“The masks do look cool, but it’s more about what it represents to the people” Ben Errington and Luke Kondor talk El Marvo and wrestling in comics
We are in the middle of another Kickstarter bonanza for indie comics right now, but one which stands out from the crowd in our minds, is the awesome El Marvo from newcomers Hawk and Cleaver – the tale of a super powered Mexican wrestler fighting evil in a dystopian future, it has an awesome premise that is backed up with art from Vanguard’s Dan Butcher so it has winner written all over it. We catch up with El Marvo’s masters Ben Errington and Luke Kondor to find out the secrets of the masked man!You are debuting your new hero El Marvo on Kickstarter, who is a super powered luchador, tell us a bit about the inspiration for the character, about who and what he is?
Ben: El Marvo started his life as a very cliched superhero back when I used to write and draw the issues as a hobby back in 2000-2001.
I was just cutting my teeth as a storyteller and it was pretty bad, but I kind of fell in love with the character. This version will see the Luchador wrestler vigilante as the archetypical hero – a man of honour and loyalty who has everything he has ever known ripped away from him after awaking from a 200 year cryo-sleep.
He’s big and strong but confused by the world around him, it’s a place that he’s struggling to come to terms with while still doing the one thing he was always so good at – smashing the skulls of the bad guys.
Why make him a luchadore? Is it a key part of the plot or just because their masks look cool?
Luke: Well the masks do look cool. Ain’t no doubt about it. But I think it’s more about what the mask represents to the people of Muck — the post-apocalyptic world in which the story is set. Y’see, Muck is a broken world with a fractured memory of its history. Facts and fictions are constantly mixed up and half-forgotten. Like an alzheimer’s patient recalling the world of their youth. These people think Robocop and Batman were just as real as tacos and wheelchairs. They think that zero hour contracts were a physical disease in keeping with the bubonic plague. These people have pieced together their history from the remnants of the former world. And more often than not. They get it wrong. So when you have these defeated inhabitants, living under the draconian rule of Sokrates, and then they see a man in a luchador mask, they’re instantly going to assume he’s some sort of hero of legend, that he’s going to be the one to unite the people and lead the uprising. Sure the mask is cool to us, but to the folks and mutants of Muck, it’s hope.
Will there be more wrestling related links in the book, or is it just that?
Luke: There’s actually going to be a fair few nods to the world of wrestling. There’s even a little easter egg right there in the first five pages. Expect a lot of moves and wrestling terms. Also the wrestling promotion that Marvo once fought in, Enormes Locos Violentos, and its superstar attraction, Vicenzo Vicious, will be working their way into a future arc.
Ben: Yeah, we’re gunna try and get planting of wrestling content into the comic without overloading it. You see, El Marvo was a pretty successful wrestler back before he got shoved headfirst into an apocalypse. We might even get Mickey Rourke in for a cameo.
The art for El Marvo is being supplied by Vanguard’s Dan Butcher, how did you persuade him to fit this into his hectic schedule and why did you want him to be involved in this project?
Luke: I first caught whiff of Mr Butcher through the Awesome Comics Podcast. From there I fell into his big hole. And by that I mean I found, Vanguard. I read the entire thing in an afternoon and just loved everything about it. I loved the indie spirit, the storytelling, and Dan’s workhorse attitude. I’m always impressed by someone who can hit publish again and again. From there we reached out and got Dan to draw up a character design for Marvo and knew right away that Dan was going to be the guy to work on the book for us.
Will El Marvo be the start of many more comics from Hawk and Cleaver? And will it be an ongoing series or just a one-shot?
Luke: Well we definitely have two books planned for now. This and a techno-thriller Black Mirror-esque story called Jericho which is being written by Matt Butcher. I’d love to get some more books out there, maybe an anthology, but as a friend once said ‘I ain’t billy big-bollocks.’ There’s only so much bandwidth and I really want to get this right. I just want to focus on making El Marvo the best comic I can make for now and then go from there.
Ben: Everyone on the H&C team loves comics, so we’d like to make more. But El Marvo will be a learning curve for us as we learn how and if we can fund a comic book. Which is scary, but also very exciting!
Will there be any interesting stretch goals in the Kickstarter?
Luke: Interesting? How interesting are we talking? Well we’re talking to some of my favourite artists right now to commission some lovely art but as of writing this we’re still working some of the details out. Also we’re going to space.
Ben: I can’t tell you about any stretch goals in the Kickstarter but my 2017 stretch goal is to be able to touch my toes for the first time.
Is this your first foray into the world of crowd funding?
Luke: I was involved in an IndieGoGo campaign a few years back for a film I wrote about women turning into chairs. But I took a backseat in all that and am very much up front with this one. It’s been a whole new learning experience. I’ve had a lot of great advice over the last year or so from Jon Laight and Tom Ward, and also got a lot of great info from the ComixLaunch podcast and Russell Nohelty’s Business of Art podcast.
Ben: We’re crowdfunding virgins. Be gentle, please.
El Marvo, isn’t the only title under your Hawk and Cleaver imprint, but it is the only comic. Can you tell us a bit about your books and podcasts and what inspired you to create them and to publish them all digitally?
Luke: Yeah we started this little monster late 2015 with the idea that a rising tide raises all ships … and sinks all enemies. Or something. It was just a way to hang with friends and make stuff. We all grew up playing in bands and working with other artists and H&C was just a continuation of that, but for writers, which is an inherently lonely activity.
We started out mostly in the digital space because that’s the most cost-effective form of publishing It minimises upfront costs and as long as you tap into the online marketplaces you can (sometimes) find an audience. Our podcast, The Other Stories, has found a sizeable chunk of horror podcast enthusiasts and now gets around 10k downloads a week.
And in all honesty that’s how I consume my content. I read eBooks, watch eFilms, read eComics, and listen to ePodcasts. So it just made sense to make them that eWay.
When it comes down to it we just love making stuff and this has been a great vehicle for that.
And finally if you had to sum up Hawk and Cleaver (or even El Marvo) in 5 words, what would they be?
Luke: Hawk & Cleaver is dangerously close to seeing your…
Ben: We’ll take over the world (not in a bad way, there will be 3 day weekends).