Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Suzy Stein and Fernando Perez of Entity Eye Productions about their new graphic novel, and its launch, The Mark of Kings.
How did you two meet, who pushed who into film?
(Fernando points to Suzy)
Suzy– We both had jobs in other fields, however writing was something we always knew we wanted to do. There was an IFP sponsored event in Phoenix, which is a Wednesday night table read of scripts. Writers bring pages in and there is a live table read where everyone gets feedback and gives notes on the pieces showcased. What a better way to get people to hear our stories than if we do them ourselves. Writing is so solitary it really gets you out of your head to hear it out loud. Anyway, he (Fernando) sent me an email when they had another one but it was really mutual.
Then was IFP where you first met?
Suzy– Yes it was. We actually thank them in our comic.
After working in film and screenwriting for so long, why did you choose to peruse writing a graphic novel?
Fernando– The idea had really rolled over off a feature film script I had written and sent over to Disney for their feature film fellowship. I got a call back and they said I was one of the top ten finalists out of 4,500 entries. They even followed up with a second interview about a week later. They told me they really enjoyed the story and wanted to know if they could shop it to some producers under the Disney umbrella. Eventually we hooked up with the Gersh Agency and decided to turn it into a graphic novel.
Suzy-We really had no background in graphic novels, because it is a completely different format with its own rules. We sent it out to a few writers but ultimately decided we wanted to write it ourselves, so we looked up the rules and outlines of writing a graphic novel and really developed it from scratch. It took awhile to find an artist. No one was really jumping to work with two unknown artists. One person actually walked out midsentence at our creative screen writing pitch expo. Now we have teamed up with some really great artists for issue two, which is being worked on now. We have a guest artist for the cover, although I can’t say who, he has a small following of his own.
What prompted you to turn the concept into an entire series?
Fernando – Originally it was actually two movies. When we started writing, we kept getting stuck with, how do you compress one and a half scripts into one comic. Four smaller comics seemed more reasonable than one large script.
What was your inspiration behind the story line for The Mark of Kings graphic novel?
Fernando– There has definitely been a significant change from the original concept, having a degree in international affairs policy I wanted to include in the stories development and the characters development how treaties are done and countries communicate, and their involvement in those changes. These creatures have been around forever and I wanted to show how they have been involved with those historical events. I wanted to show their effect on racism, politics, religion.
Suzy– Greed, lust, power, death, all the things humans have to deal with but how it effects someone (thing) whose life spans centuries, and re-experiencing the issues of racism, religion, and politics as they get rewritten throughout history.
What was it about the mythology of the Vampire culture that evoked you to compose your story around them?
Fernando – Vampires have that mystique, immortal romanticism. They can be anybody and that diverse background makes them interesting.
Suzy– A lot of people fear death, and vampires are endless. That in itself is intriguing.
Fernando– With vampires we get the opportunity to show something new. Covering the issues that this story deals with, politics, racism, and how humanities view of those issues change over time. The story shows how the vampires who, raised in a completely different era, would interact with the mortals, who are ever adapting with what is socially acceptable during their lifetime.
What is one aspect of The Mark of Kings that makes it unique compared to other vampire stories?
Fernando– This story is unique in the history we have rewritten regarding the vampire culture. Normally where you see vampires as being strong and powerful, ours take on a different angle. While they are still powerful in strength, in our story they are small in numbers and we are now viewing them as the weaker species. Between the mortals and immortals due to their lack of size in numbers, vampires are the lesser of the two. This angle takes on a new vision from the more traditional vampire stories we see where they are all powerful, bite someone, fall in love, end of story. We are in turn have taken on quite significant issues.
Suzy – Personally I like that the series has badass women in it. I think this appeals to a lot more people, to have a truly strong woman, who doesn’t just fall down, trip and need to be saved. There’s a Vatican Assassin, female military, and vampire characters. We wanted to create strong characters people would fall in love with, and want to dress up as and cosplay. We also wanted to create completely hateable characters that were badass too.
Fernando – The villain is written in a way that you truly have empathy for him, even though it’s so, so wrong. He’s written in a way that causes you to have mixed emotions about him and his actions. It really makes the you think, he may not be right, but I understand.
Do you still plan to push this series towards becoming a film?
Fernando – The screenplay is already written. We would definitely like it to go that way. (To her) I’d love to have Ridley Scott direct it ha-ha. I don’t have a background as a director, but I’d love to take a crack at the sequel!
Suzy – every set is our film school, and we are constantly learning. Even if this stays as solely the graphic novel series, as long as people love the story and want to keep reading what we put out, that’s awesome too.
When will The Mark of Kings release to the public?
Suzy – The Mark of Kings launches October 13, at Silver Star Comics in Tempe Arizona. This year we will have booths at Phoenix Fan Fest, Monsterpalooza in April, Bad Monster in March, as well as San Diego Comic Con.
Fernando – The Mark of Kings will also be available for purchase online on our website. Thank you so much to Suzy Stein and Fernando Perez of Entity Eye Entertainment for taking the time to speak with us. We look forward to the launch of The Mark of Kings coming this month! For more information and to follow The Mark of Kings, please check out the links below.
For The Mark of Kings:
Email is TheMarkofKings@Entityeye.com