Every now and then I (Rob) like to check out new comics if they seem interesting. A new comic called "Red Thorn" seems to combine Scotland, mythology, mystery and more. In addition, the guy drawn on the cover of issue #1 looks like our friend Jason Hisley of La Cakerie fame (Baltimore) so we'll check it out. :) We will get back to you on the series.... Rob and Tom
Chat With Red Thorn’s Writer David BaillieDavid Baillie is a Scottish writer and artist who has been writing comics professionally since 2008. He’s had his comic book work published in the weekly British comics anthology 2000AD, Judge Dredd Magazine, as well as his first novel, Portal 666, that was published by Amazon and features Valiant’s Bloodshot. His latest project, the Vertigo produced Red Thorn is set in and around the Scottish city of Glasgow and is steeped in Scottish mythology.
Graphic Policy: So how did you come up with the idea for Red Thorn? Where did the name come from?
David Baillie: I was working up a few ideas to pitch Shelly as part of the new Vertigo slate and I had fixated on writing something set in Scotland.
I dug myself into a huge research hole – trying to find the weird mythology and folk horror fuel that I wanted to explore.
As for the title – when our ancient pagan demi-God Thorn amasses his army (issue 2, true believers!) it’s what his soldiers chant upon his coronation. It’s also how history will remember him when our tale is done.
GP This is a new series, but based on Scottish mythology. Did you design the characters from the ground up, or are there established designs for these mythological characters you needed to respect?
DB: All the characters have been designed from scratch, however, I’ve incorporated a lot of Celtic motifs into things. Thorn’s tattoos are based on Pict and Ogham artwork. Other characters have very specific design elements, which, if you know the mythology, will make a lot more sense.
GP: With Red Thorn being based around Scottish mythology, it’s easy to imagine that you’re pretty familiar with that, where not many readers would be; with the comic being our window into that world, so to speak, were there any challenges in writing that aspect?
DB: I deliberately chose figures that either readers will be hugely familiar with – allowing us to flip expectations straight out of the gate – or I went to the other end of the spectrum and focused on creatures and stories that very few will have heard of. It’s a nice balance to strike, and as we continue I’m really looking forward to pulling in even more Scottish mythology and re-forging it so that it fits the world of the series.
GP: How big a part does the city of Glasgow play in the story itself beyond being just the setting for the series?
DB: The characters all feel very, very Glaswegian. There’s a pleasant argumentativeness to Glasgow people, and I’ve given that trait to pretty much the entire main cast. While Isla, our protagonist for the first arc, was born in America her family can be traced back for generations through the streets and waterways of Glasgow and that’s reflected in her personality.
Glasgow also has a really great history, which has informed how I’ve put constructed the longer arcs to come on Red Thorn. By the last page of the final issue you’ll see that the story could not have been set anywhere else.
GP: Without giving too much away for readers, what can we expect to find when we open Red Thorn in November?
DB: Sex, horror, pithy Scottish dialogue, magic, music, nudity, violence, great hair, fantastic abs, very bad language and perhaps the best art you’ll see in a comic all year.
GP: You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that readers will be too attached to at least one character that they’ll keep reading just to see what happens. Any plans beyond Glasgow Kiss for where you’ll be taking the series?
DB: Huge plans. The end of Glasgow Kiss sets the scene for the next three or four arcs, as well as setting up our horrible, inevitable conclusion. And no matter who you fall in love with you’ll probably cry at some point. And for that I make no apologies.
GP: Before I finish up, one last question: aliens, cowboys, pirates or ninjas, and why?
DB: Why choose? This is comics. We can do anything we want!
The first issue of Red Thorn is out November 18th.