Thursday, July 31, 2014

Q&A with Chris Dingess on Manifest Destiny

Cover of Issue 7
By this point if you follow my blog at all, you must know how much I enjoy Manifest Destiny. It seemed only appropriate to me that I seek out and harrass writer Chris Dingess about this wicked adventure story. Lucky me he talks back and he's a really nice dude.

TFQ: I've been following Manifest Destiny since the first issue and it's been one wild ride. To this day, I still dunno where the story is going. Are they ever going to get out of this wild and crazy place?

CHRIS: Every crazy place will just lead to a weird place, which will lead to a creepy place, which will lead to an unsettling place, with will then lead back to the crazy place.  

TFQ:  What was the inspiration used for the majority of the beasts in the story? I mostly get reminded of D&D beasties but I would like to know how you developed them.

CHRIS: I've never actually played D&D, but my friends who did growing up are trying to get a game started to introduce me.  I'm excited about this idea.  As far as Manifest Destiny goes.  Each character is inspired by many things.  Some from my own regular fears (the giant mosquitoes, the Flora) to movies (the Flora were partially inspired by Creepshow).  

Another inspiration for the Flora was simply nature, which is creepy.  Just listen to Werner Herzog talk about it! Anyways, I saw some trees in a rain forest that, if memory serves, are actually a fungus that has overcome most of the trees.but still stand and look like trees.

Americana is a big influence too.  The Buffalotaurs, or whatever their called, were just going to be Centaurs.  I wanted beautiful, majestic creatures to be the first things the Corps of Discovery to come across and destroy. The team at Skybound suggested that it would be cool to tie them to something American, like a Buffalo.  And the Frog creature is a twist on the bullfrog.

Thems the Buffalotaurs

TFQ: I am often left feeling like the female characters of Manifest Destiny are the only people who have any good intentions in the story despite the fact that are largely outnumbered. What was your motivation behind this? 

CHRIS: I feel that in many cases, people who are overlooked, ignored or pushed down can develop a different type of strength.  I wanted the women in this book to reflect that.  

TFQ: How did you come up with this historic monster hunter story? That's gotta be my big question. I love that they're explorers with a hidden monster hunting agenda. 

CHRIS: I wish I had a great story for this, but really I was sitting around drinking with friends and complaining about things like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I was saying that all you had to do make a successful story was take real or fictional historical figure and cram monsters into them. I joked that you could just say Lewis and Clark were secretly hunting monsters.  Then I realized I make money of the idea and I whored myself out.
AAAHH!!! Flora infected settlers!