Three years ago I jettisoned one retail job during the recession only to find work at another doomed sales position. The new store I was working at was on the verge of closing and I began thinking of careers that were a tad more future-proof. For a week, I considered joining the military. Then I watched a news story about how it was more cost effective for the U.S. to commission private military companies (PMCs) in place of a standing army. It seemed that nothing was future-proof. While working the floor I pondered about how bad our economy must have been if we had to outsource our national defense. That’s where the idea to write my first graphic novel, Kingmaker, originated.
The premise for Kingmaker was simple. A world that fell so far into poverty that society’s hierarchy collapses in on itself. Much like apocalypse/zombie fiction, the kings of fringe society, the people who get dirty deeds done dirt cheap, rise to the top. Their skill sets form society around them, creating the world in their image. Kingmaker is the most successful PMC in a universe where PMCs are the only careers for 90% of the population. Like a cross between Blackwater and Outer Heaven, Kingmaker becomes a central entity enveloping several main characters who wish to join, destroy, abuse, and build the best defense money can buy. Things get interesting when a secret biblical artifact starts granting wishes.
The altar used during Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac is not only real, but is discovered to hold demonic energy that grants powers in exchange for equal tribute. You can’t sacrifice an ant and expect to become invincible. It becomes a breeding ground for paramilitary super villains, leaving Kingmaker to become the steward of hellish consequences.
The vision of Kingmaker came out of my love for videogames like Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex. Characters are not just stylized killing machines. They are husbands, mothers, sisters, and sons. They are regular people facing extraordinary horrors rooted in everyday life—more Peter Parker than Spiderman. I hope to go into more detail with these characters in the next post. Until then, I’ll leave you with some of the first panels of Kingmaker.