peek of some pages below!