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BlueWater Productions Comics: Interview with Darren Davis

Comic books are big business these days, and they attract the attention of not only children, but also many adults, and they increasingly provide creative concepts and stories for Hollywood films. Readers may be familiar with large comic production companies like Marvel, DC, or Dark Horse, but there is an up and coming comic company we have an opportunity to learn about today called BlueWater Productions. BlueWater is based in Washington state, and it was started by Darren Davis. Marc Lougee of The Pit and the Pendulum introduced us, and Jason Schultz, BlueWater's vice present, helped facilitate this interview.

TheoFantastique: Darren, thanks for stopping by and taking time out of a busy production schedule to share some thoughts with readers. For those who may not be familiar with BlueWater, can you tell us how this company came about?

Darren Davis: I have been producing comics since 2001 at Image Comics and Alias. When Alias changed directions in publishing, I ended up self publishing our titles. We are staying on the smaller side doing about 5 titles a month. We have a deal with Ray Harryhausen to produce a line of comics with the film legend.

TheoFantastique: I have a thin connection to the comic industry through my brother who is a comic artist and creator of the Boneyard series. With this connection I'm always interested in how people become involved in comics. How did you personally develop an interest in comics and decide to make this your career?

Darren Davis: I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons as a kid. Superfriends was my favorite - so I started getting into comics from that. As for working in comics, I really never wanted to work in them. I just collected them. I was working at Lionsgate Films when WildStorm (DC Comics), doubled my salary to sell their services. While working there I was watching all these people creating their own projects and I thought I could do that. So after I left DC Comics I started my own line with the 10th Muse (which was the 6th highest selling comic on the Diamond chart for Nov 2001). I used my entertainment marketing background with my love of comics - so then a comic creator was born! It is funny that you mention your brother - because my brother writes for Bluewater. We have also gotten my 16 year old niece to write her own book (Violet Rose - out in Nov).

TheoFantastique: As you mentioned, your comic The 10th Muse was your initial comic production. You also did Legend of Isis. Can you tell us something about the storylines for these comics and how they came about and perhaps led to the creation of BlueWater?

Darren Davis: I saw what appealed to me in the comic book world when I was creating these characters. I really thought that TOP COW was doing it right. Amazing looking books with great stories. So I used them as motivation. I knew Randy Green from my DC Comics days and asked him to help me design the 10th Muse. I got Marv Wolfman who was my favorite writer to write the book. I have been a Greek mythos fan since I was a kid and thought this would be the perfect genre to do. So right after 10th Muse we developed takes on Atlas, Isis, Orion & Valkyrie.

TheoFantastique: One of your more interesting and noteworthy projects that has been mentioned in many comic, sci fi, and horror magazines is your comics that fall under the "Ray Harryhausen Presents" series. How did you come to be associated with Ray?

Darren Davis: I met Ray at a book signing up in my home town of Bellingham, WA. He was always an inspiration to me. I tend to create comics that have mythology ideas. So I gave Ray a couple of graphic novels of the book I produced and told him that he was my inspiration. I loved Clash of the Titans (even better than Star Wars - I know that is not very PC to say). I spoke with his manager, Arnold Kunert, at the event and asked him why there has not been comics with Ray. He told me many people were interested but flaked out. So in two weeks I had artwork and proposals on Wrath of the Titans, 20 Million Miles More and Sinbad: Rogue of Mars. The contracts were drafted up right after that.

TheoFantastique: How did you come up with the idea of new storylines based upon Ray's classic sci fi and fantasy films, and has it been something of a challenge producing comics that live up to these infamous films and the standards of their even more infamous creator?

Darren Davis: When we did this deal, I did not want to make these adaptations off of the movies. So we hired writers that were passionate about the projects. I wanted to do what happened to Peruses, so I wrote Wrath of the Titans. Scott Davis wrote 20 Million Miles More - it is a modern take of the story (along with going to Venus to seeing where the Ymir live). Sinbad Goes to Mars was a screenplay that floating around Hollywood right after Clash of the Titans. When I was doing research on the projects this one really jumped out at me. So Rogue of Mars was born. I met the writer at a convention and his passion for the Ray line was insane. He told me that he would love to write all the Ray titles. At this point Greg Thompson is doing a couple. We also have David McIntee (who writes Dr. Who novels), writing Jason and the Argonauts.

TheoFantastique: What has the feedback been like from Ray and his agent Arnold Kunert on this project, and what has been the response of fans and readers of the comics themselves?

Darren Davis: Everyone is happy with the books. Ray and Arnold love the art and stories. We are really sensitive to keeping the feel of his films with the comics. We tend not to be too racy or violent in the books. The fans have been really supportive of the books as well. I get letters from people all the time about heir favorite Ray Harryhausen story.

TheoFantastique: Have you gotten any indication as to whether these comics might lead to a new generation of fans who, somehow, might not have been familiar with Ray's work previously?

Darren Davis: We were sensitive to making sure that people can pick up these titles without the knowledge of Ray's pervious work. My nephew who is 11 loves the comics and now has seen all the movies. We do also make sure there is lots of "Harryhausen" monsters and action in the books for die-hard fans.

TheoFantastique: I noted in reading Ray's book Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life, that there are several projects that Ray never got to see begin production. Is it possible that some of these might serve as sources for future comics with BlueWater?

Darren Davis: We are launching a bunch of new Ray Harryhausen Presents properties in 2008. Some of them are going to be ones that were never put into film production. The Eleme
ntals
will be out in February which is one that I am really excited about. We are also doing ones called Flying Saucers vs. the Earth (which is from the perspective of the aliens). And we will also produce It Came From Beneath the Sea...again. We are doing these in conjunction with the release of the SONY DVDs. There will also be a tradional Sinbad story as well as an ongoing Wrath of the Titans story. Back to Mysterious Island is one that will be out in 2008 as well. We also have plans to showcase some of his Fairy Tales from his early years. The 1st one will be the Tortoise and the Hare that will be in the Ray Harryhausen Presents one shot in November.

TheoFantastique: I understand that you are preparing to launch a sci fi line in 2008 that includes a deal with Legend Films. Can you tell us a little about this, and an other projects we can look forward to from BlueWater?

Darren Davis: Some of the projects we are working on with Legend Films are SHE, Missile to the Moon and Plan 9 From Outer Space. I am really excited about this line. We did try getting the rights to the old tv show Buck Rogers but the rights were tied up. Other sci fi projects we have going on is bringing back Tom Corbett: Space Cadet.

TheoFantastique: Darren, thanks again for sharing with us. I wish you the best of success in your continued projects and look forward to many more years of creativity and entertainment from BlueWater.

Darren Davis: Thanks again for your interest in the Bluewater line!

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