Comic Book Features
Interview: Runes of Ragnan writer Ty Gorton on the Viking epic
By Patrick Luce Oct 27, 2005, 13:41 GMT
Cover for Runes of Ragnan #2
In an exclusive interview with Monsters and Critics, Gorton discussed the Runes of Ragnan’s move to Image Comics’ Shadowline imprint, and what the change will mean for the creators and the fans.
Set in the Viking time period and loaded with detailed Norse Mythology, Runes of Ragnan (RoR), originally published through Silent Devil Productions, tells the story of an epic battle between two immortal brothers that spans more than a thousand years. One brother, Eldjarn, represents the more noble aspects of the god Odin, while the other, Gunnarr, embodies only his ruthless lust for battle.
Fans were treated to a special sneak peek of the comic characters and had a say in an exclusive story on the Internet through the Runes of Ragnan: Once An Hour Series 24 Hours of Beer, Art, and Words in July.
The first issue, which was released in September, further introduced us to the basic characters of RoR and the comic’s mysterious plot. It also quickly showed fans that this comic was going to be true to the harsh and violent times of the Vikings through Gorton's gritty story, and the book’s distinct art and tone of artist Josh Medors and colorist Jay Fotos.
With Image set to release issue #2 in January, Gorton discussed what this move has meant to the creators, what it is like to work with comic legend and Shadowline editor Jim Valentino, and even shed some light on where RoR might be headed in the coming issues.
M&C: How did the leap to Image Comics come about and what does it mean for the comic?
Gorton: It’s been a 3-year leap, with two stumbles and more WTF’s than I care to remember. Ultimately, it was Silent Devil’s willingness to get the first issue in print that got the attention of Image/Shadowline.
M&C: Will you still be working with Silent Devil at all with Runes of Ragnan or will it strictly be available as an Image Comic?
Gorton: Definitely. Silent Devil is still very much involved, and will be promoting the hell out of RoR via the Internet, conventions, and three ring circuses that take place on the third Saturday of every month (sorry, invitation only).
M&C: RoR #1 was well received by critics, what was some of yours and the other creators’ reason for wanting to change to the Image Comics label and how does this effect how the comic will be available to readers?
A page from RoR #2
Gorton: It’s awfully nice living toward the front of that funny little catalogue called Previews rather than tucked away in the back. As all creators, we want an audience for our stories…the move to Image should help satisfy that desire.
M&C: What does this mean for Runes of Ragnan’s story?
Gorton: Nada. The story remains the same. At Image, we have 100% control over our 22 pages of content, so this transition hasn’t changed my approach to the storytelling.
M&C: Will the change to Image make you tone down any of the storyline or does the Image style of comic fit in with what you and the other creators were trying to accomplish with RoR?
Gorton: Page 8 of issue #2 will answer this question. The blood factor is very much intact, and we have no intentions of toning the violence of RoR down anytime soon.
M&C: What does the move mean for you personally?
Gorton: Not going to lie, there is a certain validation that comes with being accepted into the Image family of comics. It was the first company we submitted to…and every so often, when the whirlwind of work that comes with creating a comic dies down, I take a deep breath and smile. It’s a good feeling.<!--page-->
Cover for Runes of Ragnan #3
Gorton: Now that’s an interesting question. Ever since the last Once An Hour Series, I’ve eased way off alcohol and began boxing training. Finding out if I had the metal to step into a ring and face off against another human being has been something I always wondered about, and the movie Batman Begins lent me the final inspiration to go for it. So, am I the same 24 Hour of Beer writer? Well, no…not exactly. One thing will never change though, I’m willing to push myself to the limit for my craft, and you can be sure I’ll continue to do things with the same reckless devotion.
M&C: Does the move to Image open up other doors for you and the other creators as far as work on other possible titles from the company?
Gorton: As a writer, I don’t think so. Most writers would never hand over their creation to another writer…not saying it doesn’t happen, but I don’t think that is a common occurrence at Image. As for Josh and other members of the team, probably. I am hoping that having an Image book opens some doors for all of us. For right now, I’m just giddy to be writing RoR.
M&C: Will you continue to focus on RoR for the time being or are you already eyeing other titles and projects?
Gorton: I’ve got other projects brewing, but RoR is my number one priority and will probably stay that way for quite some time.
M&C: Speaking of other titles, are there any Image titles that you, as a fan, would like to take a stab at writing or do you primarily wanting to continue with only working on your own creations?
Gorton: I don’t really see myself taking the reins of any established titles. I’m in love with creating my own storylines and characters.
M&C: Since RoR will be published through Jim Valentino's Shadowline imprint, how involved is he on RoR and what is it like working for someone of his stature?
Gorton: He pokes us in the eyeball with a white-hot needle when we need it. Eventually, you adapt to the pain…it’s the sound of the iris burning that you never really get used to. Seriously though, Jim and everyone at Shadowline is there offering help and encouragement at every turn. They want what we want, to put out a great book, and to put it out on time.
M&C: Is there any nervousness on your part or do you just continuing doing what you are doing?
A page from RoR #3
Gorton: Nah, no nervousness. What was the question? Oh, no, no, no, I’m not nervous. Why do you ask, do I seem nervous? Nervous, smervous. Do you have a Vicadin on you, by chance?
M&C: Do you feel like your writing style and the style of RoR matches some of the other comics put out by Image and the Shadowline imprint or is RoR something that fills a void in the Image titles?
Gorton: The world needs more Viking goodness, and we’re here to deliver.
M&C: Since being moved to a larger publisher like Image, does this open any doors for possible crossovers or one-shots with other Image characters or will you concentrate on keeping RoR the same story for the time being?
Gorton: I’d be very open to crossovers so long as the concept that brings the two worlds together is unique, makes sense, and progresses the storyline of RoR in a useful way. A crossover for the sake of a crossover isn’t going to happen.
M&C: When can readers expect issue #2 from Image and are there any surprises that readers can start to look out for down the road?
Gorton: Issue #2 of RoR hits in January, and it’ll appear in the November Previews. As for surprises down the road: Issue #4. Origins. It’s gonna be one helluva ride…I’ve been keeping quiet about the true concept of RoR for a very long time…and issue #4 will be the unveiling.
Visit Runes of Ragnan to learn more about the comic, the creators and the role-playing game that is part of the story. Fans can still read the Internet exclusive story at Runes of Ragnan: Once An Hour Series 24 Hours of Beer, Art, and Words.